Staff culture attraction of job

Gallaway Cook Allan’s newest partner Rosie Clark enjoys working in the firm’s commercial team....
Gallaway Cook Allan’s newest partner Rosie Clark enjoys working in the firm’s commercial team. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
They say the family that plays together stays together and, at law firm Gallaway Cook Allan, that motto could also be extended to staff.

New partner Rosie Clark believed staff willingness to get involved in both sporting and non-sporting events contributed to the friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere in the office.

However, while she enjoyed African drumming sessions last year — where they sat around with bongo drums working on the "collective flow" — she reckoned she was much better suited to sporting events.

The keen sportswoman, who grew up in Oamaru, joined the Dunedin office of Gallaway Cook Allan after completing degrees in law and economics.

It was in during the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis, a period during which it was difficult to get a job, and she felt very fortunate to get it.

"I fell into it and never looked back," she said.

Ms Clark was in the firm’s commercial team, where she specialised in preparing, negotiating and advising on commercial contracts, as well as giving advice on general commercial legal matters.

The work was varied and she enjoyed being in a firm the size of Gallaway Cook Allan as it was not so specialised that she was only doing one type of work and not so general that she had to be a jack-of-all-trades.

As soon as something popped up that was out of her sphere of expertise, she could pass it on to a colleague, she said.

One of the good things was she had a handful of clients for whom she did a lot of work, so she got to develop really good relationships and an understanding of what they were doing, and see a "bigger picture".

Becoming a partner was something she acknowledged she thought "pretty hard about", in terms of taking on more responsibility within the firm and whether that was for her. But it had got to a point in her career where she needed some new challenges, so she accepted.

There was a "great culture" there and one of her colleagues always commented it must be good to be the HR manager in a firm "where people like each other enough to hang out with them outside of the office".

There was some real talent among the staff and she had been involved in work teams competing in various multisport events, including Challenge Wanaka and the Motatapu off-road event.

This year, Ms Clark had some ocean swims planned, including the King of the Bays at Takapuna Beach, Auckland, in April, and also — "on a whim" — she has signed up for one on Australia’s Gold Coast She recently bought a house and she enjoyed the Dunedin lifestyle. She also enjoyed working in the revamped warehouse precinct and  seeing new businesses popping up.

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