What is your role at Davis Blank Furniss?
I am a partner in this firm’s Corporate Department. I act for SMEs, public companies, entrepreneurs and investors on a wide range of commercial matters, including; mergers and acquisitions, MBOs and MBIs, corporate re-organisations, private equity and business recovery matters. I also act as Co-Head of the firm’s Marketing Committee.
How long have you been at the firm?
I joined Davis Blank Furniss six months ago. It was a terrific opportunity for me and too good to turn down! I am really pleased to be working at a firm with a grand old name in the Manchester market place and a team that covers absolutely all areas of law. We are a genuine one-stop shop for all clients.
Why did you choose a career in law?
In my formative years, I was very much attracted by the Perry Mason image and watched far too many Alfred Hitchcock courtroom dramas! I would have been a dream for John Grisham and his formulaic novels! I actually did law A-Level which probably meant that I had made my mind up as early as the age of 16. However three weeks in Litigation in my first seat as trainee put me firmly on the road to Corporate/Commercial.
What is the most high profile case that you’ve been involved in?
These have been numerous. I have acted for a wide range of purchasers involved in rescuing many household businesses and football clubs in the area of mergers and acquisitions and transactional insolvency/ administrations. However, I probably got the most pleasure out of acting for a youthful Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick in my sports law days!
How do you see the legal sector changing over the next few years?
Whilst the legal sector never stands still, there is no doubt that the advent of “Tesco Law” and alternative business structures will make a monumental impact on the legal sector – if it has not started to do so already. However, we do live in a consumer culture and like any service area, consumer choice is paramount and arbitrary barriers should not hinder this progress. Of course, this may mean greater choice for clients and opportunities for more progressive law firms that are ready to embrace innovation. However, we must also safeguard quality of legal advice and there must be a minimum standard for non-legal providers to adhere to. Sadly, I fear for the high street practices.
The advent of the internet and social media including Twitter and LinkedIn are already having an impact and provide exciting new channels of opportunity in the legal sector. The challenge for lawyers is now to be commercially adept as well as being legal experts.
What are your personal goals for your department?
We have a detailed Business Plan with a number of internal and external aspirations. In the context of a challenging marketplace and against a recent background of economic upheaval, our goals are raising the profile of our commercial offering and growth (both organic and outward). We want to be bigger and better.
Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
Unfortunately, I was cursed at a very young age with supporting West Bromwich Albion. I have seen us lose at centres of sporting excellence such as Hartlepool and Halifax so I suppose our perennial yo-yoing between the top two divisions is actually deemed as relative success! I also still play football and cricket to a mediocre standard (just ask my teammates!). Living in South Manchester, there is no shortage of social amenities so I also enjoy good food and drink
Do you have a motto that guides your professional and personal lives?
I have never been one to stick slavishly to mottos, I have found that you always need to assess and deal with each situation on its merits. However, I always like to think that I never take myself too seriously or try and be too self-important. In a legal context, I have never been particularly enamoured with point-scoring or falling out with other lawyers. Your paths always cross again…….
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