October 2023 | Matthew Hocking | VGSO


 Matthew Hocking | VGSO

A typical work day at the VGSO is.....

…perhaps best described as never being the same from one day to the next. That's what is so great about working at the VGSO ! Our client's needs don't always follow a typical pattern and we are required to respond in an agile fashion as those needs change from day-to-day. Of course, the VGSO is structured in a way so that our legal branches respond within their own areas of law but we do need to collaborate regularly as one organisation to help solve different problems as they arise. I am constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of government legal knowledge that exists within the VGSO and our best results are often the product of our combined knowledge and experience right across the organisation.

I became a lawyer because…

…I was inspired by LA Law (1980s TV show) and wanted to be just like Arnie Becker (played by Corbin Bernsen). No, not exactly - well, maybe a little at the start. But seriously, fundamentally as a lawyer you are either helping your clients solve problems or create things. And by doing that you can bring your own creative input to a solution which I find the most rewarding aspect of helping people. Trying to think a bit differently, seeing a situation through a different lens and seeking support from clever people around you to come up with a result that serves your client's best interests but also adds value and possibly innovates in a way that might not have been thought possible. Having this creative licence is certainly one of the cool parts about the job of a lawyer.

The best advice I have received is…

…take a handkerchief with you ! My mother was always at me about this and it has proved valuable on more than occasion. But I'm assuming you mean advice in relation to the law, so that would be "accept that you are going to make mistakes" and I have made plenty ! In the very early days of my career as a plaintiff lawyer, I was given a lot of support to grow and learn without the fear of failure. And that has meant that I have been better able to deal with things when they go wrong, as they inevitably will do from time-to-time. An additional part of this advice that was given to me was "very little in life is unfixable". So approaching failure with a different mindset and not taking myself so seriously has been great advice for me personally.

To me, community means….

…diversity. As lawyers, we can be individual technical specialists but when we combine those individual skills with a the richness of a broader and deeper community from all walks of life we can achieve things that are far more powerful and valuable than any individual contribution. That is why I am a big believer in the value of teams rather than just individual contributions because a team will always provide a better chance of producing a result that has taken many factors and considerations into account.