Top 5 Characteristics Law Firms Look For When Hiring

You’ve know you’ve got the skills but you’re looking for that extra edge to cut through the crowd and make your CV stand out. We understand that the legal industry is an extremely competitive industry for job seekers, so we’ve put together the following guide:

Top 5 characteristics law firms look for when hiring


Working as a lawyer means you will have to regularly put in long hours to achieve your goals, sacrifice is just part of the job. Law firms want to see that you have the right goal driven attitude required to succeed in such a demanding industry. Candidates who have goals and are driven are seen as better applicants as they won’t mind walking that extra mile for their clients to get the results they want.


The legal industry is a complicated industry, so prior experience and understanding of legal practice is a necessity for most legal firms when hiring candidates. Legal firms are having to sift through record numbers of applicants, so employers are looking for a CV that stands out from the rest. Experience demonstrates commitment to the career path, plus a complete understanding of the skills and demands the job entails. Having prior experience so you can hit the ground running will be hugely advantageous when applying for a legal role.


Strong oral and written communication skills are a necessity for most employers looking to hire an employee, regardless of the industry. It is however, especially important for a legal candidate to have highly developed communication skills. Lawyers must be orally articulate, have good written communication skills and also be good listeners. Law firms will be looking for this essential skill in their candidates, so ensuring your communication skills are on point will really help you through the recruitment process.


If you were an employer sifting through hundreds of applications for an advertised role, what would separate the good from the great? The answer is – achievements. To really stand out among your peers, you need to demonstrate that you have that extra quality that makes all the difference to how your team functions. When writing your CV or your cover letter, make sure you include all relevant achievements and times you have outperformed those around you.


Organisations spend a lot of time and money working on their image – developing their brand and producing as many positive signals as possible. As a staff member of the organisation, everything you do is a reflection of the firm you work for. This includes personal presentation! What others see and hear you do will influence their opinion of you and of the firm you work for, so excellent presentation is crucial to success in the legal industry – it is about perception, and having people perceive you positively always.



Powerplayers Tour Recap

Our managing partner, Michelle Sneesby recently returned from a week long intensive Knowledge and Study Tour hosted at Californias’ UCLA. On November 25th, Michelle flew to LA to commence the PowerPlayers tour, alongside 19 other Australian entrepreneurs.

After initial hesitation and nerves, Michelle settled in, met the other entrepreneurs invited to the tour and the Founder and CEO of Business Chicks, Emma Isaacs. After a brief meeting, Michelle and the other guests headed back to their rooms to rest up before beginning the tour.


On the first day of the tour, Michelle explored the UCLA campus and did some networking with other like minded Australian business women. Michelle was blown away by the beauty of the UCLA campus, and so are we! Check out the pictures below.

Official Tour Day 1: Ian Larkin & ‘Growing Your Business’

Day one of the tour and Michelle was lucky enough to be sat next to successful Sydney lawyer Jennifer Bicknell.

Next up was speaker Ian Larkin who discussed growing a business using the Netflix success story as a springboard. Ian challenged the group and gave Michelle a lot of take home points to share with the empire teams.

Day 2: Leading a culture of service excellence

On day 2 Michelle and the team had an exciting day at Disneyland, taking the time to learn what makes each member of the tour special – what are their differences, and what sets them apart? Michelle also learnt about what makes Disneyland so unique. The attention to detail at Disneyland is unparalleled and it’s part of what makes the Disneyland experience so special.

Day 3: Dermalogica & Iris Furstenberg

The third day of the tour was a key day for Michelle. Beginning with a Q&A session with Dermalogica founder and CEO, Jane Wurwand, the morning was informative and thought provoking – but for Michelle, the best was yet to come.

Next up was speaker Dr. Iris Furstenberg. Iris is a professor of psychology and specialises in creative problem speaking and innovative thinking. She spoke about bringing the future to the present, the importance of being present and the psychology of being present. Iris was absolutely a highlight for Michelle and her favourite speaker.


After a week of learning at UCLA, Michelle and the rest of the team graduated.

The Knowledge and Study Tour was a challenging, exhausting, rewarding and an absolutely incredible experience.

Michelle was pushed out of her comfort zone, she made new connections, learnt new skills and developed both professionally and personally. Michelle is returning home with a new outlook on life and plenty of information and exciting new strategies to implement at empire.


