Clinton Jackson, Senior Associate in our commercial team, shares some insights into life at Cooper Grace Ward, his past experiences and predictions for the upcoming year.
1. What made you decide to become a lawyer?
After finishing school, I was looking to go to the US to play college golf. However, I suffered a minor injury that prevented me from playing for several months.
To fight off boredom, I thought I would start studying. As a result, I decided to start a law degree so that I had an understanding of the contract law issues for when I was negotiating my multi-million dollar sponsorship contracts.
2. How long have you worked at Cooper Grace Ward for and what brought you to that position?
Straight out of university, I started working for a small law firm in Brisbane that specialised in litigation, where my first two bosses were the wives of Chris Ward and Charles Sweeney (both CGW partners). Being around them, I heard a lot of great things about CGW.
After 12 months of working in litigation, I knew it was not for me and fortunately enough a position in the commercial team at Cooper Grace Ward became available. It has now been seven years since I started at Cooper Grace Ward as a newly admitted lawyer.
3. If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive who would they be and why?
Jack Nicklaus – obviously, I would like to talk golf with Jack. In particular, to hear personally all the stories about competing each week against the likes of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, as well as the behind the scenes stories of life on tour before the 24-hour news cycle.
Kerry Packer – I believe he would be a very interesting dinner guest as he would not hold back where he had an opinion. Also, I would like to pick his brains on his business/deal-making approach: in particular, dealing with Alan Bond and the making of World Series Cricket.
Gordon Ramsay/Heston Blumenthal/Jamie Oliver – someone who knows their way around food and is prepared to cook dinner.
4. You’re from Brisbane – where’s the best place to go for a drink or dinner after work?
Moo Moo’s – nothing can go past a good steak!
5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
‘Lawyers are trained to find problems, but clients are only interested in solutions’.
6. Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I am a golf nut. I try and get out every Saturday morning and play in my local club competition. Although I have been playing for 15 years and currently play off a handicap of 2, I am still amazed at how this game can be so relaxing one minute and utterly frustrating the next. Despite this, it is a great way to unwind from the work week and settle into the weekend.
Apart from this, my wife and I are looking to continue our love of travel later this year with our first family holiday (with a six month old by then). I am thinking India, China, South America….. however, something tells me I am not going to get the final say.
7. Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
I would like to think that I would be a professional golfer, playing the best courses in the world each week for millions of dollars.
However, the reality is that I would be a frustrated (and most likely broke) professional golfer. After years of trying to crack the professional tours, I would be employed at a local run-down driving range, teaching golf to anyone who would pay a washed-up professional for some lessons.
8. What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2015?
Continuing to assist our referrers and clients to find the best long-term legal solutions, given the uncertainty surrounding the future policy positions of the federal and state governments.
9. What do you love about your job?
I really love being part of a team at Cooper Grace Ward. The commercial team are really close and always willing to help each other out. This ensures that we find the best solution for each client.
Also, every day is different. Given the overlap of so many different area of law we deal with in the commercial team, no two files are the same –this makes coming to work each day exciting.
10. Something you might not know about me is that…
My wife and I recently had our first child – a boy named Noah. He is now just over 10 weeks old and starting to cause all sorts of mischief. I still find it amazing that I can’t remember what I did with my ‘spare time’ before he was born – not that I would change it for the world!