Christopher Stanton, head of the professional and financial risks team at Hill Dickinson
Why did you become a solicitor?
I wasn’t good enough at science to become a doctor!
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The managing partner’s office or the café, depending on what you need to know
What's the best thing about your job?
Seeing people in the team blossom and fulfil their potential. They are the future of the firm.
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Explaining to people that they ought to look for a new role at another firm.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
Sarah Grant was the training partner at James Chapman & Co who offered me a training contract. I then became her assistant for four years before I left the firm. We now work together, with Sarah heading up the Manchester team.
What's the most interesting case you have dealt with?
I handled a claim for a firm of solicitors who had charged the claimants £64 for advice on limitation regarding a potential negligence claim they wanted to bring against a firm of surveyors. The surveyors had advised the claimants that a small piece of land which was the subject of a compulsory purchase order was worth £45,000. The claimants accepted that sum in compensation. They later alleged that the land was worth £7M and that the solicitors’ advice on limitation was negligent. I can still recall the shock on a Friday afternoon when my expert surveyor rang and advised that the land was worth £4-5M. We eventually resolved the claim at mediation.
What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?
Probably getting a training contract at a time when it was almost as difficult as it is now. Everything else has flowed from qualifying as a solicitor.
Where do you see your firm in five to ten years? What are the biggest challenges you’ll face?
I hope we will continue to see significant growth across every area of the firm, both geographically and in terms of our business offer. The challenging economic backdrop remains but we have bucked the trend in terms of performance against this and, going forward, I'm sure the calibre of our teams will enable us to thrive and develop.
Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?
Lord Coe. He has silenced the critics and delivered the most extraordinary summer of sport in British history.
What would you have been if you weren't a lawyer?
Ideally a doctor. More likely an accountant.
What would you advise lawyers beginning their legal career today?
Be enthusiastic; understand your clients’ needs; and don’t be afraid to ask questions.