Nelson Leader : August 29th 2013
8 THE NELSON LEADER, AUGUST 29, 2013 FEATURE C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C CO O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O . . . . . . . . .N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N NZ Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W WW W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W WW W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W Spontaneity adds spark to lawyer's job Two minutes w ith... The advocate: Lawyer Mark Dollimore with his ''PA'' Kathy outside the BBC building in Buxton Square. Photo: MARION VAN DIJK Mark Dollimore has been a barrister for 23 years, becoming a lawyer in his 30s. He now represents clients in Nelson, Motueka and on the West Coast. A father of three daughters, he has a soft spot for minis, owning 11 so far. He currently drives a BMW mini. Mark tried his hand at corporate law lasting three months, before dis- covering it was not for him. He also stopped doing family law as he found the children fighting over children'' side of it too depress- ing. He took two minutes from his busy schedule to talk with The Leader. You really enjoy your job, don't you? I love it. I love dealing with people rather than paper. You don't know what the hell is going to happen any day of the week. I'm available 24/7 and so you don't know what is going to unfold when you answer the phone. Against that, last year, I have never ever seen so many overwhelmed peo- ple. It is probably a little bit better this year, but last year was spooky. So I guess nothing shocks you anymore? No. It's like Nelson is beautiful. But it is like everywhere it has still got an underbelly. I think most people that commit crime are not that bad, it's almost a contradiction that. They are not all born into middle class families with lots of money. I genu- inely like my client base, it's there but by the grace of God [go I] stuff, I've always thought. You have a pretty quirky sense of humour and you are not afraid to make jokes in court. Humour is almost like an anaes- thetic, it helps you get through. If you treated it [the job] too seriously or clinically I don't know that you would get through. As long as you are serious at the right time. I'm pretty quirky. If you use humour at the right time and the right place it relaxes people. But you've got to be very careful. I know when I put those topless calen- dars out years ago there was such a drama. The women in Blenheim formed a sub-group to get me barred. That really annoyed me -- it was like pro- fessional snobbery. I still get people ringing up wanting those calendars. I didn't do it for provocation, I got tonnes of work out of that. What did you do before becom- ing a lawyer? My first job was making sweets in the hard jube section of Alsbrooks in Christchurch. Then I used to run hamburger bars, years ago I worked in a strip club, then I was a barman in the roughest bars in Christchurch. I had several years working in pubs where I was the only white face. I try to see the better side of people. They come in, in such negative situations. It's like we run an ambulance service here. You are pretty serious about hot yoga. Ho did you get into that? I think a friend dared me to go along. I used to think it was all herbal tea and greenies and barefeet. But I love it. It's pretty good. I've been going for 21G2 years and go about four times a week. It's a good place to unwind. It helps. The job is stressful. And also there is no cellphones in there or technology. I love it. I'm not really heavily into that spiritual thing, but I think I'm a better person [since starting yoga]. I had a serious case on about two months ago and I was walking to court worrying about it. I just thought calm down and I was doing that nasal breathing on the way there. And by the time I got in there, I was like; I don't feel so bad. You have a bach at Tapu Bay? That's a retreat too. I've got a mass- ive client base in Motueka. I usually go to them and that's the thing with most of my clients, I'm pretty mobile. It's better that I go to them, rather than they steal a car to come and see me. I've had a couple of clients over the years that have nicked cars to come to see me. I move around. I go anywhere basically. I do a bit of work on the West Coast and shoot over there too. There have been some major changes to Legal Aid recently. Yes, you can't get counsel of your choice for charges which are 10 years [jail time] and less, which is a bit counterproductive. I've been seeing guys for 20 years and their families. It's like saying you can't go see your family doctor. It's very hard for guys with mental health problems, it's quite hard to get a rapport and trust. You will quite often see a guy go through three or four lawyers until he gets a lawyer he can connect with. What do you like about the Nel- son region? I like the outdoors, I go mountainbi- king and kayaking. I know when I came to Nelson 20 or so years ago I didn't connect to the people then. It seemed back then you had to be brought up in Nelson ... but it's defi- nitely changed. It's quite a melting pot now there's such a diversity of people that have come in. I know that friends I made were people that came in from the district years ago. I think we are so lucky to live here. When you've been overseas, or even in Auckland, for a couple of days, you fly back into Nelson. It's almost like something switches on in you. We are bloody lucky to live here. It's a good place. I think it is pretty pro- gressive. How long do you think you will keep working? I think I will keep doing law into my 70s. I don't plan on retiring. I have downsized. I've reduced my work vol- ume. A few years ago my doctor said I was overdoing it. Basically I'm quite a simple guy -- I just get on with it basically.
August 22nd 2013
September 5th 2013