Maintain a global perspective
Although she is now a leader in her profession, Dawson has not always been professionally focused on the law.
“I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school,” Dawson says. “I had a few sessions with my career counselor and she thought I would meet the legal requirements. I thought, even if I don’t like it, it’s a good, broad finish.”
As it turned out, not only did she love the law, but her education at the University of Sydney also helped spark her interest in an international career. Many of her units hosted speakers whose professional careers had taken her around the world, and she spent an exchange semester at Queens University in Canada.
“It reinforced the fact that we are global citizens and that there is a lot to learn from the world outside of Australia,” she says. “It helped stimulate interest in the world and made an international career seem attainable and exciting.”
This international focus, combined with her early international professional experiences, shaped her approach to law and her understanding of how best to support clients around the world.
“I love learning about the different differences and how legal systems work in different countries and how they influence local dynamics,” she says. “Culture and customs, language and the business environment play a role in the way you do your work. Working across borders sharpens your communication skills and encourages you to be creative in finding solutions and to be mentally flexible when dealing with a particular legal problem.”
She would also recommend this open approach to communication to anyone considering an international career.
“International moves can be both daunting and exciting. Having a community around you makes a big difference in how quickly you can adapt and how much fun you will have,” says Dawson.
“In my experience, people are always happy to help where they can – so ask questions and accept their offers to help.”