This month’s newsletter announces Gene Paterson’s retirement as the Managing Director of Macrossan and Amiet and Stuart Naylor as his replacement in that role. Although I sincerely hope that Gene remains with Macrossan and Amiet for many years to come, this change caused me to momentarily reflect upon my personal perspective of Gene Paterson as a lawyer and as a human being.
I first met Gene almost twenty-five years ago when as a young lawyer I travelled to Mackay for a mediation conference. I was acting for a lady by the name of Helga Nicholas who was one of my first clients and for whom I continue to act to this day. Helga is a German immigrant who speaks very loudly and with a strong German accent. Helga was having a building dispute and Gene Paterson was acting for the builder. Helga and I drove to an architect’s house in Mackay where the mediation was to take place on a Saturday morning. Gene Paterson arrived shortly after we did, driving what I recall as a somewhat beat up minibus. I made the mistake of “judging a book by its cover” when I made certain assumptions about Gene based upon the motor vehicle that he was driving. Helga and I went inside the house and right from the start Gene yelled at both Helga and I (I have since learnt that this is Gene’s natural way of talking but at the time I honestly thought he was yelling at me). From memory, the mediation was short, scary and unsuccessful. I do remember that for pretty much the whole two hours driving home from Mackay to Proserpine Helga continued to yell at me in a strong German accent telling me that I had been “walked all over” and that I had a lot to learn about being a lawyer. I sincerely hope that my negotiation skills have improved since that time.
I became a partner of Macrossan and Amiet a little over ten years ago. In that time, I have come to know Gene as a good friend and as an honest, hardworking, down to earth lawyer. Gene still yells when he talks. But I suspect that he is not quite as loud as he used to be.
I would like to thank Gene for all of the help and assistance he has given to me and all his fellow directors during his tenure as the Managing Partner / Director of Macrossan and Amiet. Gene is a wonderfully gifted practitioner who has little or no ego as evidenced by the beat up minibus and his dress sense. He has a strong sense of justice and doing the right thing. I am sure that everyone who has dealt with Gene has a story or two they could tell. I think I can best sum up my opinion of Gene by simply saying that if I ever found myself in police custody charged with a serious offence and was able to make one telephone call to someone to act on my behalf then, I have no doubt that the person I would call would be Gene Paterson.
On behalf of all of the directors of Macrossan and Amiet we would like to publicly thank Gene for his stewardship of Macrossan and Amiet and for all of the hard work and effort that he has done and for which little or no mention or credit has ever been given. Thank you Gene.