For our first profile of 2023, we meet Rebecca Mason, PA in the Litigation and Disputes Resolution team.

Hear all about how 23-year-old Rebecca from Worsley came to work in law, her involvement in the firm’s wider community groups and her athletic talents.

When did you join Pannone Corporate?

I joined Pannone as a PA back in July 2022 and, prior to this, I worked in the financial services industry within the SIPP department for investment platform, AJ Bell.

Why did you join Pannone?

The legal sector has always interested me and, as a recent graduate still somewhat figuring out my career path, I believed that working as a PA offered a brilliant opportunity to gain some on-the-ground insight into the industry. 

The chance to work in the role at one of the North West’s leading law firms has been invaluable for my career development. On a daily basis, I’m able to work alongside a vast number of inspirational people, ranging from junior to senior level.

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

I studied history, psychology and English language and literature at A Level and then went on to study history at the University of Sheffield, where I specialised in the history of the British Empire and humanitarianism throughout the course of the twentieth century.

Why did you take this route?

History has always been a subject close to my heart and I was allured by the prospect of covering untouched, or in some circumstances, neglected areas of history. 

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Leaving the office knowing that I’ve made someone else’s day that bit easier!

What does a typical day look like?

The best thing about being a PA is that no two days are the same. I work alongside a range of team members with different specialist areas, meaning that my work can be very varied. Predominantly, this involves conducting research, pulling evidence together through bundles, diary management and overseeing administrative duties.

What are your career ambitions?

I want to continue developing my skillset as a PA, whilst deepening my knowledge of the legal sector. There is a plethora of progression opportunities within the legal industry which are not exclusively for those with solicitor qualifications, so I’m hoping to explore these options further in the future.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

I’d encourage my colleagues to get involved in both the charity and environmental groups within our firm to increase the positive influence that we have in both the local and wider community.

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

I love participating in and watching sport, so perhaps a role in sports journalism.

Do you have any particular skills/talents that your work colleagues may not know about?

I previously competed at national level in both athletics and cross country, with my proudest achievements including a bronze team medal in the Northern cross-country championships, as well as holding an unbeaten age-group record at San Francisco parkrun! 

Although I’m no longer a competitive athlete, I am still very much involved in my local athletics club, Salford Harriers, and I am the senior women’s team manager.



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In this instalment of My Life in Law, we get to know one of our brilliant PAs who works alongside our fee earners to ensure the firm runs smoothly and that we consistently deliver excellent client services.

Claire Walton tells us what it’s like to support Pannone Corporate’s lawyers on a day-to-day basis, her desire to feed the nation, and her love of Vespas!

What was your role prior to joining Pannone?

I joined in September 2021 and, prior to this, I trained as air cabin crew for six years – a total career change! I’ve also worked within the healthcare sector, business travel and events, and parcel and transport. 

What is your role at Pannone? 

I work within a small team of PAs to support Pannone’s litigation and dispute resolution team.

Why did you join Pannone? 

I was searching for something completely different – wanting to learn something new and to step out of my comfort zone. Corporate law was completely off my radar, but I’d heard great things about Pannone and the people who worked there… it was a leap into the unknown, but a great leap!

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

I didn’t have any experience working as a PA in law, so this sector was totally new to me. The majority of my experience has come from creative agencies, property development and sales – all skills that I’ve transferred over and are serving me well in the legal industry.

Why did you choose this route?

It chose me! 

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job? 

To be able to utilise what comes naturally to me – organisation, a bit of technical know-how and a good sense of people and customer service. It’s appreciated by my peers and that’s job satisfaction to me.

What does a typical day look like? 

Every day is different. I’m an avid list writer, so it always starts with a to-do list but it inevitably all changes once I log on. A good mix of work comes my way, it can be researching, creating e-shots for our monthly social posts, creating e-bundles and finalising letters. I also regularly support with events, meetings, workshops and seminars, which I really enjoy, as it means I get to meet new people. 

What are your career ambitions? 

To grow my skill set and progress to a learning and development role, where I can support others within the team. 

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do?  

Pinch myself…!

