Five minutes with Sam McLernon

by NZ Lawyer21 Sep 2015
Russell McVeagh solicitor Sam McLernon talks to NZLawyer about John Key, playing sport, and the key influencer in his legal career.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
My mother suggested that I would enjoy it.  She generally knows best.

How long have you worked at Russell McVeagh for and what brought you to that position?
I have been at Russell McVeagh's Finance and Banking team for about two-and-a-half years.  I looked at people at law school who I looked up to and whose company I enjoyed.  The majority were associated with Russell McVeagh.  I decided to apply for a clerkship and at the end of it all I was fortunate enough to be offered a job.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
We don't tend to do much case law in the Finance team as the work is more contract-based.  I heard someone talking about a case of missing puppies.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Wayne Smith, he is a fantastic rugby coach but I understand he is also a good person.
John Key, he has succeeded in quite different areas but seems like a good kiwi bloke.
Richard McCaw, how could you leave him out?

You’re based in Auckland – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
If it is sunny, I think it is hard to beat anywhere by the water.  Spitting Feathers is also a spot that I have enjoyed over the years.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
There is no substitute for hard work.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
The usual sort of stuff.  I enjoy playing sport and spending time with mates.  Through the summer months it is nice to get out and play a bit of touch with mates.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer…
Trying to get paid to play rugby in a second tier nation.

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Pick the brains of his advisers.

What do you love about your job?
The people.  The people I work with across our Corporate, Property and Finance teams are people who I would happily go and share a beer or glass of wine with.  It makes dealing with them in a work sense far easier and more enjoyable.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
Not a lot.  I doubt I would say no to a pay rise.  It would also be nice if you were unable to send an email containing the word "attached" if there was no document attached.