7 affirmations to get me to my happy place! By Jelena Dmitrovic

7 affirmations to get me to my happy place! By Jelena Dmitrovic

Jelena Dmitrovic; When I was first asked to write this blog my immediate reaction was to feel worries. This being my first ever blogging experience I thought to myself, “I have no idea how to write a blog!”

Being in my final year of uni (and a tiny way through the gigantic workload that comes with Honours studies), I’ve noticed this sort of self-doubt occasionally creeping into my thoughts about my thesis as well. I’ve found myself thinking, ‘There are so many brilliant specialists and academics in family law! I’m no expert, how am I ever going to contribute something original and meaningful?’

At times like these when I feel a bit unsure about myself I remind myself of these 7 little affirmations to boost my spirits, to regain my positive perspective and return me to my happy place.

7. It is okay to feel like you're not an expert on everything that comes your way.

The reality is, we will always have something to learn from a new situation and someone will always have something to contribute that perhaps you haven’t thought about. Don’t let this make you feel negative about yourself! Instead take this opportunity, and every other opportunity that comes your way, to learn something new and remember you will always have your own unique perspective on things. After all how boring would life be if we all thought the same and already knew everything about everything!

6. Embrace 'the deep end'!

This is easier said than done sometimes, I know this from personal experience. The day before my first day doing reception duties at BFLC I was writing pages and pages of notes on processes, coming up with a detailed plan of how the day would unfold, and I was worrying the whole time that I would mess it all up. In my mind, ultimate preparation was a MUST for that first day. When the day came, I did better than I initially gave myself credit for and it turns out I went a bit overboard with the ultimate preparation. Looking back I think, it’s great that I took the initiative to be as prepared as I possibly could be but, you just don’t have to put this pressure on yourself to have an indestructible step-by-step process for every single situation in life. Sometimes you just have to wing it. The deep end will always be unknown but, with faith in your abilities, it can mean soft rolling waves instead of rough seas.

5. Be kind to yourself on the days when you are struggling to give uni your 100%.

Some days you may find yourself lacking motivation or just feeling like you can’t give uni your 100% and be super productive. I’ve found myself feeling like this plenty of times and in my earlier uni years I remember searching for an explanation and then coming up disappointed when I couldn’t pinpoint the exact roadblock in my productivity. This year I have tried to remind myself that it’s okay to have days that are slower than others. It’s also okay to not have an explanation for these days. I try not to think of these days as unproductive days. Just because you may not have ticked off all of the things on your to-do list that day, doesn’t mean you weren’t productive. Maybe you took the chance to have some down time and to rest, or to catch up with a friend or family member, or to get out into the fresh air and sunshine. If you use days like these to care for your wellness and to remind yourself of your passion for your studies or work, you can count that as a very productive day indeed! 

4. Accept the things you can't change.

I’m sure I speak on behalf of many law students when I say, there will always be something along the way that feels unfair: early classes on a Monday morning, unforgiving deadlines, or back to back exams. Getting frustrated and complaining about this may feel great in the moment and give you temporary relief, but ultimately it sets you into a negative mind frame for the next time such a situation arises. Acknowledging that that’s just the way things are, that there’s probably not much you can do to change things, and doing your best to just get on with the task at hand will set you into a determined frame of mind to overcome that challenge and will greatly contribute to your wellness in the long run. 

3. Celebrate your own little victories inside and outside law land.

My most recent little victory was going fishing for the very first time. Now this may seem silly to some, but for me this was a brand new learning experience entirely unrelated to uni. It gave me the opportunity to be technology-free for a few hours and to really be in the moment, to witness a beautiful sunrise on the beach, and now I have a memory to think back on and keep me happy and motivated when uni gets even more challenging. Make sure you take some time out to create and celebrate your own little victories. 

2. Don't take things so seriously.

The most confronting thing someone has said to me in law land so far is, ‘Jelena you take things too seriously’. Initially I was a little bit taken aback but when I stopped to think about this it really helped me in realising how much pressure I was putting on myself over some pretty simple, and for lack of better expression, easy-going tasks. Since that comment I have tried to take things a little less seriously, not to say that I don’t put due significance and effort into things that require it, but I am definitely trying not to overthink things. It is equally as important to set yourself realistic expectations that you can achieve and be proud of yourself for. 

1. Life is all about doing life well.

These wise words came from someone very close to me at a time when law school was really challenging and I was feeling particularly helpless. I feel like this is the best advice I’ve received along my journey through law land so far and this is now my number 1 mantra when life throws a curveball my way. Take from it what you will and whatever it means to you, but for me it means that  

This is a photo of gorgeous Jelena Dmitrovic

Jelena Dmitrovic 

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hello! I’m Jelena, a final year law student at Griffith University and Law Clerk at Brisbane Family Law Centre! 

My path to law school took some twists and turns and I am grateful for the learnings I have gained along the way: embrace every opportunity that comes your way, even when is seems more like a setback than an opportunity, as nothing is ever wasted. 

Along my journey in law land I have enjoyed pursuing my interest in family law both at university and through volunteering at the FLPA Family Law Residential 2017, attending networking and professional development events, and partaking in work experience programs. 

In November 2017 I had the pleasure of joining the BFLC team and within this unique little firm I have made some great work friends and gained an incredible amount of practical experience in just a short time. 

I anticipate admission in 2019 and until then I look forward to graduating in November 2018, travelling, and of course spending as much time in the outdoors as possible. 


The Club Week 85: To prepare for 2019!

10 of the best lessons of 2018 that will kickstart you into 2019 with a smile!

Author Freya Gardon

Well hello 2019! I hope you have had a calm, kind and fun transition into the New Year!  If you are one of the lucky ones still off on holidays then perhaps file this article now to read when you are back in ‘work’ mode and otherwise, if you are at your desk like me then ‘read on’!

We here at ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Headquarters’ have decided that before we launch into 2019 we should first reflect on some of the amazing lessons we all learned thanks to our Club Faculty in 2018!

