Hiroko Ito received a Juris Doctor from UNSW in addition to her Masters of Laws in Tokyo. Hiroko was born in Japan, however she has spent most of her life living and working abroad; including in Bangladesh, Russia, France, and finally Australia. Through these contrasting cultural experiences, as well as her hard work and dedication, she now speaks English, Japanese, Russian and French.
Prior to law, Hiroko trained as a professional ballerina at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, where she was awarded the highest grades in all areas of examination, becoming a 'qualified ballet artist'. Hiroko’s love of ballet continues; in her spare time, she dances at a ballet studio and teaches ballet to children on weekends.
After Hiroko’s ballet career, she embarked on a new career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, training as a diplomat in Tokyo and then working at the Embassy of Japan in Australia.
Hiroko currently works as an Australian-qualified solicitor at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), which she joined in 2015.
Hiroko is based in HSF’s Sydney office where she specialises in project and asset finance. She has extensive experience advising on major energy and infrastructure transactions covering a range of sectors, from renewable energy to mining. Hiroko is a key member of the 'HSF Australia-Japan corridor' practice and is a trusted adviser working closely with Japanese clients on their cross-border transactions. In 2017, Hiroko spent six months working in the HSF Tokyo office on secondment, and she regularly travels to Tokyo for client liaison. Hiroko is also a mental health champion and is a true believer in the importance of increasing mental health awareness in the workplace.
The most valuable thing UNSW Law gave me was confidence by providing me with a solid legal, intellectual and social foundation. Having excellent training and incredible support from lecturers, and the culturally diverse students, who are now my best friends, encouraged me to learn and succeed, and to turn to a career as a private practice lawyer. Studying law as an international law student was a difficult period for me as English is my third language, however support from the law school and my friends helped me to prosper and embrace Australian law and the Sydney lifestyle. I am proud of my achievements and choices and look forward to what challenges may come!”