What would you be doing if you didn’t work in law? 

I’d have a food van and my partner and I would travel the country feeding the nation!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Tinkering with my 70’s Vespa style scooter and tootling around town. As you can probably guess from my food van dream, I also love cooking and eating.

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In the latest in our My Life in Law series, we speak to Paralegal, Humera Patel. Humera joined the firm in September 2021 having cut her teeth in the legal industry at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Forbes Solicitors, where she assisted on a variety of corporate matters.

We hear all about her typical day, career goals and balancing a love of keeping fit with a love of eating out!

Tell us a little about your role at Pannone?

I work as part of the Corporate Services team and assist by drafting, negotiating and reviewing legal documents during corporate transactions.

I have been lucky enough to get involved with a wide range of work – from mergers and acquisitions to company re-organisations, investments and company secretarial work. The list just keeps getting longer, but it’s brilliant to get an insight into the full spectrum of services we offer.

Why did you join Pannone?

Pannone is one the best known innovative and collaborative law firms in the North. I was initially attracted to the firm due to its high calibre of clients, but from my first interview I knew Pannone was the right place for me.

The people and the culture of the firm really enhanced my belief that it would be a positive and inspirational place to work and, having now worked here for over a year, I can confirm my assumptions were correct!

The approachability of the senior members of the firm fosters a collaborative and supportive environment which makes a huge difference.

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

I went down the traditional route: I studied law at the University of Central Lancashire, before undertaking the Legal Practice Course at University of Law.

My aspiration of pursuing a career in commercial law stems from my interest in both business and law – the synergies between these two fields are constantly growing and encompasses various aspects. I was always intrigued with the complexities of the legal system and how legislation constantly evolves, knowing that my job would never be a boring one!

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Completing a transaction and meeting the clients expectations – definitely. After all the hard work, it’s exciting to get a deal over the line.

What does a typical day look like?

Very busy! I start my day with checking my emails and going through the day’s tasks. I then attend the corporate team catchup meeting where we discuss our workload and capacity.

I always try to deal with the smaller tasks first thing so that I can focus on the larger tasks throughout the day. The smaller jobs usually involve drafting ancillary documentation, data room management, and responding to internal and external emails.

The larger tasks comprise drafting key legal documents such as SPAs, Disclosure letters and Shareholders Agreements.  In between drafting and responding to emails, I normally attend calls with clients and/or other side solicitors to negotiate and discuss legal documents.

Although the processes remain generally the same, the breadth of clients means that each day is very different and things can often crop up unexpectedly, so it pays to be prepared!

What are your career ambitions?

My immediate goals are to work hard and continue to grow my skillset and knowledge of corporate law. In the future, I aspire to train as a solicitor, build an impressive client portfolio and follow in the footsteps of the partners in the corporate team.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

Give everyone a day off! On a serious note, I would organise a firm-wide social to get to know everyone in the firm better – the power of strong colleague relationships can’t be underestimated.

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

I would have become a primary school teacher; I really enjoy spending time with kids and seeing them develop. Not to mention the holiday perks!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

In my spare time, I enjoy going on long walks and to the gym to keep fit and healthy, this helps me to maintain a healthy work life balance.

I also enjoy socialising with my friends and eating together. I’m a total a foodie; I love trying a variety of different foods from different cuisines. I’d say my favourite is Italian –  I could eat pizza and pasta all day, every day!

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James Harris joined Pannone in April 2022, having worked as a real estate partner at Knights plc and, prior to that, managing partner at Jolliffe and Co LLP.

As someone who knew from an early age that he wanted to go into law, James chose the traditional route into the profession to reach his goal, before eventually finding a home in real estate, where he specialises in residential and commercial property development, as well as licensing for restaurants and public houses. We caught up with James three months on from joining the firm, to find out more about the real estate partner and Ironman competitor!

What attracted you to Pannone?

Pannone is highly regarded as a forward-thinking firm, which is developing in a sustainable manner and sets out to put clients at the centre of everything it does. That really appealed to me and aligned very much with my own management and leadership style.

Tell us what a typical day looks like?

