11 June 2019

Meet the Next Generation of Brisbane Lawyers, Chloe Kopilovic and Kate Muller

Published on 11 June 2019
Brisbane lawyers Chloe Kopilovic and Kate Muller specialise in wills, estates and succession. Both recently completed a Master of Applied Law with the College of Law to enhance their legal knowledge and hone their professional skills. Insights spoke to these lawyers about what attracted them to a Master of Applied Law over other LLM programs, what they enjoy most about being a lawyer, and advice they would have for lawyers considering an LLM.

Getting to the heart of a matter

“People often feel intimated and daunted by the law simply because they don’t understand the process, how it works, how much it will cost and what their position is,” said Chloe.  

“The client often can be upset and emotionally drained, so my priority is to make sure they are comfortable with me.  I want to build a relationship of trust with my clients.”

“It is all about breaking down the issues and getting to the heart of their problem or inquiry,” explained Chloe. “As a lawyer there is nothing more flattering professionally than a happy client, who has no hesitation in referring you to their friends or colleagues.” 

For Kate, helping people feel at ease to talk about tough topics is central to her role.

“I work in succession, so I get to hear everyone’s stories,” said Kate.  “I like to hear about people’s families and the dynamics of those families.  The ways that people treat their loved ones humbles me and horrifies me all at once.  

Dealing with difficult but necessary topics

For both lawyers, the human factor to their work is always paramount. Helping families plan for tough periods in their lives and provide care for their most vulnerable family members is central to much of their work.

“I enjoy being able to help people with their families, which is the most important thing in everyone’s lives,” Kate said. 

Providing pragmatic guidance tempered with empathy and experience is a tricky balance, yet one essential to the work of any succession lawyer.

“I like putting at ease the minds of aging parents who will leave behind adult children with disabilities who cannot care for themselves,” said Kate. 

“I like helping people talk about tough but necessary topics, like death and incapacity, and ensuring that they can have those conversations and feel at ease.”  

For Kate, the matters that really stand out are those involving vulnerable family members – aging parents or disabled children.

“I’m able to help them think through some very difficult concepts and come out the other side feeling confident and relaxed – as much as they possible can – about the future,” said Kate.

A practical approach to an LLM

Chloe did her research before selecting the College of Law’s Master of Applied Law. For her, learning from experienced industry experts was a major factor, as well as the way the program was delivered.

“I was attracted to the Master of Applied Law program because I considered the curriculum comprehensive, the reading lists thorough and marking guides clear,” Chloe said. “In addition to this, the lecturers at the College of Law are highly regarded practicing barristers and solicitors.  They were extremely accessible, and more than willing to assist.  

“In my view, you could not ask for more when looking at a post graduate degree.” 

Kate wanted to broaden her knowledge of succession law, including areas in which she doesn’t practise in as often.
“I believe that a good knowledge of all areas of succession law helps to inform the advice you give in other areas,” Kate said. “How can one advise a step-family about proper estate planning if one doesn’t have a sound grasp of family provision applications?  The College of Law’s LLM provides that knowledge. I now have a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of all areas of succession law.  I was also excited to learn from industry professionals who have firsthand knowledge of the practicalities of actually advising and acting for clients across succession law.”

Immediately beneficial to a legal career

“Completing the Master of Applied Law program has absolutely benefited my career,” Chloe said. “The program is practical and applicable to the real world.  I began learning immediately from the first unit and was able to identify the real-world examples in my day to day practice. 

“I have compiled a comprehensive database of notes that I refer to regularly in my day to day practice.  

“I really think it is one of a kind LLM for a lawyer who wants to practice at the coal face.”

Kate agrees, saying the program made her more confident about providing advice about broader areas of succession law, and to back herself more often. She encourages anyone considering an LLM to choose the College of Law LLM.

“It is a good program and I personally met other colleagues within my profession with whom I remain in contact and can bounce ideas off,” said Kate. “I also have access to good information and resources from my time studying.  I still consult my College of Law notes regularly!  I would also advise prospective students to pace yourself and your learning.  Don’t rush to ‘get it done’.  Slow down and enjoy taking on board the knowledge.  Take the time to really learn and process and understand, not just pass and get on with the next qualification.”

Chloe felt the Master of Applied Law was crucial to providing lawyers with the tools they needed to practice as a true professional, and to boost their career prospects. 

“The curriculum in the Master of Applied Law program allows you to develop a deeper understanding of the principles of law in your area,” said Chloe. “It is the first major step in becoming a true expert in your chosen area of practice and arms you with the skills to do this.”