Five minutes with… David Beard

by Hannah Norton27 Jul 2015
Auckland barrister David Beard has been in the news a bit lately, after receiving a number of parcels containing horrific surprises. He takes five minutes to chat with NZLawyer about his legal career.

What made you decide to become a lawyer? 
I had very disciplinary focused chemistry teacher at St Paul’s in Hamilton (Mr. Shaw, awesome man). Sadly I caused a (not so) minor explosion in the lab. He dragged me out into the school quad by the ear and started yelling at me until foam had accumulated on his Roger Whittaker look alike beard – In reply I extended a simple plea in mitigation… it kind of went a bit pear shaped for me at that point – but a career sprang…

How long have you worked at Legal Street and what brought you to this position?
I went door knocking to get my first job. No prior appointments, just a walk in off the street. This strategy resulted in a job within 5 days. I started out in private practice in the major projects team at Slater and Gordon in Melbourne. I spent many hours in the Melbourne Supreme Court Law Library . I then moved to a smaller firm almost next door where I actually got to go to court on my own matters from a very early stage. I have been self-employed since 2008. Incorporation of LegalStreet was the natural progression.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Hard to pick just one from such a full deck. Perhaps the case of a spa pool full of naked models crashing through a ceiling and onto a night club dancefloor. 

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Madonna – because she is Madonna!
Jesus Christ; and 
Alexander the Great.

Where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work in Auckland?
The balcony upstairs at the Ponsonby Food Court on a nice warm evening, followed by dinner and then maybe some pool downstairs before toddling home. (Change left out of $20).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
“Don’t send that e-mail”

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love my partner, my dogs, my garden and getting out on the Auckland Harbour. Sadly my waist line is no longer friends with the local gym

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
I would definitely be a rock star. I have played the piano since I was 8 and I met my partner singing.

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2015?
Our courts are under strain. Lay litigants are taking up a great deal of time. Justice delayed is justice denied. It would be nice to see more judges and court staff to relieve the strain. I also believe that night courts would be an efficient means to take a bite out of backlog.

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Put forward a bill to update and liberalise the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004.

What do you love about your job?
Nothing feels better than winning a case.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I have really enjoyed setting up LegalStreet from scratch. 99.6% of my clients are repeat business. However due to volume it is time to take the next step and look for a motivated business partner or associate to take some pressure off whilst also expanding the core services on offer.