A Law Firm Partner’s Guide to Decision Making — Dinner with Jennifer Van Dale, Partner & Head of Employment, Asia of Eversheds

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Dinner with Jennifer has raised 98 volunteer hours.

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures.

Widely recognized as a leading employment lawyer in Hong Kong and the region, Jennifer Van Dale is consistently ranked top tier on The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards.

As Partner & Head of Employment in Asia for Eversheds Sutherland, Jennifer advises on global HR strategies, employment agreements, exit packages, and post-merger integration among many other things. She’s also a Governor at the American Chamber of Commerce, sits on the Employment Law Committee of Hong Kong Law Society, and frequently consults with governmental advisory bodies and NGOs on diversity issues and labour law.

Over dinner, Jennifer shared with us how her core values and deliberate actions guided her to where she is today and continue to influence her to do well in her field.

What is your life motto?

The thing is I don’t have a motto, I don’t think a single phrase will ever be comprehensive enough to describe my life. What I do have however, are core values, principles. It’s a very good thing to have, if you know what your principles are, your life and decisions are much easier because you can just check if what you do agree with your values and principles. The three principles that I find to be non-negotiable are

Integrity, Compassion and Competence.

Integrity is important in a sense that you cannot be a hypocrite. I try to do the right thing all the time, but in the case when I mess up, I apologize. Competence is also something I value a lot. It refers to the ability to get stuff done. No matter your occupation, you need to be able to deliver what you said you would do. I’ve seen people being incompetent and I just can’t stand that. What I mean by compassion is not just feeling sorry for someone, but also doing something about it. Being compassionate isn’t enough you have to be able to do something about it

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Do you have a habit we should learn from?

In the morning, when you wake up,

Think about what you want to do today.

The details can vary, but take a moment and think about it. Be calm and deliberate, don’t go off and start tapping on your phone. That way, you are in charge and not just dragged around by Facebook, Twitter and other stuff. You are being deliberate about what you do. And that helps a lot.

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What is one action you want people to take away?

I think everyone needs to be a bit more confident and okay with themselves. If you are raised being told you need to be a doctor / a CEO, you should learn not only to able to walk away from it but also be okay with it. If you don’t want to be a doctor or CEO, it’s fine. You shouldn’t be confined by what others tell you. Focus more on what makes you happy or feel successful.

Think back on your values, of what is important to you.

If what you are doing aligns with them then you should be happy, because not many people are able to do that, they don’t have the balance or the ability to be at peace with themselves. I am not the sort of person to have a goal, but if I am going down the wrong path, I will know and I will do something about it. Having the awareness of what’s important to you and the confidence to be okay with yourself as well as to say that this is what makes me happy is ever so important.

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Thank you Jennifer for donating her time and raising 98 volunteer hours to Social Career, Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong, Eureka Consulting Group and more!

For more amazing opportunities, visit Time Auction to volunteer and meet inspiring mentors!

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/a-law-firm-partners-guide-to-decision-making-dinner-with-jennifer-van-dale-partner-head-of-2374cdc2a502

Updated on 8 April, 2021
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