James Bryce, partner at Square One

What is your role?
I’m a partner in the Corporate Commercial team and head of the Energy Team.

Why did you become a Solicitor?
The chance to apply academic principles to practical challenges.

Where is the best place to go if you want to find out what is really going on in the office?
Probably the staff kitchen.

What is the best thing about your job?
The variety: I work with a wide range of sectors and personalities on a huge variety of issues. I also enjoy being engaged with the energy sector as it is a chance to be part of a team that is addressing some of our more macro issues of energy supply and renewable technologies... it is also a fast developing sector.

What is the toughest thing about your job?
Balancing the need for ever higher client service standards with a more competitive work winning environment – all against the backdrop of a stagnant economy!

Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
A number of the partners I worked with as a junior lawyer, particularly Richard Burns - the former senior partner of Hammonds - who was both a very impressive lawyer and business developer.

What’s the most interesting case you have dealt with?
Probably the sale of a football club to overseas investors or the sale of a large wind farm to a French utility company – both had unique practical and legal challenges to overcome.

What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?
Qualifying as lawyer, developing some durable client relationships and joining the Square One team as a partner.

Where do you see your firm in five to 10 years? What are the biggest challenges you will face?
Square One Law has made great strides in its first two years, attracting experienced lawyers and an impressive list of clients who have been very supportive of our new entrepreneurial legal model. The challenge for us is to continue to grow turnover and to ensure high quality levels around our service and legal advice. We aim to be a leading and highly profitable firm in the North East in the next five years.

Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?
My family.

What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?
A sports journalist.

What would you advise lawyers beginning their legal career today?
Don’t specialise too early – make sure you have a broad base of experience and complement this over time with sector specific and industry focused knowledge.