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Meet new senior associate Lucy Eastoe

Property & Development
Lucy Eastoe introarticle
New senior associate Lucy Eastoe explains how her professional experience as both a lawyer and town planner offers clients a unique understanding of the planning process.

You were a town planner before deciding to study law. What prompted you to switch professions and was it always your intention to be a planning lawyer?

I don’t see my studies and career moves as two separate paths. Whilst I am a lawyer, I am also still a town planner and normally introduce myself to clients as someone who offers both disciplines. 

I decided to study law because, after several years practicing as a planner, I identified a niche in the broader industry. Planning, as a practice, is about physical and social outcomes but it involves an increasingly complex framework of legal processes and hurdles.

My studies and my professional experience across the two disciplines has allowed me to be both a better lawyer and a better planner.

How does your earlier experience enhance the quality of your advice for clients?

Like many planners, I was initially interested in architecture, but soon realised that planning provided the opportunity to be at the forefront of decision-making. I love that planning is an outcome which often derives a physical legacy – for example seeing a permit come to life with the construction of a building.

While the language of planning sounds foreign to those outside the field, the speciality of planning and environment is very practical – the issues and matters are about physical outcomes that people can touch and feel.

I believe my combined planning and legal experience offers clients a rare, holistic understanding of the planning process. 

My studies and my professional experience across the two disciplines has allowed me to be both a better lawyer and a better planner.

You have a particular interest and expertise in Aboriginal cultural heritage. How did that come about, and how do you apply it to your work?

I became interested in the fact that colonial heritage (post European settlement) is preserved through identification – heritage overlay, plaques or some other form of physical identification. Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, on the other hand, is not mapped and, depending on its physical character, not readily identified to the “untrained” eye.

For property developers, this can create a level of uncertainty. I am fortunate to be able to help clients understand the legislative (as well as moral and ethical) requirements and their obligations in the delivery of a particular project. This eases the uncertainty, raises awareness and can actually give a project greater meaning to the client.

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