With a year under his belt at Pannone Corporate, we speak to real estate solicitor, Dominic Beddow, on his legal career so far, the importance of being able to ‘switch off’ from the day job, his passion for the Toon Army, and his mission to ‘indoctrinate’ his wife and daughter into Geordie life!
Tell us a little bit about your experience before joining Pannone in April 2022.
“I started my legal career in 2016. At the time I was a paralegal specialising in landed estates. My role primarily involved dealing with first registrations of land, Farm Business Tenancies, generational tax planning (Inheritance Tax), and registration and sales of woodland.
“During my training contract, I did seats in commercial real estate (mainly landlord and tenant issues), corporate (predominantly buying and selling of pharmaceutical companies and dentistry practices), as well as employment, where I acted for employers dealing with wrongful termination claims, and also large-scale redundancy exercises.
“After qualifying in October 2020, I went into the ground rents team, where my work primarily involved asset management for a large freeholder, dealing with anything from simple Deeds of Variation and Licences for Alterations, to managing the legal side of large works projects, such as merging multiple flats/properties into one.”
What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?
“I studied Law with Business at the University of Liverpool, before completing the Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Liverpool. I then moved to Chester, where I started legal life as a paralegal, whilst simultaneously studying the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law at the weekends. I completed my LLM Masters around the time I started my training contract.”
Why did you choose this route?
“During my A-Levels, I was still torn between a career in law and one in business, and so I decided to undertake a combined honours degree. I enjoyed both disciplines, but it was clear from an early stage in my undergraduate degree that law was the route I wanted to go down.”
Tell us about your role at Pannone?
“I am a solicitor in the real estate team. I primarily cover landlord and tenant based issues, with a specific focus on leases of units in major shopping centres. I also deal with purchases of development land, advice regarding overage, assents of land, and general transactional work.”
What was it that attracted you Pannone?
“I had trained and qualified at the same firm in Chester, which is a fantastic city and one which I am proud to call home, but it’s a relatively small legal community compared to Manchester. I was ready to make a move to a new firm and a new city. I’d heard great things about Pannone, and got in contact with managing partner, Nicola Marchant, who invited me in for an informal chat. After a further conversation with the senior team, I knew straightaway that Pannone was the perfect firm for me.”
When it comes to the day job, what is the most satisfying aspect?
“It has to be learning something new on a daily basis, and never being allowed to remain within your comfort zone!”
What does a typical day look like?
“Every lawyer will say this but, quite simply, there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’. I will sign off for the day with a good idea as to what the next will involve, but it’s very rare for that not to change. Business never sleeps, so I often start my day dealing with new matters which have come in overnight. Every day is different, which is a challenge, but one I enjoy.”
What are your career ambitions?
“I aspire to become a partner one day but, more importantly, I want to reach a stage where I am confident in as many aspects of my role as possible, with a following of clients who can always rely on me to be able to deal with anything they throw at me.”
If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do?
“I would introduce a family fun day! Lawyers generally have an inability to ‘switch off’ – even when we’re not working, we are thinking about what needs to be done, which can sometimes impact on those around us. As such, I would introduce a day, every so often, when families are invited to the office, where they can meet the team, take part in fun activities, and see what we do. Looking after your own mental health is so important, particularly in a fast-paced working environment. Something like this could really make a positive difference.”
What can the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?
“For me, it’s about delivery of information. We spend a large part of our lives learning the theory of law, the technical aspects, and how to think and speak like a lawyer. This is great for passing exams, but often doesn’t translate well to clients, who typically want a straight answer, delivered in a user-friendly manner.
“Law can also be portrayed in a certain way – think Harvey Specter in the television series, Suits! However, the reality is somewhat different. You meet such a wide variety of people in this job, from all walks of life, and I would like to see this side portrayed more.”
What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law?
“If I didn’t have a career in law, I would love to be involved in the business side of football.”
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
“I’m a relatively new father, and I enjoy nothing more than taking my daughter to Chester Zoo. She adores animals, and her excitement during those long walks around the zoo are positively infectious!
“Outside of family life, I am a passionate (sometimes overly passionate) Newcastle United fan. I don’t get to as many games as I used to since my daughter was born, but I have worked hard to indoctrinate my partner and daughter into Geordie life, much to the dismay of my partner’s Liverpool-supporting family!”