Pursue your passion

by Sol Dolor03 May 2017
Paul Beverley was unsure at first what profession he wanted to pursue and happened to choose law by chance. From that beginning, he’s become Buddle Findlay’s national chairman.

“I was like a lot of young people, I suppose. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to go to Otago University in Dunedin. I do remember flicking through a university calendar and the law page came open ­– and I looked a bit and thought, ‘That looks interesting,’” says Beverley, who took over from Peter Chemis at the start of April.

He then told his dad that he was “going to go and do law” because “it sounds like a good idea,” and the rest is history.

“I didn’t have a long-standing ambition to be a lawyer, but it was kind of an instinct at the time that that looked like an interesting thing to do. I grew into law over time rather than had an immediate idea that that’s what I wanted to be,” he says.

In fact, right after college, Beverley did not immediately go into the profession. He played music full-time for two years after graduating. He says he’s always played in bands and played music. In fact, Beverly says that had he not gone into law, he might have become a musician.

“I started law after having done that for a while, so I often wonder whether I’d go back to being a musician – but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon,” he says. “I have a great love for music. I still enjoy playing music. It’s a big part of the other side of me.”

Music is a big part of why he loves living in Wellington, which he says also has a great arts and culture scene. Apart from music, he loves to cook and spend quality time with his family outdoors.

“I have two children. My number-one passion outside of work is spending time with my wife and children. I really value our family time and it’s really rewarding. I enjoy getting into the outdoors with my family, and we spend a lot of time down the Marlborough Sounds, an area in the South Island, camping and in the outdoors,” he says.

If he could change anything about his work, he says he’d like to have more time.

“Probably, like most lawyers, what I would like to have some more time. We’re all time poor. It’s having the time to do all of the things in your life that you want to do well, but I think we all struggle with,” he says.

And this appears to be Beverley’s secret to success and happiness in the notoriously stressful profession – finding the right work-life balance and doing things one is sincerely passionate about.

“The two areas I work in, Maori and environmental law, are really rewarding. I thoroughly enjoy my work as a lawyer,” he says.

He adds that what he really loves about his work is the opportunity to be part of a team that creates some novel outcomes and novel arrangements that are aimed at better future. An expert in resource management planning and consenting processes, Beverley spends a lot of his time involved in Māori Law and Treaty Settlement negotiations.

“I do a lot of work with Māori in New Zealand, and my work involves designing new co-governance and co-management arrangements. I really enjoy the opportunity to be creative and to work as part of a team trying to find solutions. I find law to be quite a creative process and that’s the part of it that I really enjoy,” he says.

Beverley says that the best advice he’s been given, and his advice to lawyers just starting out, are the same.

“I think the best advice I have ever received is to do something that you’re passionate about. It’s always stayed with me. This is what I always advice young lawyers, about finding an area of law that really interests you and catches your imagination,” he says.

“If you do that, you’re going to have an enjoyable and fulfilling career in the law. If you don’t, you could be there for a long time not enjoying it. That’s the best advice I have ever received – and I actually acted on it and made sure I ended up working in an area I really love. This is why I come to work every day, really, because I’m in an area I really enjoy and work with people I respect and value.”

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