Episode 143 – Father and daughter lawyer duo Steven and Sarah Stoddart on how family & business create happiness in law
In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing my first father and daughter lawyer duo in Steven and Sarah Stoddart. I loved this interview! (Yes I say that all the time, but I really did love this!) I haven’t met too many Father/ Daughter Lawyer combo who are running a firm together and these two are and there is so much that we can all learn as a result! Steven has had 40+ years in law and his calmness shone through for me in this conversation. Perhaps it wasn’t always that way, but I suspect that is what 40 years of mastering your trade gives you- a beautiful quiet confidence. Steven and Sarah run a commercial practice and are one of the few firms in the country specialising in servicing the pharmacy industry. Steven shared how his early years in big law threw him into this niche and how he has gone on to build a great practice as a result.
Somewhere along the way Sarah found herself as a lawyer too- not her original plan and also not the plan Steven had for her either- and yet watching the two of them together, I can see why the universe decided to throw them a new plan instead! Sarah also found her career in law initially in a national practice however a leave of absence and an accidental job with her Dad soon led to a very successful partnership between this family duo in their firm Stoddart Legal.
Steven is everything I love about those that have seen it all before and I suspect I only captured a drop in the ocean of his wisdom. His thoughts on managing overwork, on perhaps not making some of the mistake he feels he may have made along the way, were both incredibly helpful and generous. Steve and Sarah are a great example of 2 lawyers, generations apart, sharing their knowledge and building a great legacy along the way!
- If Steven was not a lawyer he would have been a businessman and Sarah would have become a teacher.
- Steven became a lawyer, almost by chance, and completed his articles after 5 years.
- Sarah found herself choosing law even though she had always wanted to be a teacher.
- The way in which law can harden an individual and how this has affected Sarah and Steven throughout their careers.
- Steven, during his Articles, did well in taxation and commercial law and has specialised in these areas ever since.
- Sarah attended QUT and originally was not sure what area of law she would end up in as she really did not originally intend to follow in her father’s footsteps.
- How Sarah found herself working with her Dad.
- Sarah and Steven now practice largely in commercial law, but specialise in working in the Pharmacy industry.
- Long term clients and the relationships that Sarah and Steven have developed over a lifetime- literally- and now across generations of family.
- Steven’s perspective of pace as a stressor in the legal community, and how this has evolved over his years.
- There are over 71,000 lawyers in Australia and the effect this had had on the industry.
- Sarah and Steven together operate Stoddart Legal and share many of their experiences in working and running a firm together.
- The advantages (and disadvantages) of working as a father and daughter team.
- Sarah’s predictions for the future of Stoddart Legal.
- Sarah has been lucky enough to have her Father as a mentor and the many great things she has learned as a result.
- The ‘soft skills’ needed to become a lawyer and Steve’s tips on how to achieve these learnings.
- Steven’s tips for managing happiness in his legal career.
- The way in which Sarah manages her happiness and the importance of relationships outside of the law.
- What Sarah and Steven like to do in their free time outside of the office.
- Sarah and Steven’s influences (outside of each other) in their legal careers.
- Sarah and Steven’s Happiness Tip.
Sit back and enjoy this interview with Sarah Stoddart and Steve Stoddart.