Five minutes with…Tim Lipscombe, Gadens

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Tim Lipscombe is a partner in banking & finance at Gadens. He tells us about the challenge of increased competition in the legal space, and Baby Proms and Wiggles concerts.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Initially it was the rigorous and challenging nature of the work. Whilst those elements are still present, it is now far more about relationships (with clients, colleagues, counterparties and other counsel in my space) and about creative problem solving.

How long have you worked at Gadens and what brought you to that position?
I have only been here a little over a month after being at Ashurst/Blake Dawson for 12 years. There were a number of Gadens draw cards that prompted my move - great Australian managed and run firm; first tier banking and finance work; an enviable group of clients; an expanding banking & finance team; and a lower cost environment that enables Gadens to provide tremendous value to its clients.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Matter is confidential but to give some flavour it involved 12 Airbus Aircraft, a kingdom, 4 European painters and a bankruptcy.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Chef Massimo Bouttura from Osteria Francescana, Edward de Bono and Rowan Atkinson (The dinner trifecta - great food, stimulating conversation and laughter).

You’re based in Sydney – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
Mr Wong’s for a group, Alpha for a couple, Kingsleys or Chophouse for a steak.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
“Keep your eye on the game and let the scoreboard look after itself. Spend too much time looking at the scoreboard and you will drop the ball when it is passed to you.”

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Baby Proms and Wiggles concerts with my youngest son, Little Kickers and swimming lessons with my eldest son, gardening and travel with my wonderful wife, and when I get the chance I do enjoy longboard surfing on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
if permitted to indulge my passions, a travel writer or a landscape gardener. In reality though, a banker or similar professional working in the financial services industry.

What do you think will be the single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2014?
A blend of structural change and increased competition. The bedding down of the international mergers of the last 3 to 4 years, the lateral movement of partners within the top 15 firms and the “new normal” of client and price expectations in a post GFC world will I believe combine to have a significant impact on the size, structures, focus, offerings and profitability of the leading firms in the Australian market.

If you had Tony Abbott’s job for one day, what would you do?
Waiving the magic wand - lead a government that approves a raft of well considered, planned and funded big ticket infrastructure projects that have genuine long term benefits for Australia  – roads, rail, ports, communications, energy, power, water, dams etc.

What do you love about your job?
Undertaking complex work, relationship building and creative problem solving.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
Not much at all. I made the big change a little over a month ago when I moved to Gadens. The focus is now on working closely with my new colleagues with a view to continuing to build one of Australia’s market leading Banking & Finance practices.