Alex Readford

Alex Readford
Senior Lawyer
Australian Government Solicitor

About Alex

I had quite the journey before settling in Canberra, having lived in Western New South Wales (Coonamble and Dubbo), and then Sydney and London. I started my undergraduate studies at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2005 and lived at Burgmann College. For someone who had grown up in country NSW and spent time studying and working in Sydney and London, Canberra was the perfect mix of city life and the great outdoors (including mountain biking, hiking, and skiing) - not to mention home to the Brumbies Rugby Union team.
 
I have mostly stayed in Canberra since my studies, having worked for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science as a Science Officer and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture as a Policy Officer. For the past nine years, I have worked with the Australian Government Solicitor as a Commercial Lawyer. I have advised Australian Government agencies on a range of matters including; the procurement of biodiversity offsets, planning instruments applicable to airport development, contract disputes with environmental consultants, and even advising on a copyright claim involving the song 'I am, you are, we are Australian'.

Area of study

I have undertaken a range of studies across different disciplines, and this reflects my view that todays problems typically require multidisciplinary solutions.

I started studying combined undergraduate degrees in Resource and Environmental Science and Laws (BSc REM and LLB) at ANU. As part of these studies, I completed honors theses on the legislative avenues to acquire water entitlements in Law and using adaptive capacity to assess the socio-economic impacts of mine closures on rural communities in Science.

I then undertook my postgraduate studies, completing Graduate Diplomas of Legal Practice and Business at ANU and a Master of Science in Local Economic Development – focusing on economic geography – at the London School of Economics.

Epic fail

In the early days of my career, sending an email meant for a colleague, to a clients entire organisation via an accidental reply all. It was a valuable lesson, as I learned that mistakes happen and that you should focus on how you respond and deal with these mistakes (and to check addressees before clicking send).  It taught me not to dwell on a mistake, but instead learn from it and move on.

Proudest moment

Undoubtedly, my four years as a member of the Australian Government Solicitor's team advising the Department of Infrastructure, Cities, Transport, and Regional Development on the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport project.

The experience has provided me with an opportunity to use a variety of skills from my studies to help progress the project, from its inception through to the construction stages. After previous attempts and several years, it was satisfying to help the Department successfully progress this project.

Top tip

When you are starting out, make an effort to:

  • pursue your interests and seek out and take opportunities to explore these;
  • establish relationships with mentors who can guide you along the way; and work hard so you can develop your experience early.