Head of legal, Riverview Solicitors, Wirral
My mum pushed me towards a legal career and I’m glad I listened.
Can being given case papers only minutes before a court hearing be regarded as good preparation? It certainly made me walk and read quickly! Apart from that, I was given lots of variety and responsibility, including being left to run a small office when the partner was on holiday.
On a personal level, the hardest challenge was the prospect of having to make a great team of work colleagues redundant at the North West Development Agency. Fortunately, I managed to play my part in ensuring the orderly closure of the business, with the transfer of my team to multiple successor bodies.
Moving from private practice to in-house was refreshing and positive, but it can be difficult if you don’t adapt your mindset. In-house requires a commercial, practical approach, identifying key risks and solutions rather than delivering lengthy legal opinions.
My most challenging case was leading on the establishment of the North West Urban Investment Fund, a pioneering £100m+ property fund based on new European law. It was like starting with a blank piece of paper and trying to make it all work from a legal, financial and stakeholder perspective.
Winning national awards is always very exciting as it’s great recognition of successful team work. Most recently, my colleagues and I at Riverview Law have been extremely pleased to have secured our ABS licence from the SRA, as this really will lead to many more exciting opportunities.
I surrendered when I saw the size of the books for land law. For my sins, I later became a director in charge of a £200m+ property portfolio.
Sadly, far too many female lawyers (my wife included) have been lost to the profession due to the long hours culture not being compatible with family life. Hopefully, this will be reversed in the future as new businesses enter the market and offer more flexibility, great-quality work and more regular working hours.
Exposure to different areas of law can help to provide more rounded commercial advice and can really be useful preparation for an in-house role.