Key takeaways from the Powerplayers tour

In November of 2018, our managing partner Michelle Sneesby was invited to join 20 other entrepreneurs from all over Australia in a week long ‘Knowledge and Study PowerPlayers Tour’ held at California’s UCLA.

For Michelle, this was a huge step outside of her comfort zone – not only had she never been to University, she had never travelled on her own, nor had she ever left her children.

After the initial nerves wore off, Michelle and the other guests settled in and got to know one another, before commencing what Michelle called a ‘magical experience’ of new challenges, new learning, new experiences and new growth – both personally and professionally.

Michelle has boiled down a weeks worth of learning to five key takeaway points for those of us not lucky enough to be present at the PowerPlayers tour. Below are Michelle’s top takeaway points from the tour:

Be present – leave technology away when in a meeting.  Don’t allow phones or computers

The reality is, when people are allowed to bring computers or phones into a meeting, they won’t be focusing on the meeting or contributing to it either. Instead they will be emailing, surfing the web or just playing around with their technology.

A scientific study conducted of UCLA students noted that students who took notes by hand rather than using a computer or ipad had an increased understanding of concepts discussed. The study also noticed increased productivity levels among students using good old fashioned pen and paper. So next time you have a meeting, leave the laptop behind and instead opt for taking notes with a pen and paper – you just can’t argue with science!

Get 7 – 8 hours sleep every night – it’s more important than you think!

In some workplace cultures, working long hours and running on little to no sleep is worn as a badge of honor, but new research is proving that lack of sleep has hugely detrimental effects in the workplace. Sleep deprivation reduces alertness, cognition, and reaction time. Fatigue in the workplace can also lead to irritability, absenteeism, accidents, errors, injuries and even fatalities.

Culture is everything

Work culture is an intangible ecosystem that makes some workplaces great to work, and other places toxic. In a nutshell, the ideology of a organisation is what constitutes its work culture.

A positive work culture can make or maim an employees performance. No matter how talented or smart someone is, a person can work to the best of their capabilities and creative skills when surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource. Humans are fundamentally simple, and a positive workplace culture impacts the way they think, act and reflect.

Don’t discount your pricing – value the service you deliver

When you offer a discount on your product or service, what are you saying to your prospect? You’re saying that you don’t believe enough in what you’re selling to sell it for the standard price. Discounting can give customers the impression that the services offered aren’t worth paying for. Focus instead, on the value of the product you are selling, on the excellent services you deliver.

Have a plan

A plan is a critical tool used not only within a business, but also on a personal level.

Writing a plan forces disciplined thinking. An idea may sound great, but as your write down all the details and the numbers, it may fall apart. Specific, measurable planning is absolutely essential – excellent ideas can be completely useless if you cannot formulate, execute and implement a strategic plan to make your idea work.



It doesn’t seem that long ago that we wrote about 15 things you could do for your career in 2015. Where did that year go? How many of those things did you do?

Rather than add one more thing to your ‘list of things to do’, I decided to dilute this list a little and set out the most important things I think you should do for your career in 2016:zzz resolutions


Look forward to the end of 2016

Imagine yourself in December 2016, looking back on the year that was.   What are some of the words you would like to use to describe what you feel? Proud? Accomplished? Happy? Content?

Here are some words you don’t want to use to describe your year – disappointed, exhausted, sad, angry

So decide now how you want to feel at the end of the year, and remember that feeling. Every career step or decision you take needs to be working towards that feeling, and when you find yourself feeling negative thoughts, remember how you want to be feeling and work out what you need to do to change that situation, or how you can use the negative experience to your advantage.


How to get there

Once you decide how you want to feel at the end of the year, write down three or four significant goals you want to achieve. ‘Achieve’ is the most important word here – these goals must be SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic (or what Resources do you need)
  • Time bound.


Prepare for appraisals/reviews

I believe you need to start preparing for your annual performance review the day after your last one. If you have not already started doing that, start now. Review your last appraisal:

  • Were you happy with the appraisal?
  • Did you act on the feedback you were given?
  • Did you set goals?
  • Did you achieve them?
  • Do you need a new goal?
  • What feedback from clients and supervisors have you received?
  • What major projects have you been involved with?
  • Do you need any stretch assignments?


