Squire Sanders Australia managing partner John Poulsen has taken a step back in time and resumed his legal practice.
The former managing partner of Minter Ellison Perth (the partnership was not financially integrated with the East Coast office of Minter Ellison) stopped acting for clients five years ago when he assumed the managing partner title. However, since becoming part of the Squire Sanders network Poulsen has resumed his legal practice, which specialises in banking and finance. In the six months since the merger Poulsen has added seven members to his practice including another partner. “I thought that getting work in the door would be the biggest challenge, that has not proved to be the case,” said Poulsen. “The biggest challenge has been transitioning from a full time managing partner role to a part-time role and 'letting go' of management issues.”
As part of his return to practice, in addition to being managing partner, the Perth office has added a general manager to assist with the day-to-day management of the firm and administration functions. Poulsen said there had been many unexpected benefits to returning to practice including the “buzz” of working on transactions again. “It’s that feeling that you have achieved something when a client says 'thank you'. As the managing partner role can be a thankless task,” he said. He is also able to use his practice as an example for other partners: “They [the partners] seem to listen more if you can share your own client work experiences in making the point,” he added.
Lastly, moving away from being a full time managing partner has allowed Poulsen to let go of some of the management decisions, allowing other staff to feel more empowered. “I have had to let go of much of the day-to-day administrative work,” he said, “Which means I delegate more and just focus on strategic, big picture issues.”
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