The Laws of Australia, Thomson Reuters’ legal encyclopaedia, is edited by a team of legally-trained editors here in our Pyrmont, Sydney office. Today we talk to one of our newest team members about his legal studies, work background, and experiences working on TLA.
How long have you worked at TLA?
Shannon: Only a few months. My first day was around the beginning of March 2014.
What was your background before joining the TLA team?
Shannon: I worked as a freelance editor through the end of my law degree and while working on getting admitted as a lawyer. I had a pretty wide variety of clients, from mining economists to authors of fiction, though most of my work was for academic legal journals.
What was your favourite subject at law school? Why?
Shannon: Of the elective subjects, I definitely enjoyed Media Law the most. It was relevant to what I wanted to do with my law degree and our assessments were set out in realistic forms like, “Advise your hypothetical clients on X.” That kind of practical approach was previously unknown to me in law school. Plus, our lecturer had a classic BBC-radio voice and was great to listen to on tape!
Beyond that, my favourite subject was the Advanced Research Project topic, where we could write a short thesis on a topic of our choice. I was able to conduct in-depth, independent research in a niche area of law for which few law schools provide a subject (Space Law and Extra-terrestrial Mining). Going through that academic process and creating something novel was very rewarding for me.
What do you enjoy most about working at TLA?
Shannon: The flexibility and independence to work on Subtitles as they come, with a relaxed and collegial atmosphere created by a great team. Natural light is also a plus (my office plant would agree)! I also enjoy the constant stimulation of getting to read and work on a new area of law every week.
What interesting facts have you learnt as an editor?
Shannon: I am always on the lookout for quirky cases or fact-patterns such as the case of R v Chan (2000) 114 A Crim R 276;  Qd R 662;  QCA 347 (discovered whilst working on Subtitle 12.4 “Sentencing for Specific Offences”) where an employee broke into a factory and stole nuts — yes, nuts — to sell at half “street-value” to his nut dealer. People do strange things.
What is the most interesting Subtitle you have worked on?
Shannon: I can’t say that I have had a plethora to pick from so far. Ask me again in a year and I will have a better answer for you! Of the ones I have worked on though, the Subtitle I mentioned previously (12.4 “Sentencing for Specific Offences”) has definitely been filled with the widest variety of odd crimes, and stranger mitigating and aggravating factors involved in sentencing them.
What other interests do you have outside of TLA?
Shannon: I am a man of many hobbies and interests. I love words and stories in all forms (one of the reasons I am an editor) so I enjoy reading, writing, gaming, and watching television and movies. I love complicated, experimental and outrageous food, so I like cooking and baking, as well as going out to fancy restaurants to enjoy the best meals they have to offer. Other interests include learning instruments and being glared at by my cat.
How do you like to unwind after a day at work?
Shannon: With anything creative! On my bus trip home, I usually try and write a bit of my novel unless I’ve gotten distracted by a new book. Once I do get home, I set myself up with a mug of steaming green tea and do some painting or watch some television.