Dog control lawyering and Kayne for dinner

by NZ Lawyer21 Mar 2016
Five minutes with Chapman Tripp partner Luke Hinchey.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I was good at English, enjoyed reading and arguing, loved people and didn’t mind working hard.  It seemed a logical fit.  I may have also watched a few too many episodes of LA Law and was drawn in by the glamour (I found out it is not really like that).

How long have you worked at Chapman Tripp and what brought you to this position?
It has been seven fantastic years. I moved back to Chapman Tripp following five years in big London firms.  I wanted to stick with the big firm model as enjoy working with lots of talented people on high profile issues affecting the country. The firm also had a well-respected resource management practice and a great reputation more generally.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
I started out doing some dog control work as a junior lawyer working for council clients.  This inevitably meant a few dogs ‘didn’t make it’, but I think I saved a few cats and small children, which helps me sleep at night.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
So many choices. It would have to be a singer from the 60s-70s given my passion for this era of music (possibly Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger or John Lennon), Marco Pierre White, as he could do the cooking and I love good food, and someone to educate and entertain: Kayne West (can Kim come too?).

You’re based in Auckland – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
Auckland is forever coming up with great new places, so my wife and I dine out across the city at a wide variety of restaurants. The meat platters at the Culpepper and Jervois Steak House are  The Federal Street dining precinct has a bunch of great restaurants. Depot is probably my favourite – lamb ribs with skordalia and cumin paprika oil. Delicious.

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
Worrying is a wasted emotion. Avoid, remedy or mitigate the issue instead (but I am a resource management lawyer, so would say that).  I admit though that it is sometimes easier said than done!

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I am a very keen surfer, so try to get out to the beach every week if the surf is good. Surfing takes you completely away, is great for fitness and encourages you to travel to some amazing destinations across the country and planet. I have made some great friends surfing too.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Unhappy.  It is a great occupation. Well maybe being on the world surfing tour would be okay too.

What do you think will be the single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2015?
The legal industry is so diverse, I think it would be risky for me to name one issue. My particular part of the legal industry (resource management/environmental) is going through some major legislative reforms this year and an even bigger review is underway to rethink planning processes and smart management of resources. Managing major growth, particularly in Auckland, while preserving New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and environments is going to be challenging over the coming years. Fortunately, I am optimistic given the talent in our industry.

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
I would probably take a moment to recognise and appreciate the magnitude of the job.  I don’t know how he keeps a smile on his face. Second on the list would be to redo the flag debate. I like the idea of change, but feel the overall campaign divided the country unnecessarily by providing too much choice.

What do you love about your job?
I love the dynamic nature of resource management and environmental law.  The world is constantly changing, particularly in the last 100 years and there is no let-up in sight. My industry is at the forefront of resolving difficult environmental issues. The work I do helping my clients also improves people’s lives and contributes to New Zealand Inc.  I also love the intellectual challenges and working with multi-disciplinary teams.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I want to get one of those ‘stand up, sit down’ desks.  That probably suggests things are pretty good overall.