New addition to Buddle Findlay’s board on having fun in a tough job

Jan Etwell discusses the initiatives she's most eager to champion as part of the firm's leadership

New addition to Buddle Findlay’s board on having fun in a tough job

After nearly 20 years at Buddle Findlay, the head of its Christchurch office, Jan Etwell, took a seat on the board of management in April. In her new spot on the leadership team, she is looking forward to giving back to the firm that has been a terrific workplace for her for all these years.

In the first part of this May interview, Etwell shares what part of being a board member excites her the most, enjoying “the best of both worlds” in Christchurch, and having fun in a tough job.

As the newest member of the Buddle Findlay board, what part of the new role have you been most excited about?

I am really looking forward to being involved with our business on a national level and building on my connections with our people in our Wellington and Auckland offices. The legal profession will face a number of challenges over the next few years and as a firm, we are going to need to be agile and thoughtful in the way we meet these challenges. And of course, with challenges come opportunities and I am excited to be part of the team leading and supporting this work.

I also see the role as an opportunity for me to give something back to the firm which has provided me with a great place to work for a long time.

What programs/initiatives at the firm are you most eager to advocate for?

I am very keen to ensure that the firm continues the good work it has been doing supporting the development of our staff. We have a fantastic career progression framework which is designed to support our people to grow, succeed professionally and have meaningful conversations about their career.

As part of that we also run an Emerging Leaders programme for our senior people, which has been very well received to date. It is designed to help our seniors with the development of skills and behaviours in the areas of leadership, business development, internal and external profile growth, business skills and career planning.

You’ve had a long tenure at Buddle Findlay – what has kept you at the firm for so long?

I have worked with many of the people in the Christchurch office for a long time and we all get on really well and enjoy each other's company. We get the best of both worlds in Christchurch – we are a relatively small office with a family-feel, operating within a big firm structure.

It is a very supportive environment, and we have a lot of fun which helps as it can be a tough job at times.

You’ve been leading the firm’s Christchurch office for a while – what’s been your favourite part of that role?

Being the team leader of the Christchurch office has given me the opportunity to connect with our people in a different way and build new relationships with management and staff in our other offices. It has also given me a broader understanding of the business from a national perspective.

Next week, Etwell tells NZ Lawyer about her first impression of lawyer life (or lack thereof) and what she believes to be the major challenges in the legal profession today.

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