Can you give us a brief overview of your career to date?
After qualifying I joined Alsop Stevens (now part of DLA) in Liverpool as a corporate associate in 1974. I was made a partner in 1979 and following the merger with a Manchester firm in 1985 I was appointed head of corporate in the North West and managing partner of the Manchester office.
I left the law in 1990 and had four years’ in business before joining Pinsent Masons as a corporate partner in 1994 and was appointed head of corporate in 1996. I then joined White & Case as a corporate/private equity partner in 2004 and joined Lovells as head of private equity in 2006 becoming global co-head of private equity when Hogan Lovells was created in 2010.
What’s been your highlight/stand out moment so far?
I have been fortunate throughout my career in acting on high profile transactions for private equity sponsors, entrepreneurs and corporates. Recently, highlights have been acting for Liberty Global on the Virgin Media and Chellomedia transactions and acting for the shareholders of Webuyanycar Limited on the formation and development of the business and its eventual sale to British Car Auctions Limited.
What motivates you as a lawyer?
To use my expertise and experience to lead my team and help clients achieve their business and commercial objectives ensuring that they are properly protected in the legal documentation. I have always enjoyed building and leading teams and creating teams of high quality particularly in private equity.
You were going to retire as head of the firm’s private equity practice but what prompted you to stay?
I felt the beginning of 2014 was the right time for me to step down as co-head of Hogan Lovells global private equity practice. I was then planning to handover my practice throughout 2014 and take up other business opportunities outside the law. However, when Hogan Lovells decided to set up a Legal Services Centre, I put my name forward to manage the office. I had always been very enthusiastic about the concept of the Legal Services Centre and the opportunity to manage the office enables me to continue my relationship with Hogan Lovells as well as pursuing some other business interests.
Birmingham is going to be the location for Hogan Lovells’ Legal Services Centre. Why there?
There were four main factors in the choice of Birmingham as the location for the Legal Services Centre: proximity to London, good rail and road links to and from London, a strong legal market and the infrastructure of a major city.
What will the focus be in terms of services and sectors?
The Legal Services Centre will operate as an extension of the London office. The London groups who are going to have lawyers in the Legal Services Centre are corporate, finance, litigation and real estate. All the lawyers will be members of those teams and fully integrated with them. They will be working with their colleagues in London on transactions and cases on which the London team has been instructed.
There are parts of complex transactions and cases and certain types of work which can be done at a lower cost in the Legal Services Centre. Its establishment is part of Hogan Lovells’ continuing drive to provide a high quality service to its clients in a cost-effective manner. The intention is that the cost saving achieved by handling work in Birmingham will be passed on to the client.
Will you be bringing anyone from London with you to establish the office?
I will be the only partner and I am not taking anyone from London with me. There is a team of partners in London working on the establishment of the Legal Services Centre and I will be liaising closely with them.
How big will the team initially be?
We are initially looking to recruit 20 lawyers for the corporate, finance, litigation and real estate teams.
What are the new office’s main aims & objectives over the first couple of years?
To establish the Legal Services Centre as a key part of our client offering by providing high quality service and legal advice in as cost-effective way as possible. Also to ensure that the lawyers are working seamlessly with the London teams and feel part of those teams.
What are you most excited about?
I have always enjoyed a business challenge and I am very much looking forward to setting up the Legal Services Centre and working with my colleagues to ensure that we achieve our objectives for the benefit of the clients. I am excited at being given the opportunity as it is an important development for Hogan Lovells.