Carly Ashwood, Special Counsel in our Commercial team, has worked with Cooper Grace Ward for more than 12 years. We asked her to tell us in her own words what life at Cooper Grace Ward is like, and a few of her past experiences and favourite things.
1. What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I did legal studies at high school but ended up starting university undertaking a justice studies degree. When I realised I didn’t have the stomach or emotional strength to be a criminologist, I changed to a dual law degree and found that much more palatable.
2. How long have you worked at Cooper Grace Ward for and what brought you to that position?
I have been with CGW since 2004. I started as a full time administration assistant in the commercial group when finishing off my degree part time.
Before CGW, I was working as a clerk at a small family law firm in the city and one of the solicitors I worked with got a job at CGW. When a role in commercial came up she told me about it and I jumped at the opportunity.
3. If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive who would they be and why?
Stephen King – I have often thought about writing a novel (but more likely to be a short story) and I am sure he would have some great tips for me!
Muhammad Ali – I am not a fan of boxing but I am a fan of his humanitarian work and political activism/stance.
My grandmother – she passed away quite suddenly this year and it would be good to see her one last time.
4. Where’s the best place to go for a drink or dinner after work?
The Embassy has a great selection of craft beer and cocktails and great meals. If you prefer cider though, you can’t go past Verve Bar & Kitchen. The meals at Verve are delicious too.
5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s not really advice and it wasn’t given to me but I love quoting Bob Ross with ‘there are no such things as mistakes, just happy little accidents’. This approach isn’t practical for lawyers (he was an artist). However, it does provide perspective in other areas of life and always generates a laugh or smile in the right situation.
6. Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I read a lot of novels (and am in a book club), I train for and sometimes end up participating in running events (no further than half marathons though), play netball and enjoy watching sports – mostly netball, NRL and tennis. I also enjoy sewing but am not that great at it.
7. Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
8. What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2016?
Adapting the way we work and operate as a firm to stay relevant in the market while still providing exceptional client service and legal advice. There are many ‘NewLaw’ firms in the market that are challenging the way legal services are provided and we need to adapt what we do to remain competitive.
9. What do you love about your job?
The people I get to work with – both internally at CGW and our clients. I do a lot for work with charities, not-for-profits and individuals with philanthropic desires and that work is always very rewarding.
My job has also made me attractive as a board member for charities and I like that I can give back to the community in that way as well.
10. Something you might not know about me is that…
I finished last in the CGW social club NRL tipping competition and so did my favourite team. I blame them and my patriotism for my poor results this season. I was even beaten by someone who did not put their tips in.