Sébastien Aymeric, associate at James & Wells in New Zealand, tells Australasian Lawyer why the strangest cases he’s been involved in are to do with counterfeit products.
I went to law school because I wanted to study something new that wasn’t taught in high school. From there becoming a lawyer seemed the natural thing to do. Being the first lawyer in my family appealed to me too.
How long have you worked at James & Wells and what brought you to this position?
I’ve been with James & Wells for 4 years. I’ve always enjoyed IP, including at my previous role in-house with a telco company. James & Wells was a great fit for me after I requalified as a solicitor in New Zealand (I am originally from France and started my legal career there). Or it may be that they took pity on a Frenchman right after the tragic 2011 Rugby World Cup Final!
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Dealing with counterfeit products and counterfeiters can be entertaining. I’ve had clients admit they could tell a product was counterfeit because it was in fact better quality than their own genuine products.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Martin Scorsese: Could learn a thing or two from a guy with such brilliance and vision; Donald Trump: Is this guy for real?; David Attenborough: he could narrate the dinner.
You’re based in Auckland – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
I am subject to a curfew order issued by my two young children (three and one). This has forced me to perfect the art of home-made frozen margaritas. I recently managed to sneak away and ended up at The White Rabbit in Britomart which I highly recommend.
What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
There are two sides to every story.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Watching movies and sport, preferably football is at the top of my list when I can find the time. I also have a neglected hammock at home to which I intend to pay more attention.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A travel writer, food critique and movie reviewer rolled into one.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2016?
Access to justice. I have heard from too many clients who cannot afford to enforce their rights or defend themselves against bullies.
If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Give free breakfast and lunch to all school students in New Zealand.
What do you love about your job?
The variety of people I get to deal with every day. Intangible assets are a key element of every business today so we get clients from all walks of life. I also love that I get to work with not just lawyers but also scientists and engineers from all over the world.
What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I’ve been badgering the partners about getting an office dog and an in-house barista. Neither of these is likely to happen.