Tracey Scott's ambition was to work either in sports law or in the not-for-profit arm of the legal profession. Then she scored a job offering both. She speaks to Zoe Lyon
Tracey Scott, legal counsel at Cricket Australia, would have a tough time thinking of a job she's better suited to.
A sports enthusiast since childhood, Scott says that while studying law her ambition was to work in either sports law or the not-for-profit sector. So when her current role became available, Scott jumped at the chance. "It gave me an opportunity to combine my two passions ... it was basically one of those jobs that you simply couldn't say no to," she says.
Scott grew up in a small town in Western Australia where sport was an integral part of life. A talented hockey player, she gained a hockey scholarship with a Perth-based high school, allowing her to move to the city and later study law at university.
"I have had wonderful mentors throughout my whole life who I met through sport. Their values really resonated with me ... and so I went to university with ambitions to get involved with helping people who are less fortunate than others, and I saw the not-for-profit sector as a vehicle for that," she says.
She launched her career at Allens Arthur Robinson in 2000. She moved to Melbourne and stayed with the firm for five years, ultimately achieving a senior associate appointment. Then in 2005, her "dream job" arose at Cricket Australia, the not-for-profit organisation governing cricket nationally.
Working in a team of four, her work involves the usual sports law suspects - media rights, sponsorship agreements, player contracts, government funding agreements and intellectual property management. However, the team also deals with a diverse range of other matters, including formulating codes and policies, implementing new competitions, implementing strategic initiatives, hosting international events, advising the board, making submissions on sports-related law reform issues and international relations.
"It's important to understand that we do much more than just put the Australian men's team on the cricket field - Cricket Australia has a significant business due to us being the national sporting organisation for cricket, and the practice is incredibly broad." she says.
One of the highlights of the role, Scott says, is being involved in an organisation that is the custodian of one of Australia's national institutions. "Watching the opening session of the Boxing Day test ... and just that rush you get from being involved with something that really resonates with people. There's that sense of pride when you see such a wonderful spectacle put on in such a professional and accessible way," she says.
"My nephews and niece are mad about [cricket], so it's really lovely to be doing a job they can touch and feel, and you feel like you're giving back to the community."
She says the biggest challenge has been learning how to balance the legal and commercial risks for a business which is so squarely in the public spotlight.
"Commercial risk is almost as important as legal risk for us, so there can be a real tension there. It's getting that balance right, and knowing that at times you need to be more pragmatic or ... more flexible, and being confident in making that judgement call," she says.
The extension of that, she says, is ensuring that the legal team isn't viewed as a road block by commercial decision-makers: "[Instead], they should see us as helping them to get their project delivered within the constraints of legal requirements and the commercial pressures they face."