We ask a law firm partner a series of rapid-fire questions about their career. This time: Katrina Crooks from Shelston IP.
Which firm are you with?
When did you join that firm?
When were you made a partner of that firm?
Which firm were you at most recently?
Before joining Shelston IP I was with another specialist intellectual property firm in Auckland, and had previously spent eight years working in the intellectual property team of a major commercial law firm in Dublin.
What practice group are you with?
Intellectual property litigation and dispute resolution.
What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career?
The emergence of the internet as a dominant force in society and the exponential increase in technology in general. Today’s technology and knowledge-driven economy have put intellectual property at the forefront of legal practice, and made the need to protect and defend brand identity and innovations paramount. The law has had to evolve to keep pace and still struggles in some respects. It seems almost inconceivable that when I started my first job as a lawyer, only partners had computers and there was no internet in the office at all!
What has been a major career highlight for you?
For me, a highlight has been the opportunity to practise in different jurisdictions, and across jurisdictions, being involved in a number of multinational IP disputes and working with teams of lawyers around the world. Through those experiences I have developed a wider appreciation of how IP works in other markets, and its strengths and weaknesses globally. Living in Dublin was fabulous and my work involved some of Ireland’s best known brand exports and cultural icons.
What do you like about being a lawyer?
I work every day with hugely talented people, both colleagues and clients. I also get to constantly challenge myself to learn about new cutting edge technologies, and to understand my clients’ businesses and the industries they operate in.
What do you find challenging?
Balancing all the competing demands of work and family. Most of the time I think I strike a fairly good balance but it requires maximum flexibility.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
As the mother of a two- and five-year old, when I’m not working you’ll probably find me hanging out with my two kids – the engineering challenges posed by Lego and building Thomas train tracks are a great antidote to legal practice. I’m also a budding chef and love immersing myself in a great book.