We ask a law firm partner a series of rapid-fire questions about their career. This time: Orla McCoy from Clayton Utz.
Which firm are you with?
When did you join that firm?
In February 2002, after several years working in-house in Dublin, Ireland (where I had originally qualified as a Barrister-at-Law in 1997). In 2005, I relocated overseas where I worked at Ernst & Young Law (in Amsterdam) and Hogan Lovells (in Amsterdam and London). In 2009, I returned to Australia - and to Clayton Utz.
When were you made a partner of that firm?
1 January 2014.
Which firm were you at most recently prior to this?
What practice group are you with?
Restructuring and Insolvency.
What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career? During my time in Australia the biggest change from a practice perspective has been the market's willingness to embrace the turnaround and restructuring of struggling enterprises. On the legislative front, the biggest change has probably been the commencement of the Personal Property Securities Act.
What has been a major career highlight for yourself?
Professionally, being made a partner of Clayton Utz has to be the highlight. From a client perspective, one matter that stands out is the ABC Learning Centres Court Appointed Receivership. I was part of a cross-practice Clayton Utz team that managed, within a six-month period, to help our client restructure and sell over 200 childcare centres within what was called "ABC2" - which, without our client's intervention, would have been shut. The matter involved a significant and ever-evolving number of legal issues, including ensuring leases remained on foot, numerous indemnity and liability issues and a multitude of Court applications and proceedings. It was a very challenging and rewarding matter.
What do you like about being a lawyer?
I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of our role. It is rewarding to find solutions for clients, particularly in restructuring and insolvency situations.
What do you find challenging?
Public speaking / presenting fills me with dread and terror, and being so far away from my family (in Ireland) and not getting to see them often enough is hard. The legislative learning curve and social adjustment on moving jurisdictions also provided a challenge.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I like to hang out with my husband and friends, eating, cooking, enjoying good wine, ocean swimming, running (not all consecutively!). I also play hockey - very enthusiastically (albeit constrained by my ability and speed). Sadly, I am going to be out of action this year as I need to have a knee reconstruction (hockey injury!). I also love to travel.