Coming from a family of lawyers, it wasn’t a surprise that Xuan Ng chose to work in the legal profession. The eldest child in a family of four, Xuan was brought up in Malaysia, moving to New Zealand to study law and commerce when she turned 18. Graduating from Victoria University in 2015 with a Bachelors of Laws and Commerce, Xuan now works on residential and commercial conveyancing matters, subdivisions, and private lending matters at Morrison Kent’s Auckland office in the property law team.
When did you decide to go into the legal profession?
“It wasn't so much a realisation during a point in my life but more so the environment I was in and the exposure I had over time.
“I come from a family of lawyers back home from my granddad to my uncles and aunties, including my mum. But, having chosen the legal discipline during my tertiary education, it made me realise that I actually do find the law as an interesting area for me to dive deeper in my daily work in this profession. I see this as an opportunity to grow and upskill.”
What do enjoy most about practising property law?
“Solving problems – from looking at all the issues, identifying them, and piecing the whole puzzle together is quite satisfying. Getting your clients their best outcome and knowing that they are satisfied with your services also makes my day.”
Is there anything you wish you learned in law school that wasn't covered, either in study or practically?
“I think if courses have a more practical approach, graduates would be better prepared and be able to set better expectations of what it would be like when they enter the workforce. Some practical knowledge would also speed up your growth and development in the workforce. Client and file management would be a good practical course to have and take at university as graduates could later decide if they do enjoy that part of the legal practice.”
After finishing study, did you find the job matched the expectations you had in school?
“Absolutely not. After leaving university, I realised that legal knowledge, although important, isn't everything.
“Legal skills and soft skills are just as important, meeting specific targets like chargeable hours and billing and, of course, keeping your client’s happy and satisfied can be a lot to handle and juggle."
Are there any issues currently facing young lawyers that you'd like to highlight?
“There are many issues that young lawyers currently face and the AYL [Auckland Young Lawyers] Committee is a great platform to help curb these issues.
“Because the Committee is made up of representatives from small and big firms from central and south Auckland, as well as those who have worked in-house and other backgrounds, we raise and discuss different current issues that are relevant to young lawyers, strive to create opportunities for young lawyers to network and build collegiality with those experienced in their interested areas of the law.
“Some of these issues include the lack of accessibility to resources, appropriate mentorship and training for young lawyers. There are also young lawyers who work in areas of the law which they are not interested in simply because they accept a role which they have been offered due to steep competition. Other issues include mental health and wellbeing of young lawyers and how to achieve work/life balance due to the stress and being ‘burnt out’ at work.”
Who inspires you and what is the best piece of advice you have received so far?
“My mum is my role model because she has shown and taught me the importance of resilience, hard work and discipline. My dad has shown me that it is also important to stay grounded, and be respectful and humble.
“In the legal profession, those who inspire me are the senior legal practitioners who I work currently or previously. I'm lucky to have good mentors around me who make time to guide me in my career despite their busy schedule.
“New Zealand was a foreign land for an 18-year old, but I now call this place home.”