Mark Hovell, Managing Partner George Davies Solicitors LLP - Partner of the Year Winner

Firstly, where do you work and what is your role?
I’m the Managing Partner and Head of Sports Law at George Davies Solicitors LLP

Why did you choose a career in law?
A long story – had actually planned to be a psychiatrist, but got a bit distracted at school and flunked my mock A levels; by the time I’d knuckled down, my school wouldn’t support my application for medicine at University, so I went for a broad based management degree (was more interested in where to study than what!). I studied a bit of law on that course and thought a dissertation on managing lawyers could be interesting – still writing it after nearly 30 years!

What attracted you to your particular specialism?
I mainly practice sports law these days – I was just lucky really. Right place, right time – GD did sports law and wanted to keep me on after training! Being sports mad helped!

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
It’s pretty varied – half the time managing the Firm, the other half can be dealing with regulatory disputes, contract negotiations, “Dancing on Ice” contracts and the like!

What particular challenges are you or have you faced in these tougher times?
Keeping your nerve! Times are really tough, but you have to take decisions that are constantly looking to take the Firm forward. It involves a lot of change and people don’t like change!!

What do you think will be growth opportunities for the legal profession over the next couple of years?
I suspect most growth will come from taking clients and people from firms that fail – pretty morbid, I know. Sadly, I think we’ll see a lot more pain over the next few years. That said, there are developing areas of the law and developing markets in Manchester – it’s a great city and investment in places like Media City have provided new opportunities for lawyers.

What’s been your most enjoyable or high profile recent piece of work?
I was lucky enough to work at the Olympics last year – I had 3 hearings through the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the week before the Games started – dealing with doping cases and selection disputes. The final one was in London the day before the Games started with each of the 3 parties represented by a QC – high stakes!

What inspires you when it comes to your work?
I like it when the Firm gets the recognition it deserves. We have some amazing people here, doing great work – and I’m very proud of the Firm.

Do you work by a particular mantra or motto in your business life?
Never trust a man in a tunic.

Can you give one piece of professional advice to your peers?
Don’t waste time looking back!