Danielle Wooltorton


What are your passions outside of the law?

I enjoy the AFL season and coming from Western Australia I am an avid West Coast Eagles fan.  I look forward to going to the football as often as I can, particularly when the Eagles are in town.

If you could only give one bit of advice to new lawyers what would it be?

Take your time – your career is not a race.  Take time to learn, reflect and be open to all opportunities that may come your way.

What would you say are the hazards of this profession?

Law is a demanding profession and with that can come burnout and associated illness both physical and psychological.  You can lose sight of “yourself” in a competitive environment with competing demands.

How do you balance life and work?

I am a big “list maker” so each day I revise my “to do list”.  This keeps me focused at work, and allows me to re-direct my priorities and juggle any competing demands.

There will always be work to do and therefore it’s easy to constantly take work home each night and on weekends.  I find it helpful to set boundaries and have a clear “end time”.

Lastly, it’s important to enjoy your downtime with family and friends, and to make time for yourself.

What is your best tip for maintaining sanity in the law?

Find a job you love!

There will be many different paths that you will take in your career and they all add to your experience and can lead you to a rewarding and satisfying career – it’s ok to take calculated risks.

If you had your time again, would you choose to practice in law?  If not, what else would you choose to do?

I came to law as a second career and I love it.  Yes, I would choose to practice in law however I am very glad that I had a number of years of experience in my first career as a social worker.

However, if I won Tatts lotto I would love to walk dogs everyday at the Lost Dogs Home in North Melbourne!

What makes a lawyer a great lawyer?

Being a good listener.  This might sound easy but it is really important to listen and to “hear” what your client is saying and to understand what they want.

Be professional in all aspects of your behaviour, have a strong work ethic and be honest to yourself.

Danielle Wooltorton works for the Department of Human Services where she is the Business Operations Manager at the Child Protection Litigation Office.  She has a Masters in Commercial Law and worked as a commercial lawyer before moving to DHS.