Who? Paul Harbour, 44, head of real estate at Kingsley Napley.
Why is he in the news? Harbour and his team acted for Amsprop, Lord Sugar’s property business, on the letting of the Sugar Building near St Paul’s Cathedral to a serviced office provider, and its subsequent sale to an overseas investor for almost £80m. The property is commonly referred to as the Threepenny Bit due to its octagonal shape.
Thoughts on the deal: ‘Our client had the foresight to acquire the property during the downturn for £20.75m three years ago – a tough decision given the market conditions at the time. Following a £9m refurbishment of the property, it was prepared for market swiftly. Given the current demand for properties of this quality in the City, the client was able to secure a good tenant for the office space and negotiate a sale quickly, ensuring substantial gains.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Public interest in property deals is always magnified by the involvement of a famous client.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘When I was at school deciding on what job to do they had a big book on possible jobs. I tried choosing with my eyes shut and it came up with pig farmer. I decided that approach was not good and so found the description of lawyer and decided that was for me.’
Career high: ‘Becoming head of the real estate practice at Kingsley Napley in 2009, although this was tinged with fear, not only for the responsibility but also given the fact the property market was in the depths of a downturn. To now be in a position where we have a team advising on deals such as the latest for Amsprop has made it all worthwhile.’
Career low: ‘The downturn was certainly a rough period and I learnt a lot from that. But thinking back to when I was newly qualified in Manchester, one evening I took home the head of the firm’s file of a key client to continue working on at home – it was in the boot of my car. I stopped first at the supermarket and returned to the car park to find my old banger had been stolen.
‘Luckily for me the car had broken down at the edge of the car park and the client’s file was still safe in the boot. My new boss was less than impressed. I certainly had a lesson in client confidentiality.’