How an equine fanatic’s love for travelling brought her to an NZ law career

by Sol Dolor23 Nov 2016
Victoria Anderson came to New Zealand from the UK on a six-month working holiday just a few years prior to 2008 when she joined Simpson Grierson where she is now a corporate group senior associate. The holiday is still going, but it’s more work than holiday now, she says.
In this interview, she shares why she would have the Iron Lady to dinner, her passion for all things equine and she sees as the biggest issues facing the legal sector in New Zealand.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Lawyering is very much in my family. My mother, brother, various cousins, an aunt and an uncle have all practised law in varying fields from high street property/family law, City corporate law to human rights law. As such, a career in the law was always on my radar. I initially studied pure maths and economics at University and the law seemed a much more practical vocation.
How long have you worked at Simpson Grierson and what brought you to this position?
I started at Simpson Grierson in early 2008 and have been here ever since. I first came to New Zealand a few years prior to that on a 6 month working holiday that is still going – I am from the UK originally – though it is a bit more work than holiday these days.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Not sure, they all have their moments!
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Vincent O’Brien: He is dead now, but would have been fascinating to listen to. Vincent O’Brien was a champion racehorse trainer in Ireland in the 60s and 70s. He was an amazing horse trainer and co-founded the Coolmore thoroughbred operation, which today is the world’s largest thoroughbred breeding operation.
Margaret Thatcher: Again, I think she would have been very interesting to listen to and I like a good strong female role model.
Prince Harry: I think he would be good craic.
You’re based in Auckland – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
Our Auckland office is close to Britomart so I am spoilt for choice for drinks and dinner options. Café Hanoi is a favourite of mine for dinner.
What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
You can’t get into too much trouble if you just listen.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I am a bit of an equine fanatic. Most of my time outside the office, when not chasing around after a toddler, is spent watching racing, looking at, buying, and selling thoroughbred horses – and talking about doing all of the foregoing. I also love travelling, which is how I ended up living on the other side of the world.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A vet or a farmer of some sort, maybe both.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2016?
Retention of good people in Auckland. This is an issue that is faced more widely than just the legal profession, but I think that retention of good, bright lawyers at all levels is a challenge.
Keeping pace with technology and the different ways employees want to work and clients want to engage with us is also a key area of focus.
If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
I would be tempted to go to Hawaii – politics strikes me as a difficult business, in which you will never please everyone. On a more serious note, I would try to do something positive for the next generation… maybe ban plastic bags, get everyone to grow their own veg and invest more in education.
What do you love about your job?
I work mainly on corporate transactions so am very lucky to get an interesting insight into lots of different New Zealand and global businesses and the people that run them. It is fascinating and always varied. I am also lucky to work with a great and broad team of bright individuals on different transactions that require different skill sets and expertise.

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