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Interview with Peter McCormick OBE, Senior Partner, McCormicks Solicitors, Harrogate

Q. Peter, what is your role at McCormicks Solicitors?

A. I am the Senior Partner, having founded the firm in 1983. My primary tasks as Senior Partner include the overall strategic management of the business, including our marketing activities. Unlike many Senior Partners, however, I have a full-time fee-earning role in the areas of Sport, Media and Entertainment, Charities and Regulatory and Disciplinary work.

Q. Why did you become a lawyer?

A. Two primary reasons – the cut and thrust of the areas of law in which I operate and the challenges that are presented stimulate me. Secondly – to earn a decent living!

Q. What is the best thing about your job?

A. The people – ours is a people business and it has been a pleasure to be working with some terrific colleagues and to meet people from all walks of life as clients or contacts, many of whom have become friends. The other great attraction is that every day is different. No matter how carefully one might try to plan the diary, urgent matters arise and a day in Harrogate can become an urgent trip to London in a matter of minutes.

Q. What is the most interesting case you have dealt with?

A. I have been very fortunate – there have been so many interesting and challenging cases that it is difficult to single one out. Certainly, a highlight would be, in 1987, becoming the only English lawyer to be allowed to conduct an Extradition Hearing in Uruguay in the only case of extradition brought under a treaty between the UK and Uruguay stretching back over 100 years. The most enjoyable work is my current portfolio for the Premier League for whom I have acted for over 12 years and I was appointed Chairman of the League’s Legal Advisory Group last year.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement in your profession to date?

A. It would have to be the process of starting a firm from scratch in 1983, then a second one 4 years later, building them both up with the help of valued colleagues, selling the first and now growing the second business in Harrogate and doing our bit to put Harrogate on the legal map nationally. It was also a proud moment for my family and the firm when I was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2000 for services to charity.

Q. What advice would you give to junior lawyers starting out?

A. Despite a difficult economy currently, quality and hard work will always win through. Be prepared to work very hard. Do not be snobbish – you are in a service industry. There is no substitute for preparation. Be prepared to operate outside your comfort zone. Learn to market – those who can generate work will become Partners one day. Finally, put something back into the community – if you have been fortunate enough to be given the intelligence to forge a worthwhile and rewarding career, you owe it to the community and yourself to put something back to help those less fortunate than you.

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