In conversation with Loren Goodwin
In this blog post, we chatted to Legal Counsel (Australia/NZ) at the world’s leading beauty company L’Oreal, Loren Goodwin! Loren is as gorgeous inside as she is out - and she has had some amazing experiences in her career, including in a boutique law firm, a big top tier law firm, and now in-house. Take it away Loren!
TLC: What made you want to study law?
LG: Throughout my high school studies I developed an interest in pursuing a career in the law as I loved literature and language, argument and persuasion, and I’ve always been a ‘people’ person.
I wasn’t one of those children who dreamed of being a lawyer from age 5, and in fact I was/am quite creative and wanted to be a fashion designer (until I realised I can’t sew or draw.. so now I just channel that energy into buying clothes!) or a travel journalist.
After high school, I took one (which turned into two) gap years before starting my law degree, because I wanted to gain some practical experience in a law firm & travel the world. This was the best decision I could’ve made for a number of reasons, but foremost it is when I really fell in love with the law.
TLC: Tell us about your journey to how you got to where you are.
LG: I’ve always been someone who says yes to opportunities, and then figures it out later. Having an open mind, and constantly getting out of my comfort zone has had a big impact on my career and taken me from small law firm, to top tier law firm, to now working in-house for the world’s leading beauty company.
My experiences working at a boutique commercial law firm during my gap years was when I developed a ‘fire in my belly’ to succeed as a lawyer. As a fresh faced 18 year old straight out of high school, I was completely thrown in the deep end, but I loved every minute of it. The benefit of working for a small law firm, and one with quite old school ways (cue typewriters & manual trust accounting!), was that I was exposed to every aspect of how a legal practice is run – from accounting, billing client files, preparing and filing court documents to preparing briefs to counsel.
Over the next 5 years I dedicated my time to my studies at Deakin Law School as well as juggling volunteering roles, and working near full time hours. Even though I knew I wanted to be a commercial lawyer, I also enjoyed taking advantage of other opportunities such as volunteering at a Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and Justice Connect (previously PILCH). This was great exposure to new areas of law, and an opportunity to further develop important legal skills. Not only did it add to my technical and soft skill set, it also built up my confidence which was invaluable going into clerkships.
Fast forward a few years, and I started my graduate year at King & Wood Mallesons. I enjoyed my time at KWM and was fortunate to learn from a number of the industry’s leading lawyers. My advice to lawyers early in their careers is to get involved in lots of extra-curricular activities whether its Pro Bono or even a social committee – it’s a great way to get to know other lawyers and build your professional network beyond your immediate team.
The biggest turning point in my career to date came in 2017. In a moment of serendipity, I decided to randomly reach out to the General Counsel of L’Oreal Australia & New Zealand, Anna Lozynski, to see if she was interested in being interviewed for the Happy Lawyer, Happy Life podcast with Clarissa Rayward as part of an event I was organising in my role as President of the Deakin Law School Alumni Executive. Little did I know that this connection (followed by a rigorous application process!) would lead to me joining the in-house legal team at L’Oreal later that year. I haven’t looked back since.
I love the fast-paced and varied nature of my role. Supporting 29 brands in Australia and 19 in New Zealand as well as corporate functions means I am constantly on the go. I advise all pockets of the business from marketing to finance and sales through to the senior executive team, on a variety of matters such as consumer and competition law, privacy & data, intellectual property and general commercial matters.
Being one of a small team of three, I was entrusted with significant responsibility from the beginning. Stretching myself beyond what I previously thought possible, I excelled at a much faster rate than if I was in private practice. Despite some nay-sayers who initially told me it was a risky move to go in-house so early on in my career, taking a non-linear approach to my career has paid off. In less than 18 months I was promoted to Legal Counsel for Australia & New Zealand, and in 2019 I was thrilled to be selected as a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 Awards.
I am also passionate about mentoring and supporting the next generation of young lawyers, and enjoy speaking to students about pathways to becoming an in-house lawyer. I think that Universities and the in-house profession can be doing much more to educate students about the possibilities for a career in-house and also to ensure students are ready for the future by embracing legal innovation, legal tech and automation.
TLC: What is the funniest or weirdest moment you've had in your legal career
LG: In 2018, I travelled to Taipei in Taiwan for our L’Oreal Legal Conference, where all of our lawyers across Asia-Pacific came together for 3 days of knowledge building and sharing and networking. One morning we participated in an ‘Amazing Race’, which saw us running across Taipei in torrential rain and thunderstorms to find all of the clues & complete various activities – last of which included having to sing a traditional Taiwanese song in public!
TLC: What is your one piece of advice to law students of today?
LG: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you – you can make your own magic happen by seeking it out. And network, network, network!