Episode 61 – Purpose, Passion and Leadership in a leading law firm with Managing Partner, Nick Crennan
This week I was joined by Construction lawyer Nick Crennan on the Happy Lawyer Happy Life podcast. Nick has recently become the managing partner of the national firm Colin Biggers & Paisley and after hearing Nick speak briefly at an event a few months ago about leadership and life in the law, I knew I wanted him on the show!
Some might say Nick has had an unconventional path to his now role but it fast became clear to my why his colleagues have chosen him to lead their firm. Nick’s experience, being the youngest of 7 and having lost both his parents at a young age has shaped his grounded and open attitude to life. Nick summed up his approach by saying ‘start as you mean to go on’. This outlook has set a standard in his life that is both sustainable and enjoyable.
Nick has enjoyed 29 years with Colin Biggers & Paisley and having seen it grow from a 9 partner Sydney based firm to a 70 partner, 3 city firm he has a wealth of learnings and experiences to share. I think the highlight for me was watching Nick’s face light up as he described the work he and the firm have been able to do through the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation in which everyone in the business is expected to be involved. Nick shares how the Foundation has been able to support and raise funds (over $85,000 last year alone) to employ another staff member at Artists in the Black which provides specialised legal help for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Nick is a family man, a business man and wonderful leader. His leadership style is one of grace and it was such a pleasure to hear how his journey has led him to become a managing partner at the firm he started in over 29 years ago!
In this week’s episode Nick and I also also spoke about:
- Nick’s love of writing a simple clear message which has followed him throughout his career.
- Having been born in Canberra and the youngest of 7 how the early loss of his parents has shaped him in his life.
- A lover of basketball Nick ended up in ‘straight law’ where he later broadened his studies to anthropology.
- Nick’s experience of applying for his first (and last!) job in the 80’s.
- Nick’s many insights and tips for those of us in law land and particularly his advice on building a sustainable career.
- Nick’s thoughts on leadership and building great teams- that the purpose of leadership is to help people perform and why suppressing your personal interests to go the extra mile for someone else is what makes for a good lawyer and leader.
- How Nick’s involvement with the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation gives purpose and passion.
- Nick’s tips on navigating the difficulty of being a lawyer – go easy on yourself and celebrate your wins.
- And Nick’s Happiness Challenge!
Sit back and enjoy the many wonderful insights of Nick Crennan, a great legal leader, on law, life, business and leadership.