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Partner Profile: Mark Howard

Partner Profile: Mark Howard

Every week we ask a law firm partner a series of rapid-fire questions about their career. This week: HWL Ebsworth's Mark Howard.

Which firm are you with?

HWL Ebsworth Lawyers

When did you join that firm?

26 April 2012

When were you made a partner of that firm?

26 April 2012

Which firm were you at most recently before your current firm?

Middletons (19 years)

What practice group are you with?

Workplace Relations and Safety

 What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career?

The biggest change to my practice during the last 20 years has been the increasing demand by clients to find alternative and more sensible ways of resolving disputes than just court proceedings given the cost of litigation.  In the workplace relations space, Federal and State legislation continues to undergo substantial reform and this has meant having to continually identify opportunities and threats for clients, particularly in enterprise bargaining and restructures of businesses.  Public awareness of rights, a greater willingness to exercise those rights and changing community attitudes has also meant a steep increase in claims of sexual harassment, bullying and challenges to termination of employment.

What has been a major career highlight for you?

Being the National Practice Group Leader of two national law firms has been a real career highlight.  Also working collaboratively with a large team of lawyers and clients’ in-house legal teams in major disputes and large transactions and achieving a desirable outcome for clients continues to give me a great deal of job satisfaction.  Like the sporting arena, a team victory is a win to savour.

What do you like about being a lawyer?

I enjoy the practice of the law and the need to think logically and analytically and to be a good communicator.  These skills carry over into everyday life and equip me as a good husband, father and friend.

I also feel privileged every time I open up a new instruction that my clients consider me to be a ‘trusted advisor’ and consider that I add real value to their business as a service provider.

What do you find challenging?

One of the ongoing challenges of the modern-day lawyer is time management.  The constant demands of partnership, clients and family mean that you have to be highly organised to meet these competing workloads.  I know that I have improved in this regard with experience and with the use of electronic communication, including social media, and this has enabled me to flourish as a lawyer and maintain the high quality of standards I impose upon myself.

The other real challenge is to come up with new ideas and fresh perspectives to stay ahead of the competition.

 What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Deep down I am a simple family man and, whilst my passion during the day is the practice of the law, I enjoy nothing more than watching my three children growing up and playing their various sports.  My son is a national-level swimmer and I happily spend most early mornings watching him ploughing up and down a pool following the long black line, but also his dreams.

Finally, for my sins, I am an avid Richmond football fan searching like all football fans for the Holy Grail - an AFL Premiership.

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