Women in law – a career in legal recruitment


Emma studied law in the UK and worked in various legal roles before joining Robert Walters Sydney as a recruitment consultant in 2017. We speak to Emma to find out more about her background, how she made the transition to work in recruitment and the opportunities on offer.

Tell us a bit about your background?

I completed a four year Integrated Masters Programme at Northumbria Law School. Throughout the course I worked at our Pro Bono Student Law Office within the corporate team assisting members of the public with legal issues including website terms and conditions for UK and EU trading, unfair contract terms, claiming back on employee share option schemes and trademark infringement. 

After my studies, I worked at a local UK firm providing similar advice with a focus on fair trading and intellectual property. Before joining Robert Walters in Sydney, I worked in the international research department for the University of Auckland reviewing multiple contracts. 

How did you get into recruitment?

After a few years globetrotting, I decided to settle in Sydney. I came to Robert Walters initially as a candidate and discovered there were roles available as a Recruitment Consultant in the legal team. Given my legal background and the opportunities offered in recruitment such as uncapped earning potential, structured training programs and incentive trips - it seemed like the perfect role for me.

How does recruitment compare to your previous roles?

It’s extremely different. My previous legal roles required an endless amount of paperwork, analysis and research. Working in Private Practice the hours were long, direct client engagement was low and you could go days without a face to face meeting.  In comparison, I now have a lot more client interaction through networking which gives me a greater understanding of what their requirements. This helps me provide a quality service and build long term relationships for Robert Walters. 

Another highly transferable skill is understanding people. Strengthening your interpersonal skills definitely supports your success in recruitment.

What are the transferable skills to your current role?

The key skills which I have used both as a legal professional and a recruitment consultant include analysis, attention to detail and an understanding of legal terminology and legislation. This experience has helped me both when working with candidates to understand their career objectives and to support clients with up to date market knowledge.

Describe the culture at Robert Walters?

Robert Walters is a sociable organisation with regular team and office wide activities to get involved in. Everyone who works here is really supportive of each other and we work hard to meet our team goals, as well as our own personal objectives. I love that it’s diverse too, with a mix of nationalities and people from all walks of life across the office. 

Do you have advice to someone who may be considering a career in recruitment?

The best piece of advice I could give is to communicate clearly with your clients and candidates. To have open and transparent conversations when providing advice and consulting with your key stakeholders will benefit relationships going forward. 


Inspired by Emma’s story? Read how Hamish Smith joined the Robert Walters Chatswood graduate program.