What was your first break in business?
Those of us who enter professional services sometimes forget that we lead a relatively charmed life. For most lawyers, it’s not so much a question of getting a break but more about working hard and, subject to the vagaries of the economy, things tend to work out reasonably well. This carries the risk of making us a tad complacent and may explain the lack of commerciality among many of my fellow solicitors. I am full of admiration for those in the business world who, despite their efforts, struggle to achieve the recognition and reward they deserve but who persevere nevertheless and take full advantage of opportunities that eventually come along.
What did you want to be growing up?
As with many North East lads, I played football morning, noon and night and was entirely convinced that this was my future. Brutal reality intervened around the age of 13.
What attracted you to your current role?
While I have derived enormous satisfaction from client work over the years, I was ready for the intellectual, organisational and psychological challenge that comes with managing a law firm. The legal sector is increasingly competitive and the outlook for the region’s economy is uncertain to say the least. I relish the prospect of contributing to Sintons’ continuing growth, ensuring that the firm remains commercially sound and an attractive place to work.
What is the firm’s mission?
It’s about excellence. This starts with the quality of the work we do for our clients but is about much more. It means understanding what our clients need and how best to meet their needs, how we deliver our service and how we ensure that there is complete transparency around pricing so that the work we do is recognised as value for money. At Sintons, we strive to instil pride throughout the firm in what we do and how we do it.
How do you get the best out of your team?
My role involves both leading and managing, which are different things. Good management means actively listening to our people and having a genuine commitment to both understanding and addressing their concerns. It is important to act in a manner that demonstrates their views and efforts are truly valued, appreciated and will be appropriately rewarded.
Leadership requires being clear and consistent about what we are trying to achieve and why the contribution of our people matters. It’s about setting an example all day, every day. We get the best out of people when management and leadership effectively combine.
What has been your career highlight?
Without a doubt being elected managing partner of a firm which has done well for over 100 years, has grown significantly over the last decade, and has ambitious plans for the future.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I am sure that there are many challenges still to come but the most pressing issue for most law firms in the region is the retention and recruitment of good-quality staff. One of my priorities is to maintain our focus on our HR strategy and ensure that the firm remains one of the North’s most desirable places to work.
Who or what inspires you?
I want to contribute to something enduring and something that makes a positive difference to the commercial and personal lives of our clients and the professional lives of my colleagues.
What are Sintons’ short and long-term goals?
In the short term, Sintons’ aim is to continue to deliver both legal and client service excellence for businesses, organisations and individuals, both regionally and nationally. Long term, this means keeping and attracting the best legal talent around to enable us to grow and thrive. We want people who share our commitment to excellence.
How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
With difficulty! Emails are a blessing and a curse; we are never closed for business. I studied English Literature at Cambridge and reading remains a deep passion as well as an opportunity to take myself in to another world. I do my best thinking while walking and try and do as much as I can. I have been fortunate enough to trek through some of the most stunning scenery throughout the world and am looking forward to returning to the Himalayas this autumn. I am told that there is wi-fi there now!