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Get to know Robert Finnigan, new partner and construction PI specialist

In our next Q&A with recently promoted partners we get to know Sydney property and construction PI specialist Robert Finnigan.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a partner at W+K

I grew up in Liverpool and backpacked around Australia when I was still a teenager. I ended up going to law school in Sydney. When I finished law school I had the option of heading to London. At that time I was living in Clovelly (sea breeze, palm trees and rainbow lorikeets – and a pub next to the beach). I didn’t think that I deserved a winter in England just then, and Manchester United were well into their two decade long winning streak (which I still try not to think about), so I thought that I should stay in Sydney a little bit longer. That little bit longer turned into 20 years. In that time, I’ve worked at some great places with some great people. I’ve known many of the partners at W+K since my early days as a junior lawyer and glad to be back with them now.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?

A lack of imagination.

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve been given?

I’ve had heaps of good advice from a lot of great lawyers over the years. But the best advice was in my first year out when I was told to get on top of the facts first and then worry about the law. Law is often open to different interpretations, and is sometimes changed, but the facts are the facts.

What do you think is a major issue facing your area of insurance law?

The same issue that is facing all areas of law and all areas of insurance – the drive to achieve a competitive edge in an era of rapid technological change. The recent CV-19 shutdown shows how much dependence there now is on technology. The shutdown happened quickly and without much warning. I was struck by how well W+K transitioned from the office environment to the work-from-home environment. The change was dramatic – W+K quickly implemented managerial and technological solutions to deal with the crisis. There will be further technology driven changes in the years ahead. The good thing is that W+K, like many other organisations, has shown that it is nimble and agile enough to deal with those changes.

What do you enjoy most about working at W+K

An important thing for me is working with people that I like. Sometimes that’s not the easiest thing in the world – in the workplace there are different personalities with different motivations and different stresses. I’ve worked with difficult people in the past, and while it is tolerable, it doesn’t make the best work environment. So for me, the best thing about working at W+K is the people that I work with.

What do you get up to outside of law?

I spend my time with my family – my wife Dana, 13 year old son Jack and 14 year old daughter Ada. We have a big family in Liverpool and we try to get over there when we can. Otherwise, I watch every Liverpool game and try not to wake everyone up when I’m screaming at the TV at 4.00am. The other major thing for me outside law is Taekwondo. I’ve been lucky enough, and privileged, to have truly great instructors at Eastern Suburbs Taekwondo. I’ve been practising there for 20 years now. But, when I go back to Liverpool, my brothers-in-law often tell me that the little-known Lancashire martial art of Ecky-Thump is better than Taekwondo –  they must be joking!

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be… 

Living in a wigwam in the Byron Shire.

© Wotton + Kearney 2020
This publication is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this publication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.