And so, Freya Gardon of our office spent her last week before Xmas reviewing about 50 Facebook live videos and ‘heh presto’ here is her summary of 10 of the best lessons of 2018 that will kickstart you into 2019 with a smile!

So take it away Freya!

Jacob Aldridge taught us about context

It can be so easy to get drawn into the day to day of your business and so difficult to step back and look at the big picture, but having that big picture perspective is so important and, in this Facebook Live, Jacob shared with us why.

Jacob talks us through how the ‘stuff’ of business, our day to day decisions, should be influenced by context. Context is made up of our vision, strategy, resources, systems and expectations. Jacob talks through the importance of context, how we can monitor it, and make sure it influences our business in the right way. This is a great workshop for those of you in the business planning stage right now.

Clarissa Rayward talks Time Management

Time Management – words we tend to avoid, but should embrace! At the beginning of the year, Clarissa shared her top time hacks with us. She followed this up with a Facebook Live talking all things time management, sharing how she manages her time.

Clarissa’s top time management tips:

  • Set specific time periods to complete your tasks, and when you do, reward yourself with something you actually want.
  • Plan, plan plan! Get those lists going, but remember to break them down into daily tasks. Need a planner? We have got you covered!
  • Save yourself some time – Talk it out, don’t write it out.
  • Expect the unexpected! Law land brings with it unexpected events for our clients – so if your daily to do list has to change, that is ok!  Just be ready to ‘go with the flow’!
  • Be purposeful. Do one task at a time, and do it well. 
  • One meeting, not five. Encourage those around you to save up questions, documents, anything they need from you, and run through it with you in one meeting.
  • Delegate without fear! Once you give someone a job, expect they will do it, and do it without you checking in on them. 
  • Stuck? Move on, and come back to it. Don’t waste time if you are stuck on something – give it some time, sleep on it, and come back to it. 

John Knight with Numbers

Everyone’s favourite topic, the numbers! As John says, not overly exciting, but essential. Reminding us not to be ostrich’s when it comes to our financials, John’s top tips for getting a handle on our numbers:

  • Break your numbers down into something that is meaningful to you. Instead of yearly targets, perhaps it is the number of new clients you need to engage to reach this dollar value.
  • Cash is key, profit is first. We need a model which generates profit, which should turn into cash.
  • Where is your profit coming from, is that profit generator safe, does it need nurturing?
  • How can you add even one more dollar to your bottom line? Increasing profit, reducing expenses?
  • Waste – ideal capacity which is not being used! John talks us through how to recognise it, and deal with it.
  • Know your variable and fixed costs, know your formulas which lead to your top line income, and develop a profit formula. Sounds scary, but John takes us through this to understand more. 
  • At the end of year and looking at your sales versus your bank account? Know where you cash went! John lets us know the sneaky places this can end up which might not be on your profit and loss statement!
  • Know you balance sheet. Don’t avoid it, it can unlock secrets all business owners need to know!
  • Working Capital – know what it is, know how to calculate it, and know how to use it to safeguard your cash flow. 
  • Get rhythm with your reporting. What are your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reporting needs, and how are you using it to help understand your business and personal performance. 
  • Know your tax timelines. They come around every year, and they are unavoidable. So know them, and plan for them. 

True business success requires knowing your numbers, so make it happen! 

We created content with Stevie Dillion

Social media marketing on your 2019 agenda? Then this workshop by Social Media Queen Stevie is for you! Stevie fits so many tips and tricks into this wonderful Facebook Live! Stevie talks all things attraction, or content marketing – giving people what they want as a way of promoting our services. With a strong focus on creating value for our potential clients Stevie talks us through: 

  • What content creation is, why content marketing is so important, and why we should care about it. 

  • The nuts and bolts of content creation, and how we can create those pesky content plans!

  • The ways we can create content. Whether it be the written, blog, podcast, or videos, Stevie talks us through these options, how we can use them, and how we decide which is best for us. 

New Law with Demetrio Zema

As a part of The Club, we all know Designer Firms and New Law is coming in fast. But what are they? And who is actually doing is well. Demetrio talks us through the 8 elements of a designer firm, and how we can build our business plan around these: 

  • Have empathy – for your clients, for your colleagues, and for the profession.
  • Purpose and vision. Why are we doing something, and is it meeting our overall purpose and vision?  
  • Collaboration! Within your practice, with your client’s, and with your colleagues. 
  • No timesheets! Focus on fixed fee, and value billing. 
  • Create a multidisciplinary team. Who is your tribe, and what other trusted professionals can help your clients. 
  • Design thinking and creativity! How can you build these into your firm, and use it to provide benefit to your clients? 
  • Make your practice fun! Positive engagement within your team is vital.
  • Flexibility and curiosity. These two qualities will help you think outside the box, and create outcomes for your firm and clients with this mind set. 

So there you have it! Five wonderful Facebook Live videos to look back on from our Faculty members, reflect on you learnt, how well you implemented these important lessons, and begin to think about planning for the New Year. 

Goal Setting and Planning with Clarissa

No doubt Clarissa will be back in 2019 with some goal setting and planning tips but in the meantime this great workshop that kicked off 2018 will get you started.  

As we come into 2019, Clarissa’s 6 tips are as relevant as ever: 

  • Reflect on where you are now, and what you are doing. What is working well, and how can you harness these for next year. List your 2018 successes, and use these to start to dream about your 2019, and make sure you align your business and life in thinking about this. Along with this, list what you want more of in 2019 – this might be more time, more money, or to worry less about something. 


  • Thinking about these lists, at the end of 2019, what do you want your life to look like? Out of this, what are you goals to help you achieve this?
  • Make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. 
  • Plan, plan plan. Look at your SMART goals, and break down these goals into a weekly, monthly and yearly plan. What support do I need to make this plan happen, what boundaries need to be in place, and is there anything else I need to make these goals work?
  • Make yourself accountable. A good way to do this is a buddy system, a friend to keep you accountable for your plans and your goals. Pick a buddy for 2019 and reach out to them today!
  • Make a mutual reward system with your buddy. Set some reward that is something you would both enjoy and reward yourself along the way.

