Work Life Quiz: Nicola Yeomans, Herbert Smith Freehills


What was your first-ever job?

Cashier at a local supermarket.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Sharing a small, dark office with no windows with two other trainees. You never knew what time it was and the lights would flicker on and off periodically. It was actually a lot of fun and I remain friends with both guys, although I note neither of them continued with their legal careers…

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

The trainees and associates know all the news, gossip and scandal that’s worth knowing, so I’d need to be close to their offices (which, I might add, have more light than they did in my day.)

What’s your favourite restaurant?

‘1 Altitude’. The best views in Singapore.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?

Artistic gymnastics coach. My only outlet now is to impose myself on my children at the ‘gymbaroo’ – the Australian name for a kids’ gym.

Who’s your hero and why?

My husband. He recently stepped out of his C-suite career in oil and gas to look after our children. He’s the most positive, supportive and generous person I know, an amazing father and a great fun to boot.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The travel.

What’s your biggest work career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Working too hard in my early years. I encourage my team to enjoy life outside work and make the most of the time someone more senior is truly responsible.

What book are you reading?

The Optimistic Child, by Martin Seligman.

If you were stranded on a desert island which two luxury items would you take?

A GPS and a speedboat.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

Three days and three nights.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)…

I’ve crossed the Tunisia-Libya border on foot; I have twins; I can do a backflip.


Name: Nicola Yeomans

Title: Partner

Firm: Herbert Smith Freehills

Lives: Singapore


1996-2000: LLB, BCom, University of Western Australia

2002-05: LLM, University of New South Wales

Work history:

1998-2001: Graduate and paralegal, Freehills, Perth

2001-05: Corporate associate, Freehills, Sydney

2005: Secondment to Takeovers Panel Executive, Melbourne

2006-09: Corporate senior associate, Freehills, Sydney

2009-12: Partner, Freehills, Sydney

2013-present: Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills, Singapore