When did you know that you wanted to be a lawyer?
In my teens I decided I wanted a career that would involve supporting people in difficult times which for me meant either psychology or law. Law ultimately won out, no doubt due to the influence of my father who was a lawyer himself. Interestingly, my 3 brothers steered well clear of law in their career choices.
What are your passions outside of the law?
My family has been my focus for most of my career but otherwise I am passionate about English crime novels, completing my travel bucket list and spending time with friends.
If you had your time again, would you choose to practice in law? If not, what else would you choose to do?
Although there have been times that I have explored other options, I invariably return to the law. The combination of making a difference to people’s lives and the intellectual challenge of applying and interpreting the law provides me with the perfect career choice.
If you could only give one bit of advice to new lawyers, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to seek guidance when you are unsure what to do. This can be in the form of speaking with your mentor, supervisor and peers. It can also be in the form of searching the relevant legislation or websites.
What would you say are the hazards of this profession?
Taking yourself too seriously and believing that you know it all. The world and the practice of law are constantly changing and even after 3 decades of working as a lawyer I still check that the information I am relying on is current and relevant.
How do you balance life and work?
I probably need to admit that I am not particularly good at balancing life and work, apart from an earlier period in my career when I worked from home. I have however in recent years discovered the importance of trying to find such balance otherwise my performance in my work is impacted. This is especially so when you also have family responsibilities and there seems to be little opportunity to find some “me” time.
How can one distinguish themselves as a legal professional?
Demonstrating a willingness to work hard, having a passion for the law and a desire to never stop learning.
Biography of Sally Field
I am currently employed as the Coordinating Registrar for Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia for the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.
Prior to this I have been employed as a registrar with the Family Court, Senior Case Officer with the Child Support Agency, Lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid and in private practice.
In addition to my legal qualifications, I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Information Systems and I am currently undertaking a Master of Laws at Monash University.