The New Year is a perfect time to relax, reflect, and plan. 

Katherine Maslen on Detoxification

Remember the week that Kym Briese filled our Facebook feed with juices! That was this week and it was a fun one!  In this Facebook Live, Naturopath Katherine Maslen takes us through detoxing! She explains what it is, a good time to do it (February, which is perfect for us as we head into 2019!), and even how each of our organs are involved in this incredible process. Katherine also takes us through a detox program she uses with her client’s, an elimination detox. Katherine also tackles the sticking points in the detoxification process (like no coffee!) and how we can manage these. 

For all of us at this time of year, Katherine also reminds us about emotional detoxing, and the importance of this as a part of any detoxification process. Importantly, Katherine also explains how we can work our way through this process. 

Repurpose that Content with Nicole Abboud

Throughout 2018 so many of us knuckled down and tried to write that content! What is important though is to make sure we actually get the most out of the content we are creating, and one of the best ways to do this is to repurpose it, and make sure it is working for us. 

In deciding what content we should repurpose, Nicole says we should select content that is still relevant, and that was popular when we first created it (use those google analytics!)  

To repurpose this content, we can:

  • Take a presentation and make it a slideshare for LinkedIn.
  • For any interview content, take those responses and turn it into an expert advice booklet or e book.
  • Take any blog post, video or podcast and use it as an opt in for email subscribers. Make sure it adds value to the person who is opting in though!
  • Turn content into email auto responders. Instead of giving an opt in subscriber one freebie or piece of content, give them a series of emails with content that will be useful to them. 
  • Use your content to create an instruction graphic for Pinterest! You could use Canva or outsource this. 
  • Create a limited series of live streaming that is around the content you have created. You can use content you have already created, and present this in the limited series live format.
  • Turn a blog into a video or podcast, or vice versa. No time to transcribe your content? Use a service to do it! You can also even turn your blog post in a video! 
  • Make an infographic! People love them, and they provide large amounts of content in a digestible way! 
  • Use LinkedIn articles! Take those blog posts and reuse them in LinkedIns ‘Articles’ feature. 
  • Republish! Give it a new spin, a little face lift, and a little add in. 
  • Repost the same content on social media! Use scheduling software to pump out your existing content. 

Jump into Nicole’s Facebook Live recording to hear her talk to these amazing tips which we can all use during this busy time of year!

Optimising your most valuable resource with Ann-Maree David

For so many of us, time can be a challenge. Ann-Maree David tackles some of the biggest myths around time, and how we can optimise and harness this precious resource. She reminds us in best optimising our time to ‘mind the gap’ – 

  • Map your goals (Ann-Maree talks us through how to do this, and for more on this, we can use Clarissa’s Facebook Live above!)
  • Protecting your priorities! These will be business and personal, and you need to mind them and make them a priority. Ann-Maree shares some wonderful practical hacks for how we do this from personalised ring tones to an impressive email system!

Part of this is not just prioritising these goals, but prioritising ourselves. Part of this can be saying ‘no’, and Ann-Maree gives us some tricks for managing this. 

For those of us working remotely, Ann-Maree also works through how we can make the most of our time, including:

  • Diverting your phone when you need to and not answering if you are not working.
  • Putting your out of office on when you are not working or are away – and consider putting a date a few days after you return to work to give you time to work through anything that happened while you were away.


  • Use software which is simple, but makes your life easy – like Office 365.


  • Created a designated work space! Signal to your brain and body it is work time.
  • Invest in equipment – make the space what you need.
  • Ramp up your to do list – add your start and finish time, and designated time periods to complete your work.
  • Communicate with everyone who needs to know you are ok! 
  • Get dressed into your work clothes! It will tell your mind and body what you are doing for the day.
  • Eliminate distractions! 
  • Evernote! Write down your thoughts and come back to them.
  • Set a time to finish work and stick to it.
  • Know your peak time! Know when your brain is freshest, and work to that.
  • Create a shutdown ritual. This can be anything – lock your home office door, turn your phone off, and change your clothes!

Unpacking our Lead Magnets with Mel Telecican

Lead magnets are content and education that can provide value to your potential market. They can help build trust, add value and differentiate the services you are offering. Mel discusses what resources we can create to develop these lead magnets, and does this by explaining the client journey. 

Mel chats with Kelly Stanford, a Collaborative Family Lawyer, and uses her business as a live example of how lead magnets can be built and made to work for you. This is an incredible Facebook Live that shows us the ‘how to’ of building lead magnets.  

So, get planning! Use the resources we already have, take some quite time over the break, and map out those goals for 2019. 


To the Graduating Class of 2018! By Kiarah Grace Kelly

To the Graduating Class of 2018!

Author Kiarah Kelly

The last few weeks of this year have seen the usual Christmas chaos for most of us but for many of the students around us, these weeks have been filled with Graduation ceremonies- those important days when all of that hard university work is finally acknowledged and the next big step in their professional lives is about to begin.  To bring us into Christmas and celebrate all of those of you who have been throwing those graduation hats in the air, Kiarah is back with a wonderful piece that makes for perfect reading for law students, graduates and even the most seasoned of lawyers.


I dedicate this post to all the 2018 Graduates out there, I think you’re amazing. You’ve poured over hundreds of thousands of typed words, stayed up far too late to complete a task only to get to bed and not be able to fall asleep because you were worried the work you did was not enough. Maybe you woke up on too many mornings thinking that your day ahead was too difficult, too full. Maybe you juggled five classes, a part-time job, your families’ expectations, work experience, clerkship applications, maybe a few breakups, definitely some fun times and absolutely a handful of free LSA lunches in exchange for sitting through yet another PLT presentation AND you endured all of this madness all while trying to remember that the footnote needs to go AFTER the full stop (wait, was that just me?). In October of this year I was asked to deliver the Graduating Student Address to the end of year Law Ball at my university. I thought I’d reproduce my speech as a blog post here where you’ll find my anecdotes of my time at law school, a few attempts at humour and me doing by absolute best to do justice to the unbelievable hard work of my fellow 2018 Graduates. I don’t claim to have all the answers, I just simply don’t. In fact, I’m terrified of what lies ahead for me and I need your help with that; I have put together a list of lessons I’ve taken from the interwebs and from those more clever than I, a list of promises that I think we can look back to when we need them, as I fear the hardest parts of our journeys are still ahead.

