Five minutes with... Laura Scampion

by NZ Lawyer23 Mar 2015
What made you decide to become a lawyer?

I have always liked to read, write, talk and argue. I am results driven. I like to win. I like people. Seemed like a good fit.

How long have you worked at DLA Piper New Zealand for and what brought you to that position?

I have been with the firm almost four years - it was my first role on arriving back from London after nearly a decade there. I was a little worried about returning to a New Zealand market that might be lacking global 'action' (from a legal perspective) because I had been involved in so much cross border work in London. The firm was the perfect choice - DLA Piper is such a high profile firm in the UK, I was really excited that it was represented here. Now, based in Auckland, I have a good amount of cross border work and many of my clients are global entities. I'm back in my comfort zone.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?

I can't divulge too many details but it was in London and involved a gold boardroom table that sat on ridiculously white shag pile carpet, a premiership football manager, the club's board, a lot of Cristal champagne, Habanos and a day long negotiation over whether a liquidated damages clause was a penalty clause. Not so much 'strange' I suppose but a totally crazy environment in which to do a deal.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?

I'm not big on celebrity (dead or alive) and I'm not mad keen on dinner parties either so it'll have to be a bonfire on the beach. If I couldn't have family or friends, I'd want an amazing storyteller (think Scheherazade from Arabian nights), a musician and someone who could shuck oysters all night and pour the chardonnay.  

You’re based in Auckland – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?

There’s no way I could reveal the name or location of that place. What I can say is there is a lot of black sand, huge dunes, a caravan that does the best burgers on Auckland's west coast and live music in the evening during the summer. It's BYO. Although being in the city is part of the job, the outskirts of the city are where the goodness is.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?

Don’t criticise what you can't understand. Advice given to me by a family member a long time ago. Originally Bob Dylan’s of course. Good advice too - work or personal.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work? 

At this time of year if I'm not at work you will probably find me in the surf. I got a new board for a recent birthday and I have thrashed it all summer (with enthusiasm rather than skill mind).  The best thing about being out in the line-up is that you can't really think about much else other than what’s going on around you. It’s the perfect meditation.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer…

I would own and operate a very successful sarong shop on the beach in Bali. Staffed by others during the day of course. Either that or I would still be searching for that career in the performing arts that eluded me 20 years ago…probably for good reason.

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?

I would introduce an initiative to make sure every child in New Zealand has breakfast and lunch every day. I'm dreaming I know but it breaks my heart to think that there are kids in New Zealand trying to learn without food in their bellies.

What do you love about your job?

I am passionate about what I do but for me, this job has always been about the people. I get to work with clever people all day, every day and I have an amazing bunch of clients who also care passionately about their business, their HR culture and making progress.  

What would you change about your job right now if you could?

Absolutely nothing. I am part of a great firm, with great people and great work. Only a satellite office at Te Arai Point could make it better. I'm working on it.