I’m sure everyone says the same that no day ever looks the same, but typically the day kicks off with staff supervision each morning. I enjoy aspects of what I do, but I especially enjoy the supervision of junior members of staff. The rest of the day is a mixture of departmental management, which can include performance and staff-related issues; working on client matters; and also the all-important job of business development.

As someone who always wanted to go into law, what are your career ambitions?

I want to build the most respected Real Estate Group in the North West and be part of the development of Pannone Corporate over the coming years.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

I’d probably have to say, apply what I learned last time I was managing partner at Jolliffe and Co LLP and do it better this time! However, on a serious note, having that level of management and leadership experience hopefully adds another level to what I can bring to the firm and it’s something I’m very passionate about imparting on the team.

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

Given the area of law I’ve ended up specialising in, I would have to say property development. It’s a fantastic sector and one that’s always been central to the success of the North West.

Thinking more widely, what can the legal profession do to better support clients?

For me, client feedback drives development and clients need to know they can approach you on any matter. Everything then follows from there.

 

 

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In the latest in our series, My Life in Law, we speak to Associate Partner, Jonny Scholes, who has been with the firm since its inception on Valentine’s Day 2014, having worked at the previous incarnation of Pannone, joining as a paralegal in 2005. Having risen through the ranks to become a key member of the dispute resolution team, Jonny talks about his love affair with Pannone Corporate, the ‘speed date’ with partners which made him realise the firm was the one, his long-held ambition to be a professional rugby player, and his side-line in writing children’s picture books!

Tell us a little bit about when you joined Pannone Corporate?

I moved across as part of the management buy-out of the old Pannone LLP (with the remaining team joining Slater & Gordon). I started at the old Pannone as a paralegal for eight months or so in 2005. I’d been offered a training contract and arranged to do some work whilst I was waiting for it to begin. I started life in the travel team in personal injury, dealing with bulk claims involving sickness bugs abroad! I then had a few months off when I travelled across the West and East coasts of America with my brother, before starting my training contract in September 2006.

What did you do before joining?

My only other jobs before working at Pannone were working in my local pub – The Crown in Heaton Mersey – and working as a theatre porter at the Alexander Hospital in Cheadle. I enjoyed both jobs and they gave me some useful transferable skills, particularly in dealing with people, including some who could be a little nervous or wary and others who were a little more difficult! I also did a vacation scheme placement at the old Pannone too.

What’s your role at Pannone?

I’m currently an Associate Partner, having worked my way up through the ranks from my trainee days. I’m in the dispute resolution team and deal with general commercial litigation disputes, with a particular specialism in contentious trust and probate matters.

What drew you to Pannone?

I applied for a training contract with six Manchester firms. Pannone was one of them and stood out as being a full-service law firm, which was good for me as I didn’t know which area of law I wanted to specialise in at that time. In the end, it was the feel of the firm and the people that really attracted me. Pannone was the first of my second interviews for a training contract (a kind of ‘speed date the partners’ over lunch event, which sounds horrendous, but wasn’t too bad!) and I was offered a training contract.  I said I wanted to do a few more interviews before deciding, but after an assessment centre at a large Manchester firm, where it was clear to me the people weren’t as in tune with me as those at Pannone, I came outside, rang Pannone to accept their offer and cancelled my other interviews. I’m pleased to say it’s still the people that make the firm to this day.

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

After my A-levels in English Literature, History and Politics, I didn’t want to do any of those as a degree on their own, so I opted for law, which encompassed elements of them all. However, I wasn’t actually planning on going into law as a profession at that time! I did my law degree at Oxford and then had a year out, where I was supposed to be playing rugby in France. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out due to a knee injury. In the end, I went back to Oxford and did a Masters in Criminology – in part to bide me some time to decide what I wanted to do for a career and also to try and get a rugby union blue (but an early season arm break put paid to that!). I applied for training contracts whilst doing my Masters and was offered one at Pannone just before I started my LPC back up in Manchester at Manchester Met. After that I did a stint as a paralegal at Pannone and then began my training contract.

Why did you choose this route?

