Partner, business investigations and governance, IBB Solictitors
During my time at school I loved acting and maybe the combination of that and watching too many episodes of LA Law were the determining factors of me pursuing a legal career. I joined Booth Bennett as a trainee and I am still there in its incarnation as IBB. The training provided great interaction with clients and exposure to the law in a practical sense. University and the Law Society finals at the College of Law in Guildford provided the theory.
A major challenge for me was having to make the difficult decisions that saw us weather the recession and come back out the other side. In addition, developing and managing a team, and learning the business development skills to compete in today’s market are all things that legal training (at the time I did it) does not prepare you for. A difficult paymaster and an unsympathetic judicial process stand you in good stead in other areas of your life. I still end up losing the argument with my teenage kids.
As a business investigations and governance lawyer, I represent people who are potentially on the brink of losing their livelihoods and liberty. The consequences are grave and the advice needs to be precise. However we can only advise – the ultimate decision-maker is the client. The increasing tendency to reverse the burden of proof is something that needs to be challenged, as does the absurdity of the position that when the state prosecutes you and you are acquitted, you are unable to recover your legal expenses. How is that fair in a democratic society?
Over-regulation and the increasing burden on the management team mean that some who came in to the profession to be lawyers have ended up as full-time managers. Work-life balance is continually under threat, although I believe that a number of young lawyers are not necessarily motivated by the pursuit of the partner title. This may be a good thing.
Being a lawyer is not an easy life and the financial rewards in certain areas of the law are limited to say the least. I would encourage anyone starting a career now to come in to the profession, but without the rose-tinted spectacles and with a healthy dose of realism.
Anil Rajani is partner, business investigations and governance, IBB Solicitors, Uxbridge