We speak to Hay & Kilner’s Jonathan Waters
Jonathan, can you tell us a bit about your career to date?
The answer to that is relatively straightforward as I trained with Hay & Kilner and have been happy to build my career with the firm. I specialise in corporate transactional and corporate agreement work. I have particular expertise in the care home sector, and also advise charity clients on complex restructuring and operational issues.
You took over as Managing Partner last year. How has it been so far?
So far so good! We have a strong management team, including a recently appointed new Head of Finance, and we have been working hard at understanding the numbers and the best opportunities for future growth. We have updated our key longer term goals and are confident of achieving those.
How would people describe your leadership style?
We are a broad practice in terms of the different work areas we cover, and notwithstanding that have always sought to maintain a strong collegiate spirit. My aim is to provide a clear strategic path for us to follow, whilst very much holding on to that inclusive approach. I hope others would see me as both approachable and decisive!
What do you most enjoy about your role?
Taking time to understand our different work areas and the challenges they face, whilst also stepping back and assessing the bigger picture at firm level is fascinating. As a diverse business, it is important to achieve an appropriate balance in many management decisions.
What drives you personally?
Making the firm the best it can be in all areas. There are of course always places where improvement is possible, and we work hard to identify those and take appropriate action. It is extremely satisfying to implement change and deliver genuine improvement – both in terms of the service we deliver our clients, and also for those delivering that service.
What’s your vision/ strategy for the firm moving forward?
There are no plans for fundamental change, as we are confident that our business model is one which is attractive to our existing and prospective clients. That said, the legal services market from time to time has change imposed upon it. It is therefore necessary to be flexible and react quickly in order to spot opportunities as well as potential issues.
What are the main growth areas for the business?
We are confident of expanding in most service areas, however commercial work offers the greatest potential for growth in the medium-term. We are looking to expand our specialist teams and add new specialisms wherever appropriate.
You have a strong presence in the North East but would you ever look to open in another region?
Our focus is on servicing North East based businesses and high net worth individuals. That said, our client base has broadened in recent times to include several national and international organisations. Technological advancements in how we interact with clients, as well as a willingness to go out and see our clients, are both in any event making the office base less relevant.
Can you sum up Hay & Kilner in five words?
Proactive / approachable / practical / focussed / experienced
Where do you want the firm to be in five years’ time?
We will continue to be a leading North East based firm providing a first class service to our clients.