How to lawyer up your career

JCU Alumni and Associate at wilson/ryan/grose Lawyers, Naomi Seymore.

Supplied by: Naomi Seymore.

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Written By

Tianna Killoran


College of Business, Law and Governance

Publish Date

7 July 2022

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Laying down the foundations of the law

After studying Business and Law, JCU Alumni Naomi Seymore had her heart set on a career that helped others. Now three years into working at wilson/ryan/grose Lawyers, Naomi says she loves how her role as an Associate in Wills and Estates law allows her to meet and help people at every stage of their life.

Entering university straight after high school, Naomi says she wanted to study at JCU but wasn’t quite sure what direction she wanted to take her career.

Eventually, she went with a Bachelor of Laws – Bachelor of Business at JCU because of the variety it offered her. “I studied business and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school. I knew I wanted to do something people-oriented,” Naomi says.

“So, I ended up doing law and business because they’re both very broad and you can enter lots of industries and workplaces with both of them.”

Working hard throughout her degree, Naomi took every opportunity available to her with a variety of internships and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Programs. After she graduated, Naomi landed a position at a local law firm in Townsville.

“I’ve been at wilson/ryan/grose Lawyers since I graduated university, which is just over three years now. It was great to go straight from JCU and into the workplace,” she says.

Naomi found herself working in the Wills and Estates area of law, which she says brings variety and people-oriented work to her day. “Every day is different,” she says. “The great thing about Wills and Estates law is the variety of work you do. Your tasks each day really depend on what your clients need from you.

“You might be helping a young family plan their future, talking to a blended family about asset protection or assisting to operate a business after someone has passed away. It is very interesting because you get to come into someone’s life and help them in making a plan for their unique circumstances at the time. I’m regularly meeting all sorts of people that I never would have expected when I first started law.”

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Working in Wills and Estates, Naomi says it gives her the opportunity to meet many different people. “It’s really good to meet with people at all stages of their life,” she says. “So, that part is really rewarding and more people-focused than I would have thought. It’s very interesting to become a part of someone’s life in that way and be able to understand their circumstances.”

“As a Will and Estates lawyer, you can learn all about people and try to understand them so you can structure a will that’s going to work best for them and meet their desired outcomes. It’s something that looks different for everyone, so it’s exciting and rewarding to problem-solve in that way.”

JCU Alumni and Associate at wilson/ryan/grose Lawyers, Naomi Seymore.

Even in more difficult or sad circumstances, Naomi says she can help people navigate a difficult time of grief and complicated paperwork. “If I’m working with a family after someone has passed, it’s obviously an awful experience for them and something that’s hard to navigate. I’m able to be compassionate and understanding about what’s happening in their lives, and be the person who takes away the heavy paperwork and legislative burden,” Naomi says.

Naomi says Wills and Estates also involves a range of legal work. “Wills and Estates is a varied area of law. You may be working on an estate administration matter, which involves assisting a family after their loved one has passed away. You might assist with locating a person’s Will (if there is one), locating and collecting their assets and paying any outstanding liabilities.”

“You are able to help people understand what tasks need to be done to complete an estate and allow them to move on to grieving their loved ones without a heavy administrative burden,” Naomi says.

“Then there’s estate litigation, which is another varied area of law. You may be working on a matter where someone is claiming they were not properly provided for in a Will, claiming the person did not have capacity at the time of making their will, disputes over ownership of assets or even matters where the court has appointed an independent person to administer the estate,” she says. “So, I get to do a wide variety of work, including court work. I get to do all those exciting parts of the law that you imagine when you do a law degree.”

Launching into a legal career

During her studies, Naomi says she was keen to immerse herself in the legal profession and took as many opportunities as she could. “Through university, I did a few clerkships and internships that were offered through the JCU Law Society,” she says.

The internships were a great opportunity to learn about the regular daily work of a lawyer. “You follow around the lawyers for two or three weeks and work with them on every single one of their files. You go to client appointments with them and I even got to see a few mediations. You basically get to do their job with them for a few weeks.

“It was a really good immersion into the profession and I got to see exactly what a day looks like for a lawyer.”

Naomi says she also participated in a WIL Program, which gave her the opportunity to meet judges and barristers within the industry and gain real-world experience. “It was across a couple of weekends, where you had an intensive workshop and met with currently working and also retired judges and barristers in the industry,” Naomi says.

“They would take you through ‘fake’ court cases, and you would compete against other students in front of a real judge who would then give you feedback on what you were doing. For the very last weekend, we went into the actual court and sat where you would if you were an actual lawyer, and the judge sat at the bench. It was very exciting to feel like you were doing the real deal,” she says.

Ultimately Naomi’s enthusiasm and commitment led to her current position with wilson/ryan/grose Lawyers. “In my final year they had a summer clerkship program that ran over the university break. The firm ended up keeping me on after that and I went from the clerkship program to working full time,” she says.

Lawyers helping lawyers

Now that she’s working as an Associate in Townsville, Naomi says she enjoys working in a regional area and the environment is very collegiate and friendly. “The network of lawyers in Townsville is very collegiate and everyone likes to support young lawyers who have just come out of university,” she says. “There’s events often run by the Townsville District Law Association, so there’s lots of opportunities to meet with other people and gain support.

“They all want to see you succeed and there are a lot of great mentor programs. There’s always someone with their door open that’s willing to help you.”

“One of the best things about Townsville is that you get to have a lot of contact with clients when you’re working in a small firm,” Naomi says. “Sometimes working in bigger cities you might spend a few years working in an office without seeing clients, but here in Townsville you get to meet with clients from your very first day.”

Naomi says her best advice for aspiring lawyers is to always be willing to talk to lots of people and take on opportunities that come your way. “Ask lots of questions; people in the legal industry are always very willing to take on graduates. Make yourself available to opportunities and don’t be afraid to contact many different law firms and express your interest in doing some work for them.”

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