Partner Paul Shearer has been appointed a District Court Judge (effective 30 November, 2021) which will see him moving south to the Garden City - Christchurch. Paul's tireless commitment to the Taranaki community has been admirable and with over 29 years at GQ, he will be truly missed.
Paul specialised in family law for the majority of his legal career and headed up our busy Family Team, alongside Partner Alex Laurenson.
From starting out as a Law Clerk, to becoming a Partner in 2000 & meeting his wife, Laurie, along the way - there are many stories to tell and not enough time to tell them!
Paul kindly agreed to share some of his thoughts and reflections from his time at Govett Quilliam, including his prediction on the future of Artificial Intelligence in the legal space...
What are you most proud of in your career?
I think I am most proud of my long and loyal service to GQ. I’ve been here 29 years now, since I started as a Law Clerk in Nov 1992 a week after I finished University, and have loved every minute of it. I’ve never looked for and never wanted another job at another firm. GQ has always looked after me and I have been loyal in return. I’m part of the furniture now and am going to miss this place big time.
Biggest or best moment at GQ?
I met my wife, Laurie at GQ. That has to be the best and biggest thing that happened to me during my time at Govett Quilliam. Where would I be and where would my family be without her?!
What are you looking forward to as a Judge?
The challenge of a brand new and demanding job at this stage of my life and career. I know it is not going to be easy and will be a steep learning curve being on the other side of the bench, but I feel ready and excited to take on the challenge.
What will you miss the most about Taranaki?
Everything! I was born and bred in New Plymouth. My family live here and most of my friends live here. My golf course (Ngāmotu) is here and the beach. The kids friends are here. I’ve had a great life here and my family and I will be back lots. Fortunately, the only other place I have ever lived is Christchurch, during my University years.
Your prediction for the legal space in the next 5 years?
That it will continue to be busy for lawyers. We’ve heard for years and been worried at times that technology and AI is taking over and people won’t want or need lawyers. The way we practice law is developing and changing all the time and will continue to do so, but I think people will always value and want the personal relationship, trust and one on one advice from their lawyer whom they have confidence in. You can’t get that level of care, history and bespoke advice from a computer.
A message for your clients?
Over my time at GQ I have had the good fortune to meet and work with hundreds of different clients. I have met so many lovely people and formed many wonderful friendships and relationships over the years. When clients come to see a matrimonial lawyer their life is in crisis, and they need someone they can trust and rely on, to help them through that period of uncertainty. I have always been very conscious that it is a privilege and a significant responsibility to be the person that people turn to in this time of high stress and emotion. Understanding the client and timely service is the foremost priority. I have got a lot of job satisfaction helping people through this difficult phase in their life.
When I started at GQ in 1992 I was the third fulltime family lawyer. I leave the team which now comprises seven fulltime family lawyers, and knowing that the clients I leave behind are in very good hands. We have a very talented team.