Get to know Ben Hine, Senior Associate and financial lines specialist
In our series of Q&As with our recently promoted senior lawyers, we get to know Ben Hine, Melbourne Senior Associate and financial lines specialist.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a Senior Associate at W+K
I accepted a position at Wotton + Kearney in June 2017 after practising in insurance and commercial disputes and completing some further study as well as an associateship at the Federal Court. Since joining W+K I have worked on matters acting as defence counsel in large construction claims (for architects, engineers and others) and claims involving D&O cover. I have also acted in a coverage and defence capacity for a wide range of professionals pursuant to PI cover and property damage/public liability policies. After a very busy and enjoyable year with the firm, I was promoted to Senior Associate in July this year.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
In around 2004 (when I was in year 10 at high school), I bought a new flip phone (at a cost of 2 months part time wages). It purported to take photos and play music. It couldn’t do this or even make normal calls. After unsuccessfully seeking a repair or replacement, I took my complaint to the consumer advocacy service in SA. Several months of negotiations and letters to the teleco later, I obtained a refund and was told that I was the first person that had succeeded against the teleco’s stonewall tactics. Although trivial and driven by a juvenile love of gadgets (nothing has changed), the experience instilled a fiery sense against the injustice that misuse of power can create and led me to study law as soon as I finished school.
What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice was from a lawyer named Mark Huntington. Mark said (I paraphrase) that, as lawyers, we are problem solvers and it is in our nature to work on problems until they are solved (mobile phone refund, case in point), sometimes to the detriment of ourselves as professionals. While it is tempting to indulge in endless problem solving for our clients, our businesses and ourselves, we are only in the best place to achieve good results for our clients and enjoy life outside of work if we put effective boundaries around that problem solving behaviour. Genius advice that I regularly remind myself of.
What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing your area of insurance law?
Digital disruption. It’s been flogged to death as a topic and I think that everyone now knows the imperatives. The key is developing a culture that rewards both incremental and institutional innovation (not just through technology!).
What do you enjoy most about working at W+K?
Undoubtedly the outstanding people and challenging work. I am also excited about W+K’s dynamism as a business and the potential that the firm continues to have to provide novel solutions to our clients.
What do you get up to outside of law?
Hiking, mountain biking, camping, obsessively following the motoring industry, being a slave to Melbourne’s most indulged dogs, and eating and drinking with my mates.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A motoring journalist.09/11/2018