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Hannah Walsh – head of the Police Team at Weightmans – discusses her role, trends in the market and where it’s heading

Hannah, can you summarise your own career to date?
I’ve been with Weightmans LLP Police Team since 2002 working in our Birmingham, Leicester, London and Guildford offices. We are proud at Weightmans to be the most highly regarded police lawyers in the country having retained our #1 ranking in Chambers for more than a decade. We act for more police forces than any other private practice firm. My clients include BTP, the Met, Surrey and Sussex Police.

You’re now head of the firm’s London Police Team. What does the role entail?
I manage dedicated police law teams of lawyers in both our London and Guildford offices. We deal with all aspects of police law; from pure police law to anti-social behaviour and litigation, to corporate, commercial, real estate, procurement and regulatory.

What are the most challenging aspects of the job?
My police clients are always in the spotlight dealing with complex and challenging areas of the law. No two days are ever the same. Advice is often required at short notice on difficult legal questions. Public perception is very important.

What do you most enjoy?
I most enjoy the daily interaction with my police clients who are grateful for a job well done. I also love the different and fascinating cases we as police lawyers get to be part of.

What has been your biggest achievement so far/ the case you’re most proud of?
I have been main legal advisor in some of the most highest profile litigation, inquests and public inquires over the last few years. This has included a group action following the biggest mass arrest and a trip to Istanbul to interview covert witnesses. Winning the tender to be sole legal advisor to Surrey and Sussex Police was a personal highlight this year.

What are the main trends in Police work right now?
We are seeing an increase in various work types including domestic violence prevention orders which I predict will increase significantly across the country. Litigation remains stable but that may change if there are any perceived potential changes to Human Rights legislation.

How do you think the market will evolve?
Our police clients want us to work in different ways and I predict a significant move away from traditional hourly rate charging structures. I also support more flexible and remote working patterns where it’s right for the client.

www.weightmans.com

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