Volume 1, Issue 11 (Originally Published 14 May 2012)
Athol Birtley graduated from Melbourne in 2007 with Bachelors in Computer Science and Law. He started as a grad at Allens but decided law wasn’t for him. He quit and is now working part time as a hotel porter and spending his spare time writing movies and TV shows. De Minimis reporter Emma Henderson asks him why he left the law.
For Athol working in law wasn’t all bad. “I met a lot of interesting people, made a lot of good friends, and visited places I never thought I’d visit, like Beijing, and Brisbane.”
But he decided it wasn’t for him. “I wanted to entertain, make people laugh – and you can only fail hilariously in court so many times before they take away your practising certificate.”
Athol thinks his law degree is less versatile than law schools would have you to believe. He has yet to find a use for his legal skills in his new career. “But ask me again once I’ve negotiated my first sale and you might get a different answer.”
At law school Athol did a fair bit of negotiation on the basis that you didn’t need to prepare. “I have since been told that the key to a successful negotiation is preparation, which might explain why we never made it to the final.”
“I tried to avoid anything that sounded like it would “look good on a resumé.”
How you might wonder did he land a graduate position at Allens? “Some people would say it was my marks, but in my interview at Allens they commented on my experience as a paperboy during primary school, so maybe it was that?”
Where does he see himself in five years? “In the credits of that movie you just watched and really enjoyed.”
For advice Athol wishes he received earlier have a read of this article:
Patrick J Schiltz, ‘On Being a Happy Healthy and Ethical Member of an Unhappy Unhealthy and Unethical Profession’ (1999) 52 Vanderbilt Law Review 871.