Property Australia

Legal eagle and secret star

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal July 6, 2021

Whether she’s navigating tricky legislation or project trouble-shooting, Paula Noble says communication is everything when you’re a real estate special counsel. What makes this Clayton Utz Secret Star tick?

Paula Noble, Special Counsel, Real Estate, Clayton Utz

Three words to describe my job… Collaborative, challenging and rewarding.

When I explain my role to people outside the property industry, I say… I help my clients bring their visions into reality and develop, manage and transact with places where we can all come together to work, rest and play.

070721 - Story 4 - Secret Stars - Paula NobleMy role in the place-making process can be varied from purchasing or leasing land, to assisting with construction documents and project management, to navigating the tricky legislation that underpins property, to assisting with property management and trouble-shooting when things don't quite go according to plan.

I like to think of my role as a lawyer in the property industry as an enabler, helping my clients work out a strategy and process to achieve their goals and overcome obstacles they encounter.

My kids seem to think my job is either talking on the phone or typing all day and I guess they are right, as the largest part of my job is ensuring lines of communication stay open and my clients’ interests are protected in a way that achieves a commercial outcome.

My three daily work essentials are… My team (they are not only a very clever and dedicated group of people, they are a lot of fun to be around), technology and a smile.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt in my role… Communication is the be all and end all in everything that we do. I've learned that the property industry is an industry that brings together a lot of different fields of work and we all speak a slightly different language. It is critical for the success of the projects that we work on that we take the time to learn the lingo and really understand the critical role that everyone plays.

My career motivation is… I get my motivation and energy from helping my clients navigate challenges and deliver on their goals. There is a level of satisfaction that comes from overcoming challenging legal obstacles or swiftly coming to commercial agreements to meet deadlines or balancing competing interests so that all parties come away from transactions feeling good about the deal!

My advice to others considering a career in my field… Jump right in! The property industry is a fast-paced and ever-changing landscape and as a lawyer in the property industry, we get to be involved in an industry that really knows how to utilise innovation and imagination in a way that changes and shapes the way we all live, work and play.

The building or project that embodies what I do… If I had to pick one, it would be having a part in the redevelopment of Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane. To reuse and repurpose abandoned wharf buildings built in the 1930s into a vibrant, energetic and fun place is really a great example of how the property industry and government are working together. And who doesn't enjoy having a drink in an overwater bar!  

The inspirational quote I live by… I probably live by two quotes that work hand in hand:

“Be the change you want to see in the world” and the classic from Cinderella “Have courage and be kind”. Yes, I've got two daughters, so that movie was a favourite over the years.

This year I’ll be… Busy changing the landscape and how we live, work and play, one deal at a time. And hopefully assisting to get the build-to-rent asset class off the ground in Australia.


Who nominated Paula? Andrew Steele, National Practice Group Leader, Real Estate, Clayton Utz

Why is Paula a Secret Star of Property? Paula is a remarkable person. Motivated, spirited and calm under pressure. Paula is respected by our colleagues and clients alike and is a role model for all in our national team, including all who juggle (or aspire to juggle) the roles of real estate professional and parent. I'm delighted to nominate Paula as a star of property!