Dale McQualter, lawyer at Maddocks Lawyers, tells us about his transition to law from the Victorian Police Force and what he likes about working in the law.
How long have you worked at Maddocks, and what brought you to this position?
I have been at Maddocks since March 2013. This is the start of a second career for me, having previously been a homicide detective during a 17-year career with Victoria Police. In my old job I loved preparing for and participating in court trials and thought if I was a lawyer I could get even more involved in that part of the process. Then, after some early interest in continuing in criminal law in one form or another (and realising that it wasn't all glamorous homicide trials), I decided that I would make a more drastic career change and see what life in a commercial law firm had to offer. I am enjoying the change of pace and have naturally gravitated toward employment law because of the human element involved in that type of work and quick realisation that the skills developed in my previous life were easily transferable to this type of work.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
In my short time as a lawyer, I had an early matter where an employee of a client was sending 100s of intimate pictures of himself to his "girlfriend" and inadvertently copied in his colleagues who all received these confronting messages.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Bill Hicks for comic relief, James Joyce for intellectually stimulating conversation (and to bring the booze) and Neil Young to provide the soundtrack.
You’re based in Melbourne – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
Drink: Cherry Bar
Dinner: The Waiter's Club or Ants Bistro (Chinatown) for a late night dinner and drink after karaoke.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
"A job's not worth doing unless you do it properly."
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Music, cycling and travel.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would…
…open an independent record store selling only records, black coffee and donuts.
What do you think will be the single biggest issue facing the litigation space in Australia in 2015?
In an employment and industrial relations context, the possibility of changes to industrial relations legislation looms large and there is also the potential for significant fallout from the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption that could see unprecedented changes to union activities and representation of employees in Australia.
If you had Tony Abbot’s job for one day, what would you do?
Increase funding for the arts and scientific research, introduce legislation setting maximum terms for Prime Ministers and then resign on my politicians’ pension.
What do you love about your job?
That problems in employment law tend to have an interesting human element and I get to read about the bizarre things people get up to at work.
What would you change about your job right now if you could?
More holidays… more often.