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Life outside the law: Triathlete, ironman and Lavan Legal lawyer Paul McQueen

Life outside the law: Triathlete, ironman and Lavan Legal lawyer Paul McQueen

Achieving a balance between work and other life passions is all about a 'commitment to efficiency', says triathlete, iron man and lawyer Paul McQueen. Briana Everett reports

Achieving a balance between work and other life passions is all about a 'commitment to efficiency', says triathlete, iron man and lawyer Paul McQueen. Briana Everett reports

Balancing trick: Lavan Legal's Paul McQueen manages to fit in six early morning training sessions as well as a hectic legal workload
Lavan Legal's Paul McQueen somehow manages to fit six early morning training sessions into his sometimes 70-hour working week, all with the aim of beating Opposition leader Tony Abbott in the next iron man event.

A barrister and supervising partner of Lavan Legal's environment and land compensation team, McQueen has been an active person all his life and has always had an interest in swimming, running and cycling.

But it was after university, when he entered the workforce, that McQueen noticed how difficult it was to commit to a team sport while also coping with the demanding workload of a lawyer.

"I tried to get into triathlons because it's still quite a social sport, so you're getting interaction with others, but also because you can fit in training at times when team sports are not training. So I find you can combine it more easily with working life ... at 5.30 in the morning it's much easier!" says McQueen.

Given the hefty workload that comes with being one of the founding partners of a firm, as well as a barrister and supervising partner, McQueen says balancing work with his training is achievable because triathlons and iron man events are planned well in advance.

"I'm already registered for the iron man in December this year. What I tend to do is try to plan my calendar around the event," he says. "With court commitments it's very important to have a clear view of what the year has ahead. I tend to plan my year at the beginning of the year, so I'll avoid appearance work, to the extent possible, a few days before a race."

Recognising the demands of every busy lawyer, McQueen says a "commitment to efficiency" is paramount. "It's about treating whatever interest you have outside work, whether it be triathlons, riding, yoga or fitness classes, the same as work. People that manage to balance both tell you that you have to treat the exercise as seriously as you do a work commitment," he says.

TRIATHLETE, IRON MAN & LAWYER: McQueen in action on the bike
"So when I put that in my diary, to me it's equivalent to a client meeting. I'm never late to a client meeting and almost never to court, and I treat my exercise the same way."

Noting the necessary support of his team and secretary - as well as his family, which includes three young sons - McQueen says a supportive office culture is pivotal to maintaining that balance.

"It's important to have a culture in your office that supports active pursuits and work/life balance. For example, we have a personal trainer at our firm," he says. "It's not just about the individual; it's about being within a culture that supports [work/life balance]."

Aside from the joy of narrowly beating fellow competitor Tony Abbott in his first iron man event, McQueen says the biggest benefit that competition and physical fitness brings is mental strength.

"You really do develop a great sense of self-belief and mental toughness," he says. "I've developed a sense of self-belief, hopefully a tough mindset and clarity of thought. When you're spending a lot of time training or competing, that focus you get is very important. In my job, to think clearly under pressure is vital."

McQueen adds that competing in events over many years has helped him to develop a sense of comfort when faced with a challenge, allowing him to focus on the task at hand. "Hopefully, young people look at me and think, 'If that old guy can do it, so can I."

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Life outside the law: Triathlete, ironman and Lavan Legal lawyer Paul McQueen
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