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Freehills lawyer heads for Athens

DESPITE A disappointing performance at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Freehills lawyer Evelyn Halls is off to Athens in August for another try at Gold.Armed with two silver medals from World Cup…

DESPITE A disappointing performance at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Freehills lawyer Evelyn Halls is off to Athens in August for another try at Gold.

Armed with two silver medals from World Cup events in Paris and Prague, Halls is confident that in Athens she will see Olympic success.

Joining two other fencers in the Australian team, Seamus Robinson and Frank Bartolillo, Halls will represent Australia in the Women’s Epee fencing competition.

“To qualify for Athens I’ve worked really hard almost every day for the last three years, so hopefully I’ll be able to achieve something special at the Games in August,” Halls said.

On balancing career and training, Halls said Freehills was very encouraging and flexible. “It has to work for both of us,” she said.

Halls tries to plan her career and sport so they can be compatible, she told Lawyers Weekly. Sometimes she is more focused on her career and sometimes on the fencing. By March 2002 she knew she had to “up the training to compete at Athens”.

In the past year, Halls has travelled to 16 World Cup competitions, including in Hungary, Puerto Rico, Poland, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Cuba.

This required job sharing within the firm. She moved from being a solicitor with the corporate practice group to a knowledge management role in May 2002 so that she could prepare for the upcoming Olympics.

“[Freehills] have been flexible giving me time to travel … it’s been hard work for both of us,” she said.

Halls restricts her office days to four per week to accommodate the training schedule. She now trains four nights a week, as well as Saturday morning, and spends lunchtimes running around the ‘Tan’ in Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens and Albert Park lake. Both are reasonably close to the Freehills Melbourne office.

“I’ve had to delay my career progress for several years, limit my social activities and get used to many hours in hotel rooms far away from family and friends,” she said.

“But for me, nothing beats the enjoyment and challenge of fencing, particularly when taking on and beating the best in the world.”

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