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BCL Legal, The Brief

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Sarah Parkinson, partner at Browne Jacobson…

Sarah ParkinsonWhat is your role?
Property partner at Browne Jacobson, leading the volume retail team.

Why did you become a Solicitor?
Having focused on music all my school and university life, I decided I wasn’t good enough to be a professional cellist and law was the obvious alternative!

Where is the best place to go if you want to find out what is really going on in the office?
Anywhere where the trainees are gathered together.

What is the best thing about your job?
Making deals happen.

What is the toughest thing about your job?
Negotiating with lawyers who bring their egos to the table.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
Our late senior partner, David Hibbert, who sadly passed away last year. He was a fiendishly bright, pragmatic and genuine man and still an influence today.

What’s the most interesting case you have dealt with?
As an in-house solicitor at The Boots Company for six years, I was spoiled with interesting cases! One of my more unusual experiences resulted in me reading the draft of a film script for a Minnie Driver movie to ensure that the product placements did not potentially affect our reputation.

What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?
Working with a client from start up days, building a relationship with them over 10 years, dealing with the sale of that client and being recommended by them as legal advisor to the acquiring company who then appointed us to their panel. It was brilliant to know that the loyalty went two-ways.

Where do you see your firm in five to 10 years?
If I told you, I’d have to kill you!

What are the biggest challenges you will face?
An increasingly saturated legal market – firms buying in work – more procurement lead tenders.

Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?
Don’t tell him, but it would be my husband – he’s not just a glass half-full man, he has a spare glass in his pocket and that kind of attitude is absolutely infectious.

What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?
That’s easy – I’d have been a sports physiotherapist for Leicester Tigers so that I could travel the world watching rugby for a living.

What are your predictions for the property market in 2014?
We’ve noticed a marked increase in deals and activity across our property department in 2013 and I believe that this will continue in 2014. However, there will also continue to be pressure on costs for clients and this will drive the pressure on fees and profitability for all of us working in the property industry.

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