Five minutes with… Philip Maw, Wynn Williams

by NZ Lawyer13 Oct 2014
Wynn Williams resource management & local government partner Philip Maw tells NZ Lawyer about his secret passion for lawn mowing, and the best piece of legal advice he’s received

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Having headed off to University to study Science, I needed to find an extra paper to complete my first year's timetable. Law looked interesting and fitted in the time slot. I really enjoyed first year law, and decided to continue studying law, together with Science, and graduated LLB/B.Sc.

How long have you worked at Wynn Williams for and what brought you to that position?
I've been at Wynn Williams for ten and a half years. Towards the end of my studies I was looking for a position where I could use both my Law degree and my Science degree. Wynn Williams had an excellent reputation in the field of environmental law, and that seemed like a good fit. My science degree has been very useful in this area of law.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Roger Federer; I have questions about his one-handed back hand. Jimmy Carr; a very funny man who takes delight in stretching the bounds of acceptable humour.  And Lily Allen; out of intrigue.  

You’re based in Christchurch – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
One of the most exciting things happening in Christchurch post-earthquakes is the opening of new bars and restaurants. A particular favourite of mine at the moment is Tequila Mockingbird – great cocktails, and an interesting twist on Latin cuisine. Orleans in Stranges Lane is also worth a visit.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
A now retired former     partner of mine told me as a new lawyer that "No one client is worth your reputation". Great advice that has stood the test of time.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
 I'm particularly interested in a boat that I purchased with one of my partners. The boat is a Hobbie 16 and is ready to race. However, due to an extreme lack of competence on my part, the boat sits idly in the driveway at home. Guilt is getting the better of me though, so watch out this sailing season – there will be a new crew chasing everybody home.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be… the proud owner of a lawn mowing franchise. There are few things more satisfying than crafting a well mown lawn.

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Vow to fix all of the roads in Christchurch. I'm not sure my suspension can take too much more.  

What do you love about your job?  
The opportunity to influence the planning landscape throughout New Zealand, particularly in the freshwater management space. Environmental law is one of the few areas of law where you look forward into the future, rather than debate what has happened in the past. This forward looking aspect means that innovative solutions can be found to existing problems. Being a part of that is very exciting and hugely rewarding.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
Find a wealthy client called procrastination. That way I could charge for those missing units each day.