Episode 26: Sharon Chandra talks family law, the role of happiness in productivity, and the utopia we might face towards

In this episode I talked to Sharon Chandra about family law, how productive a happy lawyer can be, flexible working conditions, gender and age bias, the basis on which you might choose jobs early in your career, and her hope that more law firms will shift from a top down management approach to a conversational approach (a hope I enthusiastically second).  

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News update - New advice column for LexisNexis / Podcast now on Spotify

I am so excited to be able to announce that I am writing an advice column ("Dear Katie") for LexisNexis on their platform for law students and graduates, Learn Law Life.  This is a platform covering topics like study and careers and wellbeing and life as a law student and new lawyer, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.  I have already written four of the columns and they have been super fun.  I am so glad to be able to write for places that let me be human and use phrases like "dumb dumbs" if I want.  You can read my first column here

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Episode 25 - MP Duncan Webb talks how to do good, the academic track, and becoming an MP

In this episode I talked to Duncan Webb, MP for Christchurch Central and co-author of your ethics textbook, about his career as a litigation lawyer, academic and now Parliamentarian.  We talked about how you can make a difference in non-traditional routes, what he wish he'd known from the beginning (nothing more than he did), his work for Christchurch homeowners in earthquake cases, how he once took down a gaming trust, and much more.

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Column 919 - Networking for those who hate networking

This month's column deals with a topic I hate: networking.  I get asked how to network if you hate networking quite a lot, and this really is my best answer.  Networking is horrible because it takes the humanity out of social interactions and replaces it with salesmanship.  Nobody likes a salesman (our brains go on high alert when we think we're being sold) and most people don't like selling.  But, dear readers, there are other ways to peel an orange, and this is mine.  This is a method that can still technically be called networking but is really just hanging out with cool people and learning fun things.  Granted, it starts out a bit scary, but boy does it deliver. 

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Column 918: Join the giving lifestyle today. Now, with boundaries!

You can now read this month's column here, in which I talk about how living from a place of giving, when coupled with beautifully strong and reinforced boundaries, can be the most promising and enjoyable way to be, not to mention the most likely to be successful.  

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Episode 24 - Brigadier Lisa Ferriss talks practising law in the army, applied international law, and finding ways to practise what you love

This episode was so full of joy, and has filled my mind with all kinds of sparks and excitement since we recorded it a few weeks ago.  Lisa is the Director of Defence Legal Services and Military Prosecutions and boy does she have an interesting career to talk about.  We talked how law is used in the army, military codes, international law, Lisa's experience as a woman of colour in the army, and how studying things you love can bring unexpected joy later down the line.  It was wonderful, and I am so grateful to Lisa for sharing her insights into this very different way of using one's law degree.

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Episode 23: Zylpha talks second career perspectives, bullying and harassment, and the NZLS work to address it

In this episode I met with Zylpha, a second career lawyer now working for the Canterbury-Westland branch of NZLS and, among other things, manning the Law Care phone line (0800 0800 28, more information below).  Before studying law she worked in banking, and we had fun saying "hmmm" and stroking our chins about highly hierarchical, power-based employment cultures.  We also talked about the big picture problem of harassment and bullying and the complex way those issues can and should be (and are being!) examined, including NZLS work to assist those suffering from it right now.

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Column 916 - It's not that bad, except it is

Phew.  Well.  The topic of this column is the culture I observed in the legal profession and how the worst wrongs sit atop giant below-surface ice bergs of smaller wrongs gone un-examined.  It's a topic that has been burning a hole in me for quite some time but one I haven't felt able to discuss.  Which is kind of the point.  (You can read it here.)

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Column 915 - Watch out for lawyer creep

This column is about keeping your lawyer skills within the lawyer domain as much as possible, and not letting them leech into other areas where they may not be as useful.  Of course, when I wrote this column back in January (a simpler time when Me Too and Times Up were but months and weeks old), the New Zealand legal profession was not grappling quite so directly with the issue of lawyer creeps, so the title is now a little unfortunate. 

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Episode 22 - CA President Justice Kós talks speaking up in court, the importance of being a teacher while remaining a student, and big picture reforms he would like to see

In this episode I speak with Justice Kós, sitting President of the Court of Appeal, and at different times a litigator, an academic, and a teacher.  We talked about his reasons for becoming a lawyer (another count for "good at English"), and his reasons for staying one (law as vocation); his perspective on the bench, both from appearing in front of it and sitting behind it; reforms to the civil system that promise increased access to justice and reforms to the criminal system that promise greater justice full stop; how his upbringing as the child of a refugee helped form his view of New Zealand and the importance of its democratic norms and institutions; and what he has learned as a student of those who came before and a teacher of those who are coming up the ranks now.  

