Five minutes with Gilbert + Tobin lawyer Sachini Mandawala.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Tragically enough, it has been my goal since childhood. I only had a vague idea of what being a lawyer would look like in practice but I always loved reading and writing. I majored in Finance for my second degree and Banking always seemed like a good fit from the start, when I rotated through as an articled clerk.
How long have you worked at Gilbert + Tobin and what brought you to this position?
1 year this June. I was attracted to this position by the firm’s achievements on many significant banking and infrastructure projects and the opportunity to work with talented lawyers with incredible market reputations.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Doing volunteer work at the Refugee Legal Centre involves hearing some hearing bizarre/tragic/hair-raising stories on a regular basis. My favourite to date included the Taliban, a clothes line and a stolen motorbike.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
My favourite author Haruki Murakami, so I could grill him for writing tips. Also he owns a jazz bar and could take care of the soundtrack.
I would also have to have John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman just to hear them debate.
You’re based in Melbourne – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
I love Embla for late night dinners and amazing French reds. And Hihou is one of my all-time favourites because it reminds me of Tokyo.
What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
Always keep your audience in mind. Very useful for work, and life!
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
All day culinary projects. Eating and drinking generally. Luckily I also like exercising. Live music. I would describe myself as a culture junkie.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Living in Paris and writing my novel.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2016?
Technological disruption and finding a way to harness it effectively.
If you had Malcolm Turnbull’s job for one day, what would you do?
Appoint myself cultural attaché for life.
What do you love about your job?
I like the sense of achievement that comes from working on major infrastructure projects. They are huge and complex undertakings that require a lot of collaboration, negotiation, creative thinking and flexibility and the satisfaction that comes with a successful close is immense.
What would you change about your job right now if you could?