New Zealand Law Society - Garage rocker back home after stint in London

Garage rocker back home after stint in London

A Wellington native, Nick Logan of Quigg Partners, had planned to study history and economics at Victoria University of Wellington alongside his LLB. While he ultimately dropped his history major, Nick continued with economics. As it turns out, the economics slotted alongside his law degree quite nicely.

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After three years of practice, Nick went to the UK to work, to gain experience in a new environment and legal system, spending three years there.

“I thought I would expand my horizons by moving to a foreign exotic country. Instead I moved to London and went on the Waitangi Day pub crawl with my friends from Hutt Valley High School.

“Working at Ernst and Young (EY) in London was an amazing experience. Moving from a boutique firm in Wellington, with around 20 employees, to a multi-national office with over 10,000 employees in the UK alone was a big change.

“It was really interesting to be part of building a legal practice from scratch. I got to work with some fantastic lawyers a lot of whom had been at Magic Circle or other large UK firms but had become disillusioned with working at that type of firm and were looking for something different.” 

What comparisons can you draw between working in the UK and working here?

“It is hard to separate the particular experience I had - and the massive change from a boutique firm to EY - from any particular differences between New Zealand and the UK.

“I found that I was much more willing to turn my hand to new areas of law than my UK colleagues. I love litigation and so I found the split between barristers and solicitors in the UK frustrating.

“One of the things I love about employment law in New Zealand is that we get to take matters all the way through from first being instructed to litigation.”  

Working in these areas can be quite stressful. How do you keep a work/life balance?

“I try as much as possible to do things which are totally unrelated to work and put work ‘in a box’ when I get home – although that can be hard.

“Another thing which I find helpful is having a ‘de-brief/rant’ about things with a colleague (according to a NZLS mental health seminar I attended this might not be that helpful but I continue to do it).

“I play guitar and have a drum kit in my garage so that is also a helpful stress release – but perhaps not for my neighbours.”

You have appeared in the NZ High Court, not too many young lawyers have had this opportunity. How was that experience?

“All of my appearances in the High Court have so far been ‘walk-on roles’. The most interesting appearance was junioring for my colleague and friend Jol Bates.

“The case involved an application for judicial review of a decision of St John’s College to suspend a student for failing to comply with requests to cut his hair. The interesting facts of the case, and an otherwise slow news day, meant the hearing ended up being the lead story on the six o’clock news.

“While our client was successful in his application, my involvement was relatively limited and mainly involved lurking in the background carrying a box of files.

“I was also lucky enough to be involved in Snowdon v Radio New Zealand Limited which included a 47-day substantive hearing in the Employment Court and, more importantly, a great result at the end of it. I think this is likely to be a career high and so I will have to accept I may have peaked at 26 – the fact that Christian Cullen also did makes me feel a bit better about it.”  

What is the best piece of advice you have received, either personally or professionally?

“Being told not to be afraid to make mistakes as long as you learn from them (and don’t make the same mistake again!) stands out as a really valuable piece of advice. It has encouraged me to push into situations which have been a stretch but have also been huge learning opportunities. There also isn’t much point pushing yourself into new situations if you don’t spend time reflecting on what you did well and could have done better.

“Being told not to be afraid of making mistakes also doesn’t mean much unless you work in a team, and for partners, who will support you when the inevitable ‘learning experience’ occurs. Luckily, I have had the good fortune of working for very supportive partners who have always been there for me.”

By Angharad O'Flynn

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