Five minutes with… Tim Cox, Mills Oakley

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Mills Oakley partner Tim Cox tells Australasian Lawyer about his secret desire to become a curator at a cricket ground, and what he loves about being a lawyer.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
To be honest, there was no definitive point where I decided to become a lawyer. Like many school leavers, I was unsure about what career I wanted and in many ways followed popular choice. I studied law, worked as a law clerk in a law firm and here I am now!
It was definitely one of the best decisions I have never made. I have stayed in the game because I love the day to day variety that the law provides; it keeps you on your toes.

How long have you worked at Mills Oakley for and what brought you to that position?
I have been at Mills Oakley since May 2010 after previously working for another mid-tier national. I was, with seven other lawyers from my team who moved with me to Mills Oakley, attracted to the Mills Oakley fundamentals. I wanted to be part of a firm which provided top tier quality service at a ‘mid-tier value’ – a firm which moved with the market and had a commitment to producing dynamic and innovative solutions for its clients.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
I am a corporate lawyer, so while many of the transactions I work on are interesting, there is unfortunately nothing strange about them!

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Steve Irwin, Ricky Gervais and Matt Moran. The conversation between Steve and Ricky would be hilarious and I need Matt to come, because I can’t cook to save myself.

You’re based in Brisbane – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
I am a big fan of craft beer, so if it is up to me, we would go to Newstead Brewery.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
I hope and I am sure it’s a piece of advice that everyone has been given: ‘If you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.’
Take the time to find out what that is.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love my cricket and my rugby and anything outdoors really. During the week, I spend a lot of time inside, so I take advantage of any chance I get to go for a run along the river and spend some time in the beautiful Queensland sun.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
…a curator at a cricket ground. I am a cricket tragic and I love the outdoors. What better way to combine the two things?

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2014?
Where to start? The biggest issues in my opinion will be how national domestic law firms respond to the increase in international law firms’ interest in the Australian legal market. How each firm responds, both in billing styles and practice areas in which they operate, will re-shape the market.
Of course there is always the challenge of transitioning to value based billing and trying to find that ‘win-win’ for both the law firm and the client.

If you had Tony Abbott’s job for one day, what would you do?
I would make the blood and organ donation registry ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’. Only 1 in 30 Australians give blood each year, but 1 in 3 Australians will need blood or blood products in their lifetime. I would also heavily advocate for harsher penalties for individuals convicted of animal cruelty.

What do you love about your job?
I love the opportunity it creates for you to become the trusted advisor. Being a lawyer, you are involved in some very sensitive business and personal issues and the advice you provide is often critical.
I also love the people I work with; they are naturally inspiring.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
Definitely more hours in the day!

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