Q&A with Lisa Di Marco
We caught up with Melbourne alumna Lisa to find out what led her to becoming an Ashurst Reach consultant.
What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?
I don’t think I thought about my future career much when I was 10. I was too busy chatting to my friends and learning new tricks on the monkey bars.
What are you doing now instead?
I’m currently working as a legal consultant through Ashurst Reach for Victoria 2026, the government entity that will be running the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
What are you most passionate about in your current role?
I really like being able to make things as seamless and efficient as possible when dealing with the legal issues that arise. I think it’s important to clear those hurdles so people in the business can get on with the things they need to do.
What career journey have you taken to get here?
I started my law career in top tier firms, spending seven years at Minter Ellison before moving to Ashurst as a Senior Associate in 2001. I worked in the Intellectual Property team for 5-6 years, before taking parental leave. When I returned, I spent another 5-6 years working in the Knowledge Management team. During that time, I started lecturing contract law at Monash University. I’ve now been doing that for more than 10 years and was recently chuffed to be a co-recipient of a Vice-Chancellor’s teaching award. In 2022, I returned to Ashurst again to take on a consultant role with Ashurst Reach.
Were there any unexpected turns in the road?
To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy lecturing so much. I first took it on as a challenge and then found that I really loved it. I enjoy converting dry, confusing material about contract law into something interesting. There’s also nothing better than working with really engaged students and seeing those light bulbs turn on. Teaching is also when I am on my toes performing, and I get a real buzz out of that.
When were you at Ashurst and what role did you have?
I joined Ashurst in 2001 and stayed for about a dozen years, working first as a Senior Associate in the Intellectual Property team and then as a Senior Expertise Lawyer. In 2022, when I joined Ashurst Reach, my first role as a contractor was in my old IP team as a Special Counsel.
What’s your most memorable moment from your time at the firm?
I developed a contract law quiz that we ran with the IP team – it was a lot of fun. I think I was already teaching at that time so it was one of those moments when I could bring the best of both worlds together.
Why did you leave?
I was juggling teaching part-time and working in knowledge management part-time, and I wanted to have a bit more time with my two young kids. Something had to give and it wasn’t going to be the kids! So I chose teaching because I love working with highly engaged students.
Was the grass greener?
It was exactly the shade of green I was expecting because I was already working there. To this day I still enjoy it.
Why did you come back?
Time’s moved on, my kids are older and I have more capacity now. I didn’t want to teach full-time and love the mix of my work, especially now as I get to work in varied roles as a consultant. I also think I am a better teacher when I am a practising lawyer. I’m probably also a better lawyer when I am teaching.
What’s the best bit of career advice you’ve received?
Keep yourself curious. If you stay across what’s going on in different areas and make new connections you’ll never be isolated and you’ll be able to make the most of opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t see.
What’s the worst?
Don’t wear trousers in court!
And what advice do you have for others who are considering becoming a consultant?
Give it a go. It is a great was to experience different work settings, and increase the breadth of your experience.
What do you love to do when you’re not at work?
I’m in a choir and love singing. I also love playing with my dog and learning new things.
What’s something few people know about you?
I have a relative who is literally a saint!
Do you know someone looking for a flexible career, not just a flexible job? Refer them to Ashurst Reach.
We have extended our referral scheme to our alumni based in the UK and Australia. You could receive retail vouchers as a reward for referring successful candidates (conditions apply).
Email the alumni team for more information.