New Zealand Law Society - Biology dissections broke boredom of legal dryness

Biology dissections broke boredom of legal dryness

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Scott Gazley
Scott Gazley

For greyhound-adopting “dad” Scott Gazley it was a done deal the family’s legal name would steer him toward law.

With an uncle as a deputy coroner and a grandfather a prominent courtroom advocate, everyone assumed he would follow in their footsteps.

“My uncle, Mark Gazley, was a doctor and a lawyer, and a former deputy coroner, so he may have inspired it slightly, but more on the legal side,” says Scott, who recently joined Lane Neave in Auckland as a senior associate.

Scott Gazley
Entry to law
Graduated LLB, BSc from Victoria University. Admitted in 2011.
Senior Associate at Lane Neave, Auckland.
Speciality area
Civil and commercial litigation.

Scott’s grandfather, William Vernon (Bill) Gazley, was a prominent player in the Wellington courts in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. “Bill saved clippings from newspapers of cases he was involved with.

“I was always destined to study law - everyone assumed I would, having lawyers in the family. It seemed a done deal.

“I was fortunate because it was easy to work towards that goal. I was lucky enough to pursue one line of study and end up in a job that I loved. I didn’t fancy rebelling against the expectations when the expectations were in line with my personality.

“I did science purely because I have a passion for biology. It augmented law nicely, not just because the law lecturers were quite dry and it was nice to have a break, but there were interesting biology dissections and lectures.

“I have a general interest in science and have a passion for animals, conservation and the outdoors. But science was only ever a passion, and never a career path.”

Scott’s fondness for animals has resulted in him being approved to adopt a retired racing greyhound.

“I will be getting one in my life soon. I know a few people who have adopted greyhounds after they have finished their racing careers and they enjoy it. You get pre-approved after a vetting process, then you are matched to the right greyhound to fit your lifestyle. We are looking forward to it.”

His father Dennis is a retired draughtsman and his mother Frances was a conservationist. His older brother Michael is a geologist, back in Wellington after long stint working in the mines in Australia and working for the Australian government.

Before moving to London, Scott worked for six years on a wide range of civil, commercial and criminal litigation cases. In London he worked at two US firms, starting at Hausfeld and Co, which specialised in competition litigation. “They were fantastic to work with and had an amazing practice of taking on giant corporations on behalf of large groups of underdogs.”

“They funded litigation themselves with the assistance of litigation funders and would pursue multi-plaintiff actions, which was fascinating and rewarding because many of the causes were highly commendable.”

He worked on the long-running anti-competitive global air cargo fuel surcharge cartel, which had repercussions in New Zealand from a regulatory perspective.

The Commerce Commission claimed Air New Zealand and other airlines conspired over eight years to operate and take part in a cartel relating to the imposition of fuel charges on air cargo services around the world.

Ping pong

Scott returned to New Zealand in February after two years overseas, a few weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown began. “I was very fortunate to have the timing work out the way it did, some people were in much less fortunate situations.”

“I was never planning on settling overseas, it was always an experience, with the plan to come back after two years. I ran out the clock in London and came back.”

Scott is getting married in February to Laura Davies, a strategy director at Saatchi and Saatchi. “She has an amazing job and I am jealous of her.”

“Until recently travel has been my number one hobby. In London, Laura and I would be away most weekends taking advantage of the proximity of Europe. Back home my hobbies have reverted to hiking and skiing.

“My favourite hiking spots are Mt Aspiring and the Nelson Lakes. We had a hiking trip to Cascade Saddle and Mt Aspiring as soon as we came back. I did that when I was young with parents, and it is a lot harder now. And Treble Cone at Wanaka is hard to beat for skiing.

“I have been forced to try to get good again at table tennis during lockdown because that was the only sporting equipment I had access to.”

While it is still early days since returning from London, Scott is keen to become involved in professional activities. “Auckland District Law Society runs some excellent committees advocating for some good causes, and the civil litigation committee does excellent work on access to justice issues, which is a real passion of mine.”

Not reading as much as he should, he says “it’s a shame” his last book was an audio book – Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind. “I recommend it.”

“I watch a bit of Netflix, enjoy US political satire Parks and Recreation, and tried to re-watch episodes of Boston Legal but was disappointed to find it hadn’t aged particularly well.

“Taupo and Wanaka are my favourite holiday spots, both for skiing and hiking. The Cascade Saddle hike was in tents but on most hikes we usually stay in DoC huts, which is always quite an experience. In South America and the Italian Alps we stay in refugios, which are much flasher than we have here.

“We have never had to be rescued. I try to avoid that. Our longest hike was 10 days in Peru, which was a slog but you certainly get the rewards for what you put in. That took us right into the most amazing mountains I have experienced.

“My choice of dinner guests would be broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough, American aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart, and American civil rights activist, talk show host and politician Rev Al Sharpton.

“They are all amazing advocates for their various causes and I would learn a lot from them.

“What stands out as memorable to any litigator are the court appearances.

“I’ve been fortunate to appear in District, High and the Court of Appeal – and each time has been a hugely rewarding experience with some amazing jurists on the Bench.

“It is rewarding to advocate a client’s case in front of them and debate points with them. Every court experience I have had has been a memorable one. Getting into court is the pinnacle of any litigation practice.”

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