Last summer, George Muir joined us as part of our Summer Clerk programme. George is in the final stages of his law degree at the University of Auckland, and is also a senior member of the Black Sticks New Zealand Men's Hockey Team. George recently paid us a visit and spoke about his experience in the Black Sticks, the 2018 Commonwealth Games and his summer at Simpson Western.
Simpson Western: Tell us about your experience at this year’s Commonwealth Games?
George Muir: The Commonwealth Games was an incredible experience. It's unique to any other tournament I've ever been to for so many great reasons. Living in a village with a couple of hundred other Kiwi athletes and 6000 athletes from around the world was fun, inspiring and immensely high performance all at the same time. The melting pot of athletes and para athletes from different countries and sports made every little day to day activity, like eating dinner or doing the laundry, so interesting and exciting.
Aside from that, the hockey and the way our team performed was the main highlight. We won some crunch games playing some of our best hockey and although we were chasing the gold we are very proud and happy to come home with a silver medal. Something I will cherish for the rest of my life!
SW: Being a more senior member of the Black Sticks, what sort of advice and mentoring do you provide to the more junior members of the squad?
GM: I like to think I set a good example of how to train and compete as a high performance hockey player. For a sport like hockey, where we aren't hugely supported financially, it is important that we are really organised and take care and make the most of the things that we can control. This is something I am conscious of encouraging the younger members of the squad to do. From a hockey perspective it's making sure every player knows their value to the team so they can show confidence and express themselves on the field.
SW: What do you think are the key focus areas in maintaining a winning team culture?
GM: I think aside from the obvious aspects of team culture, such as enjoying each other's company and getting along, a winning team culture will have really clear goals and a buy in from everyone when it comes to the strategies needed to achieve those goals. Everyone wants a gold medal but you have to have 100% buy-in to all the little processes that will earn that medal. I also think everyone operates differently so a good team culture will accommodate and promote every player and their set of strengths.
SW: How have you balanced playing for the Black Sticks and studying law?
Some really good note-taking friends! I had to learn pretty early to organise my time and prioritise my commitments as they come so that I could give both sport and study a good crack. When hockey slows down, study picks up and vice versa. Having both helps to keep a good balance and is something that is really encouraged in the team and also at the University (finally).
SW: What do you look for in an employer? And how does your experience with Simpson Western stack up for you?
With where I am at I look for somewhere where I can learn lots in an environment that I enjoy being a part of. Both of these boxes were ticked off for me at Simpson Western. I learnt so much in my short time there which was largely due to the patience and the encouraging nature of the team there.
The thing that possibly surprised me was receiving this treatment from everyone in the firm whether they were a grad, administration staff or a partner. Along with this, Simpson Western was and has been extremely accommodating and supportive of my hockey commitments which I am very grateful for.
SW: What other activities do you do to relax if you are not playing hockey or studying?
GM: I'm a pretty social guy so I try to spend as much time having fun with friends and family as possible. I am also a huge lover of the ocean and like to surf or fish whenever and wherever it is possible.
We are now taking applications for our 2018/2019 summer clerk programme, looking for excellent law students to join us from November 2018 to February 2019 to experience real legal work, in a friendly and dynamic law firm environment. Visit our Careers Page and contact Adrian Yap to find out more.