Posted in Interviews on 27 Jun 2018
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role
My day-to-day is a client relationship partner role for some of the UK’s leading insurers I lead a team of around 60 people. As a team we specialise in large loss litigation, employers and public liability matters. I also carry out technical work in order to remain current and be able to guide the team in the best possible way.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal sector?
I considered various occupational options but settled upon a career in law as I enjoyed the academic rigour of the subject and was enthused by the idea of clients actually paying for my opinion.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Developing people is the most rewarding part of my job and something I really enjoy. Since I started managing people in 2002, I think every paralegal I’ve had direct responsibility for has gone on to get a training contract – if that’s been the route they’ve wanted to pursue. It’ a privilege to watch talented professionals progress through their careers.
I still thoroughly enjoy the cut and thrust of cases and knowing you’re doing a great job for a client. Watching the growth of the business that results from such a strong team doing high quality work has been hugely satisfying.
What’s the most challenging element of your job?
The greatest challenge for most people is the time pressure to balance competing pressures without compromising on quality – and being able to take time out. There have been times in my career where I’ve not wanted to take a holiday, worrying about what I’ll return to. Thankfully those days have gone because of the confidence I have now in my team and colleagues.
So far what has been your career highlight?
I can’t choose one highlight but if I could shortlist three, I’d say:
Taking a case to the House of Lords – and winning. I am also an Assistant Coroner for the Manchester South and West London. My first article 2 jury inquest felt like a real achievement. The growth of the practice in Manchester.
Who or what has had the biggest influence on your professional career so far?
I’ve always had a mentor who is someone outside of the business. This has given me a real sense of perspective and an invaluable sounding board. I’ve gone on to introduce him to a number of associates in my team when I’ve felt he could add value.
What do you believe are the greatest talent challenges for law firms?
The competition for talent isn’t just with other law firms or legal roles. We’re competing with other professions and industries for the best people. There’s a reasonable expectation for graduates to be able to see the career path that lies ahead of them. To my mind, the most effective thing law firms can do to attract and retain people is to find out what people want and make the route to this very clear.
What do you think the emerging skills are which will best equip lawyers for the future?
Across all professions, there is an increasing need to be competent with technology. This is applying technology and not just using it. I think it’s increasingly important to immerse yourself in technology and read widely around this.
I’m impressed by the quality of talent coming through the ranks. The competence and confidence of our future lawyers is high.
Do you have any advice for new trainees or paralegals beginning a career in law?
Stick with it even if you’re not progressing quite as quickly as you’d expected or haven’t taken the precise route you thought you might. It’s my experience that good people do get to where they aspire to be if they persist.
What could you see yourself being or doing if you hadn’t pursued a career in the legal sector?
Back to the sliding door moment in 1993, I’d probably have taken up my commission in the Royal Marines.
What do you do to relax outside the office?
Water polo. I really enjoy it and find it’s the perfect way to unwind.
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