Richard Nelson gives us a snap shot into his working day
The first thing I do each morning is switch on the Today Programme on Radio Four. Then I check my telephone for any urgent messages that have come in overnight. I think this is a throwback to my days in general crime when I always woke up expecting news of a raid or a client’s arrest!
My morning routine depends a bit on my commitments for the day and whether I am travelling to London or one of my other offices. It also varies depending on the time of year. I am a person who feels better in the summer months and the lighter mornings.
When I am working at my office local to home, I get up, have a quick look outside at the weather, and take in a quick view of the park which I am lucky enough to back onto. I have a shower and, contrary to many expectations, a bit of a shave!
I go downstairs, make a cup of tea, and usually have some porridge for breakfast, and if the sun is shining I sit on the bench outside and appreciate the sights and sounds (or lack of them) of the garden while I eat my breakfast.
I then log on and deal with my emails and urgent correspondence before going into the office to avoid being distracted. I get about 200 emails a day and I like to keep on top of them and see what new work is coming in and which is for other people. Perhaps it is part of the price of the eponymous firm to receive messages on cases which my colleagues are conducting.
I am fortunate to live only a short distance from the office in Nottingham but I travel the two and a half miles by car in case I have to go out during the day. It is not great for fitness but hands-free means that I can keep up with friends on the way in.
My early morning in the office sees me putting the kettle on and greeting the staff. When the mail arrives I open and check it and allocate it for scanning and distribution to various offices by email. If there are any apparent issues that occur to me I will email or telephone the solicitor dealing with the case to discuss them.
All this is dependent on whether or not I have any urgent casework. I have to be flexible because my client work often involves working to either deadlines or dealing with new clients who are very anxious having received an indication that they are under investigation or being challenged by their regulator. Needless to say I need to prioritise these because part of my job is conveying to clients that they have somebody on their side who can explain the likely course of events or offer reassurance and a business sensitive strategy where possible.
Nowadays, most of my work is for or from other solicitors. Within the firm I am fortunate to have gifted colleagues whose company I enjoy and whose ability I trust and admire. I still enjoy doing work for clients and enjoy the client contact. It seems to me that the pressure on solicitors is greater than ever before but the standards expected are ever higher.
In my early days I was a full-time advocate and I think that must shape the way I prepare my fraud and regulatory cases. I try to have an eye to how things will be viewed and what will be persuasive. I enjoy the analysis and the challenge of finding corroboration. It still surprises me that so many people fail to spot the damning factors in a batch of evidence and so fail to address the key points, although our practice rules are complex and many solicitors fail to understand them fully.
These days much of the work and client contact is by email, internet, and telephone so we are able to work across England and Wales and further afield often from our home bases. That is just one of the changes over the relatively recent past. Another is the flexible working arrangements we are able to offer our consultants who cover a wide range of work-types and who can decide how much work they will do and what hours they will commit. The work life balance is something I lacked in the past but I am keen that others will now have that opportunity.
If I have client meetings we will work through and eat sandwiches as we talk. If not I will grab a sandwich and stay at my desk. Throughout the day there will usually be various discussions about the business whether performance, strategic or just to provide advice or a different perspective. I work closely with our managing partner and will have discussions with her every day.
I am always thinking and trying to find new ideas or ways to improve what we have to offer. The business side is something I also enjoy. I think of myself as a schizophrenic Gemini so amongst the four of me I can usually find interest and pleasure in whatever I am doing.
I am usually one of the last to leave the office and get away at around 6.45pm but sometimes later. I prefer to stay on top of my work so will work at home if appropriate and will always try to return client calls to save people worrying overnight.
Relaxation comes in the form of fly and sea fishing which is more communing with nature than landing fish! I enjoy sport or comedy, and tending my garden where I can see things grow, a tangible reward for my efforts, and meeting for evenings with friends and family.
At the end of the day the company and support of those close to you at work and outside is one of the benefits on which you cannot put a price.