Growing up in a small city in Austria, Jasmin Semlitsch is used to having the wonders of Europe on her doorstep. But a five-month solo trip to Australia at 18 changed her entire life. “When I decided I wanted to stay in the country, I thought I wanted to go to uni. I was working in hospitality on the Gold Coast and Griffith happened to be located there as well and I ended up enrolling.” With no clear vision of degree choices, Jasmin eventually chose a double degree in International Business and Law. After a year, and having had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study a winter semester in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University, she discovered her passion lay with the law and chose to transfer to the accelerated law program to complete a straight law degree in three years.
Studying five courses each semester, Jasmin decided to take a six month break to travel overseas. “About 2/3 into my degree, I deferred a Semester and went travelling – no uni, no work; just incredible life experience. Then I got stuck back into my final year of studies when I returned.”
From second year onwards, Jasmin put her studies of the legal profession into practice working in a boutique law firm on the Gold Coast. This provided invaluable insight into the real world and gave Jasmin vital experience in learning the ropes.
The Griffith University Law Students’ Association also provided wonderful networking opportunities for students to connect with the profession. “They put on a lot of social functions and organised seminars and speakers to come to present on various topics. We were able to meet lawyers from private practice and government, barristers and judges – all kinds of people from within the profession. There would usually be a sit down discussion, and then the opportunity to network, mingle and make contacts.”
While many fear the word networking, Jasmin takes a more pragmatic approach
“I think the question is: ‘What do you want out of it? How do you approach it?’ But most of the time it’s having a really nice chat with people you hadn’t met before or people you had met before.”
Because she bypassed the traditional clerkship route law students commonly take, Jasmin was initially concerned she wouldn’t get a job but she received three offers through open market recruitment. Deciding which offer to take, however, proved to be a difficult choice.
“It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made because you think this is such an important step – the first job out of uni. You want to get it right. In the end, it came down to my gut feeling at the interview.”
Her final decision? A two year graduate rotation program with HopgoodGanim, gaining experience in both corporate advisory and litigation practice. “I love the firm — I really do.” In her first year of full-time work she spent 10 months undertaking practical legal training to become fully admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of Queensland.
After admission, Jasmin took time out from work and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on an eight day trek. Jasmin has travelled extensively across the globe but there are still more places she would like to explore. “Cuba has been on my list. India; more of Africa; Scandinavia. Just places that I haven’t yet visited. Any place is a bonus, honestly. Anything you can go and experience is. I think we’re so lucky that we are able to do these sorts of things.”
“Don’t be scared – be excited.”
Preferring not to plan too far ahead but to let life unfold, Jasmin is content to see where her career will lead her
“I find that often opportunities present themselves when you don’t expect it or things fall into place. That’s how it’s always work out for me so far. You can make a really good experience out of whatever presents itself as long as you just take it and run with it. Don’t be scared, be excited.”
Top Tips from Jasmine
- In your early years at uni, look into clerkships to get that practical experience
- Have a really good think about what it is you want to do
- Be flexible because you might not initially get where you want to go