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Burch&Co is made up of brilliant, caring and unique individuals. Each member of the team brings their own perspective and passions to their role. Collectively, we are united in our human centered approach to law.
The Meet the Team series aims to shine a light on the wonderful humans that make up Burch&Co. In this instalment, please meet Hana and get to know a little bit more about your legal advisor.
Tell us about a professional achievement you are proud of, and why.
Passing my CIPP/E (Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe) exam on the first try! I had been interested in GDPR and privacy issues for ages and finally got a chance to study, learn, and test my expertise around privacy and European privacy laws. The GDPR impacts so many Australian clients so it is awesome to be able to answer questions with confidence. Taking the exam at a testing centre was daunting, as it had been many years since I formally studied anything. It was nice to re-learn the art of studying; even better that it has practical application to my day-to-day job.
What about a personal achievement?
Getting my permanent residency visa in Australia. I came to Australia initially on holiday and ended up staying, studying law, moving from Perth to Melbourne, and deciding to settle down here. What was meant to be a 30 day stay turned into (so far) almost 10 years. Making the decision to commit to staying, going through multiple visa applications and dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing whether you’ll be allowed to stay in the country you chose to live in – on the surface, submitting a visa application sounds mundane and procedural, but there is a tremendous amount of strength and fortitude required to cope with it all. The uncertainty of temporary resident status is something that all immigrants to Australia feel very deeply and are constantly aware of, and it’s something that is super foreign to everybody who is born here. I was born a US citizen and very much took my citizenship for granted, but I now feel so much more empathy and awareness for immigrants from all backgrounds.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up dangerously close to being late every day, rush to leave the house on time, frantically check the PTV app to see if my tram is running late like me (it usually is), and then grab a coffee when I get into the office. I’ll check my emails on the tram so I know what’s facing me when I get in. Usually, I have a couple of internal meetings and a couple of client meetings, and in between, I’ll be spending my time reviewing work for others or deep diving into a client matter myself. My favourite days are when I have 3-4 hours of uninterrupted focus time and I can just surround myself with the one client’s matter and get to understand their objectives, perspectives, needs and wants, and produce something that will help them get one step closer to their goal.
Personal life motto?
I have commitment issues, so it’s very difficult to pick one thing. It’s a tremendously unsatisfying conversation for the other person to ask me what my favourite anything is. Maybe it’s a lack of self-awareness, in that I have no idea what my favourite things are, or maybe I don’t want my identity reduced to a one-dimensional concept. But…
The first thing that comes to mind is my history teacher in middle school. Mr Gleaves was a retired army soldier who taught history, social studies and etiquette classes to students in 6th to 8th grade. He used to sit on a stool at the front of the class and recount the stink of fertiliser in the fields that surrounded the army bases in West Germany. He was adamant that I wear my jacket properly, or don’t wear it at all. He was a fan of Judge Judy and used to put on her show when he couldn’t be bothered teaching. And every single day, he would write on the whiteboard “TITFDOTROYL” – today is the first day of the rest of your life. Sometimes, he’d add “MIWFY!” – Make it work for you!
I still think of him often, and about how today is the first day of the rest of my life. Sometimes, I’ll even try to make it work for me.
Why do like you working at Burch&Co?
It’s now an open secret that there’s a sparkling water tap at the office, which is undeniably one of my top reasons for working here.
The people are great too. I like their unrelenting commitment to high-quality work, but also their insistence that we treat every single person with respect and care. Sometimes I feel like I work in an office full of care bears. Care bears with big brain energy and very specific preferences for grammatical conventions.
What is your favourite book?
I foreshadowed above that this would not be a satisfying experience for you. I can’t answer what’s my favourite, but I can tell you about some that had an impact on my life if that helps.
In year 9, I read a book called ‘Sophie’s World’ and being introduced to philosophical concepts at a young age was a fascinating experience. I spent ages thinking about the possibility that fictional characters had escaped their narratives and were living, like ghosts, in our reality. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean.
Another one was Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which led to me reading every single book Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. It was about his experience of the Dresden firebombing while he was being held as a US prisoner of war by Germans in WWII. A little bit of personal experience, a little bit of aliens, and a smidgen of old-man rambling equals an all-around enjoyable read.
To read more of our Meet the Team series, press the ‘Team’ button below.