Five minutes with…Nikki Chamberlain, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

by NZ Lawyer08 Dec 2014
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts lawyer Nikki Chamberlain tells NZ Lawyer about why John Campbell should watch out and the importance of charity work.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Well, for most of my school life, I actually wanted to be a Veterinarian. However, after completing sixth and seventh form Chemistry, I decided that any vocation that required more Chemistry study was not for me! On the other hand, I always excelled and really enjoyed English, Debating and Public Speaking at High School. After some self-reflection, it became apparent that Law was the best fit for my academic strengths and personality. My decision has proved to be the right decision.

How long have you worked at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts for and what brought you to that position?
I started work at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts as a Summer Clerk in 2006/2007 before completing my final year of study at the University of Auckland. After going through a lengthy interview process for Summer Clerk positions, I decided that Minter Ellison Rudd Watts was the best fit for me to start my career. I have now worked at the firm for seven years in the Dispute Resolution team, and have just been promoted to Senior Associate. 

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
This question is quite difficult because there are so many people who I would love to question about their life. However, the top three that initially come to mind, are:
1)            Jesus. I think he would be fascinating to question and discuss life with – regardless of one’s religious persuasion. I have lots of questions! Yes, I am a typical litigator.
2)            Oprah Winfrey. Why? Talk show host, actress, producer, publisher, philanthropist. She has overcome adversity to attain great success. Plus, she has interviewed so many interesting people – I am sure                she would have a fascinating dinner story or ten to share.
3)            Anita Roddick. She founded the Body Shop and was extremely involved with campaigning for social and environmental causes. Her company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested                  on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries. I would love to discuss business development with her in addition to linking that development plan to assist with charity                      work.
You’re based in Auckland – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
There are so many to choose from. Recently, I have enjoyed going to Ostro in Britomart – especially, if you can get a table on the deck in the sun.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
A career in the Law is a marathon – not a sprint. That, and ask questions – being inquisitive is imperative to providing the best service to clients and thoroughly understanding any case that you are working on.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I enjoy going to the gym, socialising, baking (especially cupcakes), cooking, listening to music, going to concerts and the theatre, relaxing on beaches and watching films. 

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Running my own business or working in the Media. I have a Film, Television and Media Studies degree. All I can say is watch out John Campbell!

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Interesting question. I would work towards an initiative whereby all organisations are required to engage with a charity of their choice for one day a year. This would mean that we, as a country, would be able to impact far more causes than I could do on my own as John Key for one day. It would also mean that organisations may be more likely to donate to causes that they are passionate about as they will experience what it is like being a volunteer in that area. I know that Bank of New Zealand currently takes one day a year to do charity work and I think that is an excellent initiative.

What do you love about your job?
I love appearing in court, working on interesting and engaging files and working with wonderful clients and colleagues on a daily basis.  

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