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Get to know Rebecca Pezzutti, Senior Associate and EPL specialist

Tell us about your journey to becoming a Senior Associate at W+K

I took the long way round! I had a “past life” as a claims manager in financial lines and got my law degree as a ‘mature age student’. So by the time I was a newly admitted solicitor, I decided to go off on an adventure and practice as a lawyer in a regional town, but have also always gravitated toward commercial litigation and dispute resolution. More recently, I have honed in on employment litigation and I’m a bit of a nerd for it. It’s an interesting and complex area of legal practice. I think what’s invaluable about the journey is understanding what drives you and how you operate best. Joining W+K has given me the opportunity to merge my insurance background with my legal interests.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?

I was born with the ability to talk under water with a mouth full of marbles – or so my parents would tell me. I think what they meant was “you talk too much”. Fortunately, speaking your mind can be a regarded quality in a lawyer. In addition to that, I really enjoy advocacy and the art of persuasion, so the attraction to litigation and court work has always been there for me.

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve been given?

That it is important to build resilience. It’s the one thing no one else can give you or take from you, and is critical to maintaining a sense of perspective when things seem overwhelming.

What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing your area of insurance law?

The rise in employment litigation driven by a shift in industrial relations towards an individualist and rights based approach. 10 years of the Fair Work Act has underpinned that change, consolidating IR issues at a workplace and individual level. I think the trajectory of the claims experience will be upwards for some time, and we are already seeing the effect in QLD of the Human Rights Act 2019 (QLD). Whilst the substantive law on discrimination in employment has not changed, the high profile of the newly launched Queensland Human Rights Commission means that Employers are more accountable than ever. There is a massive education and compliance challenge for SMEs in this space. The ‘Me Too’ movement and outcomes from the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the workplace will be another big ticket item for EPL.

What do you enjoy most about working at W+K?

The work – it’s busy and challenging. And the team – a group of talented lawyers and a sense of collegiality in the office.

What do you get up to outside of law?

I am a serial hobbyist and innately creative, so I get my kicks making stuff whether it be baking and cake decorating, sewing, crocheting, growing plants, making Lego with the kids… it’s all about creating.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…

A librarian. I love order. Stephen Keim SC said in a podcast interview that drafting pleadings is like cleaning up after a messy party. That really resonates and I suspect that a lot of litigation lawyers revel in creating order out of apparent chaos.

© Wotton + Kearney 2020
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