Working at NautaDutilh means bringing your A-game to work. How do you combine a career at an international law firm with other passions? Two lawyers and one non-legal professional reveal how they successfully combine their day job with another vocation.
Is Former Litigation Partner and Board Member (2007-2010) at NautaDutilh
Also International Basketball Player, NOC*NSF Board Member, Dutch Chef de Mission for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
"I started playing basketball while studying in Groningen in 1965. Within three years, I was playing for the Dutch team. When I began my career as a lawyer in 1971, I continued to play basketball at both national and European level. That meant I sometimes had to be creative to find the time to finish my work. So I was often in the office on Sundays or late at night."
"When I quit playing high-level basketball in 1982, I first became a member of the board of NBB, the Dutch Basketball Federation. As of 1991, I served on the board of NOC*NSF, the umbrella organisation for sports in the Netherlands, and the Dutch Olympic Committee. At the time, I was already a partner at NautaDutilh. And I spent a considerable amount of time on my activities in the sports world. Thankfully, the firm supported me by agreeing to a lower ‘billable hours’ target. And my colleagues were always very supportive. When I was asked to be Dutch Chef de Mission for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, I had to send a request to the partners asking whether anyone had any objections. No one did. I made sure to send daily updates from Sydney to give everyone the inside scoop."
"If you play sports at a professional level, you are taught to focus on specific moments. Not every match is equally important. So by focussing on the ones that really matter and thus saving your energy, you have a strategic advantage. Another vital lesson I taught my children is the concept of frustration seconds; the seconds after a foul is called when you’re angry at the referee. It is during these seconds that your opponent will take advantage of you while you are wasting time with idle protest or self-pity. Don’t give your opponents those seconds. Keep your eye on the ball, avoid hesitation and avoid delay – whether during a basketball game or in your job."
Is Business Development Advisor
Also Biodiversity Ambassador at Dutch Beekeepers Association
"A couple of years ago, I became really interested in bees. And I decided to take a course and became a beekeeper. Learning more about bees also brought the broader subject of biodiversity to my attention. I became convinced that I could make a real contribution, albeit a small one. So I studied to become a biodiversity ambassador at the Dutch Beekeepers Association (NBV)."
"In environmental circles, I’m the odd one out. I work at a big law firm. In activist circles, law firms don’t tend to have the best reputation. But it’s because of this different background that I feel I can make a real contribution. For example, I gave a presentation on the art of strategic negotiation to convey the message that shouting even louder doesn’t work. Many activists are so convinced of their cause that they don’t stop to think whether their communication is actually effective. I tell them to make friends and align their interests. For them, this was a real eye-opener."
"My job at NautaDutilh and my work as a biodiversity ambassador intersect with being a connector. I live in a village which is home to a big factory with a lot of unused outdoor space. So I asked if I could help them promote biodiversity there. I explained how even small changes can make a big difference – and that it wouldn’t cost much. Now they mow the grass in a way that means more seeds can hatch, which leads to more insects and birds. And instead of gravel borders, I suggested planting blackberries. By taking small steps, we can improve biodiversity and help fight the climate crisis."
Is Data Protection and Cybersecurity Lawyer
"As a three-year-old, I told my parents I wanted to play the violin. My older brother played the piano, and I wanted to play an instrument that I could carry around with me. It started out as a hobby but got more serious as I got older. When I was around 10 years old, I started to take Friday mornings off school to go to violin classes. And suddenly – at the age of 12 – I found myself giving solo performances at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In high school, I was admitted to the young talent academy at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, even though I had no plans to become a professional violinist."
"When I started law school in Maastricht, I stopped taking violin lessons. But after two years, I really missed it, so I spent a year at the Conservatorium Maastricht. It was after finishing law school and having worked at NautaDutilh for some time that I looked for a way to combine the practice of law with the violin. I didn’t want to play for the prestige but solely for the joy of making music. I now play in two orchestras. I’m a member of Het Orkest Amsterdam (The Amsterdam Orchestra), a symphonic orchestra that performs about six times a year and tours internationally. And Haydn op Zondag (Haydn on Sunday), an ensemble that meets every month at De Hallen in Amsterdam to perform Haydn’s symphonies."
"Being a lawyer and a violinist works well for me, even though I sometimes miss rehearsals because I have to work late. There are many parallels between both, in fact. Ever since I was a boy, I learnt to aim for the highest quality. The discipline required when studying the violin also comes in handy at work. I also know how to perform on stage and how to handle an audience, including the importance of setting the right tone. It turns out that walking into a room to negotiate for a client is not so different from walking onto a stage for a violin recital."