Lucy Cornwell (Fr 2014) recently moved to London to pursue a career opportunity that combines her skills as a lawyer with her life-long passion for tennis. During her three years at St Andrew’s, Lucy involved herself in everything from playing College sports to serving on the House Committee Executive and continues to stay connected to College and the friends she found here. She shares her advice for those considering a career internationally, what inspires her and the challenges she’s overcome to carve out her path.
Please tell us a bit about yourself – where are you originally from and where did you grow up?
I grew up in Cobbitty, a semi-rural community on the outskirts of Sydney. My particularly fond childhood memories are predominantly centred around outdoor adventures and activities, such as playing tennis, mucking around down at the river and riding my horse to primary school.
What parts of College life were you involved in?
I tried to get involved in as many areas of college life as possible. As soon as I stepped foot in Drew’s, it was hard to resist all it had to offer. I represented the College in Rosebowl Hockey, Basketball and Tennis. I helped to organise a Highland Ball, a Mothers’ Dinner and a Girls’ Night In (a personal favourite!). I made the most of the academic tutoring programs, and was the Honorary Secretary of the Students’ Club in my final year of residence. I have continued to be involved in the college since, contributing through the Taylor Scholarship Program and coming back for leadership and careers events.
Do you have a favourite memory you would like to share?
There were certainly some sporting and social events that stand out as highlights, but my fondest memories are definitely the everyday ones: whiling away the day in the Dining Hall; living across the corridor from my best mates; reading the weekly Food Secretary’s report; and, that feeling when I walked across the oval after a Wednesday afternoon’s class absolutely buzzing with excitement for the evening’s proceedings!
How did your time at St Andrew’s influence your life after College?
The people I met during my time at Drew’s continue to have a big influence on my life. I am very grateful to have spent three years with a cohort of talented, unique and eclectic individuals, some of whom remain my nearest and dearest friends. I have no doubt we will continue to look back very fondly on our time at Drew’s together for many years to come.
As someone who has experienced being a part of the House Committee Executive team in 2016 as Honorary Secretary, what are some of the challenges you faced as a House Committee during your time?
Like all years, the House Committee in 2016 faced a range of challenges. We saw our priority as creating a fun and welcoming environment in which everyone could thrive in respect of their diverse passions. Ensuring that the freshers enjoyed their introduction to the College was made especially tough with the combination of tragic loss and media scrutiny, and as a student leadership group we were challenged with the task of striking a balance between retaining traditions while also turning a mirror back on ourselves and commencing an important period of cultural renewal.
Becoming a solicitor is a long process. Can you tell us about the different steps you have gone through on your career path and some of the most rewarding aspects of the journey?
After finishing my degree (and taking a cheeky post-university gap year, which I would highly recommend), I spent 3 years in private practice at King & Wood Mallesons (KWM). During my time at KWM, I was fortunate to have a diverse range of experiences. These included: rotations through teams specialising in dispute resolution, technology and intellectual property; a 6-month secondment at Refugee Advice & Casework Services, where I prepared visa applications and represented clients from a range of countries at immigration interviews and hearings; and, a secondment to Colgate-Palmolive, where I reviewed, drafted and negotiated a wide range of commercial contracts and dipped my toe into the role of an in-house lawyer.
At the start of 2023, I relocated to London and am currently working as a Legal Counsel at the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. Having played tennis from a young age and experienced firsthand the social benefits of team sport more generally, I perceived my move to London as a good opportunity to find a role where my passion and legal skillset collided. I am loving being a part of the business, providing on-the-ground advice and supporting a range of different teams to reach their strategic goals. There is a huge variety of work, whether that is negotiating sponsorship/broadcasting agreements for the Billie Jean King and Davis Cups, representing the ITF in a range of disciplinary issues, supporting the organisation to have good sporting governance structures in place, or assisting with a broad range of other projects such as the development of the World Tennis Number or the launch of the inaugural world tennis eChampionship.
One of the more challenging parts of the journey was starting my professional career from my bedroom (thanks to COVID-19). This is especially so because, without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of the journey has been meeting so many interesting and inspiring people along the way. I love working with and learning from people from different walks of life with different skill sets.
Your current role is Legal Counsel at the International Tennis Federation in London. How has the process and experience been in moving to a new country for work?
Moving from Sydney to London is a fairly well-trodden path, particularly for junior lawyers. Starting the process of looking for a role in a new country was, at times, a little daunting. However, once I made the decision to move over into the sports law world, I didn’t look back. I was lucky to already have family and friends over in London, and then to line up my role at the International Tennis Federation before landing, so I have hit the ground running and been loving every aspect of this chapter.
Do you have any advice for current students who may be interested in pursuing employment opportunities internationally?
Connecting with people on the other side of the world and the interview process does take time. So, if working internationally interests you, it is worth starting the process early. I would also recommend reaching out to your wider network for any tips, tricks, guidance or advice. It is honestly incredible how generous people are with their time and advice. On that note, if you are thinking of moving over to London (in law or otherwise), I would be more than happy to chat, so please reach out!
What do you like to do outside of your work?
Outside of work, you’ll find me doing any outdoor activity I can – from a morning dip at the beach, having a social hit of tennis or round of golf, hiking and camping, or backcountry skiing. It’s a bit harder to get my nature fix in London, but over here I am loving riding my bike to and from work and going horse riding in Richmond Park, and I’ve just signed up to learn how to row on the Thames (better later than never!).
What are you reading at the moment that you’d recommend?
With my move over to London, I thought it fitting to read ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel and, after finishing it, I went on a little excursion to Hampton Court Palace! With Wimbledon around the corner, I am now loving ‘My Dream Time’ by Ash Barty – such an inspiring and humble athlete and person. I am also a regular reader of ‘The Economist’ magazine – I find it super interesting and a fantastic way to keep up with current social and political issues across the world.