Mimma Barila is the managing partner of Sidley’s Sydney office and a partner in the Capital Markets practice area. She is listed in Best Lawyers in Australia in the areas of corporate law, debt capital markets law, and equity capital markets law.
“Moving from Sydney to New York as a junior lawyer is the best decision I’ve made in my professional career. My training, the lawyers I worked with, and the transactions I worked on were exceptional.”
What attracted you to the practice of law and what aspect of your practice do you enjoy the most?
I realized early on that the law wound its way through just about everything we do, and that made it compelling to me. I enjoy how cerebral it is—the analysis, the problem solving, the opportunities to be creative and collaborative, and the adrenaline high of transactional work.
Tell us about a professional goal you are proud of achieving, and what (or who) inspired you to go for it.
I dreamed of living and working abroad, and I knew that if I wanted to excel as a lawyer I would need to work in the biggest and best market in the world for my practice area. Moving from Sydney to New York as a junior lawyer is the best decision I’ve made in my professional career. My training, the lawyers I worked with, and the transactions I worked on were exceptional. Add to that the life experience that comes from moving to a place where you know no one and have opportunities to discover and build new connections and relationships.
What is the most memorable deal you led and what made it so memorable?
Six years ago, I worked on an inaugural bond for an Australian company that had a largely Asia Pacific focus. Over time, it evolved into a global company, and it is now listed on the NYSE. We’ve been involved in a substantial part of that evolution and led the restructure of the company’s entire multibillion-dollar debt platform over the last two years. All of the transactions have been technically challenging and difficult to execute, involving several time zones and law firms. By far the best part has been how we’ve deepened the relationship across the firm, expanding our points of contact from one office to four offices and involving multiple partners and associates in this client’s work.
On a personal note, what has been your go-to self-care activity in this remote work environment?
I try to make time to read. I recalibrate through books. Also, ice cream and a bath. Often, all at the same time.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration or helps you stay centered?
“There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” The Hill We Climb, Amanda Gorman
“…and tho’ We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” Ulysses, Alfred Tennyson