Laurie James AM began his career long association with Kott Gunning as an articled clerk in 1963. Evidently he was recognised as a clever young man, as he was made Partner in 1967. Not that surprising perhaps for a first class honours graduate, although those few who achieve that degree of academic excellence do not always enjoy the same measure of success as a lawyer. Laurie, however, throughout his career was also recognised as an outstanding practitioner and for many years, pre-eminent in the field of building and construction law, which was his main area of expertise.
Laurie’s contribution to every facet of the business of Kott Gunning over the years has in truth been phenomenal. As well as leading Kott Gunning’s building and construction team for many years, Laurie has been lead partner in commercial litigation and local government, an invaluable advisor to our insurance team and a much sought after arbitrator. He has served a managing partner and as senior partner during the period prior to his retirement.
Laurie’s presence in the office will be missed enormously at a personal level by all members of the team who have had the good fortune to work with or support him. Everyone in the team though, will miss Laurie’s good humour and equanimity as well as his remarkable intellect and capacity for dispassionate logical analysis of virtually every type of legal problem.
Vidal Hockless (managing partner from 1997 to 2005) noted:
“Laurie was my first boss when I joined KG. He knew everything – which was great, because I knew next to nothing and had a lot of questions. I never got over his amazing ability to manage his working environment and not succumb to the more usual formula of files and paper everywhere. There was just never anything but one file on his desk, something I have always wished to emulate but have never got anywhere near achieving.”
Laurie’s personal decency, fairness, humour, and honesty have been an example to everyone in the firm, both past and present for over 50 years, and continue to represent the qualities that we would all like to be known for. Laurie is a lawyer/partner/colleague who has left his mark and will be greatly missed.