The first lawyer in his family, Myles Snaddon was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in December 2016.
Growing up in Napier, after attending Napier Boys’ High School, Myles then moved to Wellington to attend Victoria University of Wellington. Here he gained an LLB and BCom in economics and finance. He now works in the Corporate/Commercial Team at Simpson Grierson's Wellington Office.
When did you make the decision to become a lawyer?
“My fourth form teacher recommended it to me. He really planted the idea, and so I thought it was something worth pursuing. I gave it a go at university and initially found it challenging, but as I went through I enjoyed it more and more, in particular, any papers that were commercially focused.”
Myles did a summer clerkship and says “…this cemented for me that being a lawyer was what I wanted to do.”
What drew you toward commercial law?“
"I enjoy the variety of work we have; there's very little repetition which means you're constantly learning new things. I found that once I started working that there were many different aspects to being a commercial lawyer that suited me.
“I've been lucky to work for a range of different clients including big companies, government departments and charities. Being in the corporate/commercial team has also allowed me to combine the skills I gained from both my degrees.”
After finishing your studies, did you find the job matched the expectations you had in law school?
“Law school and the professional legal studies course can only take you so far - I believe I've learned so much in my first year of work.
“One example where my expectations were exceeded was the focus on writing in plain English. I would say that my writing style has changed significantly (for the better!) as a result.”
Is there anything you wish you learnt in law school that wasn’t covered?
“Perhaps more focus on how to write.
“… I think, especially early on at law school, those who had a really good style of writing found it a lot easier. I know that there are legal research and writing courses offered but I believe more emphasis is needed on the writing aspect.
“When I was at university the focus really was on how to use the online research tools…In saying that I learned a lot from law school. It taught me how to think. There's always that tension of what law school is meant to do, is it meant to teach skills and educate people about the law or is it meant to produce lawyers?”
Are there any issues currently facing the legal profession/ young lawyers that you would like to highlight?
“I was really shocked when I read Josh Pemberton's report on the experiences of junior lawyers in the profession.
“One of the big statistics for me was that roughly 55% of junior lawyers don't plan on being in the profession in 10 years. It shows that a lot of people either aren't satisfied with their work or are having a bad time.
“For a lot of people, I think this changes the longer they are in practice. But it does highlight that we need to look after our junior lawyers, both at an employer level and as a profession.
“I'm incredibly lucky to have really engaging work and to have great colleagues who are passionate about what they do – that rubs off on you.”
And how do you disengage from an intense day of work?
“After an intense day, I really like catching up with my friends or coming home and catching up with my flatmates.”
Myles also likes to keep fit: “I'm pretty big on running, getting a bit of fresh air and to get a bit of space.” He’s also a movie buff, saying “I have a really good memory for people who were in films, the year the film came out etc. So, any pub quiz I'm all over any film section.”
Since you’ve been actively involved in the law since early on in your studies, any advice for new graduates?
“I'd say make the most of the opportunities available to you, get involved as much as possible both inside work and outside.
“At work, I'd recommend trying a range of different practice areas early on in your career, if you can. This really gives you an understanding of different areas and the opportunities available to you. It also helps you see the bigger picture and how connected different areas of the law can be.”
Putting emphasis on education in the workplace Myles explains, “Learn as much as possible from different people. The Partners and Senior Associates have a lot to offer from their own experience. Take on their advice.”
“Applying the law in practice is a lot different to university, you'll make mistakes and it will take time to adjust, but that's part of learning.”
Ending with probably a very sound piece of advice, “Make sure to have a laugh and enjoy yourself.”