Five minutes with… Chris McLeod

Chris McLeod, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright tells Australasian Lawyer about the strangest case he’s been involved in.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?

I was doing a BA/LLB. Around the third year I realised being a teacher (my chosen vocation) may not be as personally and financially rewarding as I had imagined. I was enjoying the law subjects so decided to focus on that as a career.

How long have you worked at Norton Rose Fulbright and what brought you to this position?

I was invited to join as partner in January 2000. It was a great opportunity and coincided nicely with a midlife crisis.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?

It’s the people on the cases that provide the lasting memories. I was recently surprised by a self-represented litigant’s email to a Judge when asked by his associate in an email to explain the need for an adjournment for religious observance reasons.

He replied: “I spoke with my Creator and mentioned your name, then asked if He would prepare a written document for me because you had demanded that I provide documentation to support my religious observance reason and in light of your refusal to grant an adjournment without it”.

The litigant said the response his Creator gave was that the judge should “go f**k” himself and that he would “rot in Hell for the things you do to good people”.

He finished with: “Don't shoot me, I'm only the messenger and only doing my job.”

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?

Nelson Mandela :  to understand how someone who suffered so much under the apartheid regime could undertake a healing role for the whole of the country following his release.

David Bowie:  such a constantly evolving and multi-faceted artist should be an interesting conversationalist.
Oscar Wilde : to add humour if it all got too serious.

You’re based in Perth – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?

I like the Northbridge area and places like Shadow Wine Bar, Lucky Chan’s and Lot 20.

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?

You can never know too many people.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?

Exercise/watching lots of sport/Movies/travel.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…

An Ancient History teacher.

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2015?

Increasing competition for legal services.

If you had Malcolm Turnbull’s job for one day, what would you do?

If you follow the political adage to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, complete the renovations to the Lodge. He will need the space to fit everyone in.

What do you love about your job?

Mentally stimulating and getting to work with clients who become friends.

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

Eliminate the role requirements that hinder flexibility so that we can continue to make ground on keeping female lawyers in the profession and improve partner diversity numbers. 

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