Episode 169 – Career pivots and Corgis- the secret to career success with Barrister Ben McMillan
In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Barrister Ben McMillan. A fellow Brisbane local, Ben is another one that has had a fascinating career in the law. My favourite parts of this interview though were watching Ben’s face light up as he spoke of three things- his brother, Tim, his partner, Luke, and his family of corgis!
Don’t let the soft exterior confuse you though, Ben has done his fair share of difficult work in law in his time. His strength is in his varied experience at the Bar in a number of inhouse roles as a Barrister including with the Legal Services commission. He has also been involved in a number of significant Royal Commissions, Commissions of Inquiry and inquisitorial processes. From 2016 to 2017, he was Counsel Assisting the Queensland Parliamentary inquiry into Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (“Black Lung” disease). He appeared as counsel (acting for the State of Queensland) in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and in the Queensland Organised Crime Commission of Inquiry. He also appeared as Counsel in the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry and “Operation Belcarra” public hearings conducted by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
In amongst this he also enjoys a spot of Tax Law! I learned from Ben that it is the variety of work that he undertakes at the Bar that keeps him going. And his love of family and Corgis!
- If Ben was not a lawyer he would have pursued a career in the performing arts or politics (some might say the two are the same!)
- Ben grew up in a small country town but now lives in the city and loves the contrast between the two.
- Ben started out at Melbourne University studying performing arts for a year when he made the transfer to law.
- The reason Ben chose law and his experience of study.
- Ben’s brother, Tim, has cerebral palsy and when Ben turned 18 he moved to Brisbane to help care for him.
- How his relationship with his brother Tim has positively impacted on Ben’s life both professionally and personally.
- Once he had moved to Brisbane Ben studied Law at UQ and became heavily involved in student government.
- After University, Ben completed his clerkship at the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
- Ben’s advice for those who are interested in advocacy and his learnings from working at the DPP.
- Ben’s journey to spending time as an Associate for Justice Margaret Wilson.
- The decision to join the private Bar.
- Ben’s perspective on moving to the private Bar early in his career.
- Ben’s involvement in some significant matters including the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission Inquest and managing the difficult work he has been involved in.
- The difference between empathy and sympathy and Ben’s tips for managing the two.
- Ben promotes management of psychologically draining matters with variety in his work.
- When Ben is not a lawyer he enjoys walking his dogs on the beach, travelling and cooking.
- Ben does not find joy in comparison with others and shares his tips on embracing contentment.
- Ben’s Happiness Tip.
Sit back and enjoy this interview with Ben McMillan