Mike Blood, JMW’s new head of corporate – on his move, growth and the speculation that he’ll be launching sector groups

Mike, congratulations on your new role. How’s it been so far?
Enjoyable and hectic. One of the privileges of working in the law is meeting new people and helping to further other opportunities or solve problems. I have managed to meet a lot of the existing clients of JMW and my own clients. I have also been enthused and boosted by the energy and skills of the Corporate and Commercial team at JMW.

The Manchester and North West corporate market seems strong. How are you finding things?
The team here is very busy and there seems to be a high level of confidence amongst the existing clients and the new clients and intermediaries that I have met.

What do you think will be the growth areas and where is your work coming from?
JMW Corporate has very strong experience in financial services work - including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending opportunities - with great regulatory back up from other teams. Hopefully we can build on this area, but also I am keen to help and advise the other managed businesses and SMEs that the traditional corporate teams are forgetting in favour of larger clients and fees.

What are your aims and ambitions for the team?
My ambition is to build on the solid foundations and through sustainable growth, fulfil the career and development opportunities for the young and talented team.

There’s been some speculation that you’ll be launching sector groups. What’s the reality?
It is not my intention to set up or develop a sports practice. However, I have strong links with many clients in sport. There already exists a broad experience across practice areas in the sports field from litigation to private client and family advice. Certainly it would be foolish not to build on the fifteen years I have spent working with sports clients.

Have you got any specific initiatives in the pipeline?
I am working closely with Marc Yaffe - one of the most connected lawyers in Manchester - in developing Barn Door Investments and providing business and corporate opportunities for professional sportsmen at the end of their career. I am sure you will be reading a lot more about this initiative when it is formally launched.

Last month the firm announced that year-on-year income rose by 13%. What’s led to this continued success?
Having only been within JMW for a few weeks, I don’t have any great insight. However, JMW has a great brand with a good story to tell. Its management and finances are strong, it has a cohesive and collegiate attitude amongst its partners and staff and importantly it is successfully recruiting key individuals with connections who want to be associated with JMW.

What does your role entail day to day?
At the moment it seems to be back-to-back meetings with my own contacts and getting up to speed with the deals and issues of the JMW client base, introducing myself to other department heads and every now and again trying to get down and do some drafting and fill in the dreadful timesheets.

What’s been your career highlight so far?
There have been a few but the sale of the Manchester United merchandising business and sponsorship deal with Nike for £302 million was genuinely an interesting and exciting deal, which stood the test of time commercially and has survived intense legal scrutiny over its 13 years.

Finally, can you sum up why you like working at JMW in five words?
It is all so positive.