After Hours: Paul Allen, partner and head of IP & Tech - ME, DLA Piper

Paul Allen shares some insights regarding his past, personal successes, as well as his approach to the job.

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After Hours: Paul Allen, partner and head of IP & Tech - ME, DLA Piper Paul Allen, partner and head of IP & Tech - ME, DLA Piper.
By  Paul Allen , ITP.net Staff Writer Published  May 8, 2017

How did you come to be in your current role?

Starting out in the law in 1999, my goal was to become the best IT lawyer I could be. After spending my first five years of legal practice in Brisbane, Australia, my wife and I moved to London where I gained my dream job at DLA Piper working on the world’s largest and most complex IT deal at the time.  After four years of living and working in London, we decided that a new adventure was needed and so we moved to Dubai in August 2008.

What is your management philosophy?

It’s simple, teamwork makes the dream work! I also believe, if you do the right thing, the right thing happens. It all starts with forming a team which has a shared vision around what the team wants to achieve, agreeing on the strategy for success, and deciding who will play what role. The next step is to do the right thing — i.e., take action.  A vision and strategy without action is like a car without petrol — it might look nice but it will take you nowhere.

What was your first computer, and when did you first use it?

In the early ‘90s when I was in high school in Brisbane, Australia, my parents were generous enough to buy me an Atari 1040STE. It was a good ‘beginner’s’ computer which allowed me to become familiar with windows-style programs.

What is your greatest achievement?

A long time ago, I was a rower. Twice a week, I would wake up at 4.45am so I could arrive at the rowing shed by 5.30am and I would then row with my crew for nearly two hours. On top of that, we would row once or twice an afternoon each week and then race in a regatta on the weekend. It came to the final race of the season, the Head of the River. After the starter’s gun went off, we rowed our hearts out, and in the end, we won the Head of the River. We were the fastest boat in our age group.

What was the biggest challenge you have faced?

Professionally, my biggest challenge was taking on the leadership role for our Intellectual Property & Technology practice at DLA Piper (Middle East) after just a year or so as a Partner. My starting point was to develop a vision with the team and, once that vision was in place, we went on to grow the practice by 200% in three years without increasing our headcount. We have been ranked Band 1 for TMT by the leading legal directories for the past seven years and last year we were awarded TMT firm of the year at The Oath Legal Awards.

What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East industry?

My fondest memories are all associated with the people I have met and developed relationships with over the years. I am privileged to be working in a sector where there are so many talented like-minded people who are inspired by innovation and entrepreneurialism.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact in 2017?

In 2017, it will probably be a continuing shift towards cloud-based service delivery, but in terms of the technology which will have the biggest longer term impact, I doubt anything will compare to AI.

How do you deal with stress?

I find that living by my rituals and leveraging my strengths is the best way to avoid stress. My rituals are essentially key habits that allow me to stay on top of, and even keep ahead of, my duties and goals - personal and professional.

PERSONAL

Nationality: Australian
Number of years in the industry: 18 years
Favourite food: A great Aussie BBQ!
Holiday destination: Wakatobi in South East Sulawesi, Indonesia (best diving in the world!)
Music: Equal tie between Guns N Roses and Radiohead
Dream car: An autonomous car so that I can make the most of any commute.
Gadget: The virtual reality headsets at The Void which bring Ghostbusters to life  – amazing!!
Movie/book: Terminator.

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