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Venture further with David

3 May 2017

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm originally from Wellington and went to Canterbury University.  I started my journey in 2001 as a summer clerk at Buddle Findlay in Wellington before moving to Auckland as a law clerk.  I am now a partner in the Auckland litigation team and have been at the firm for over 10 years (with a four-year stint overseas as well).  I enjoy all sports and a good work life balance allowed me to play touch rugby for Auckland while I was a junior solicitor.  I'm married with two young children and thoroughly enjoy living in Auckland (but still support the Hurricanes).

As a litigator, what is a typical day at work like for you and what are some of the things you like the most?

I have always enjoyed working in the litigation team at Buddle Findlay.  No day is ever the same.  I could be in client meetings, a court hearing, drafting or reviewing documents or preparing submissions.  I am constantly challenged with difficult legal issues and complex disputes.  I deal with banking and finance, insolvency, construction, property and general corporate disputes so I have to resolve a wide variety of legal problems on a daily basis.  I thoroughly enjoy the critical thinking, contest of ideas and variety of work that I am exposed to every day.  The team around me is fantastic.  They are always positive and enthusiastic, keen to share a joke and willing to work hard to provide a top quality service.

Choosing a law firm can be a big decision, what were some of the factors that led you to choose Buddle Findlay?

I received a summer clerk offer from seven large firms and selected Buddle Findlay.  In my final year at school, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do two days' work experience at Buddle Findlay.  I was immediately attracted to the people I met, the work I was involved with and the atmosphere at the firm.  My initial impressions of the firm were reinforced by the graduate recruitment process, where I met more good people and learnt more about the culture of, and work undertaken by, the firm.

During my summer clerkship I rotated through the Wellington litigation/insolvency team and the employment team.  It was a fantastic opportunity to be exposed to a number of significant pieces of litigation and to meet some great people.  The firm is slightly smaller than the largest firms, which results in a great culture and allows you to get to know everybody in the office, while still being involved in market leading transactions and disputes.

What were some of challenges you faced adapting from university to a law firm?

I'm in the litigation team and, at times, our work involves the same type of research and analysis as University work.  However, there are many striking differences between working as a lawyer and attending University.  Most importantly, the work is practical, not simply theoretical.  You have to learn to consider strategic and commercial issues, rather than simply legal issues.  The factual situations are inevitably more complex and comprehensive than any University exam question.  A significant amount of time is spent understanding a client's circumstances, commercial and strategic issues, before providing any legal advice or dealing with any dispute.

You left Buddle Findlay for a short time during your career, where did you venture off to and what made you return to Buddle Findlay?

After working at Buddle Findlay for several years I decided to travel.  I spent almost four years living and working in London.  I initially worked in the commercial litigation team at Olswang, a relatively young commercial firm specialising in media and entertainment law.  However, most of my time working in London was at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, an international law firm specialising in professional liability litigation.  It was a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anyone.  At both firms, I was exposed to significant international and domestic litigation, involving substantial sums of money and some of the world's leading QCs.  Not only was it an opportunity to gain high quality legal experience but it was also an opportunity to live and work in one of the world's great cities.

Upon returning to New Zealand I received an offer to work at another large law firm but decided to return to Buddle Findlay because of the experience that I had before I left.  The people are great and it was definitely the right fit for me.

What are some of the best memories you have from your time here at Buddle Findlay?

The best memories I have of working at Buddle Findlay are of the aspirational people that I work with.  There have been many occasions when I have been incredibly impressed with how difficult issues have been dealt with and resolved.

One recent piece of work that is particularly hard to forget was the execution of search orders in New Plymouth.  I led a team of five lawyers from Buddle Findlay following our appointment as the independent solicitors who were required to assist with execution of search orders at five locations contemporaneously.  Executing the search orders involved us obtaining access to each of the relevant premises and then working with a specialist IT team to secure all necessary evidence from the computer systems located at those premises.  It was certainly a challenging experience and more action packed that my usual day at the office.

What would your advice be to those embarking on a summer clerkship?

Meet as many people as you can, involve yourself in as broad a range of work as possible, have an open mind and be willing to learn.  As a summer clerk you may not have a clear view on what area of law you want to work in or what type of team will suit you.  Use the opportunity to find out what you like (and do not like) and the type of people you like to work with.

David Broadmore is a partner in our Auckland litigation team.

For more information on our 2017 summer clerk programme visit venturefurther.co.nz.