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I want your job: Q&A with Patricia Perlen, academic at Deakin University

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Patricia Perlen is an associate lecturer at the School of Law at Melbourne’s Deakin University. I caught up with Patricia to learn more about her work as a legal academic…

Did you always want to study law and be a lawyer?

I went to law school knowing that I did not want to pursue a traditional law career of working in a corporate firm. My aim was to work overseas in a legally related field, but not as a lawyer.

What does a typical day at work involve?

The beauty of academia is that there are no typical days! Some days involve lots of teaching and interacting with students (which I love). Other days you are sitting in front of a computer researching and answering hundreds of emails.

What is the most challenging thing about your work?

Time management! There are so many opportunities and commitments in academia. It can be really challenging at times to strike an appropriate balance to try and fit everything in.

What do you love about working in the law?

I love that I have the opportunity to assist first year students with their transition into higher education and into the study of law. It is really rewarding when former first year law students tell me all about the amazing things they are doing post-graduation.

I made a very conscious decision not to become a practicing lawyer and I love the flexibility that academia provides. I still get to think about legal issues without worrying about 6 minute billable increments.

What has been your most memorable career moment?

Receiving a Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014. The award is really a reflection of all the wonderful students that I have had the opportunity to teach.

What do you do outside of work to relax?

I frequent cafes and drink lots of coffee! Thank you Market Lane and Everyday :)

What advice would you give to law students about to start their careers?

Be enthusiastic, do any task that you are assigned well (and without complaint) and use your initiative.

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