“Reputation is key”: G+T lawyer on meeting a former prime minister

Judy Hsu points to the value of networks

“Reputation is key”: G+T lawyer on meeting a former prime minister
Judy Hsu

Judy Hsu’s disposition as a left-brained thinker made her someone who loved solving problems, and she sought a career path that let her do a lot of that. To this day, problem solving remains her favourite thing about being a lawyer in Gilbert + Tobin’s (G+T) corporate advisory group.

Hsu has solved many problems in her career, but the recent achievement of which she is proudest is having the chance to meet a former prime minister during her involvement a work project. The experience emphasised to Hsu the importance of one’s reputation – and the ability of one’s networks to lead to more opportunities.

In this 2020 interview, Hsu talks about the push towards employee engagement at G+T, working with regulators in a rapidly shifting landscape and offering clients more than just the basic work output.

What made you choose a career in law?

I chose a career in law because I’m very much a left-brained thinker, and I wanted a job that required a blend of problem solving, debating and intellectual analysis within a structured framework.

What do you love most about your job?

One of my greatest passions is problem solving. I love that by the time a question comes to my desk, it is usually after a few people have tried to solve the question. That’s one of the benefits of working at a top-tier firm – you get really interesting complex “top-tier” questions.

What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?

Ever since COVID-19 started, there has been a stronger focus on employee engagement over technology – such as our new Workplace App (Facebook for the corporate office).  It has been particularly interesting to see how little impact there has been on work (and our productivity) notwithstanding working from home full time.

What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so, and what’s the biggest lesson you learned from it?

My proudest accomplishment was when we were introduced to a former prime minister on a new and exciting work-related project. The lesson learned there is that your reputation is key, and that you never know how your existing networks will connect you to new networks.

What should the profession and law firms focus more on?

Being more agile.  I think for the most part, law firms actually do this quite well – the challenge has also been navigating how we work with the regulators in fast-changing environments.

What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?

The challenge (like in any industry) is that there will always be competitors who say they can do what you do for cheaper. The solution is to provide something “more” that’s not just the basic work output, but the insight and commercial commentary that can only be provided with the benefit of experience and astute judgment.

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