I guess it was a case of finding my way as I went along. It just took me a bit of time to decide that being a solicitor was a decent fit for me. All in all, the slightly longer approach into the profession has probably made me more well-rounded. 

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your job?

I enjoy working with people and particularly the people at Pannone. It’s nice to see more junior fee earners progress and grow in confidence. In a more, pure work capacity, I’m lucky that my contentious probate cases often give me an opportunity to make a real tangible difference to people’s lives, often in very sad or distressing circumstances for them. That can be very rewarding.

What does a typical day look like?

A typical day can often be hectic and is often changeable! My ‘to do’ list alters three or four times a day, most days. I’ll try and get some smaller jobs out of the way first thing and may need to set some time aside for a chunkier piece of work such as drafting a long letter of claim, or preparing instructions to counsel. There’ll normally be an element of supervision in there too: reviewing work done by junior lawyers in the team. Some of my time will be spent on business development issues and no doubt I’ll have a few phone calls and multiple emails in the day as well. Perhaps less frequently I may have a client meeting, conference with counsel, a mediation or even a court hearing and, if I’m lucky, the odd client lunch as well!

What are your career ambitions?

I’ve always had the philosophy of just getting my head down, working hard, and trying to be a good employee to have in the firm! By doing that I’ve always trusted that I would be rewarded at the right time with progression. Thankfully that’s tended to be the case and I’ve progressed each time I’ve felt ready to. Where I’m at now is a good place to be and if I keep on progressing as I am, then one day I’d hope to join the partnership.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

I’d look to set up some kind of fun team building event. Being from a sporting background (rugby), I think building team spirit is essential to a positive and productive environment and building relationships within the workplace only leads to a better culture and then better service delivery. I’d also allow everyone a Friday afternoon in the sun at Dukes (the pub) – also important for team building!

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

If you’d asked me this when I was younger I’d have said a professional rugby player, but now with three children of my own, it would probably be some form of teaching, or writing children’s books! As it is, I’m limited to coaching the ‘Tiny Tacklers’ at my local rugby club, Burnage, on Sunday mornings in the rugby season.

What can lawyers / the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?

The one thing I’ve learned to improve on over time, which I know clients appreciate, is the provision of information. Clients just want to know where things are up to and to be kept informed and updated. Clearly there will be times when you’re busy and you take longer to return pieces of work to clients. I’ll regularly try to send a few short emails at the end of a day if my timescales have slipped to let the client know. They’re generally okay with that and are grateful to be kept informed rather than having to chase. I think this is an area of client service a lot of solicitors can improve on.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I lead a busy life with my wife Karen and our three children: Tessa (10), Tilly (7) and Toby (4). I love spending time with them and they’re a lot of fun, but it’s non-stop running around after them! Aside from that, spending time with our friends is also important to me, as is exercise. I’ve just finished playing rugby regularly with my club’s third team and am getting into CrossFit, cycling, and dabbling at golf! If you know anyone who could clone me to free up some more time to do all the above that’d be good!

Do you have any particular skills/talents that your work colleagues may not know about?

I read a good bedtime story… and have also written a few children’s picture book texts over the years as a bit of a hobby, some examples being: ‘Nacho Newt and his Parachute’, ‘Flamingo Joe’, ‘The Gnome that Left Home’ and ‘When a Fisherman Caught an Astronaut’! I’ve not written any for a while though, so maybe I need to get back into it! Then I just need to find a good illustrator to bring them to life!

Where do you live?

I live in Heaton Chapel in South Manchester near Stockport. There are quite a few from the office who live in the Heatons and it’s a great place to live – only 10 minutes on the train to Manchester, close to the airport, lots of bars and restaurants, the Savoy cinema, my rugby club and a great community spirit!

 

 

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Culture is everything and it was one of the key drivers in Kenneth Tang choosing to join Pannone in October 2021.

“The firm’s culture is centred around approachability, both for clients and for its staff,” explains Kenneth. “Before joining, I read that the firm was considered a leading alternative to national practices. This really came through during my interview for the role.”

