Lisa Pryor

BA 2000, LLB 2004

Lisa Pryor is a journalist, writer and medical student. She is the author of two non-fiction books, The Pin Striped Prison: How overachievers get trapped in corporate jobs they hate and most recently A Small Book About Drugs. She was previously the opinion page editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, where she also wrote a weekly opinion column. She returned to the University of Sydney in 2011 to study medicine. She is the mother of a toddler and a baby.

What made you decide to study law, and why did you choose Sydney Law School?

Wrong reasons and right ones. I had a vision of university as a place where I would sit on the lawns have fascinating conversations with other students and Sydney seemed to be the best place to do this. Also I was interested in the humanities and law seemed like a rigorous, career minded extention of this. And let’s face it, like many others I chose it partly because I got the marks. In spite of all this faulty reasoning I am very glad to this day about the decision I made.

Where has the study of law taken you in your career and/or life in general?

While I was studying I worked at a bunch of big law firms, which taught me that I didn’t want to work at a bunch of big law firms. So I got a job as a trainee journalist at Sydney Morning Herald. As a journalist, my legal training was invaluable because it has given me an understanding of how the courts work, how parliament works, and how laws are passed. Perhaps the most useful thing about a law degree is that it gives people the impression, however misguided, that you are really smart and flash. Sad but true.

What is your fondest memory of your time at Sydney Law School?

Though it sounds like an entry in a high school year book, I have to say the people I met. Law School is nerd heaven because it attracts so many kids who are only doing it because they got the marks. While this is terrible for society, it does mean that you meet lots of smart people with a range of interests beyond mooting.

What one piece of advice would you give to law students today?

Never forget what your real interests are. Law School is an intense and competitive place which attracts intense and competitive people. It is easy to get caught up chasing accolades, such as clerkships and associateships, just to prove you can beat your peers. By all means be ambitious but direct your ambition towards goals you actually care about.