Five minutes with… Rebecca Hoare

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Rebecca Hoare, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, explains why she’d have the Dalai Lama to dinner if she could.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
When I was 8 and living in Broken Hill, my father was studying law by correspondence.  I used to ask him to read me case studies from Fleming’s Law of Torts and have been hooked ever since. 

How long have you worked at Norton Rose Fulbright and what brought you to this position?
I started here as a lawyer in 2003 and became a partner in 2008.  From day one in the job, I’ve loved coming to work.  I was given the freedom, support and mentoring from some wonderful partners to develop a practice in environmental law and native title and the culture continues to be one of the best around. 

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Not long after I became a partner, I represented a client in an environmental prosecution where the regulator was seeking a custodial sentence.    As a lawyer in a commercial legal practice, you don’t really expect to be protecting a client from a jail term.  It was the most stress I have ever experienced in my career – but had a happy ending. 

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Amy Poehler because I love her sense of humour, her integrity and the great work she is doing with ‘Smart Girls’; the Dalai Lama because maybe I’ll learn a thing or two about mindfulness and letting go; and Joan of Arc, because I was obsessed with her as a child and it would be good to see if it was all justified. 

You’re based in Brisbane – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
I like a good steak, so I find it hard to go past Kingsley’s at the Eagle Street Pier. 

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
The person who never made a mistake, never achieved anything’ – my father often says that to me when I am worrying about something.  ‘You don’t ask, you don’t get’ is another one of my favourites told to me by a partner for whom I worked as a summer clerk many years ago. 

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I do jujitsu with my partner, Tom, and my two children.  I am only an orange belt which means I am outranked by Tom and my son – that hurts even more than being thrown about like a rag doll on the dojo.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Desperately trying to get published as an author.

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2015?
Competing  and differentiating ourselves in the current market and taking care of our talent. 

If you had Tony Abbott’s job for one day, what would you do?
Avoid the media, in case I said something flippant and ruined everything. 

What do you love about your job?
I’m very fortunate that I’m surrounded by wonderful clients and colleagues.  I’m also Norton Rose Fulbright’s National Environmental Sustainability Champion, which means I get to be involved in all our sustainability initiatives and help to effect change on the ground across all our offices.  

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I’m thinking a great deal about innovation at the moment, so I’d like to have thought up a totally original, exciting and ground breaking way to deliver my legal services to clients.  I’m working on it.

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