Five minutes with... Danielle Funston

Danielle Funston, partner at K&L Gates, tells Australasian Lawyer which TV show inspired her to become a lawyer.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?

I grew up playing the violin my entire life and had been accepted to study at the Conservatorium of Music. When I finished school I thought I would try something completely different. I always had an interest in the law and embarrassingly loved Ally McBeal so I thought I would give the law a go. I loved my first semester of study and the years of legal study quickly rolled by! 

How long have you worked at K&L Gates and what brought you to this position?

Essentially it was the people who attracted me to the firm two years ago. Without sounding trite the firm has a great culture and I could see myself as a good fit. Being an international firm also attracts a high calibre of work and clients.

What's the strangest case you've ever worked on/ been involved in?

For years I provided pro bono legal advice at the Wayside Chapel at Kings Cross and have built a practice in insolvency - there is no shortage of strange cases! I've sold lolly factories, planes and islands.  Sent letters of demand for the return of a dog, advised on the prospects of suing New Zealand, instructed on a 86 day hearing acting on behalf of a liquidator, chased and traced money all over the world and worked on solving Australia's largest superannuation fraud. It's all been fun!

If you could invite three people for dinner, who would it be and why?

Malala Yousafzai, because I am in awe of her bravery and selflessness. JFK for history and of course gossip and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He is believed to be the most humorous of the composers and if he turned up in the white wig and silly pant combo, he would provide some good entertainment.

You're based in Sydney - where's the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?

Opera Bar to enjoy the first class view and Sir Stamford to relax in the old worldly feel it offers.

What’s the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Wherever you are, be all there.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?

Can I answer this once my two daughters are grown up?

Complete this sentence: if I wasn't a lawyer, I would be...

A musician or weather girl.

What do you think will be the single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia? 

Technology and keeping up with it.

If you had Malcolm Turnbull's job for a day, what would you do?

There would be two main focuses - Australia's detention centres and particularly the release of children in detention and legalising gay marriage.

What do you love about your job?

It can be challenging and allows me to be analytical and creative. I love that every day is different.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?



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