Spark Series Spotlight – Stephanie Karavasil (OH 2012)

The OHA are delighted when alumni give back to their school. This year, saw the introduction of the Haileybury Spark Series, developed and run by the Haileybury Careers Department. OHA members volunteered their time to come back and speak to students about their possible careers paths.

Stephanie’s journey into Law was via  Business/ Arts degree before transferring into Law/Arts.  She firmly believes that your ATAR does not dictate opportunity and if you are prepared to work hard and persist then you can achieve your goals. Stephanie provided an insight into some common expectations versus the actual reality of University and life, working as a Lawyer. She stressed the importance of  balance in your life by participating in activities in addition to studies, such as volunteering or paid work. This  builds life skills, and are important now and in the future.

The presenters spoke passionately about their teachers at Haileybury and in both cases, their Legal Studies teacher was one of the driving reasons for them choosing to study Law.

We had the pleasure of getting to know Steph a little more through the Spark Spotlight Series:

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Stephanie Karavasil and I am an OH graduate of 2012. I am a lawyer at Hive Legal, where I am a part of the Health and Commercial Team. I work with both public and private sector clients in highly regulated industries and I advise in general commercial, regulatory and privacy law. I do what I do because I believe in making the connection between law and business easy and efficient. Our clients range from government departments, healthcare service providers, SMEs and charities. I have a double degree from Deakin University (Bachelor of Arts (Sociology/Criminology) and Bachelor of Laws). I have a Diploma of Legal Practice from College of Law and was admitted as an Australian Legal Practitioner in Feb 2020. I worked in the legal field throughout Day 1 of my Law studies and I strongly believe that is the most valuable decision a law student can make. Working in the field teaches you far more than university alone ever could. The law is a framework for people; if you focus your job training on perfecting your basic communication skills, that’s half your job done.

What did your post-school pathway look like? Did it differ from the pathway you had in mind when you finished school?

The dreaded ATAR. It does not need to be so feared because if you have a goal (and stick to it) you can get yourself anywhere in your career. I did not receive the “perfect” ATAR that an entry into Law needed. I decided to commence a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Business (Law) with the intention to transfer into a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws after my first year of study. Whilst this did take me longer than I had first anticipated (2 years until I transferred), it got me where I needed to be.

What were your priorities in school? How have your priorities changed since leaving, if they have changed?

My priorities were drastically different from Years 11 to 12. In 2011 (Year 11) I was so focused on simply perfecting my marks at school. Everything else was sort of neglected. Once Year 12 (2012) came along I already felt exhausted. In Year 12 I shifted my mindset to not only prioritising study, but at the same time, also valuing and prioritising all round experiences. I still worked, I still socialised with my friends, I spent time with family, whilst also ensuring I stuck to my studies. It’s all about balance. The Haileybury ethos taught me this mentality. It was only in my final year at school that I really embraced this idea of balance and I have not looked back since. I still adopt this mentality in my personal life and career.

What are you most proud of?

My role as junior solicitor at my previous firm was made redundant in May 2020 as a result of my last firm’s financial struggles caused by Covid-19. It was a ‘last in – first out’ type situation. I think I contacted over 100 different firms, cold calling asking for work during a global pandemic. Crazy, right? In August 2020, I was able to find my perfect role as a lawyer at Hive Legal, a firm that I have always wanted to work for. I guess I am most proud of the fact I was able to stick to my goals regardless of being shot down via redundancy during the pandemic.

Did you ever stumble? Did you experience strife or fear related to your transition to higher education/work?

Yes, twice! The first was in my first year at university, where I did not get the ‘Distinction’ average required to transfer into a Bachelor of Laws at Monash university. Big time fear! I thought I’d never get there. What I failed to recognise at that time, was that there is ALWAYS a way. Doors of opportunity (that are worth walking through) are never right in front of you. You must go looking. I managed to transfer the following year, into Bachelor of Arts (Sociology/Criminology) and Bachelor of Laws at Deakin University instead. This is where I was meant to be! The second experience of major fear was when I was made redundant in 2020. See above^ this was during my transition to full time work (a few months after admission). Those 3(ish) months of no employment were probably the scariest time of my career.

What are you excited for now or in the future when it comes to education/work?

I am so excited to see how the legal industry is changing. Innovation in the legal field is up and coming and more and more practitioners are seeing how “doing law differently” is the key to commercial longevity. Innovation in legal practise should be embraced in all aspects of commercial relationships as it benefits all players involved. I am excited to see how my generation (and the upcoming generation) repaves the legal landscape by stepping out of

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