Keep a ‘little jar of awesome’

A friend told me about this ‘self help’ tool she used and it is such a great idea I decided to try it myself this year! She keeps a jar on her desk and writes a note on a post it or other small piece of notepaper every time something good happens at work – achieving a new goal, getting good feedback from a supervisor or a client, nailing a presentation, learning a new skill, someone expressing gratitude etc.   Write the date down, the event and how it made you feel. At the end of the year you can look back on your ‘little jar of awesome’ and remember the many times you succeeded and felt great at work.

Make 2016 your whole year of awesome!


If you are lucky enough to have a mentoring program in your workplace, you should take advantage of this as mentoring has been proved to be integral to the career success. As a mentee you are not a ‘passenger’ in the relationship and you have to manage the relationship collaboratively with your mentor.

Here are our tips for making the most of mentors:

Know what you want out of a mentoring relationship

Be clear about what you need for your career and how you think the mentor can help you. What skills do you need to develop, both personally and professionally? Make sure your mentor is someone who can help you in those areas.

Set some goalsMentors

You mustn’t go into a mentoring relationship without some career goals – having said that, your mentor can help you clarify your goals and refine and define them with you.

Agree on structure of meetings and timings

Plan and set meeting times; bearing in mind that your mentor is no doubt a very busy person, and you will need to build some flexibility into set schedules, to take account of busy times and last minute urgent matters.

Be Prepared

Don’t waste your mentor’s time by going to meetings unprepared and making the mentor do all the hard work! Review your notes from the last meeting, and make notes of things you want to talk about, especially what you have achieved since the previous meeting.

Listen and Follow through

Active listening is a vital skill to learn – ask questions to clarify, look at body language to clarify the message being given. Follow through on suggestions made by your mentor – if you continually fail to follow through, you are not only letting your mentor down, you are letting yourself down.

Being proactive, willing to listen, acting on advice and not wasting your mentor’s time will ensure a successful mentoring relationship.

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Person

There is never a guaranteed path to success, but there are certain habits that will make us become more effective in the workplace (and perhaps also in our personal lives). As we are constantly on the quest to improve ourselves, here are some tips which will help make your worklife more productive and successful.Effective people

  1. A “To-Do List”

Always start your day with a “to-do list”. Writing down what needs to be done and what you wish to accomplish by the end of the day helps you to prioritise the most important tasks. Start the list with the most important, more urgent tasks.

  1. It’s all about priorities

It is not always possible to complete everything on your “to-do list”, we are only human after all. Always prioritize the tasks that you need to accomplish in the day so that you always make sure you are completing the most important tasks.

  1. Don’t Procrastinate

Never, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Effective and successful people do not procrastinate in completing their tasks, even the less glamorous tasks.

  1. “Go and clean your room”

A messy desk is not always a sign of creativity. It’s probably more a sign of a lazy person and is never conducive to being productive. Having an organised desk, a clean working environment (as well as a clean living environment) means you are never wasting time searching for ‘lost items’ and procrastinating in completing your “to-do list”.

  1. Visualisation is not just for the ‘new age’

Visualisation is a mental technique that uses the imagination to make dreams come true. Highly successful people use visualisation to attract prosperity and make their career goals come true. Each day, visualise what you want to accomplish that day, and then think of the steps that are necessary to achieve those tasks. Repeat this every day.

  1. Never stop networking

In today’s social media world, connecting with people has never been more easier. For highly successful people, connecting and networking is as important as eating and drinking. It’s necessary for business survival. Networking can open many doors. Do not be discouraged if the results are not immediate, networking takes time and we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day!

  1. Breathe and Recharge

To be effective and successful, every-one needs to fit in some time to recharge the batteries and boost their energy levels. A life of all work and no play is not sustainable long-term. Whether it be exercise, meditation, cooking, photography, always make time for relaxation and hobbies.

Conversely, bad habits that make us ineffective set us up for failure. Here are my top 3 ineffective habits to get rid of sooner rather than later.

  1. Not setting goals

It is important to establish goals, think about what you want and the direction your life is taking.

  1. Refusing Advice

You should always be appreciative of sound advice from experts, family or friends. Highly ineffective people rarely do. Even though in the end you may not follow their advice, thinking of as many pros and cons means your decision making would have been a well thought out process and you will be comfortable with the decision. Highly ineffective people ignore sound advice at their own peril.

  1. Overanalysing Everything

Highly effective people are doers. Highly ineffective people spend too much time thinking and overanalysing and not enough time doing. Always take time to plan, prepare and set goals. Then put the plan into action. Don’t worry about what others may think of your goals. Don’t overanalyse. Just put your goals into action.