Five minutes with…David Jones, Kensington Swan

by NZ Lawyer15 Dec 2014
David Jones, a solicitor in the Maori legal team at Kensington Swan, takes a five minute break to tell us about how he got his big break thanks to a cold call, and his passions.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I have always wanted to be a lawyer. One defining moment was sitting and listening to the closing hearings in the Turanga Inquiry at Gisborne Boys High and watching the lawyers take questions from (the now Justice) Williams. Watching that hearing further solidified my desire to become a lawyer.

How long have you worked at Kensington Swan for and what brought you to that position?
I have been at Kensington Swan for 18 months, having come from Victoria University as the Maori Law Students Co-ordinator. I had just completed my Masters in Law focussing on issues in post-settlement governance and decided to put my academic knowledge into practical use. After some analysis of the law firms in the country, I ‘cold called’ Kensington Swan and a select few other firms as these firms matched my personal and professional values. I am now working as a commercial lawyer with a specialty in Maori Legal issues.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Nelson Mandella, Barack Obama, Helen Clark. Nelson Mandella because he believed in a cause and fought for it until the end. Barack Obama because he worked hard and strategically put himself into a position of influence and power and became the first black president of the United States of America. Helen Clark because she ruled with an iron fist and would have been very strategic in how she got to the top and stayed there.

You’re based in Wellington – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
I like to go for dinner at yum cha – Regal Restaurant on Courtney Place. For a drink or two, anywhere in the city works for me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
“Twenty percent of people will support you no matter what, 20% of people will never support you no matter what and 60% of people will change from one to the other depending on the issue. Your job is to ensure you look after that 20% who will support you no matter what”.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I am a trustee on my iwi settlement entity- the Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust. I also enjoy multisport and am part of Tri Poneke – an awesome group of people in Wellington that does the Ironmaori and Ironman events. I also do kapahaka and have a keen interest in waka ama.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Back working in television. I worked at Maori Television before starting my Law Degree and I have very fond memories of my time there.

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
One day is not long enough but if only one day, I would like to do a typical day in his job to get an understanding of what it must be like to be in a position of great responsibility.

What do you love about your job?
I love working with my clients directly and doing something that is actually making a difference for them and their whanau, hapū and iwi. Our work is so diverse and every day you don’t know what issues you may be dealing with.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I would get more people working with me in my team!