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What job would you like to have other than your own and why?
A teacher – my mother was a teacher, and I think it is a very special vocation. Alternatively, a train driver – surely every boy has a part of him that would like to do that, and that is what my father did.
What’s your greatest career achievement to date?
The next one! I think you have to keep looking ahead. However, I have been very lucky to benefit from mentors and sponsors throughout my career, and I am proud that in turn over the years I have been able to mentor and sponsor colleagues, many of whom have gone on to be successful as partners in private practice or otherwise.
What makes you most angry in and out of work?
In work, very little. Out of work, being consistently outpaced on my road bike by my friends, and a woefully inconsistent golf swing. Plus a lack of will power around food of any description (a trait I share with my Labrador). Oh, and my children’s desperate desire to plug into any device or watch any screen any time, any place.
Do you have any regrets?
No, I think if you do a job you enjoy, have a strong family, and interests outside the office that you can occasionally indulge, then you have to count yourself lucky in the scheme of things.
What do you need to make life complete?
Greater fitness on the road bike and a better golf swing (see above) but, again, I think I have to count myself lucky. As they say “there is always somebody richer and always somebody thinner”. Still, a ski chalet would be lovely…
Why do you make a difference to your clients and the firm you work for?
I think because I recognise that our role in professional services is to transact. Occasionally lawyers originate deals, but not terribly often, and we are privileged to receive instructions from clients, and deliver the deal they (not we) conceived. For me, the doing of the deal and all that goes with it – the advisory role, structuring advice and negotiation – is what it is all about. If the practitioner, the ego, or the taking of fine points become bigger than the deal, then something has gone wrong. And the opportunity to do that with Nabarro in Manchester at a hugely exciting time for the City of Manchester is a very special one.
What are the five words that sum you up as a lawyer?
Hard-working, pragmatic and technically adept.
What are your career goals?
To be able to look back and say I was as good as I was able to be; that I left nothing in the locker, but everything out on the pitch (as the Americans like to say).
Any advice for young lawyers starting out?
Work hard; learn as much as you can; read widely into and around your area, and don’t shy from ongoing academic study. Understand that it is not a binary choice between becoming a “commercial” lawyer or a “technical” lawyer, but that the best “commercial” lawyers deliver advice from a bedrock foundation of legal knowledge. And ask yourself what your sector will look like in five years’ time and what you can do to anticipate and become fluent ahead of time. So, in real estate, my guess is that alternative asset classes, including student housing, retirement living, healthcare, PRS, infrastructure and energy, will become at least as important as investment in conventional offices, shopping centres and sheds.
Do you have a motto?
Lots of cheesy David Brent-style ones but I’ll restrict myself to:
“The harder I practise, the luckier I get”. (Originally attributed to Jack Nicklaus)
“Get busy living, or get busy dying”. (The Shawshank Redemption)
About Mark: Mark has more than 20 years’ experience in real estate development and funding, with a particular expertise in forward funding structures and “income strip” deals. Mark has been recognised by the legal directories for many years as an outstanding practitioner (“highly regarded …praised for his quality work concluding transactions as quickly and efficiently as possible… brings a strategic overview to transactions” Chambers 2014).