1- Let's promise to make friends without fear!

There will be times in our career that we will second guess ourselves, where we will fear what we propose to do next, and that’s okay! Remember that every single thought you’ve ever had and ever will have, is founded in biology in some way. Fear is the brains tool used protect us. Fear stopped you when you were climbing trees as a child just at the moment where you were about to climb too high. Fear taps you on the shoulder each time you cross the road, just to remind you to look both ways. Fear isn’t anything to be scared of, I like to think that fear can become a sort of friend who is just trying to look out for you. I guess you also have to know when to tell your fears to step aside, that you’ve got this and that you’re gonna give whatever scary thing happens to be in front of you your best shot.

Which brings me to promise number 2- Let's promise to be kind to ourselves.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. I believe that with everyone buzzing around this crazy world at a million miles an hour, the most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. You’ll never speak to anyone nearly as much as you will speak to yourself, so don’t you dare spend your whole life putting yourself down. 

3- Let's not ever be boring!

Now there were plenty of quotes I found about being different when I consulted the all-knowing Google Image search, but, in keeping things simple I decided to use a quote by Sir Richard Branson; “it is only by being bold that you will ever get anywhere”. And to be honest, I’m going to listen to Sir Rich on this one (I don’t think we should doubt the guy who is responsible for sending people into space, for fun)! No but seriously, there is no greater injustice then you failing to be yourself. I believe that if you for some reason keep a part of yourself from the world, they’re not going to miss it, it’s only yourself that you are cheating, it’s a part of your own life your declining to live. So, don’t be boring!

4- Let's not forget to put out the fishing net.

We’ve all no doubt heard from those our elder that should we make it to the top of our own personal summit that you’ve got to put out the ladder so that you can help someone else get a leg up, too. That way you’ve got someone to celebrate with, yeah? This all-important lesson has been particularly focused around women supporting other women, but I think it’s one all people should try to live by. Author Kristin Ferguson says that in 2018 we’ve got to ditch the ladder and instead use a fishing net. That is, raise as many people as you can up with you on your journey to success, this way you can turn that party of two into a proper shindig and you’ll have a whole lot more people beside you, the more the merrier! I believe if you’ve done the work, no one can take that away from you, let’s ditch the competition. 

Last but not least, promise number 5- Do your best to weather the storms.

In 1999 Baz Lurman reworked into music an essay by advice columnist Mary Schmich and he called it ‘the Suncreen Song’. Schmich urges her readers to remember that most often, worrying is futile as “the real troubles in your life are apt to be things that will blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”. This simply means the most challenging moments in your life, the moments of tragedy and actual trial, you won’t ever even contemplate, and certainly won’t get a chance to worry about in advance. So, don’t sweat the small stuff.

To all the graduates of 2018 out there, Congratulations! I don’t know about you but the day I got to wear my robes and throw that $80,000 cap in the air, was one of the proudest days of my life. It’s no easy feat but we’re also so incredibly lucky to have access to the gift of a university education. I wish you all the very best, I can not WAIT to watch each and every one of the graduates I know and to those reading this blog post flourish and do amazing things.   

PS: Believe it or not this is my last post on the Student Edition of the Happy Lawyer Happy Life blog. To follow my adventures in lawland further you’ll have to find me on the Lawyers Edition of this fine website (I know, it’s weird for me too!) 


Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Lawyer

Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018. I’ve just been admitted here in Queensland which makes me a Brand New Lawyer or #babylawyer as the BFLC gang likes to say. My sole practice area is Family Law.

I’m looking forward to writing about and sharing with you all that I can at this crazy-exciting but daunting stage of my career. I think there’s a need to talk about our experiences as early career lawyers so that we can all lean on each other as much as we can.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!


An Imposter’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Grades by Samara Wendt

An Imposter’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Grades! 

Author Samara Wendt

Grades- something you spend a lot of time thinking about at school and then at University but something I must say I have not had to consider for almost 20 years now!  And that I think sums up just how unimportant grades will ultimately become in your law life, however we can’t overlook the fact that achieving a certain grade will be necessary to land that degree and possibly that job!  

In this week’s Happy Lawyer Happy Life Blog ‘The Student Edition’ Samara Wendt shares her tips on managing some of the challenges we all have to face when our grades are not perhaps what we hoped.

(And just for the record- no-one ever looked at my GPA once I had my first job, and I must say I can’t remember the last time I asked a job applicant in my firm for theirs either…. ) 


The worst thing about ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is that there is no time of the year where it stops. During the academic semester, mid-semester breaks, waiting for grade release, and possibly the most crippling – grade release. During the semester the hard work you put in to try and prove to yourself that you belong is almost bearable by hoping that you might be alright in the end. But, once those grades are released and it’s not what you had hoped, the imposter thoughts are loud. Very loud. I will be the first to admit that I am no honours student. I thoroughly enjoy studying law and, frankly, I would not change it for the world. So, this is what I do and how I move forward when I don’t get the grades I had truly hoped for.

1. Chill Out!

Yes, I did just tell you to chill out. Yes, I know it’s really hard to do at a time like this but remember you have completed your assessments and there isn’t a lot you can do now. Every semester my stress release after all assessment is handed in is to cry. I just cry. It is not necessarily because I am sad, it is just built up stress being released and afterwards I feel great! If you need to do this, then do it! But, do not sweat on the issue of your grades. Do not work yourself up so much that you go through every emotion either trying to blame yourself or blame someone else for the end results. You will not win. Just chill out. 

