In our ‘Meet the Directors’ series, we introduce you to our directors, giving you an insight into their legal experience and what makes them tick. This quarter, we put Mike O’Neale in the hot seat.

How did you get into law? 

Originally, I went to university to study as a secondary school teacher but I had a lot of friends studying law and, albeit a little belatedly, decided to start a law degree while finishing my arts degree. The rest, as they say, is history. 

When and where did you get admitted to the bar? 

In Wellington, a long time ago! The memories are a bit blurred, but I remember generally it was a fun time. 

What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer? 

Being constructively helpful to individuals, families and businesses looking to improve themselves. 

What makes a successful lawyer? 

The ability to be empathetic to the clients’ customised needs and the satisfaction of seeing them in large measure achieve their goals. 

How do you like to spend your time outside work? 

Bike riding, hunting and family-oriented activities. 

What goals have you set yourself this year? 

The successful completion of the rejuvenation of the O’Neale home where we have lived since moving to the Mount in 1981. After that I will have a void to fill. 

What’s the most recent movie/book that you’ve seen/read?   

Out of the Woods: A Journey Through Depression and Anxiety, by Brent Williams, a lawyer who spoke passionately about his book and his “journey” at a recent law conference I attended. 

Which historical figure would you most like to meet and why?

Plenty of people come to mind but, although probably not strictly historical, Barack Obama, who I admire for his level-headedness and ability to bridge the races – and he’s a lawyer!