Andrew Newbury, Pannone part of Slater & Gordon

1. Firstly, where do you work and what is your role?
Pannone, Part of Slater & Gordon. I am Head of Personal Legal Services which covers family and private client work.

2. Why did you choose a career in law?
I chose law as an A level and it went from there. My father talked me out of doing a history degree.

3. What attracted you to your particular specialism?
I was briefly a private client lawyer when I qualified, but quickly moved over to family work. Family law was a better taste of real life.

4. What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
There are two aspects: learning about people’s lives, and setting people on a path to what is often a new and better life.

5. What particular challenges are you or have you faced over the past couple of years?
There has been the double whammy of the recession and increased availability of information online. Many people wish to do it themselves. Although that is fine for simple divorces, it is not an approach that suits everyone.

6. What do you think will be growth opportunities for the legal profession moving forward?
Certainly in respect of family work, it is fixed fees and getting the pricing model right. Although there has been a great deal of talk about it for years, few are really grasping the nettle. Those who get it right will have a strong future ahead of them.

7. What’s been your most enjoyable or high profile recent piece of work?
Family clients should never be high profile. If they are, we are not doing our job properly. My highest profile work is therefore usually giving seminars, writing articles and text books.

8. What inspires you when it comes to your work?
A happy client. Yes, divorce clients can be happy clients.

9. Do you work by a particular mantra or motto in your business life?
Be your own man. It always has been my motto and always will be.

10. Can you give one piece of professional advice to your peers?
May I offer two? Never assume anything and know when to keep your mouth shut. The latter is crucial for negotiating.