2. Reflect on the Semester

While I did say not to work yourself up blaming anything for your bad grades, it is okay to reflect and consider events in your life that may have impacted your grades. Life does not stop just because you have a 2000 word research assignment due on Thursday, AND THEN a mid-semester multiple choice quiz 8:30am the following morning. Last year, I was in a job that was not working for me. While I wanted so badly to overcome the difficulties and do well, I needed to realise I had done all I could to make the job work and needed to just move on. This was an incredibly stressful and emotional time for me while trying to succeed in 4 university subjects with 3 group assignments. Needless to say, I did not get the high distinctions I wanted. I took time to consider the self-growth and character building I made during that time. Because there was a significant amount of both, and they are both achievements in themselves! I looked at the bigger picture as well, having character and life experience will also make me a better lawyer, not just having high distinctions. 

I am a firm believer there is also something to learn from every situation. Maybe you took on more hours in your job and it reflected in having less study time. You either learnt to make more hours in your day by sacrificing other activities, or you learnt that you need to either sacrifice some work hours or cut back on units next semester to manage the load. It is no loss either way because you learnt something. 

Also, reflect on what you have learnt in the unit; I guarantee you did learn something. Not all topics within a unit are equally assessed, so you need to acknowledge what you have learnt in the unit not just what was assessed. 

3. Consider Your Options

As far as I am aware, most universities allow grade reviews. If you truly feel that your grades could be looked over again, you can choose to do this. But, remember that in a grade review it is possible your grade could go down further. This is usually reiterated by unit coordinators in emails throughout the semester, as they continuously advise students to sit on their grades for a few days before applying for a review. Pretty much – chill out and come back to it. Allow time for your emotions to settle and your mind to level, before re-reading your assessment or viewing your exam, and the feedback provided. Try to do this as open minded and un-bias as possible. 

What if you failed the entire unit? Despite how you may be feeling, the sky will not fall down, and the sun will rise tomorrow. You do not have to believe me, but I have a feeling I am right about those things. It is not ideal and was not in your course study plan to fail a unit, but it has happened, and you cannot ignore it. Follow the steps above and take some time to process your result. Depending on your university/institution policies, your options moving forward may include re-sitting an exam, or you may need to re-sit the entire unit. Either way you are not the first person in that position and you will not be the last. Use the extra time on the unit to focus on the topics you fell down in, while also, revising and growing the knowledge you retained. Think of the character building and life experience!

End of semester grade release is a rough time for everyone not only ‘Imposter Syndrome’ sufferers. When you do not receive the grades you had hoped, take the steps above. But most importantly remember your unit grades are not a reflection of you personally and you should not let them define you personally. 

Good luck for your end of semester grade release! Connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin. I would love to hear how your academic semester and year have gone!

Samara Wendt

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! My name is Samara and I am an over opinionated, awkward and Imposter Syndrome suffering Law and Psychology student at the Queensland University of Technology. I never had that light-bulb moment when choosing to study law. I am not sure if many people so. But after witnessing injustice and suffering of those vulnerable in our world, I became determined to help. This is where going into law made sense for me. 

Despite believing in my purpose, I openly feel the dreaded law school Imposter Syndrome. You know, when you feel like everyone else has got ‘it’ together and you don’t even know what day it is. This year I became determined to embrace this clueless feeling by moving out of comfort zone. This included entering an Instagram competition with The Happy Family Lawyer which led me here! 

Here I am blogging about all things law school, student life and comfort zones in hopes to find fellow Imposter Syndrome suffers. 

Join the journey here on The Happy Law Student Blog and connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin


The Retreat 2018 Milan Ghandi: Why you have to break a few eggs to make an innovation omelette!

Milan Gandhi Presents: Why you have to break a few eggs to make an innovation omelette!

Author Kiarah Grace Kelly

At the Three Monkeys bar in West End, Brisbane a group of law students & newby lawyers met to decide how they can change the world. Among them was Milan Gandhi (now innovation superstar) and the amazing organisation that group of UQ law students became is The Legal Forecast. (This session is sponsored by Wise Owl Legal.

The Amazingness that is the Legal Forecast

Today, the Legal Forecast is an unstoppable force which aims to challenge the legal industry and champion the personal growth of its members, all at the same time. The Legal Forecast’s flagship offering right now is the incomparably cool Disrupting Law legal hack-a-thon; TLF also runs the Hackcess to Justice and Race to the Future events each year, all across the country.  

A highlight of my 2018 was competing in the Brisbane Disrupting Law event in July. This event involved teams of students hanging out for 54 hours (yes, Friday to Sunday – straight) with their only task of the weekend to present to about 400 people on the Sunday night with an idea to disrupt the legal profession. Coming from experience, I can tell you this is a high stakes game but despite this, Milan told us all this morning that in three years of running this event for hundred of participants he’d never seen a team fail to present an impressive pitch. However, sometimes failure does come knocking and that’s where Milan’s presentation went next. 

The Thing About Failure

Milan’s next few tales detailing his comical misadventures through being forced into jazz ballet, becoming the captain of his high schools worst ever performing basketball team (evidenced through the most hilarious coolboy basketball myspace photos I’ve ever seen) and finally a submission of a film school project that was so abstract it might have been incomprehensible. There’s no doubt that we’ve all failed at some stage of our lives and Milan’s explanation of ‘the Hero’s Journey’ put that into context for us. 

Milan’s passion for film taught us that in every film ever the Hero must be tested and sometimes everything first falls apart before falling back together. The Hero’s journey will always pass through a “death and rebirth” phase at least once before the triumphant comeback and the eventual credits rolling to black.

Like our movie heroes, we too can overcome failure. What’s the trick?

  1. Flex Your Self Esteem Muscles – there’s no better antidote to the blues that failure can bring than to engage in some positive self talk.
  2. It’s All in The Framing – was this failure just a big mistake on your part or maybe it was out of your control. If it was the latter, don’t beat yourself up about it!
  3. Time for Plan B – there’s usually another way.


