The strange world of employment law

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Mark Norman, solicitor at Gadens, tells Australasian Lawyer what he loves about working in employment law.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Well, initially I thought it meant I would be a millionaire by 30 (oh, how wrong I was).  To be honest, I knew that I wanted to get a law degree, but I actually had no intention of becoming a lawyer.  Yet here I am, surprise!

How long have you worked at Gadens and what brought you to this position?
I recently celebrated my year anniversary with Gadens, and it’s been a fabulous place to spend the last 12 months.  I was actually contacted by the Gadens recruiter around this time last year, and within a week of that, after meeting the brilliant people that would become my team, I had accepted the position.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Working in employment law, we get some insane matters and people will do the strangest things to lose or damage their employment (which is half the reason after studying employment law at university I decided this was the area for me).   I encounter strange on the daily and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Britney Spears, John Grisham, Sia.
Britney – because I am a complete fan girl since ‘98 and I think she would realise during dinner that we are best friends and I would move to LA to take up my new role as her live-in-BFF.
John Grisham – he is my absolute favourite author, so any chance to sit and pick his brain over a meal and a wine would be amazing.
Sia – I just recently watched her car karaoke with James Cordan and she is both incredibly talented and incredibly intriguing.

You’re based in Sydney – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
There are so many great restaurants and bars in Sydney that you could spend a lifetime trying them all (I am giving it a good nudge).  A recent find for an after work drink (if you’re looking to stay in the CBD) is Barbershop.  It looks like a small barber, but hidden in behind, behind a huge sliding metal door, is a phenomenal cocktail bar.

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
The law of f**k yes or no.  If something doesn’t make you think f**k yes, then it’s a f**k no.

Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Good food and good wine.  I live in Sydney, so I’ve got that part locked down.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A (struggling) actor.  Before enrolling at university/law school, I was actually also filling out the enrolment forms for acting school.

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2016?
The push to be different and innovative, in an archaic industry that resists change.

If you had Malcom Turnbull’s job for one day, what would you do?
Two words, marriage equality.  No rant required, but as a New Zealander living in Australia, it’s embarrassing. 

What do you love about your job?
My team and the mind bending challenges we face.  It doesn’t matter what law firm you work for, it’s all about the team.  I am so lucky to be a part of a team that sees me challenged in my job every day, but with support and guidance should I need it.

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
If someone could throw me that cheeky mill before 30, that would be great.  Times a’tickin’.

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