Chapman Tripp senior associate: 'There's been no shortage of unique challenges'

For Liora Bercovitch, lawyers work in a field that is "constantly full of change and disruption"

Chapman Tripp senior associate: 'There's been no shortage of unique challenges'
Liora Bercovitch

Liora Bercovitch has always been both advocate and diplomat, and she has been able to marry these two aspects of herself through a successful run in Chapman Tripp’s litigation team, where she rose to the position of senior associate last year.

For Bercovitch, the last few years have brought an abundance of unique challenges, from working from home to using remote technology and handling complex matters. Thus, focusing on wellbeing is crucial to sustain lawyers’ long-term resilience.

In this June 2022 interview conducted shortly after Bercovitch’s promotion, the Auckland-based litigation specialist discusses COVID-19 as a major disruptor to legal practice, lockdowns as opportunities for reflection, and staying sharp through training and professional development.

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

I’ve always been drawn to debate and advocacy. Equally, my key strengths lie in being diplomatic and balanced – I’m often considering both sides of an argument and seeking a peaceful resolution. A career in law, and with my specialty in dispute resolution, gives me an opportunity to combine those skills and interests in an engaging and stimulating professional environment.

Problem solving is my favourite part of my job. I also enjoy understanding and anticipating client needs, and in particular their strategic goals. With that, I’m able to balance the advocate and the diplomat sides of my personality to navigate issues and assist our clients to achieve the best outcome for them – whether that be through court action or alternative dispute resolution.

What’s going on at the organisation? Are there any programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?

It’s been a busy few years in Chapman Tripp’s litigation team. There have been a number of long-running trials and complex matters that have required close collaboration across all three of our offices. Add in a global pandemic, months of (the Auckland team especially) working from home and utilising remote technology, and there’s been no shortage of unique challenges!

In light of that, Chapman Tripp’s current focus on mental health and wellbeing is particularly important. For example, the firm has offered workshops to support staff to have more open conversations about mental health. We also have a new wellbeing platform, E Tipu E Rea, with a number of health, safety and wellbeing resources.

Working in law can be as challenging as it is rewarding. To me, these wellbeing initiatives are valuable to preserve the long-term resilience of those working in the profession and enable everyone to thrive.

What the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give fellow lawyers about it?

Covid has – as we all well know – been a significant disruptor to legal practice. Lockdowns definitely provide an opportunity for reflection! Working from home for long periods of time in particular has required us to be adaptable and nimble. It’s also reminded me of the importance of building strong relationships within and beyond the firm, and the need for clear communication to remain effective in our roles. We will continue to face disruptors in the years to come, whether they arise from social, health or environmental factors. I think our universal learnings from the pandemic should set us up well to navigate those future issues.

What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward?

We work in a dynamic field which is constantly full of change and disruption – whether that change be regulatory, commercial, environmental or societal. As lawyers our role is to ensure that our training and professional development keeps us abreast of the many changes we and our clients will face. That way we can practice at our best, and remain fully engaged with our clients to achieve results.

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