We speak to Jeremy Raj on his role at Irwin Mitchell, his aims & ambitions
Jeremy, can you give us a quick overview of your career to date?
I have worked in Central London all my life, and specialised in residential property as soon as I qualified. I have worked in four different firms, ranging from a boutique, four-partner start-up to my current firm, which has a long history and over 1,000 fee earners in multiple offices.
You recently joined Irwin Mitchell from Wedlake Bell. How have you been settling in?
Many things are reassuringly familiar, but there are lots of small things that are done slightly differently or that just have a different name. Having been at my previous firm for 14 years it takes some getting used to, but thankfully the people here are friendly enough to spot when I’m looking confused, and generally they can get me back on the right track pretty quickly!
What made you move and what are the biggest differences between the two firms?
There’s a fantastic opportunity to build up the London residential property team here, and to help grow the practice area nationally. Occasionally head-hunters call the right person at the right time in their lives for everyone to end up happy! For me, it makes sense to have as wide a range of practice areas as possible, and I think national coverage and protection from some of the macro-economic issues that might be heading our way is also a comfort. The business has been growing in a sensible manner and thinking strategically. It has strong ambitions and I’m very pleased to have been offered the chance to help achieve them.
What are your aims and ambitions for the residential property team?
We’re going to be the best residential property team in the known universe. And have fun doing it.
The real estate sector has changed hugely over the past few years so what are the key differences between now and say five to 10 years ago?
Technology is the most obvious difference, and it is an essential part of keeping efficient and giving clients and staff a premium experience. Having said that, the fundamental issues and clients’ requirements remain very much the same, and I think lawyers should never forget that their primary focus must always be to keep their clients happy.
House prices in London have been in the news of late, what are your predictions?
I’m not big on predictions, and I suspect that anybody trying to second-guess where the market will go from today will need to adjust their prediction within twelve months. We have too many significant variables on both the global and national stages to allow for much certainty. The real danger for lawyers is not prices but transaction volumes. Having said that there is always a certain amount of activity in the market, and generally even in difficult times it tends to gravitate to the better lawyers and the better firms.
What’s been your standout client/ case?
I’ve worked for one particular client for just over 20 years now, and that gives me a lot of satisfaction. There have been plenty of glamorous deals involving properties with ridiculous price tags or very complex or time constrained transactions but generally any indication from a client that I’ve exceeded what they expected means I go home happy that evening.
What made you choose a career in law?
It seemed to choose me, while I wasn’t paying attention.
What else would you still like to achieve in your career?
Actually I’m currently in a position where I’m very excited about my plans for the future, and building things up at Irwin Mitchell (see above!).