Five minutes with… Anthony Wright

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Anthony Wright, principal at Lexvoco tells Australasian Lawyer why Tiger Woods and Nelson Mandela would be his ideal dinner party guests.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I wanted to be an engineer until I realised uni was 5 days a week but law and business combined was 3. My dad also reminded me that I’d never built anything. Legal Studies and Maths were my favourite subjects, so commerce/law made sense.

I started as an Articled Clerk at McInnes Wilson Lawyers in Brisbane when I was 19. On day one, I took a box of documents to court and listened for an hour, and picked up a partner's suit jacket. It was the first time that I'd had a suit jacket and I was hooked.

How long have you worked at lexvoco and what brought you to this position?
I started lexvoco just 6 months ago. I always had ambitions of starting a business and I love the law so it made sense. I wanted to be part of a firm, with passionate like-minded lawyers, to help other legal teams with their common pressures to get things done quicker, cheaper and better.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
I’ve mainly been a commercial/corporate lawyer and there hasn’t been many strange moments.

An early embarrassing moment was as a 20 year-old Article Clerk, representing a team mate at a sports tribunal. The judiciary officer, who was also a judge, asked me where I was from. I was so nervous and told him my home address – postcode and all.

An awkward moment was accompanying an EPA inspector, who was looking for prohibited substances, on to a contentious site. Something stuck to her shoe and the object was 100% not supposed to be on site. I couldn’t believe it. The ops manager quickly said it just blew in over the fence.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama. All very interesting in their own way and Nelson might be the only person capable of getting Tiger back on track.

You’re based in Melbourne – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
With two kids <3 I am not a good judge. We normally have drinks in the office on Friday from after-noon.

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
One very successful boss, who didn’t much like lawyers, would often say to me when I’d tell him I hadn’t done that before, “Anthony, do your best but don’t [expletive] it up.” It really made me have a go. Another would remind me, “Don’t forget, it’s just a job and we don’t save lives.”

The best advice I’ve had comes from a US football coach, Lou Holtz, via my old man, who lives by these three values: be the best you can be, do what’s right, and show people you care.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I work so I can spend time with my family and do many things but work … surfing, paddling, golf, rowing, cycling and running. I’d much rather do it while I can, than watch.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A full time dad for a while.

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2015?
Finding a happy, moderately sustainable medium between content staff, clients and firm/company owners who all in their own ways expect more and more, faster and faster, but with less resources. 

If you had Tony Abbott’s job for one day, what would you do?
Ensure it was Christmas Day because it’s probably the only day he has off. I’d be surprised if there was a more intense, under-valued and under-paid job in Australia.

What do you love about your job?
I don’t “love” my job because those words don't go together for me. Maybe some people can say that and good for them. If I earned a living as a surfer or golfer, or saving someone’s life, that would be close but I sometimes think that once it becomes your living, even to those lucky people, it becomes a job.

That all said, lexvoco is by far the most content I have been at work – working with lawyers, for other lawyers, and trying to make their jobs a bit better and easier each day. Secondly, what makes me happy are clients or staff who say, “Thanks. That was really helpful.”

What would you change about your job right now if you could?

Lawyers to be more concise and write contracts in half the words, and who understand more about commerce and risk. 

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