Associate, Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Alex Wheeler is an Associate at national law firm Sparke Helmore Lawyers. He primarily practises in property and development law, acting for local and national clients as they work to redevelop and revitalise the Newcastle CBD, Honeysuckle and greater Newcastle region.
Originally from Central Western New South Wales, Alex is a graduate of the University of Newcastle Law School—he moved to Newcastle to pursue his career in law and hasn’t looked back.
Away from the law, Alex can be found taking full advantage of the gentrification of Carrington—whether it’s a Saturday morning coffee or a jog along the Newy Parkrun track.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
It’s a seemingly impossible task in our “connected” world, but I try to draw a line in the sand between work and home life. Although I have the option, I rarely, if ever, work from home—so when I am home, I am actually at home. This occasionally means extra hours in the office, but it allows me to completely disconnect from work when I need to and strike that all important balance.
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
Where do you see your industry heading and how have you positioned yourself to benefit from these changes?
Technology is playing a significant role in the way we practise law and deliver legal services. Property in particular is a largely transactional area of the law and the sector relies on processes that are gradually moving online or being automated. There’s a fantastic opportunity to lead that change and I’m passionate about being part of it.
I am very proud to be part of a firm that embraces new technology so as to operate more efficiently for its clients. We use data analytics and advanced legal processes to bring better value, but never forget that clients are looking for people who are easy to work with and connect with.
I think technology will continue to change how our clients operate, and what our clients expect from their lawyers. So it’s important that we keep innovating and improving.
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Right here, in Newcastle. Our city is experiencing change some never thought possible, which is so exciting to see and be part of. Newcastle offers an unrivalled opportunity to achieve a “work-life balance” without compromising your career aspirations.
Being part of a national law firm, but based in Newcastle, is a unique advantage that no other city can match (in my opinion).
What local professionals have had a significant influence on your and what have you learnt from them?
I am fortunate to have Sparke Helmore’s Chairman of Partners Mark Hickey as well as Helen Murray (Sparke Helmore Special Counsel) as mentors.
After completing five years of study, you enter the legal profession with so much still to learn. Mark and Helen have guided me through the ins and outs of property law, and have helped me understand the commercial results our clients are looking for.