The legal life – meet James Donoghue

11 February 2020

Meet Rigby Cooke’s Corporate & Commercial Partner James Donoghue, who has over 30 years of experience in managing large corporate and project development transactions both within Australia and overseas. James shares his career highlights and some thoughts for those just starting out in their legal career.

James Donoghue

Last good book, podcast or film? 

I have just finished reading ‘The Spy and the Traitor’ by Ben Macintyre. It’s a true story about Colonel Oleg Gordievsky, the chief of the KGB’s London station, who was recruited by MI6 to spy for the British. A great read about espionage, counter-espionage, treachery and principles. For something lighter and a good holiday read, I’ve been enjoying Garry Disher’s novels about murders and other crimes on the Mornington Peninsula.

When do your best ideas come?  

When I’m asleep. I wake up with some great ideas!

What is the best piece of advice you can give lawyers starting out today?

Learn how to network. All trained lawyers can ‘do the job’ but the most successful lawyers as the ones ‘who create the jobs’. When I began, this was not so much an issue. Now it is an imperative.

What has been a career highlight?  

Working as a general counsel for an international mining joining venture building the first-ever large scale mining project in Argentina (in the foothills of the Andres) involving the development of a mine, a 350km pipeline, a 480km railway and a deepwater port. My wife and I had a terrific experience of living in Buenos Aires for 3 years – although with my workload she didn’t see much of me. A close second, working as a lawyer in private practice in London for 5 years.

What are your goals for 2020?

Continuing to build the firm’s reputation in mergers & acquisitions. Our profile is steadily increasing, evidenced by the significant transactions coming our way – but there is more we can achieve.