Find your passion and never stop learning, says top lawyer

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Sparke Helmore partner Karwan Eskerie cannot stress enough to young lawyers the importance of being under the tutelage of a great mentor.

“Find a good mentor and for the next 10 years, focus on one thing—learning,” he says. “There is a reason it is called the practice of law.”

The litigation and government law specialist, appointed to the firm’s partnership last year, says he wouldn’t be where he is had he not received excellent training and mentoring when he was fresh out of the University of Auckland in 2005.

He says that an interest in politics eventually led him up the legal career ladder. Eskerie, who also holds a bachelor of arts in political science and government, ultimately chose becoming a lawyer over entering politics.

“I developed an interest in politics at an early age, which eventually led me to law. In particular, what attracted me to a career in law was my fascination with the relationship between the state and the citizen,” he says. “My field, administrative law, is where that relationship is put into sharp focus. I decided on law over politics, because I am better suited to the intellectual and professional demands of the former.”

He says he loves his job as a result, which is one important aspect of maintaining success.

“I am passionate about what I do—I love my job. To me, such enthusiasm, together with hard work, is essential to any success,” he says. “I love many aspects of my work, but the part I get the biggest thrill out of is advocacy—the intellectual challenge of identifying and fine-tuning your best arguments, then having to articulate them in the most effective way. It is a skill that one continues to hone throughout one’s career and I feel that I learn something new every time I conduct advocacy.”

It also helps that he finds satisfaction in leading the team of lawyers that he oversees.

“I have been fortunate to have had many high moments in my career so far, but I consider my greatest accomplishment to be leading my current team of exceptional lawyers whose tireless pursuit of excellence, unfailing support and good humour add a great sense of fulfilment and joy to my daily work. My greatest asset is my team, without a doubt,” he says.

To build great teams, Eskerie is doing his part to continue to attract legal talent. He says that the secret to recruitment is with the firm’s culture itself.

“I believe a supportive and nurturing environment, where junior lawyers are empowered and encouraged to fulfil their potential, is the best recipe for attracting – and more importantly – retaining young talent,” he says.


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