Cefinn Sirens - Lisa Ing Marinelli

Cefinn Siren
Lisa Ing Marinelli is one of our favourite women on Instagram right now. An accomplished lawyer plus super stylish fashion influencer, we loved spending the morning with her styling our latest collection.

We discussed her career journey from private practice to in-house, plus role models, work dressing, smart shopping, petite styling and her love of fashion.

Tell us a bit about your job and who or what inspired you to become a corporate lawyer?

I am an in-house lawyer at a mobile gaming company. I was hired to lead the M&A legal function which means I help our company buy and sell companies. Prior to joining 20 months ago, I was in a private practice law firm in the city in their corporate department. My practice focused mainly on private M&A and some public corporate work.

To be honest, when I was about 10 years old I saw a character on a TV show acting as a lawyer. She was driving a blue convertible and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. My parents are Chinese immigrants in Canada and were so proud to hear of my chosen career choice. It made them happy so I would say my inspiration was making my parents happy and proud.

What do you enjoy most about your job and what has been a career highlight for you so far?

As a private practice lawyer in a law firm, I never thought I’d like in-house as much as I do. A career highlight has been moving into a high-growth industry and helping the company achieve its ambitious goals. When you work in a law firm, you are an advisor and you only see the clients when they want to buy or sell a company. You lack a wider perspective. Having a commercial acumen and overall corporate strategy really helps develop your practice as a lawyer which you’d never achieve or gain exposure to as an advisor.

My role now gives me far more autonomy and I have a lot of direct responsibility for adding to our bottom line, which I love.


What advice would you give to women who would like a career in law?

Regardless of gender, corporate lawyers do not control their time. It is a regular occurrence of late nights, eating all your meals at your desk and all-nighters when the deal is close to completion. You often put everything else on hold. That hasn’t changed and likely won’t change for a while. To women who want to go into corporate law, I would say you need to quickly learn what your priorities are: are you willing to prioritise your work first sometimes and then shout loud when you need the time off? That’s the sort of thick skin you need in order to ensure you have what you need and not burn out. In particular, when you are a mother.

Other than my current boss who is a fantastic example of balance, I haven’t come across many female role models who have the life I want: success in career AND at home along with being an empathetic and kind human being.

It is definitely possible though! Don’t get turned off if you don’t have a role model to follow – you can be your own! Be prepared and it will work out.

Who or what sparked your love of fashion? Has it always been a passion?

I’ve always loved fashion. When I was growing up, I would get a lot of clothes sent over to me from my family in Hong Kong. The clothes weren’t really in line with North American trends so I would cut or alter the clothes to suit life in Canada.

I would have loved working in fashion but equally, I love having a passion outside of my day-job. I enjoy having versatility in my life. Diversity helps me keep the practical side of fashion alive. When I’m at work, although there is no dress code, I would never wear shorts or hoodies with huge logos all over it. Even though I’m in a gaming company, I still believe that the legal team should reflect a level of professionalism.

Which words would you use to describe your style, and do you have any style icons?

Effortless, pragmatic, value-driven. Definitely love Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Hailey Bieber and Pernille Teisbaek.

What’s your approach when it comes to buying a hardworking wardrobe?

Every purchase I make, whether it’s a £40 dress from Zara or a £1200 sweater from Khaite (I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon again!) I immediately think of at least 3 outfits I’ll be able to wear with it. I know there will be more but if I can’t seem to think of at least 3 then I doubt it’ll work out.

I also sleep on it (unless it’s a difficult to find item) and if I am still thinking about it in a few days, I’ll go back and try to find it. A lot of it is also instinct. If I get the item and I have to do too much to make it work, no matter how much I love the item, I will return it.

How do you juggle being a lawyer and mum with being so incredibly stylish?

I can honestly say most days it really does feel like a juggle - I am constantly trying to keep all the plates spinning at the same time. Being a mother of two young kids and having a demanding job requires a lot of outsourcing. Getting help for the things that take away time from your family really helps.

For most days, including momming days, I try to wear things that are practical but still have some element of ‘fashion’. I’m also not too precious about designer items. I won’t wear a white silk dress to eat spaghetti with my boys but equally I’ll wear my Chanel bag to go out with the kids. Ultimately, clothes were meant to be worn!

Which three words would you use to describe Cefinn?

Timeless, hard-working, foundational. All the items can be worn on their own or by layering together. I love that the pieces can be used a springboard with more trend-driven items in your closet.

Which is your favourite item from your Cefinn edit and why?

Definitely the leather A line skirt. I’ve already worn it again. Leather skirts are such a sound investment; actually, leather in general is so timeless. The shape works so well with boots or heels, or even loafers.