Five minutes with… Elliot Goldman

by Samantha Woodhill19 Oct 2015
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Well, I decided I needed a job. Basically, I’d been a ski instructor and then went to law school. When I was a ski instructor, I quite liked dealing with people so I chose to become a lawyer as you could deal with interesting people on a day-to-day basis.
How long have you worked at Goldman Legal and what brought you to this position?
I established Goldman Legal three and a half years ago. I was previously an associate at another Queenstown firm. I had gotten to the stage where I felt that it was in my destiny to start my own practice and be master of my own shit.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
I’d say it’s probably some of the immigration matters that I’ve dealt with. You get situations where people just have very unusual sets of circumstances and those have a direct implication on their immigration status. It’s just a combination of their circumstances – the fact that they might be about to be deported. I’ve had situations where people have invested huge amounts of money in New Zealand and because of the bureaucratic nature of immigration rules, they end up having difficulties trying to get their residency.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
I’d probably say Steve Jobs, Robert De Niro and Jordan Spieth, the golfer. I think between the three of them they just represent the right combination of intellect, sporting prowess and sheer mentality.
Where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work in Queenstown?
I’d probably say Brazz in Queenstown. It’s always been a great place to go to – social, really good service and they’ve got bottled Heineken there.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
Finding clients, minding clients and making sure you’re getting paid. Focus on those three core areas rather than complicating matters. Just keep it simple.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Yes, I’m a keen golfer. Also, my wife and I have a pet – a mini schnauzer. I enjoy spending time with him. He’s actually a mini schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Maltese cross. One of those dogs that just makes you feel really good.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A professional golfer on the main PGA Tour. I’m pretty average now. Unfortunately, golf takes a lot of time and I just don’t have time to play a lot. But then again, I’m in Queenstown and we’ve got golf course everywhere so there should be no excuse not to just go play.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2015?
As a property lawyer, the introduction of the Bright Line income tax rules. I can say that’s going to be huge for us from the first of October. It’s going to dramatically change the nature of how you deal with property transactions. So now we’re no longer going to be providing due diligence and going through the settlement formalities; in fact there’s going to be a much greater onus on the level of enquiry you have with your clients about their intentions of buying or selling property than there ever has been, at least in the time I’ve been a practicing lawyer.
If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
I would dictate that every New Zealand citizen needs to take at least twenty minutes out of the day to go for a good brisk walk around the block. They’d also have to do five minutes of meditation and eat healthier. I would also make it free for everyone to have the Headspace app on their phones.
What do you love about your job?
The people. Varied, interesting people.
What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I would try to clone myself so I could go on vacation more.