Paul Menzies QC is one of Australia’s leading barristers, so I expected him to be imposing.

But Paul, the 162nd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is softly-spoken.

Paul says that can be a disadvantage in the courtroom, because, sometimes, judges can’t hear what he’s saying. 

Nevertheless, Paul has built a remarkably successful career. He’s handled cases in administrative, commercial, criminal, professional negligence, common, insurance and commercial law. He became a solicitor in 1968, a barrister in 1973 and a Queen’s Counsel in 1988. In 2013, he was admitted to the Dubai International Financial Centre Court; in 2016, to the Singapore International Commercial Court.

One reason for Paul’s success is his strong communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal.

Paul is adept at reading the body language of judges and witnesses, and adjusting his style when necessary. And he favours clear, concise English, rather than the impenetrable, verbose language associated with lawyers.

So why did Paul want to have lunch with me? He said he was curious. I think that’s another reason for his success – even after all this time, he still has an open mind.