SAM Gray of Brisbane Family Law Centre (BLFC) is a new breed of lawyer.

He is a ‘slashie’ – managing not one, but two careers. Work-life balance is an elusive concept at the best of times, but Gray is a new kind of corporate professional that is breaking the mould completely. 

While working as an eager young lawyer, Gray has climbed up the ranks to the 11th spot in Australia for men’s open 50m breaststroke. He secured this position at the Commonwealth Games Selection Trials in April, when he swam a solid semi-final race alongside the likes of current world champion Christian Sprenger to narrowly miss out on the final.

During working hours, Gray is focused on sharpening his legal skills. At the end of the work day, he becomes ‘Sam the Superfish’, swapping the suit for speedos.

What may be surprising to some is that Gray’s corporate life wraps up at 4.30pm most days, a schedule previously unheard of when the priority of young lawyers was to bill as many working hours as possible.

It isn’t a sign that work demands are decreasing, but rather that flexibility is just becoming that much more important as Generation Y climbs up the legal ladder.

This was confirmed in a Hays publication released earlier this week, Wanderlust, interesting work and work-life balance – get acquainted.

Australian Generation Y respondents across all sectors rated flexibility as most important of all when deciding on a potential employer, a value nominated by 45 per cent.

Gray agrees with this statement and attributes the “flexible and supportive working arrangements” – adopted by BLFC, his swim coach, and his personal trainer – as pivotal in allowing him to achieve what he has to date.

“The law firm is very flexible and supportive, based on the understanding that I have a limited swimming career so it should make the most of it,” says Gray.

“My swimming coach and personal trainer also tailor my training as best they can to ensure it aligns with commitments that come hand in hand with being a lawyer." 

In some respects, having this diversity in his life – although sometimes straining – may even be providing him with an advantage.

Gray’s swimming ranking has changed significantly while working at BLFC, but rather than getting bogged down by legal work, it has in fact risen steadily.

Case in point, he entered the swim meet in April ranked 21st in the country and came out the other end ranked 11th.

“It may seem ironic, but there are a number of parallels between swimming and legal work,” says Gray.

“Swimming has taught me to be very disciplined, dedicated and determined, attributes which I then apply to my career as a lawyer.”

Considering how the two are complementing each other, Gray doesn’t intend to choose one career over the other anytime soon.

His next major competition is the Australian Short Course Championships in Adelaide in November, which BLFC says they will “again be proud to support him”.

Click here to read about another 'slashie' in the Brisbane legal sector


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