Tinka Bowyer - Senior Associate
I love working in the field of property law because the property industry is filled with opportunity. Over the years I have acted for many individuals who have taken chances and transformed their lives by taking calculated risks on property deals. I strongly believe you can make your own luck in life, and in my view, property is an area that allows anyone to do that.
In many respects, I feel the same way about my own legal career. My new promotion to Senior Associate at Cooney Lees Morgan is the result of a lot of hard work, self-belief and taking advantage of the opportunities that have come my way as a result.
I was born in Te Puke and moved to Tauranga around age three, so I am a local through-and-through. I attended Tauranga Girls College and initially obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Otago University with a double major in English and film media, before subsequently working to make captions for deaf and hearing impaired viewers at TVNZ.
In my mid-20s, I decided to re-train as a lawyer and attended Auckland University. I embarked on my legal career in West Auckland just before a huge Auckland property boom (which later spread to the rest of New Zealand), and it is amazing to me to look back now and reflect on how the property market has completely transformed over the time I have been practising law.
In late 2016, my husband and I moved to Tauranga seeking a better lifestyle balance for our family. I had just had my first child and we had more family support here in the Bay.
I first heard of Cooneys when I was a law student; a partner at a major New Zealand firm told me that the firm had an excellent reputation after learning I was from Tauranga. When I initially moved to Tauranga in 2016, there were no vacancies at Cooneys. But later on, the property market went crazy (again), and I had an opportunity to join the property and development team.
Working at Cooneys is quite different to my smaller firm background and has taught me a lot about the ‘corporate’ experience. However, my ‘jack of all trades’ background in law has been a big advantage when assessing client needs. I have also received training in how to support more junior colleagues, which I have personally found very fulfilling.
This promotion is a major achievement for me, and Cooneys has supported me every step of the way.
They’ve given me the opportunity to work at a firm that is the regional equivalent of a “big law” firm. This is an experience that was not available to me when I graduated from law school in a post-GFC environment, as law graduate jobs were thin on the ground. The chance to work on high-level large scale development projects at Cooneys has definitely expanded my skillset as a property lawyer.
The main property developer client I work for is particularly skilled at finding opportunities no matter what is happening in the property market. I’m responsible for monitoring their development work with assistance from other team members, plus helping with acquisitions and other property-based ventures. This client is very dynamic and forward thinking which keeps life interesting.
The corporate culture at Cooneys basically involves lots of golf with both colleagues and clients! But what I also observed when I began working here is that everyone works extremely hard from 8.30am to 5pm – but then you leave the office and enjoy what the Bay has to offer. There is definitely no expectation that you must spend your life at work, which is really refreshing.
This promotion is recognition of the hard work I have done at the firm to date and also my skillset. It’s great to know that Cooneys backs me. This helps when dealing with other firms where often I will be liaising with a Partner or Special Counsel.
My plan going forward is to keep maintaining my professional trajectory while finding a balance as a working mum and making sure I give enough time to my children. Life is pretty busy with Thomas (7) and Lottie (3). Currently they take up nearly all of my time outside work. My husband, Paul, is a professional tennis coach and Thomas has just started playing interclub tennis, so I’m adjusting to a new phase of life as a tennis mum. Plus I’m working on my golf swing whenever I have a chance!