New Zealand Law Society - Guitar-strumming, opera singing social boatie and the mystery of the house cat

Guitar-strumming, opera singing social boatie and the mystery of the house cat

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James Glover
James Glover

Wannabe opera singer James Glover shares his Auckland flat with a bunch of self-teaching guitarists strumming along to lessons on YouTube.

“All my flatmates bought acoustic guitars and we are all strumming along at night concentrating on trying to learn the A, D and E chords. I’ve no idea what the neighbours think,” says James, who was recently made senior associate at Chapman Tripp in Auckland, after joining the firm just four months ago.

“The steel strings are hard on the fingers. I don’t know if I will sing along, I’m working on playing the thing first. The guitar is all new to me.”

James Edward Arthur (James) Glover
Entry to law
Graduated BA and LLB (Hons) from Canterbury University in 2012. Admitted in 2012.
Senior Associate at Chapman Tripp, Auckland.
Speciality area
Private clients, trusts and succession planning.

Growing up listening to and inspired by his Mum’s favourite, blind Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, James enjoyed singing at Christchurch Boys’ High School in Christchurch.

“I always wanted to be an opera singer and was in choirs at school. I’m a tenor and sang briefly in the Canterbury Youth Opera. But if you want to be in an operatic production you have to give it four to five hours a day, which I couldn’t.”

James occasionally bursts into opera for friends, while happy to listen to any popular music, including Oasis and English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys.

“When reading all day you want to turn off. But I like fiction and non-fiction, historical books and art history. Art history was my favourite subject at school. I’ve always liked Impressionism. No particular painters and I don’t collect, but maybe one day when I have the coinage.”

James’ family moved to New Zealand from Australia when he was about 10. The first lawyer in his family – “my sister studied law but she was smart enough not to become a lawyer” – his brother-in-law Thomas Joseph, a member of the well-known Joseph clan of lawyers, is a senior solicitor in Chapman Tripp’s Christchurch office.

“I was attracted to law because I wasn’t any good at maths (his father is an accountant) so there was not any choice. I always enjoyed English-based subjects at school - history and art history – so law seemed a natural progression and I decided to give it a go.

“In private client work around trusts and succession planning I enjoy helping people. There are a lot of memorable and challenging situations helping people in their time of need.

“Sometimes you are sitting across the room with people diagnosed with terminal illnesses and going through strife. They leave knowing their affairs are in order and you have made a difference in their life.”

With family in Geraldine, James’ mother and grandmother – whom he describes as “very much Ballantynes ladies” – were unfazed when earthquakes closed their beloved Ballantynes department store in Christchurch as it meant a road trip to another branch.

“They would make the trip to Timaru to get their dose of Ballantynes at the branch there – and the tearooms.”

Speed boat

A keen school rugby player who swims to keep fit, James spends weekends on the water with his landscape designer and engineer flatmates – one of whom bought a speed boat.

“It’s a social boat. We all chipped in to make sure it has all the safety features and not going to sink. We hoon around in that, do a bit of fishing and are expecting to do a few trips to Waiheke this summer.”

With church on Sunday and a flat next to Cheltenham beach in Devonport, there’s not much time spent watching television. “If we’re not on the water we’re on the deck. I’ve always flatted with randoms and enjoyed meeting new people. Some of my best friends I’ve met through flatting.

“We inherited a grey cat called Bubbles with the flat. No one in the street knows much about Bubbles but its bit of an urban myth and legend.”

James occasionally drops into The Vic, in Devonport, New Zealand’s oldest operating purpose-built picture theatre – “Where sometimes they forget to turn on the movie. It sort of works in its own time.”

With his 2004 VW Golf giving him “no end of trouble”, he drives everywhere - to the shops and ferry terminal. “I probably should be biking but I’m not into that.”

He is well-travelled in Europe and the United Kingdom, where he has friends in London and distant relatives in Findochty (pronounced fin-eck-tay), a fishing village on the Moray Firth, on Scotland’s north east coast.

“It’s a lovely part of Scotland where time has stood still and you feel you are going back 20 years. But Findochty is full of Mercedes and all the latest cars, with holiday homes for people from London.”

Travel to Asia or South America is on the cards in the next six months.

“I enjoy travelling within New Zealand – to Rotorua and Hastings – and it’s good to get home to Christchurch from time to time.

“I went down to Christchurch in June to see the annual Boys’ High and Christ’s College rugby match, which we lost for the first time in many years. We always gave College a good 30 to 40 points hammering when I was there.”

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