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Patrizia Diacci: “People usually expect a sports lawyer to be a man. Let’s change their thoughts!”

Do you think being a lawyer is just a boring nine-to-five desk job? Patrizia Diacci, Senior Associate at Bergs&More, proves you wrong.

Being a lawyer requests hard commitment, devotion, and inevitably many hours at the office. However, having the chance to work in the sports field, gives you the opportunity to be present at events with athletes and teams - which is certainly more exciting!

“I’m a very active person - I wake up early because I want to make the most of the day,” she tells Females in Motorsport. “I have a lot of interests and I always try to do everything that comes into my mind, that’s why I try to sleep only the strictly necessary hours.

“I try to train in the morning before the day starts; it gives me energy and it puts me in a good mood. I’ve already checked one thing off my to-do list. Weekends? Chaos. I can’t stop - I consider each day as a different challenge. The important thing is to not stand still.”

It goes without saying that such a dynamic individual ended up working in motorsport, given how fast-paced and challenging this industry is.

“Sports has always been part of my life since I was a child,” she says. “Principally thanks to my family, I’ve always followed and practised different ones. All my free time was dedicated either to taking part in sports events or in practising different disciplines. I didn’t think watching Formula 1 and MotoGP races with my friends and family would have shaped me that much once I got older.”

After finishing high school, Patrizia enrolled at Università degli Studi di Padova to study Law.

“I was going through a hard time in my private life and I needed to focus on something challenging yet rewarding - that’s probably one of the reasons I chose to study Law,” she says. “Right before University started, I flew abroad for a couple of months to do something completely different. I needed to switch off my brain to be ready to face this new challenge: becoming a lawyer. I certainly didn’t know in which field I would be working, but I was sure of one thing: I would have liked to do something unconventional and open up to the rest of the world.

“The path to becoming a national lawyer doesn’t offer many travel opportunities or international connections. I needed to get in touch with different cultures and do something different.”

After working at a national level and attending a couple of Italian Sports Law courses, she moved abroad to attend an International Sports Law Masters at ‘ISDE - Law & Business School’ in Madrid.

“Studying abroad opened lots of new opportunities,” she says. “I met so many amazing people I’m still in contact with. International networking is so important, especially in the sports industry.”

Patrizia later moved to London to work for a well-recognized sports law firm.

“It was the most amazing time of my professional life,” she says. “In order to be able to grow professionally and personally, you have to open yourself to the world.”

Currently, Patrizia is a Senior Associate at Bergs&More, working in the sports department. She takes care of several motorsport clients, such as drivers, teams, and other stakeholders in this field. When asked about gender discrimination in the industry, Patrizia says that she’s never faced any apart from an initial prejudice.

“Most people expect a sports lawyer to be a man,” she says. “I do not think that being a woman in this field can be disadvantageous. The important thing, whether you are a man or a woman, is to behave properly and show you are professionally prepared. I’ve never felt as if I was less worthy than my male colleagues.”

Being a lawyer means that you have to deal with different parties and it might not be easy to come to an agreement.

“Empathy is an essential skill in these situations,” she says. “Women tend to be more naturally prone to understand the counterpart’s needs and this may actually play to our advantage”.

Patrizia believes each industry can be women-friendly, if not, you shouldn’t stop from trying.

“I’m a lawyer, passionate about sports,” she says. “I’m a woman but this doesn’t mean I’m different from other male lawyers. We might have different personality traits that influence our approach but this isn’t a negative thing.”

Dedication and competence are another two elements that Patrizia lists as must-haves.

“It’s a draining job that requires long hours but it’s also extremely rewarding,” she says. “While great rationality is required, I live on emotions. Every single event, every negotiation, and every finish line is an emotion. Having the possibility to ‘live’ on track what you worked on for months is the best feeling.”

When asked about what kind of advice she would give to her younger self, Patrizia replies, “if that’s what you really want, keep going and don’t stop at the first obstacle!”

“Determination is the key to reaching your desires,” she says. “No one gives anything away for free but if you work hard, you’ll certainly have more opportunities to achieve your objectives. Sure, there will be obstacles and things you won’t be able to get, but at least you’ve done your best. In the worst scenario, you’ll have learnt something for your next goal.”

“Also, don’t forget to face every difficulty with a smile on your face. In my opinion, kindness and brightness are good weapons to deal with each work day, good and bad ones.”

Last but not least, Patrizia underlines the importance of keeping small gratifications along the way. “This way, the journey to the top will feel less unreachable.”

“Regardless of the difficulties, there are very few things in life in which you can only surrender and accept the outcome,” she says. ”For all the rest, it’s on you.”

To find out more about Bergs&More click here.


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