Meet Our People | Shane Entriken
In the next instalment of our series ‘Meet Our People’ we spoke to partner, Shane Entriken, to shed some light on what it’s like to work at Piper Alderman, having joined the firm’s recently opened Perth office.
What made you choose a career in law, and what’s your favourite part of the job?
I completed a business degree with a major in human resource management and progressed quickly to management roles for businesses with unionised workforces, change, disputes, bargaining and appearing regularly in the Fair Work Commission. I felt I needed a deeper knowledge of the law, so I studied law at a 75% load while working full-time. I enjoyed the law and felt it was a natural fit for the way I think.
There are two parts of the job I particularly enjoy. The first is running cases. That might be defending an employer or senior officer in a prosecution, an adverse action in the Federal Court or taking a challenge against a regulator. This type of work can be high pressure and high stakes, but it is also a test of your knowledge and the advice you give to a client.
Secondly, I like to work with employers to coach and guide them, as well as be strategic about how they set up and manage their organisations. Anyone can tell you what the law says – the art is to have the experience and foresight to know the right calls to make in a certain set of circumstances.
What is the most memorable case you’ve taken on/been involved in?
There have been many high-pressure negotiations, industrial stoppages, bad accidents, commission and court hearings. One of the most memorable was a nasty coal industry dispute involving death threats, security guards and houses being firebombed. My wife didn’t like that.
Another was a power station dispute that threatened to cut off the power to 20% of an Australian state resulting in an arbitrated award. That was interesting! The final would be the BA16 litigation which was Australia’s longest running unfair dismissal – and I was involved when the workers were ordered back to work. I learned a lot from that about change.
What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?
My focus is on building the recently established Piper Alderman Perth office with our local team. We are also looking for capable local partners and lawyers, who, like us, want a career with a great firm.
We are actively looking for new lawyers at all levels for the Perth office, so I’d encourage people to get in touch formally through the HR team.
Are there any emerging legal trends or issues in the energy and resources sector that you’ve seen or are involved in?
The trend that is really interesting to me is the rapid emergence and importance of sustainability and wider ESG frameworks in the private sector. Companies in all sectors are going through a period of transition as their legal and compliance obligations expand to include environmental, social and governance issues.
This is a fluid area, being driven by investor sentiment, shareholder activism, regulatory activity and a genuine desire by companies to achieve sustainability and meet social expectations.
The development of the hydrogen industry as part of reducing the carbon footprint is a really interesting and exciting part of this. Piper Alderman has a strong focus on being at the forefront of new and emerging industries and low carbon transition and the hydrogen industry is something that our clients are actively involved in.
What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?
The practice of law is very competitive and increasingly specialised. It is important to find what you like and then become very good at that. If you do good work, and genuinely add value for clients, the word will soon get around and your practice will grow.