Like many law graduates, Andrea Anastasi wanted to pursue a legal career because he had a passion for both solving problems and a desire to ‘give something back’ to society.
Completing a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Studies in 2017, Andrea is now a graduate lawyer based in Melbourne with leading Australian law firm Clayton Utz.
He says that although he excelled in science and mathematics throughout secondary school, he knew by the age of 16 that law was his real passion.
‘So when the time came to choose a university course, that’s the direction I decided to take,’ he says.
Initially, one of the reasons Andrea chose to study at Deakin Law School (DLS) was the vibrant atmosphere he experienced during Deakin University’s Open Day.
‘But I was also drawn to the commercial and international focus of Deakin’s law course, as well as the trimester system. This allowed me to tailor my degree and even finish one trimester early to take a break before starting graduate work,’ he says.
Deakin’s flexible study options also meant that Andrea was able to study online during his final year of studies.
‘My work commitments clashed with classes so I generally studied via Deakin’s Cloud Campus. Everything was available online, including all lectures, and I particularly enjoyed the use of the online discussion boards and the access to all the written material such as lecturer’s summary notes,’ he says.
Reflecting on his study journey, Andrea says that ‘without a shadow of doubt’ the highlight of his Deakin law studies was his participation in a five-month intensive Willem C. Vis Moot program during 2015/2016.
Currently in its 25th year, the Willem C. Vis Moot is the most important commercial law competition in the world with oral rounds held every year in Vienna and Hong Kong.
Deakin Law School has participated in the competition each year and boasts one of the most successful teams in the competition’s history.
Andrea was selected to be one of four to represent Deakin at an international level and in the lead up, he travelled four hours each week day – for four months – to meet with his team at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus.
‘While the moot allowed me to form strong networks and friendships, the preparation for the competition provided me with incredible legal and personal skills that opened up other opportunities and jobs. The overseas component was an amazing experience, from mooting – in front of the professors whose works I had been studying for months – to touring around Hong Kong and Vienna,’ he says.
With real-world work experience a crucial component of DLS programs, Andrea undertook numerous placements that, he now says, all helped him obtain employment as a graduate lawyer.
‘I first worked for two years as an assistant to barrister and international arbitrator, Albert Monichino QC. This arrangement started as work experience before I was promoted to a paid assistance role.’
He also considers himself ‘very fortunate’ to be offered work as a research assistant with Deakin lecturer Prof. Jean Du Plessis, a globally-recognised corporate law academic.
‘These experiences – combined with the Willem C. Vis Moot – built my CV up to a level that enabled me to be invited for interviews at top tier law firms. They also trained my work ethic and my skills, enhancing my confidence and business acumen,’ he explains.
Following this, Andrea completed a two-month internship in Italy at the Milan office of Jones Day (one of the most prominent global American law firms) and clerked in the Melbourne offices of law firms Ashurst and Clayton Utz.
Andrea says his first experience in a law firm (Jones Day) helped him to be more effective in dealing with the type of work he was given as a clerk at both Ashurst and Clayton Utz.
‘Having to adapt to work in a law firm, in a foreign country and practise law in areas I had not experienced, strengthened my character and improved my skills. Ultimately, this pathway was really successful as it resulted in me obtaining a graduate job at Clayton Utz,’ he says.
Now settled into his graduate role, Andrea is looking forward to advancing his law career with Clayton Utz and is also considering postgraduate law studies.
‘I’m looking forward to helping out clients and give back to the community via law reform and pro bono work. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to solving legal issues by putting my legal mindset and legal research skills to use.’