What was your first break in business?
Getting Articles of Clerkship (now called a Training Contract) with a blue chip solicitors firm in Lincoln’s Inn in London in the late 1970s – London was an exciting place to be!
What did you want to be growing up?
I come from a military family and wanted to follow my father and brother into the Royal Air Force. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t take me because I was ‘insufficiently coordinated’.
What attracted you to your current role?
I was asked by a number of partners to put myself forward for the managing partner role in 1998. It was a great vote of confidence when I was appointed and it gave me an opportunity to help to drive the firm from a relatively modest size to become one of the Top 100 Law Firms in the UK with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
What is your firm’s mission?
Our mission is to be regarded as the law firm of choice in the North of England as well as a Northern law firm for national businesses. We achieve this with the care that our staff show to our clients and the quality of the work that we do for them.
How do you get the best out of your staff?
We are in a serious business but it is important to enjoy coming to work. We try and create a business-like but informal atmosphere, work hard and play hard, and ensure that the management team and the partners all lead by example.
What has been your career highlight?
Ward Hadaway’s appointment to the legal panel for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital Trust in 1999 was a career highlight.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been to ensure that we recruit, retain and develop the best people we possibly can attract to the firm and to ensure that we create an environment in which they thrive.
Who or what inspires you?
My father was a great inspiration. He joined the Royal Air Force as an apprentice at the age of 16, won the Distinguished Flying Cross in the Second World War as a pathfinder in Bomber Command flying Mosquitos and the Air Force Cross in the 1950s; he had a successful career at Clarke Chapman in Gateshead after leaving the RAF. I have, over the years, also found great inspiration from the work of singer-songwriter Randy Newman.
What are Ward Hadaway’s short and long term goals?
Ward Hadaway’s short-term goal is to be as profitable as reasonably possible – it is only through profitability that we can invest in our people and our systems to ensure that we provide the best possible client service that our clients are entitled to expect. The medium to long-term goal is the continued development of our three offices but particularly Leeds and Manchester. We are a northern law firm for national business and are therefore absolutely delighted that the Government has prioritised the development of the Northern Powerhouse.
How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
My wife, Michaela, daughter Sophie and son William keep my feet firmly on the ground and I have a great bunch of friends. I also play a little golf, listen to music, support SAFC and Newcastle Falcons – neither of whom are having a particularly good season but I am sure they will both come through.