Piper Alderman partner reflects on cutting his teeth in the London legal scene

Paul Sartori quickly learned to navigate the "twists and turns of transactional work"

Piper Alderman partner reflects on cutting his teeth in the London legal scene
Paul Sartori

Paul Sartori chose to pursue legal studies as a direction he thought would make his parents proud. He has certainly given his family something to be proud of, as he is now a top corporate lawyer who helped co-found Piper Alderman’s Perth office.

With the one-year anniversary of Piper Alderman Perth coming up, Sartori believes that the team has been on a roll in expanding the team and growing the firm’s WA client base. He is especially excited about getting to play a role in the development of young lawyers.

In this interview, Sartori talks about cutting his teeth in London as a young lawyer in the 2000s, offering non-legal training to legal practitioners, and the possibility of working with AI.

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What made you choose a career in law, and what's your favourite part of the job?

I stumbled into the law. I had no family influences into a tertiary education, and being a lawyer seemed like an endeavour that would make my parents proud – then the next thing I know, I've completed a law degree.

In my job, I really enjoy being part of something from the beginning to its end – I'm a completer-finisher. The other aspect of my job I really like is the opportunity to work with other experts and advisers in non-legal roles and observe how they go about their tasks – I like to think I’ve learnt a lot from others.

What is the most memorable case you've taken on/been involved in?

Some of my best memories come from when I was 'cutting my teeth' in my early career in London during the 2000s. It was a steep learning curve working on large multi-jurisdictional matters in an unfamiliar market, but one that, I think, has held me in good stead since for the ability to manage and lead the various legal twists and turns of transactional work.

What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?

We’re almost a year since the launch of the new Perth office, and it’s fair to say we’ve hit the ground running since day one, in retaining and winning new work, building on the Piper Alderman presence that has been in the WA market for many years, and attracting the best local talent to ramp up the local offering. It's exciting to be leading the charge alongside my fellow founding Perth partner, Shane Entriken.

What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so? Or what’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give fellow lawyers about it?

I'm always impressed by how multi-skilled, multi-talented and well-rounded the younger generation of lawyers are these days, and it’s great to be able to play some role in their development.

What should the profession and law firms focus more on?

I think law firms could promote more non-legal training – e.g., business skills, leadership courses. Young lawyers are hungry to learn and develop their legal skills, but I also think they have the capacity and desire to develop non-legal skills, which, I think, is a plus for a law firm in the long term.

What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?

Retaining relevance whilst embracing technological advances is a big challenge for the industry. There is a place for good, smart lawyers to work alongside AI, for instance. Ultimately, it's all about delivering a better service for the end-user – the client – and if technology can help us, I say go for it.

What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?

The rapid expansion of the Perth Piper Alderman team…and finally getting to meet, in person, the rest of the national team!


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