Alumni - After Allens

Kelvin Yu

Plenary Group

This interview was conducted in 2019.

When Kelvin Yu left Allens at the end of 2018, he didn't move far. His new role at Plenary Group is based in the same Sydney building as the firm, so his commute on the first day was very familiar. Plenary Group is located on level 23 of Deutsche Bank Place, Sydney, and Kelvin often sees his former Allens colleagues around the building.

Kelvin's career story….

I joined Allens as a summer clerk in 2012. I also accepted a clerkship at Linklaters that year, which was around the same time as the announcement of the alliance between the two firms. I spent four weeks at Linklaters in London from November 2011 and joined Allens for five weeks in January 2012. It was a great start to my legal career.

Once I finished my university studies, I was eager to move to a new city, and accepted a traineeship at Linklaters in London for a year. I headed back to join the Allens projects team in Sydney in 2015. It was a great time to be part of that team, and thanks to Allens I had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects in one form or another, such as Snowy Hydro 2.0, Western Sydney Airport, WestConnex and the Future Submarine project.

At the end of 2018, I accepted a role with Plenary Group to expand my experience beyond the legal world. I've always had broad commercial interests and my new role is enabling me to try something different and expand my knowledge into new areas, particularly the financial and commercial side of infrastructure.

A typical day at work involves…

There's nothing typical about a day in my current role. I used to find it easy to list my occupation on the immigration form at the airport, but when I went on holidays recently it was suddenly a lot harder to describe what I do.

Plenary Group is involved in a lot of the significant public infrastructure projects currently underway in Sydney, including the Sydney Metro and North West Rail Line projects. I work in the origination team, so I am involved in pulling together bids and proposals as we work with the government to build or expand infrastructure.

The thing that gets me out of bed each morning is…

I like working on tangible projects. It's extremely fulfilling to work on a project where at the end of the day you can see what you have helped build and feel like you are making a positive contribution to society. I also have a nerdy interest in learning about types of trains and how rail lines are operated.

I'm passionate about…

Travelling, and I have recently taken up long distance running. I like that with distance running, over time, you can start to see tangible improvements in your performance. I also have the misfortune of following Arsenal, a love that was strengthened during my time in London. It was much easier back then to go to the games and is more challenging now that I have to get up in the middle of the night just to watch.

The best advice I have been given is…

Surround yourself with good mentors – people you can speak with freely and comfortably so you can seek their advice when it's needed.

My time at Allens gave me…

It's the people that left the greatest impression. Everyone at Allens was so helpful and it made going to work easy and enjoyable. Of particular note were Larissa Chu and Karla Drinkwater, though I enjoyed the opportunity to work with people across a variety of teams. There's such a breadth and depth of talent across the firm and I loved being able to network with this diverse range of people.