Test the Hypothesis

Milan thinks we can take a leaf out of those wacky scientists out there. In the science world a failure is a big win. When testing a hypothesis, if after the experiment you learn that you didn’t get the answer you were looking for, you are now that little bit closer to finding your answer – because you now know what it’s not.

Thanks to our partners for helping us bring The Retreat 2018 (a law conference like no other!) to you!

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast Law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018.

With admission to the legal profession just around the corner for me, I’m SO excited for all that is ahead in my legal life.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!


The Retreat 2018 Jon Hollenburg: Differentiation Through Design

Jon Hollenberg Presents: Differentiation Through Design!

Author Kiarah Grace Kelly

Why do you have a website?

Maybe you want to add credibility to your brand, maybe you want to show people who you are so that they can put a face to a name or maybe you just need people to know how to contact you. Whatever your motivation is, or what it should be, Jon Hollenberg absolutely has the answers, which he quickly proved as the last speaker of Day 1 at the Retreat 2018.

Create The Avatars

Jon began his presentation by telling us the stories of a few different individuals who found themselves needing legal help. Your customers are the avatars you’re creating your website for. Through his detailed and carefully considered descriptions, Jon was demonstrating how invaluable it really is to clearly understand who it is that you want landing on your website. Only after running through this step can you best tailor your new stunning site to that person. Also, Jon reminds us that having a really clear brief to hand over to your website building team at the start of this whole crazy process will guarantee better outcomes!

What Makes a Great Website Great?

  • Stunning Visuals;
  • It’s User Friendly;
  • A Brilliant Brand;
  • Exceptional Copy (the written content); 
  • Engaging Video; and
  • Meaningful Blogs.

So How Do I Achieve it All?

Your website building dream team is going to be made up of three key players, according to Jon. This dream team will need to feature a Builder to deal with all that scary coding business. Next, you’ll have to get some help from a Copywriter who actually prepares all the bulky and vitally important written content of your website. Jon tells us that this is particularly important because although many of us can write some pretty amazing content ourselves, only a Copywriter with skills specific to the mechanics of websites and the nitty gritty of search engines, can best serve you. Finally, on the topic of searching the web; a Search Engine Optimiser is absolutely crucial to your new website because we all know the very particular science of the Google algorithm is both a complete mystery AND will absolutely make or break your potential leads!

Whilst a new website might be a big investment, it’s a big investment that’s going to pay off for up to 5 years! So, in the words of Jon himself, “share your magic with the world!” – Jon Hollenberg

Thanks to our partners for helping us bring The Retreat 2018 (a law conference like no other!) to you! 

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast Law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018.

With admission to the legal profession just around the corner for me, I’m SO excited for all that is ahead in my legal life.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!


The Retreat 2018 Stevie Dillon: Crossing your fingers isn’t a ‘Social Media Strategy’ and what do do instead!

Stevie Dillon Presents: Crossing your fingers isn’t a 

‘Social Media Strategy’ and what to do instead!

Author Kiarah Grace Kelly

With the most beautiful slides I’ve seen in forever beaming brilliantly behind her, Stevie Dillon arrived in a splash of colour to take us through all things social.

Stevie is celebrating the 1 Year Anniversary of the launch of her business, Stevie Says Social, born off the back of her leaving the law as one unhappy lawyer. Stevie Says Social aims to really nail down the strategy of the social media world and boy did she share some serious learnings with us!

Set the Right Social Media Goals

Some say the key to social media marketing is having the highest number of followers. However, what is far more important that this, Stevie tells us, is the number of engaged followers you have. Quality over quantity is KEY!

Did you know? The average organic reach of business posts of Facebook is only 2% of the page’s following! This means that a social media strategy which is centered around putting out a volume of posts which don’t involve a whole lot of thought is no longer the way to go. 

Shifting your focus from the number of followers you have to the number of followers you have that just love what you do, and are loyal, is by far the best way to go. This is because of one key principle that defines social media more widely. Social media is ‘curiosity’ based world, ie: we follow the people/ businesses on our socials that we think are pretty great and make our feed a more exciting place. This is very different to world of search engines where we actively go looking for a product we need. To put it simply, we need to grab the attention and the loyalty of a follower long before they needed our services because, once they do require a service that we may be able to provide them, we’ll already be on their minds. This is why engagement will always reign supreme over follower numbers.

The Non-Negotiables of Social Media Marketing

Take Time to Track – Set yourself a time period that you’re going to give your social media marketing your all, during this time immerse yourself in all the things that Stevie recommends we do. You should also be using this time to do thorough data keeping of your socials. Track growth, reach and all other points of data you can so that you can compare it to what you are doing day to day, and hopefully learning what is working and what is not in the process. 

Know Your Audience – Facebook ads in particular are so detailed that if you really know your ideal client or customer, you can target your ads directly to them based on what they like, follow, read, watch, wear or listen to (the possibilities are endless). Knowing your client and where they are hanging out on social media will help you get to them before they need you which Stevie says really is the key.

Prepare Prepare Prepare – You’ve gotta have something to post! Set your content plan well in advance and begin creating your posts early. 

Value, Connection, Promotion – your social media posts should alternate between giving your audience something to take away, making an effort to connect with them and finally (and absolutely not solely) to promote your product.

Happy social media adventures to all!

Thanks to our partners for helping us bring The Retreat 2018 (a law conference like no other!) to you!

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast Law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018.

With admission to the legal profession just around the corner for me, I’m SO excited for all that is ahead in my legal life.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!


The Retreat 2018 Ann Maree David: Work Life Balance- Are we Chasing the Wrong Goal?

Ann-Maree David Presents “Work Life Balance- Are we chasing the wrong goal?”

Author Jelena Dmitrovic

This session was sponsored by Jenny Letts Valuations and Forensics

‘Discover your purpose, uncover your superpower’ – Ann-Maree David.

