A Day in the Life of Amy Ryan
Ever wondered what a commercial litigator actually does? Be honest... Probably not? It's actually more interesting than you think. Litigator, Amy Ryan gives us a peek into her world.
First of all, what does a commercial litigator do?
Commercial litigators are really just problem solvers and advocates for people with disputes arising from commercial transactions. Our role is to guide people through their legal rights and obligations and advocate on their behalf to resolve their dispute, whether by negotiation or through the Court system.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?
Make coffee!!! Then check my emails and set a task list for the day.
What type of matters do you deal with on a day-to-day basis?
Litigation covers many areas of law. Each day can involve disputes involving contracts; debts; leases, companies, property, estates; family law or personal injury matters; or defamation or employment law claims.
How often do you have to go to court?
Court is almost always the option of last resort, as it can be both costly and time-consuming. I will always try to resolve disputes through negotiation first. However, sometimes court is unavoidable. How often I go to Court depends on the client, the matter type, where it has progressed to and the courts’ schedule.
Who is a typical litigation client?
There really is no typical litigation client. I represent people from all walks of life ranging from multi-millionaires to pensioners, large corporations to small business owners or sole traders, grandparents, mums, dads and sometimes children. The only characteristic that all litigation clients share is that they are in a difficult situation (sometimes through no fault of their own) and they need some assistance to get through it.
What do you do when you’re not litigating?
I spend time with my partner and we also look after my Mum. I also participate in fundraising and events through the Zonta Club of Noosa (where I’m Vice-President).
Otherwise, I chase after my dogs; my niece and my nephews; clean (a lot), spend time with family and, if I still have time after all of that… I try to relax with a book.
What makes a good litigator?
In my experience, a good litigator is one that:-
• has strong communication and interpersonal skills. Being able to build positive relationships with people, actively listen and present information in an effective manner is a core skill required of all litigators.
• has credibility. Credibility is the foundation of trust. Building a high level of trust with clients, judges and even opposing sides is fundamental to effective representation.
• is civil. At its most basic level, litigation is an argument; but it doesn’t have to be rude. In advocacy, civility is the high road and also a powerful tool. Litigators may be stereotyped as pit bulls, but the most effective lawyer will fight relentlessly for their client with respect, intelligence and grace.
• is confident and remains calm in the face of adversity. During a matter, litigators continually make decisions and assessments about risk, reward, cost, timing, advantage and value. To be effective in making those decisions requires high levels of personal and professional confidence. Effective litigators learn by instinct to process structured and unstructured information into clear and decisive action, often on their feet.
• has a competitive spirit - Good litigators thrive on the thrill of the challenge, not just the legal outcome and tend to approach every aspect of a matter, large or small, as having great importance on the road to victory.
• is commercial– Often, disputes come down to a question of money, and a good litigator will regularly provide an analysis of the risks (and costs) -v- rewards associated with the matter as a reality-check to their clients.
• has a sense of humour - There are inevitably tough times when the ability to laugh (including at yourself) and lighten the mood becomes important.
• is curious - Solutions to legal challenges can come from the most unlikely of places. Effective litigators maintain a relentless curiosity about the world they live in. This curiosity leads to innovative approaches and solutions and keeps litigation challenges fresh and exciting.