Making The Move

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Well, I’ve finally made the biggest decision in my life to resign from my previous employer, Ashurst.  I’ve been there for 17 years practicing law although my association with the firm spans for about 20 years.

I remember the very first time I walked into the office as a scrawny little kid just wanting to get an experience of working in a “big” law office in town.  I finally got that opportunity and funny enough, the first office I walked into (which was then the firm’s financial controller’s office) turned out to be the last office I walked out of on my very last day.

There’s something about Ashurst that makes me so proud of my association with them. It’s not just the opportunities I’ve been given during my term but it’s just about everything that makes it such a wonderful workplace.

The people there are phenomenal. 

Friendly, helpful and supportive are just some of the things that describe many of my colleagues there.  From Partners to support staff, I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with.  Of course, it’s not always rosy (actually, it was always ‘rosy’ because that’s the name of my PA there for much of the 17 years).  But in all honesty, you get good days and not so good days but such is my experience, it’s usually the good ones that far outweigh the bad. I suppose you’ve got to experience the bad to make the good ones pretty sweet.

Last Friday (2 March), I finally bid farewell to team Ashurst and to be honest, I felt sad particularly to three important people I’ve worked so long and so well with.  But thinking about the road ahead kept me cool, calm and collected because I’m really looking forward to this new venture.

I thought about the idea of going alone about 3 years ago but it tended to die off every now and then. Well, I’ve finally taken that step so what does the future hold for me?

Vai IP is what the future is for me and I’m so excited to finally get a bit more freedom (I hope), total control of what I do and even more exciting is the prospect of operating as a boutique which provides me an opportunity to get a bit more up close and personal through the services I provide to my valued clients.

I’ll be dealing mainly with non-contentious intellectual property matters, which is what I’ve been doing for the last 17 years.  But what’s really different about what I’m doing is that I’m taking the services up another notch!

What do you mean by “another notch”? Thank goodness you asked.

I’m a bit of an innovative chap, particularly when it comes to technology.  I like to look out for new technology developments that makes the flow of information systems effective and efficient.  Taking a closer look at my intellectual property experience, I’ve tried to improve the way I and many others practice IP.  In PNG, it is not so advanced technology wise so putting my nose into this area excites me.  Basically, with the assistance of technology, I’m looking at systems and processes to make the IP practice responsive, proactive and transparent.  In a large firm, your bound by strict procedure and policies and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But there comes a time when you want to get ahead and take greater control of what you do and how you do it. 

I’ve played a hand in building a more customized information system for IP practice management and maintenance that complies with legislative requirements and the realities of practice in Papua New Guinea.  At the same time, I’ve set the system robust and flexible enough to adapt to market trends both locally and globally.  One of the early “achievements” if you can call it that, is coming to an understanding with the Intellectual Property Office in PNG to expedite the payment processing system.  I think cheques are outdated. Cash isn’t safe.  So having the IPO agree to accept filing fees paid via the internet makes the process more expedient and convenient from both sides.

I’ll be speaking a little bit about that more in the coming months but the bottom line for the system allows me to be transparent, responsive and definitely proactive!  These three key features are pretty much the cornerstone in serving my valuable clients.

(The above pic was taken by my good friend the Late Sam Akoitai.  Sam and I go way back to the days of University of Canterbury in Christchurch New Zealand and was an inspiration to me. God Bless your lovely soul my friend).  If I can continue the level of service I made in my old firm and add a bit more grunt to it so that clients can see the value of the work as oppose to the size of my set-up, that would certainly be satisfying.

You can get in touch with me on mea@meavaiip.com.  Looking forward to hearing from you, whether you’re a former colleague, a former client, a good friend or someone that’s just curious about what we do and how we can help you. 

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