Superwoman Ann-Maree David takes the stage, suitably donning a superwoman cape, and gets the room up on their feet and into a powerpose. For those unfamiliar with this pose, it involves standing with your legs shoulder width apart and your arms up in the air angled out with hands in strong fists. This may seem ridiculous at first but the psychology behind it shows that a powerpose a day keeps the stage fright away; it gives you confidence and helps you command the room you are in.

Ann-Maree’s superpower is to connect the dots: she connects people and empowers them to collaborate and she strives to add value to the life of each person she meets. ‘What is your superpower?’ Ann-Maree asks.

For some, or many, of us the ultimate superpower may be the ability to achieve this mysterious thing called ‘work-life balance’  but, as Ann-Maree tells us, that pesky ‘work-life balance’ does not really exist. ‘Work-life balance’ demands that we balance on a tightrope that is difficult and exhausting to navigate. Instead Ann-Maree invites us to join her on the ground and rather than thinking of work and life as two separate segments, she asks us to consider what our life’s work is.

Reset Your Focus

In order to reset our focus on our life’s work rather than on ‘work-life balance’, we must consider: what are we here to do? What will our legacy be? How will we empower each other and ourselves to achieve our life’s work?

Discover your purpose, uncover your superpower

Ann-Maree uses the Japanese term ‘Ikigai’ meaning ‘reason for being’; the intersection of your passion with what the world needs in a practical and realistic way. If you are in a position where you feel like you haven’t found your life’s purpose, the time to start thinking about this, making change and bringing it to life, is now! There is no more time to put it off!

The world requires us to be champions of humanity!

The world requires us to be champions of humanity; so how do we do this in a practical way? Ann-Maree emphasises the significance of collaboration and invites us to ensure that the individual facets of our life come together in a holistic way rather than as separate segments to ensure that we retain our humanity in a profession that can be challenging and unhappy much of the time.

In Ann-Maree’s words, ‘you are super!’ Go out there and discover your superpower and start making it central part of your every day.

Thanks to our partners for helping us bring The Retreat 2018 (a law conference like no other!) to you! 

This is a photo of gorgeous Jelena Dmitrovic

Jelena Dmitrovic 

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hello! I’m Jelena, a final year law student at Griffith University and Law Clerk at Brisbane Family Law Centre! 

My path to law school took some twists and turns and I am grateful for the learnings I have gained along the way: embrace every opportunity that comes your way, even when is seems more like a setback than an opportunity, as nothing is ever wasted. 

Along my journey in law land I have enjoyed pursuing my interest in family law both at university and through volunteering at the FLPA Family Law Residential 2017, attending networking and professional development events, and partaking in work experience programs. 

In November 2017 I had the pleasure of joining the BFLC team and within this unique little firm I have made some great work friends and gained an incredible amount of practical experience in just a short time. 

I anticipate admission in 2019 and until then I look forward to graduating in November 2018, travelling, and of course spending as much time in the outdoors as possible. 


Why a Designer and a Lawyer are a match made in heaven! By Designer Sarah Follent

Why a Designer and a Lawyer are a match made in heaven!

Author Sarah Follent

I wholeheartedly believe that the collaboration (and relationship) of Designers and Lawyers is on the rise and here is why!

Other than the obvious benefits of bringing colour and life into the mostly black, white and grey legal industry, there is so much value in finding your designer counterpart. Whether it be co-creating simple and consumable legal documents for those who find themselves seeking legal services or bringing colour to your personal brand, a designer can help set you apart.

You might be wondering “what would a designer know about legal stuff? Surely there are much more interesting jobs a designer could be working on…” 

Let me take you on a trip down memory lane.

Simply put, I am Sarah, fun, vibrant and colourful. I have an effervescent love of life, colour and energy which is reflected in all I do. I am a designer, baker and co-creator. I completed a Bachelor in Design (Interior) in 2013, in over 5 years experience in many design roles (and all-sorts), I have developed a multi- faceted and distinctive understanding of design across the board. I enjoy the interlacing that design and life experiences bring and how these bring opportunities of evolving design to a beautiful expression. And now for the fun part…. 

I met the trailblazing lawyer Clarissa Rayward in 2012 through my friend and at the time “housemate” Freya Gardon. Clarissa was on the hunt for new staff for her cafe Ma Belle Amie in Albion, Brisbane. I remember getting the heads up from Freya for my interview with Clarissa “she is like no-other lawyer, wear something colourful and just be you.” At that time little did I know what a fruitful constellation this meeting would be! Naturally I got the job and worked in the cafe for 3 years whilst finishing my studies. I eventually left work at the cafe to explore a role in Interior Design however I was never far. Fast forward a year and I was back with Clarissa, Ollie and London. (There is much more of a story here but I won’t waffle on anymore.)  

And so, today you will find me designing and co-creating alongside my friend (and boss) Clarissa Rayward on all things Happy Lawyer Happy Life, The Happy Family Lawyer, Brisbane Family Law Centre & our soon to launch project Amicably. Clarissa has graciously allowed and supported me to develop a specialised expertise in (and fondness for) brand development, identity, strategy and digital design execution.

So back to the chase. Here are my 3 key reasons why a designer and a lawyer are a match made in heaven and why I think you should go out and explore this relationship too.

1. Co-creating simple and consumable legal documents

First and foremost, designers allow the work of a lawyer to evolve into attractive consumable legal or non-legal documents and outcomes. How people consume and find service based industries is forever changing. Therefore it is essential that your legal firm evolves too! The way you curate and convey your work and business messaging must at the end of the day resonate with those “humans” who will ultimately need and use your services. A designer is able to help create alluring visual solutions, map out, cut out and co-create with you the “actual” words, documents and messaging your firm may need to stay ahead of the game in “law land!” 

Inject joy where-ever you can. It truly has a ripple effect!

