Interview with Jonathan Berkson, partner at Hill Dickinson LLP

What is your role at Hill Dickinson?

Dispute Resolution Partner

Why did you become a solicitor?

I wanted to make a real difference in my chosen career. I am from a legal family with my grandfather, father, uncle and brother all being lawyers (from Liverpool) and I was inspired by the Saturday tea time stories. The real thrill for me comes from assisting clients through some of the most challenging issues they will ever face and making their lives easier.

What's the best thing about your job?

My primary role is geared towards supporting my clients through a legal complication or dispute. For many these issues dominate their lives and I enjoy the challenge of supporting them through these difficult periods. I relish the cut and thrust of what I do but particularly all aspects of the client engagement and I find supporting the development of junior colleagues inspirational.

What's the most interesting case you have dealt with?

Jivraj v Hashwani 2011 UKSC 40, 2011 1 WLR 1872.

The 5 issues in the case were
1. Whether a term in an arbitration agreement which provides that all arbitrators must be members of the Ismaili community relates to employment as defined in the Employment Equality Regulations
2. If so, whether, the term falls within the genuine occupational requirement exception in the regulations
3. Whether a reference to the ECJ is necessary
4. Whether if such a term is void the effect of avoidance of that term is such that the arbitration agreement is void and
5. Whether the SC court review the Court of Appeal’s cost order.

What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?

Acting for Nurdin Jivraj in the landmark Supreme Court case where the judges ruled unanimously that arbitrators are not subject to UK equality rules and that parties have the right to stipulate arbitrators with any background.

Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?

Darren Clarke the golfer for his win of the open and his subsequent celebrations.

What would you have been if you weren't a lawyer?

I would have been either a restaurateur because of my love of food, wine and banter or a pro golfer or both.

What would you advise lawyers beginning their legal career today?

Work hard but most of all enjoy what you are doing.


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