Peter Snell is the Executive Director of Stirling Henry Global Migration, a specialist immigration firm that has been helping corporations and individuals navigate the complex Australian immigration system for more than 20 years.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a lawyer and after more than a decade working in private practice I found myself providing legal advice to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. This opened my eyes to a whole new area of law and an opportunity to move away from the constraints of a large national legal firm. I therefore jumped at the chance to buy into Stirling Henry when its founder retired in 2009 and I have enjoyed the challenge of bringing modern procedures and a client focussed business structure to the solid foundations of a firm that has been operating successfully for over 20 years.
I became a lawyer in my 30’s after flirting with a career in architecture. Having found that the reality of life in an architect’s office was less glamorous than Mike Brady had made it out to be, my love of words and language, and a well-structured argument convinced me to turn away from the drawing board to pursue an interest in law.
What is your greatest achievement?
I consider my greatest achievement to be the knowledge that by helping people obtain a visa to come and work and live in Australia I can so dramatically change their lives for the better. My work is more than a job to me, and the simple successes achieved for my clients is a great source of satisfaction and joy.
You are marooned on a desert island, what three objects would you like to take?
If marooned on an island and I had a choice of three things to take with me, other than say, a boat, a buffet and an esky, I would take the Macquarie dictionary, a bottle of single malt whisky and a comfortable chair.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be, and why?
Sydney is my home and the place where I will always return. But I love big cities and if the opportunity arose I would enjoy a stint living in Manhattan, as there is so much to do, it is hard to imagine to ever get tired of New York.
What goals have you set yourself recently?
My goal is to make Stirling Henry widely recognised and respected as providing the highest quality immigration advice and services at competitive prices. I hope to be pottering around the office from time to time in my seventies, telling the young ones what life was like before we all owned satellites.
What was the first car you owned and what does that say about you?
The first car I owned was a crazy two door Valiant that was 20 foot long and worth more as scrap metal than what I paid for it. It was so technologically deficient that I suspect it was designed and built in the Lascaux caves. It did everything that you could want from a car of its vintage, except corner, brake or start when you asked it to. But, hell, I loved that car. I reluctantly sold it to a mate when petrol hit 50 cents a litre, and I can’t recall that he ever thanked me for it.
What is your favourite book/ movie/ tv show
My favourite movie is a toss-up between the thought provoking American Beauty, the whimsical Amelie and the simply brilliant Pulp Fiction. My favourite book is The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, although I do find myself re-reading John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces every few years. I think TV is an addiction that drains your life away, so I try to avoid it.