Updating Results

Johnson Winter Slattery

  • 100 - 500 employees

Heather Pym

The firm exhibits a strong commitment to Pro Bono work and clearly recognises the need for the legal industry to assist those beyond the top end of town.

Why law?

I chose to study law as I’ve always enjoyed problem-solving and thinking on my feet. My choice was probably informed by a healthy combination of The Castle and Suits, but thankfully I’ve found the reality to be adequately proximate to those expectations.

Why Johnson Winter Slattery?

If I were to summarise JWS in a single word: it would be genuine. It’s wonderfully refreshing to come to work each day with pragmatic, honest and affable colleagues who have a genuine desire to see you succeed. The firm is also particularly unique in that membership of a practice group or role doesn’t exclude you from the wide breadth of work, conversations and experiences on offer.

Both formal and informal mentorship at the firm has been second to none. The senior lawyers I work with have a genuine concern in making even the most trivial task a valuable learning opportunity, and provide feedback in a value-driven way that strengthens an understanding of the law.

Tell us about your work

My experience to date has been something of a smorgasbord, which I think is the charm of being a junior lawyer at JWS! Understanding the way in which different practice areas approach their work has been invaluable in my development and has offered the context to see beyond the central issue in any given matter. I’ve tried my hand at just about every practice area in the firm, but I find that I’m most enthralled by the work in Environment and Planning (and a healthy serving of dispute resolution for good measure).

How has the firm helped you pursue your passions?

If not for JWS’ open culture, I likely wouldn’t have found an interest in environmental law. When I started my summer clerkship I was convinced - and determined to tell anyone that would listen - about my keen interest in M&A. I’m now undertaking an Undergraduate Certificate in Antarctic and Climate Science at the University of Tasmania to deepen my understanding of subject matter relevant to environmental law and to pursue my genuine enjoyment of this area of law.

How has the firm supported you to pursue volunteer work outside of work?

The firm exhibits a strong commitment to Pro Bono work and clearly recognises the need for the legal industry to assist those beyond the top end of town. This commitment gives me the confidence to pursue projects outside of work knowing that the firm will be right behind me. The firm has assisted me in taking time off to undertake these pursuits, and my colleagues have supported and encouraged me to take on new opportunities. The firm displays an understanding that these experiences have the power to enhance my work at JWS rather than hinder it.

Tell us about your pro bono and volunteer work

I first started volunteering with the Australian Red Cross and mentoring recently resettled refugee students. I then joined Mahboba’s Promise, an aid organisation for women and children in Afghanistan. During the Taliban takeover in August 2021, my work pivoted to securing visas and safe passage for at-risk individuals, successfully evacuating orphaned children and families. I’ve since made submissions to parliamentary enquiries on ongoing evacuation efforts.

I am also a co-founder of the Future Leaders for Gender Equality program, which mentors students to drive cultural change in their respective school environments, and I currently serve on the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations Association of Australia.

Beyond growing my professional network, volunteering helps me to see solve problems holistically and approach my work with an appreciation of the interconnectedness between remote matters. Being a global citizen helps me to look beyond the immediate and make sense of complexity. Personally, I get the satisfaction of using the skills I have developed in my legal career to assist humanitarian and social justice projects