2. Shifting focus to creating and not the result

Easier said than done, I know! However, designers will guide you in introducing concepts like play into a design task and force you to take things outside “the box!” Something I always come back to is when I am inspired by something or get an idea from something I’ve seen I like to spend another 30 hours on it. Giving something space to evolve is the beauty in any design process or creation. 

3. Guide and support your brand's "tone of voice"- aka the language and words you want to use to convey your message

Lawyer talk is hard to wrap your head around when you are removed from “Law Land.” It has taken me 4 years, much eaves dropping and approx. 6  of Clarissa’s Collaborative Practice Training Workshops to understand what and why anyone would need a consent order or some such. So having someone in your firm and on your team that needs things explained like a million times is useful to see what language can and cannot stay. Non-lawyers, like myself need simple, honest and straight to the point dialogue. No amount of Acts, heavy binned papers or legal terms will help me or your clients understand the law. So give it a whirl!

Working and supporting the wonderful lawyers running firms, in house lawyers, corporate counsel, senior associates, and even Barristers in “The Club” –  such as the likes of Megan Sweetlove (I just had to drop that name in there just for the pure fact that there is a Family Lawyer with the name “Sweetlove”, it’s just amazing!) has allowed me to see (and understand) the great potential the collaboration of a lawyer and a designer can bring to the legal services industry. Back track 5 years ago my Interior Designer self would have never dreamed of being a designer co-creating alongside a trailblazing lawyer like Clarissa but here I am today and it is a dream come true. I even get to practise my Interior Design skills at time thanks to the creative, colourful, craziness that is Clarissa Rayward and her many projects! 

So in a wrap… Inject joy into the profession with colour, words, changing the way we are with one another and welcome the idea of collaborating with a designer today!

Sarah Follent

Sarah Follent

Design & Creative Director | Co-Creator Baker | Blogger | Event Co-ordinator 

Hello! I am Sarah a fun, vibrant and colourful woman. I have an effervescent love of life, colour and energy which is reflected in all I do. I am a designer, baker and co-creator. 

It is actually really hard for me to put into words what I do each day (many will agree) but I will give it a crack.

I currently work in a number of different capacities, relying on my skills in creativity and innovation as well as my experience in coordination and business to be as versatile and adaptable as possible.

Most days you will find me designing and co-creating alongside my friend (and boss) Clarissa Rayward on all things Happy Lawyer Happy LifeThe Happy Family LawyerBrisbane Family Law Centre & our soon to launch project Amicably. On other occasions you will find me caring and playing with my little soul sisters London and Daisy, baking loving, healthy, yummy and vibrant food at Baked Livingness or organising and coordinating events at Happiness Hub

Let’s be friends! I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!

You might also be interested in...

Daring and Disruptive Workshop, with Lisa Messenger!

Daring and Disruptive with Lisa Messenger

Author Rachael Hempling

This week my colleague and friend Rachael Hempling, Barrister and Mediator shares her reflections after the two of us had the opportunity to spend a day with the ever amazing entrepreneur Lisa Messenger. I have followed Lisa for a number of years now and have learnt a lot from her approach to business and the chance to hang out with her for a full day earlier this year provided much inspiration for the business year ahead. You might think what could lawyers learn from a magazine publisher but let me tell you we learnt a lot that day as Rachael shares below. 


Last Month I attended the most inspirational and mind blowing day at the ‘Daring and Disruptive Workshop’, with Lisa Messenger, the founding genius behind the “Collective Hub.” Lisa is unapologetically raw and honest about her journey, yet manages to flip everything around to a positive even when talking the challenges and heartbreaking moments’ that she has faced. 

Attending her workshop was an absolute game changer for me. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as I prepare to pave a new path. She unapologetically challenged me to reflect where I am, yet inspired me to forge forward into the brave new world of entrepreneurship and innovation. 

So with my mind still buzzing with ideas, I thought I’d share my 5 top takeaways with you, as they were so powerful and incredibly thought provoking.  

1. Build like-minded non-competing relationships and networks.

You are likely to have a very similar client base, but are not in direct competition for the goods or services you are providing. For example, if you are a small boutique law firm specialising in conveyancing, you might want to partner or build relationships with a local boutique real estate agent. You are likely to be more aligned from an ethos point of view rather than targeting the larger nationwide agents where there may be referral policies in place. 

2. Stop seeking validation from external parties.

‘Haters gonna hate’, but you don’t need to listen to them. Be bold, be brave and have the confidence to believe in what you are doing or creating. There will always be people saying, ‘that won’t work’ or ‘that’s a bad idea’. Don’t listen to those nay-sayers and flip that negative energy around. Grow and be comfortable in the knowledge that these are not your people!

3. Incentivise your staff.

All of Lisa’s staff now have ‘skin in the game’. The more they sell, book or produce the more financial reward they receive. It makes sense, right? Your staff help you grow and expand your business in exchange for maximising their pay packets. Win win! It also has the added benefit of assisting you scale up or scale down and as the market shifts and changes. 

4. When building networks & partnerships think about a 'value-added exchange'.

So don’t approach people, influencers or potential partners with the notion of ‘what can you do for me’, as it won’t be conducive to opening a line of conversation or developing a working relationship. Think of what you might be able to add to their business in exchange for what they add to yours. For example, you could offer to showcase that Boutique Real Estate Agent in your latest blog in order to open up a line of conversation about referrals.

5. Take off the "Busy Badge"!

Most of us go through life being overwhelmed and telling people how ‘busy we are’. Wearing it like a badge of honour. Take it off, slow down and learn to rest, be still and breathe. Some people can continue running at an exhausting pace, but it can and does catch up with you. So do the work you love, but learn to schedule time out to rest as well. You are your greatest resource so be kind to yourself.

This is an image of Rachael Hempling

Rachael Hempling

Barrister-at-Law | Nationally Accredited Mediator | Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Rachael Hempling is a barrister and mediator from French Quarter Chamber on the Gold Coast. She is a proud member of the “Happy Lawyer Happy Life Club” and is soon to release her first digital course, ‘The Online Family Separation Course’.