Luke Beveridge believes the profession has become "too focused on billable hours"
Luke Beveridge is relatively new to the legal scene, only having been admitted to the New Zealand High Court as a barrister and solicitor in 2020, but that is precisely where his advantage lies. In fact, he’s already appeared in the District and High Courts for both civil and criminal matters in his relatively short tenure.
Growing up with lawyers exposed Beveridge to the endless opportunities law can offer, which attracted him to pursue this career path in the first place. However, he would come to realize that some lawyers tend to be stuck in their old ways, which makes a fresh pair of eyes all the more crucial in a world that demands the profession to get with the times.
In this interview, Beveridge also talks about getting started, the importance of being uncomfortable and leaving his pandemic fatigue in the past.
What made you choose a career in law, and what's your favourite part of the job?
I chose a career in law as I’ve always seen it as a gateway to limitless opportunity. The law is complex and diverse, and so are the people in it.
My favourite part of the profession is the reverence it holds, and the responsibility that comes with that.
What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?
As I’m relatively new to the industry, I’ve been keen to get involved with programs that help those who are just starting out in their careers. I think it’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes with these types of initiatives.
What tech-related initiatives adopted by the firm, if any, are you most excited about?
As I see it, we are in the midst of a technological revolution. I’ve enjoyed seeing the automation of a number of tasks and workflows. This has allowed for me and my colleagues to focus more on serving our clients and adding real bottom line value.
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 was able to successfully prevent someone from facing serious prison time. I sincerely believed they deserved a second chance. This was a daunting task, given what was on the line, and it was outside my usual area of practice.
The lesson I learned from this was, while you shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew, you’re never going to allow yourself the opportunity to grow if you don’t sometimes put yourself in uncomfortable positions.
What should the profession focus more on?
I think it’s paramount that we retain our local talent, though I appreciate this is easier said than done.
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?
Although it somewhat pains me to say, I think lawyers sometimes aren’t the greatest innovators – at least in the modern context. Maybe this is because we’re too focused on billable hours and chargeable time. I think some firms might struggle if they default to continuing as they always have.
What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us can now brush off the pandemic fatigue. Everyone at my firm is back in the office. I’m seriously looking forward to the collegiality and collaboration that comes with that.
If you were given an opportunity to spend a day with anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why?
Bob Marley: “The day you stop racing is the day you win the race.”