Callum Lee started his career in law the day after he graduated from Year 12, working for Terra Firma Law in Gympie. Born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, he clerked for Corrs Chambers Westgarth and HopgoodGanim Lawyers in Brisbane, before returning to the Sunshine Coast to become a property and estate planning lawyer with Life Law Solutions. He recently joined Pippa Colman & Associates Law Practice Pty Ltd as a family lawyer. Like many Sunshine Coast lawyers, Pippa Colman was also a College of Law graduate, completing the College’s LLM in Applied Law (Wills & Estates) to assist her firm’s ageing clients.
Insights spoke to Callum about how his career has evolved, what attracted him back to his tight-knit Sunshine Coast legal community, and, having completed PLT with The College of Law, why he chose to return for The College of Law LLM in Applied Law.
Helping clients find their ‘lightbulb’ moment
“I personally love the look of understanding when a client receives clear, sensible advice from us, and they understand exactly how it will apply to them and what difference it will make in their life,” said Callum. “It is a process, but hopefully, you get that lightbulb moment with the client at some stage along their journey. This is when they begin to understand why you give them advice and why you tailor that advice to their circumstances.”
Indeed, Callum was initially attracted to the law because of the practical, problem-solving nature of the work lawyers do.
“What makes the work rewarding is being able to help people using the skills I have to help them identify, solve, and manage problems that they experience,” Callum said.
Callum joined Pippa Colman & Associates Law Practice Pty Ltd as a family lawyer. The firm is based in Maroochydore, Queensland,
“This firm practices in family law and is well-respected as a leader in its field,” he noted. “Some of the interesting challenges we face include helping clients with complicated property pools, where clients need assistance to understand their relationship breakdown.”
Choosing an LLM to set yourself apart in a competitive environment
“As a young practitioner, there is a lot of saturation within the market and competition for roles,” observed Callum.
He saw the College of Law’s LLM as a means to help set himself apart.
“It also gives you an opportunity to explore areas of law which you are passionate about, without necessarily taking it on as a workload,” said Callum. “I had the opportunity to study and develop my skills in an area which I am passionate about, and hopefully can bring forward into my current role and future development.”
“Undertaking higher studies has always been something I wanted to do. I have a particular passion in Wills and Estates work and my second degree in financial planning marries up well with that,” he explained.
“As family lawyers, a significant part of what we do involves assisting clients to understand how family law issues might impact their estate planning and succession planning, in a business context. While we do not necessarily practice in complex Will and Estates, we do routinely assist clients to understand how a relationship breakdown can impact their Will, Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive, and other associated estate planning documents.”
He heard about the College of Law’s LLM through the grapevine.
“Two of my close friends and colleagues are going through the LLM program in family law and they encouraged me to undertake the training as well,” said Callum. “The interactions are simple and the content is easy to follow. The assignments are challenging, without being overbearing. I find I can easily manage the workload in my usual spare hours, whilst still maintaining a full time workload.”
Working as part of the Sunshine Coast’s legal fraternity
The former Brisbane lawyer speaks warmly of his Sunshine Coast colleagues.
“Sunshine Coast lawyers are blessed to have a small, tight community here on the Sunshine Coast,” said Callum. “There are approximately 400 lawyers on the Sunshine Coast, some practising in private firms, and others in either in-house or government roles. We have a very active Sunshine Coast Law Association, which is keen to foster young and developing practitioners.”
He served as president of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Law Students’ Association, where he made strong local connections with senior members of the profession.
“I was fortunate to study on the Sunshine Coast and develop friendships with more senior colleagues here before I joined the workforce,” said Callum. “I also worked for several firms before I joined Pippa Colman & Associates Law Practice Pty Ltd. I am grateful to work in a place that encourages friendship amongst its lawyers, as well as with other lawyers outside the firm. This has been a consistent part of my development.”
Find out more about the College of Law LLM in Applied Law.