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Episode 21 - Shaun talks big workplaces, second careers, and how to handle mistakes

I sat down for this lovely chat with Shaun, a senior solicitor in the employment/litigation team at a big firm, formerly an officer in the New Zealand army.  We talked fit in big organisations, second careers and how to choose them, working parenthood, how to get the most from your supervisor and how to handle the worst thing that can possibly happen: mistakes (note: not the worst thing that can possibly happen, even if your brain is telling you otherwise.)

We also talked about Shaun's recent experience with the prestigious Pegasus Scholarship, which you can read about over here, and touched a little on what it might be like to practise law in the military, which you can read more about over here.

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Column 914: You do not have to be a lawyer

Hello friends - isn't 2018 cosy so far?  I bring you today the first column of the year, with the year's first podcast episode to come next week.

This column deals with a subject close to my heart: not having to be a lawyer.  I hope that this news (if it is news) will make you feel relieved and/or excited.  You can read below...

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Episode 20: Nichola from the Law Commission talks public service, finding your fit, and working parenthood

I am loathe to say it is a Christmas miracle, but...it's a Christmas miracle!  The podcast returns!  Now with monthly episodes, hopefully increasing to a higher frequency next year.  It feels really good.  Thank you to the many of you who reached out to me during the hiatus - you are wonderful.

In this episode I spoke to Nichola, a senior legal and policy advisor for the Law Commission with a background in private practice in New Zealand and the UK.  We talked working in the UK vs working here, working in private firms vs public service, and big firms vs small, all of which came down to that beautiful notion of finding your fit.  Nichola is also a parent to two wee boys and we talked about how she has navigated family life and work life.  It was a joyful and utterly delightful discussion that goes quite nicely with the end of year wind down.  

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A longer winter break / WYLC mental health panel

Hello my lovely listeners.  Just a quick check in to say that instead of returning this week we will in fact be taking an indefinite hiatus while I give full attention to a health issue I am dealing with.  I do have some wonderful guests scheduled to record later in the year but just when we will be recording and releasing those episodes I do not know yet.  Stay subscribed to the podcast feed or to Facebook or Twitter and you will know when we start back up.

In the meantime, subject to that health issue, I am appearing on the Wellington Young Lawyer Committee panel on junior lawyer mental health and wellbeing on 16 August, so if you want a podcast-like fix and you are in Wellington, please come!  You can book here.

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Episode 19: Solicitor Chris talks the joy of innovation, lawyerly risk aversion, and alternative career paths

This episode was all about innovation in law, a topic I and my guest Chris get very excited about.  It includes a brainstorm on how to balance the need for innovation with good ol' lawyerly risk aversion.  In researching for this episode I came across a press release for a 2016 report on innovation in Australasia that includes the sentence, "The majority of Australasian law firms rate themselves as innovative but there is little evidence to support this claim...". However, it is not all bleak; below are some examples of lawyers already thinking differently and doing cool things to modernise how law is practised.  Again, I must emphasise my recommendation that all lawyers read the Marque Lawyers website in its wonderful entirety.  

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Episode 18: Julia Batchelor-Smith talks construction law, non-linear careers and hard core self care

In this episode I sat down with the lawyer self care guru herself, Julia Batchelor-Smith, to talk all things self care, balance and contentment (and nerd out about the Construction Contracts Act; apologies).  We covered some GREAT stuff, including non-linear careers, taking time out to do crazy always-wanted-to ventures, parenting and lawyering, microcredentialing (Katie learns a word), how to keep on top of stress, how to manage mistakes, financial literacy and the business of Spanx.

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Episode 17 - NZLS President Kathryn Beck talks employment law, the future of New Zealand lawyers, and loving your work

Hello again beautiful listeners.  This episode I went to Auckland to sit down with the Law Society's current president, Kathryn Beck, who is also a partner at employment firm SBM Legal.  We had a delicious wide-ranging conversation about her career as an employment lawyer, her longstanding involvement in different parts of the Law Society, her vision for the best future for law in New Zealand, her advice to new lawyers, her thoughts on mental health for lawyers, and her joy and love for the practice of law.  It is always wonderful to watch someone who loves what they do, do what they do, and now you all get to listen along to that too.  There is so much in this discussion, feel free to take it in bits if need be, with breaks for refreshment etc. 

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Email your questions to katie@thenewlawyer.co.nz 

 

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