By Sarah Plasto, member of the QLS Future Leaders Committee
Are New Year resolutions still a thing? They are for me. Like many others, I spend a bit of time in that void between Christmas and New Year each year looking forward at what I want out of the next year. Like everyone, mental and physical health is usually up there, but this year I found myself looking at what I wanted professionally as well.
One thing led to another, and it got me thinking about the best thing I did last year. Getting involved.
That’s it. Two words. “Get involved”. Like a “yes day” but for a whole year, I said yes.
At this point, I want to be very clear, this is not a poster idea for burnout. Mental health should always come first, and please don’t take on more than you can handle.
But within the scope of the above disclaimer – say yes. Do the things that scare you. Join that club, go to that event, agree to that project that’s a little bit outside the scope of your usual practice area.
In 2021, professionally, I threw myself into what the legal professional had to offer – I joined Caxton as a volunteer lawyer, I joined the FLC as a committee member, I went to events in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba, I went to QLS CPD events (despite already having my 10 points from a criminal law conference). I caught up with old colleagues, I had coffee with Barristers I knew and forged new relationships with solicitors I appeared against in Court. Everything that I looked at and went “maybe that interests me” or “I could find time for that”, I signed up, I volunteered, I donated my time and I reached out.
I am particularly passionate about this little piece of advice for law students, graduates and junior lawyers. I cannot express enough how much your professional world will open up when you put yourself out there.
Love the idea, but not sure where to start? Let me help.
QLS has even put together a handy little FAQ page about what we do on the FLC. Come and join us and have your say in what the profession looks like for young lawyers.
Have you seen the QLS Event Calendar this year? If not – check it out here.
As always, there are plenty of online events with CPD points, but there are also some fantastic in-person events scheduled to get out there and meet people!
New Year Profession Drinks – 9 February
FLC Gold Coast Networking Event – 24 February
QLS Symposium – 10 March
Young Profession Drinks – 20 March
Legal Profession Dinner – 24 March
The calendar gets updated through the year and the FLC have some fantastic further events in the pipeline, so remember to check back as 2023 progresses.
There are so many amazing and worthwhile community groups (legal or otherwise) that are always looking for volunteers and volunteer lawyers.
You could volunteer your time with the elderly, feed the homeless, sort clothing for charity organisations or get involved in your local community. You don’t need to be a lawyer to give back, and I promise it is so worth it.
And if you like the concept but hate going to events alone? Reach out to me. I don’t know what 2023 looks like for me yet, but the chances are, I am still saying “yes”.
*How to volunteer with these organisations is noted on their websites. Check with the organisations for more details.