Thomas O’Grady graduated with a Bachelor of Criminology (Distinction) and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 2015. Originally he chose to study at Deakin law School because it presented the opportunity to move away from home to study. Something others in his family had benefited greatly from.
He also found the opportunity to study online was something many other universities did not offer at the time.
‘I made sure to take full advantage of the unique flexibility Deakin offers and actually completed the final 18 months of my study wholly online,’ he explains.
Some of Thomas’ fondest memories of his time a Deakin include participating in a number of societies, annual events, such as the annual Deakin Law School Society Ball, as well as the inaugural University College Cork (Ireland) study tour.
‘I still maintain contact with many of the people I met at Deakin and enjoy the lifelong friendships and professional networks these activities enabled for me,’ he says.
Thomas is now a solicitor at Ryan Carlisle Thomas Lawyers assisting clients with WorkCover, TAC, Public Liability and Victims of Crime claims. He has previously acted on behalf of WorkSafe Victoria and TAC in statutory recovery litigation, recovering compensation paid to injured workers and TAC claimants from negligent third parties.
‘I feel I am very lucky to work at a firm that provides so much support and promotes such a healthy work/life balance’.
Thomas believes workplace experience fundamentally important for the professional development of a young solicitor. He is also a strong advocate for networking as often and wherever possible, he says ‘the benefits of networking cannot be understated’.
‘Before being admitted to practice, I gained extensive workplace experience by volunteering at Barwon Community Legal Service, assisting clients with a range of civil issues, including matters of family violence.’
His advice to current law students is to never give in.
‘Persistence is key. There’s no doubt it’s proving more difficult to find work in the legal profession, and there is talk of a law degree becoming a generalist degree. I think an important thing to remember is to try and identify a point of difference that will distinguish you from the pack.’