The worlds of intellectual property (IP) and farming can seem quite different, yet the two have innovation at the fore, and Anna has a foot in both.
Growing up on a farm, Anna's first job was milking cows and helping family members around the property. This was likely where her can-do attitude and down-to-earth humour came from – something her clients know and enjoy.
Her first taste of IP was a role at IPONZ out of university. And while on a typical 'Kiwi OE', Anna met her now-husband, Pascoe, on a ferry from England to Ireland, where they were on their way to an All Blacks game. Realising they grew up 30 minutes away from one another in Wairarapa, it's surprising that it took for them both to be on the opposite side of the world to bump into each other.
Fast forward to 2023, they live on Pascoe's fifth-generation farm in the Wairarapa with their two kids and Pascoe's brother and family. Anna splits her time between AJ Park, raising her kids, and chipping in on critical farming decisions (while the boys manage the day-to-day). She also keeps healthy by playing netball and is religious about going to Pilates.
You initially worked at Baldwins IP before it merged with AJ Park in 2020, joining the IPH network. What are some of the benefits you experienced from the merge?
Having more centralised service teams were something the merge brought. This additional resource meant we could focus on the client work, and the centralised service teams could help with non-client work, improving efficiency for the team and firm. Some examples of non-client work are billing, maintaining client instructions, and updating systems. It helps us out and allows us lawyers to just get on with giving great legal advice.
Being part of a more extensive network means we can be much more efficient at scale and can make the most of IPH wide structure and processes, covering all legal aspects.
I think it is great that we have added a Canadian firm to the IPH network which now gives us a direct link into North America. It means we can quickly get advice and refer people to other jurisdictions.
I've also enjoyed improving my financial literacy and understanding how IPH works as an ASX-listed company. Owning shares in IPH gave me an invested interest. I also recently got a Sharesies account to dabble in investing – it's good to see how IPH and my other investments perform. Sharesies is even an AJ Park client. It’s a bit of a competition with my husband to see who can do the best on Sharesies…
What do you think are the strengths of the Trade Mark team?
We're responsive! We give good clear advice that's succinct, straight to the point and easy to understand.
We have an excellent approach to collaboration across the team. We work with each other and share clients; while there will be a key person on each account, we share knowledge. We all have our strengths and job levels, so we can ensure the right person at the right level is working on each case.
Our awareness across the team workflows means clients receive us as a cohesive team and allows learning opportunities for our more junior team members including paralegals and solicitors.
Which clients do you enjoy working with the most?
I really like connecting with associates/clients around the world and seeing trade marks I have helped with in the shops, and learning about new products/brands hitting the market. Some of the milestone trade marks I’ve been involved in are:
- Champagne - we got their Geographical Indication registered in New Zealand.
- Augustine - New Zealand fashion brand – a fun New Zealand brand to work with
AJ Park has many staff perks. Have you made the most of any of them?
I've worked flexibly for a long time. As I'm a distance from the office, I mainly work from home and currently come into the office one day per week. I also work part-time to do the kid's school pick up, drop off, sports and other commitments.
I love my weekly day in the Wellington office. It's great to see everyone and interact in person. It's a two-hour commute one way from home, which means I can read a book on the way in. When I'm working from home, I call fellow remote workers Morgan and KB for a catch-up. I also had my first work brunch in Masterton with a colleague, which was fun.
What keeps you busy at the weekend?
I play netball when I'm not an Uber for the kid's sports commitments, although my knees are starting to feel it.
We have a family Caravan which we go everywhere in. We have travelled as far south as Timaru and north as Whangarei. We usually go freedom camping, and there are many camping spots around the Wairarapa, so we're pretty lucky. If we need to top up the power, we'll book into a holiday park or go to a family property.
We've taken our caravan to concerts such as Elton John at Mission Estate and, most recently, the Harvest festival, five minutes from our home.
One of our favourite spots to camp is Ngawi – Cape Palliser. It has something for everyone - Pascoe can dive, the kids can snorkel, and I can enjoy a local Martinborough wine in the sun and read my book.