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Interview with Ruth Lawrence, Head of Insurance at Hill Dickinson

What is your role at Hill Dickinson?

I am Head of Insurance at Hill Dickinson, which means I am responsible for all aspects of our insurance practice both at an operational and strategic level across all our offices. That covers a broad range of work, including professional indemnity, motor, casualty, D&O and financial institutions. It certainly makes for a challenging and exciting work environment.

Why did you become a solicitor?

I was always interested in the law and having toyed with the idea of becoming a barrister, I decided being a solicitor was for me. As a trainee (or articled clerk) I did think about becoming a family lawyer in a small firm, so some things have changed.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

Certain people’s offices but I am not saying whose!

What’s the best thing about your job?

Obtaining the trust and respect of a new client and then delivering a result which exceeds their expectations.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Finding enough hours in the day to do what I need to do and want to do.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?

No one single person but I think my father has been the biggest single influence on my working life. He taught me the value of education, combined with hard work and determination.

What’s the most interesting case you have dealt with?

I have been lucky enough to handle claims arising out a number of high profile buildings – but unfortunately I can’t say what they are!

What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?

Becoming Head of Insurance in May 2011.

Where do you see your firm in five to ten years? What are the biggest challenges you’ll face?

I think there will be challenges for all law firms, big and small, moving forward and we must all focus on offering a high quality service and responding to our clients’ changing needs, both in relation to price and service .Whatever the challenges facing Hill Dickinson and other firms, the challenges facing our clients are at least as great.

Is so-called “Tesco law” just talk or set to fundamentally change the legal market? What has your firm done to prepare for it?

As the profession opens up to outside investment, whether it’s from the likes of Tesco or private equity, there will be changes as what have been traditional business’ will have to learn to work with external investors. This potentially challenges the traditional route to partnership for most solicitors and we may see careers heading in different directions. That could be exciting.

Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?

Nelson Mandela

What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?

A full time mother to my three children.

What would you advise lawyers beginning their legal career today?

Be prepared to work hard and get stuck in. Be adaptable and accept your career pattern may well change

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