Although Amy Bishop always wanted to be a lawyer, that she ended up as a business lawyer specialising in copyright and trademarks is pure chance. The first signs from her legal study was that Family Law might be Amy’s bag, but then a big door opened at a small boutique firm and it’s been all business – plus a bit of balance – ever since.

Amy elaborates, “I wanted to be a lawyer from when I was quite young – at least since I started high school, if not younger. When I was studying at Uni I did really well in Family Law and my thought was to perhaps go into that area. I started in that direction, with a casual position at the Legal Services Commission, which did deal with a lot of family law issues, but that role also gave me exposure to a very broad area of legal matters. People could call and ask anything, I even had to help someone accused of importing counterfeit goods once. I loved the work but it was casual, and my search for a full time role led me to a boutique tax firm, Rankine Tucker & Associates. This began what is now, almost to the day, a 20 year career in the legalities of business, working with one John Tucker.”

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It was more than a liking of working with DW Fox Tucker founding partner John that kept Amy so keen to stay on the business side of law. “Although tax was a main focus at Rankine Tucker & Associates, it was a small firm so we multi-tasked and helped our clients with other legal issues their businesses were facing. I found small and medium business owners to be good people, hard-working and down to earth. Their dedication to building their business was inspiring, so I enjoyed helping and being involved with them. I still really enjoy this side of the job to this day, and my clients are still largely in this category.”

“Over the years I discovered the Intellectual Property (IP) law area and was increasingly being asked to help manage new trademark applications, disputes and other IP and copyright issues. I enjoyed working in this space so much that I undertook further study and became a registered trademark attorney. I feel like I’ve really found my calling.”

One of the lucky ones during the pandemic

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As Amy is the first to admit, she and her family were among the ‘lucky ones’ in terms of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. “My family is not particularly young anymore”, explains Amy, “with two teenage girls my ‘home schooling’ just involved making sure they’d logged off Netflix and logged into the school platform – although I’m not sure that much schooling occurred! As far as my own work is concerned, I was very fortunate that I could do everything from home.”

Although it wasn’t such a smooth ride for Amy’s clients during the pandemic. “My clients and I found the inconsistent treatment really challenging” reports Amy. “Of course we realise that legislation and directions were drafted necessarily in haste, but all the confusion and all the errors highlight the dire need to have carefully drafted - and highly scrutinised - pandemic plans in place ready for next time.”

Balance is the name of the game

Amy is a big believer in striving to achieve a good balance between all that you want from life, and by anyone’s standards she seems to be incredibly good at it. Her busy work days and nights caring for her clients are nicely equalled by an incredible family and social life, featuring lots of weekends away, water sports and fishing with husband Matt and their two teenage girls, plus plenty of exercise and cuisine-focussed catch-ups with a much loved circle of close friends.

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“We have a place on the Yorke Peninsula and get away there as often as we can, going out on the boat for fishing and water sports, and spending time at my in-laws farm. It is great fun! I love that the girls get the best of both worlds – city and country life.  Like most lawyers, I’m an avid reader too, and love a good book when relaxing.”

“But it wasn’t always that easy to achieve this balance” admits Amy. “Balancing work and family when the kids were younger was really hard - much harder than many of us working parents make it look – and I certainly didn’t always get it right. I admit, I had to give up some professional control at the office to make it all work initially, and it was really difficult to accept that you can only do so much. Thankfully things have turned around now, my children are now quite supportive and they’ll often take on household responsibilities when things at work are keeping me occupied. Although they still need a lot of nagging sometimes, too!”      

Any alternatives to law in your life?

When asked what she loves about being a lawyer, one of Amy’s responses gives a clue to what she might be doing to earn a crust in another life that didn’t involve law: “I find it really satisfying to complete a good piece of writing, like a letter or a document on behalf of one of my clients, informing and defending in the name of their successful business building journey.”

And what might that alternative profession be? “Well, I do have the odd daydream about being a Pulitzer prize winning journalist”, says Amy with a smile, “but to be honest I think I enjoy making a tangible difference to my clients’ lives much more than I’d enjoy a front page scoop – so I think I’ll stay where I am.”

Which is great news for us of course, because we’re really keen to hang onto one of our best business lawyers – and one of our best writers – for many more years to come.

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Amy Bishop

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