The quality of work and the team structure were also important factors for Kenneth. “Pannone offered me the chance to work within a firm that carried out high quality commercial work,” says Kenneth. “The team’s structure promotes collaborative working, where partners are directly involved in cases – which is really beneficial for junior members of the team.”

Six months into the role, we caught up with Kenneth as part of our series ‘My Life in Law’, and talked about his role as a solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team, specialising in real estate litigation.

Tell us a little bit about your background, before joining Pannone?

“Prior to qualifying, I worked as a Court Advocate, before becoming a paralegal,” Kenneth explains. “I was a trainee at Stephensons Solicitors, where I had seats in the commercial litigation and discrimination departments.”

“In that role, I advised on a number of matters, including general commercial contracts, restrictive covenants, property disputes, and professional negligence. I was heavily involved in a case that went to the Court of Appeal, which became one of the leading authorities on seeking interim relief against public bodies.”

Kenneth graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Ancient History. He then went on to study the GDL at the University of Law before going on to do the LPC at BPP University.

Now as a fully-fledged solicitor, Kenneth is getting stuck into the role in the Dispute Resolution team. The most satisfying aspect of Kenneth’s role is tackling ‘new and interesting issues’ every day.

“So far, I’ve been involved in a wide range of disputes, including lease termination and renewal, adverse possession, easements, forfeiture, breach of covenant, as well as residential and commercial possession,” he says. “Other areas of work include breach of contract, breach of warranty, debt recovery and unjust enrichment.”

The role is vast and varied, and when asked what a typical day looked like, Kenneth responded saying “emails, emails and emails.”

Looking forward, what are your career ambitions?

“My immediate goal is to become an integral part of the very talented team at Pannone Corporate. I want my practice to be built on being more frank and open with clients. Clients need lawyers to be their advisers, not their friends.”

Outside work, Kenneth enjoys films and sport. “My favourite film is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and my favourite football team is Liverpool FC (my dad named me after Kenny Dalglish!),” says Kenneth.

While Kenneth is building a reputation in Dispute Resolution, there is one particular skill that his work colleagues may not know about him. “I grew up near Blackpool’s promenade and became very good at arcade games,” admits Kenneth. “Time Crisis is a game I am particularly adept at!” As one of the most celebrated arcade shoot-em-up franchises ever made, that’s not a bad game to excel at!

 

 

 

 

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Georgina Bligh-Smith joined the insolvency and restructuring team at Pannone Corporate in April 2021, after completing her Legal Practice Course.

Despite joining at a time when many people were still working from home, Georgina says she was made to feel “right at home” very quickly by a team full of legal professionals who have been at the firm for many years.

Nearly one year on, Georgina talks to us about ‘My Life in Law’, her own career ambitions, and her aim to help improve social mobility in a sector where more work still needs to be done.

Tell us a little bit about what you did before joining Pannone Corporate in April 2021?

Before joining the insolvency and restructuring team last year, I worked as a cost litigation assistant, which is a very niche area of law that many graduates don’t even realise exists! It really goes to show how varied the legal profession is and the range of opportunities out there.

While studying at university I also worked as a Topshop sales assistant for three years – I like to think that every experience has made me into who I am today!

As a paralegal in the insolvency and restructuring team, what does your role consist of?

I assist on a wide range of matters relating to both corporate and personal insolvency and restructuring scenarios. This includes administrations, liquidations and bankruptcies – in each case predominantly acting for insolvency practitioners.

What attracted you to the role at Pannone Corporate?

I was first drawn to Pannone Corporate because of its impressive array of clients and the firm’s specialist approach and focus on commercial law, providing business legal services. This really aligned with my interests and meant that my training would be completely tailored to an area I wanted to progress in.

Most importantly, I was looking to join a firm that had a collaborative culture that would nurture me into a great solicitor – something just felt right at the interview and I knew I’d found the place!

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

I very much went down the traditional route: I studied law at the University of Manchester, before undertaking the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School. I start my training contract with Pannone Corporate next year – something which I am really looking forward to. Once completed, I will finally be a qualified solicitor.

Increasingly, there are more and more avenues for people to choose from when it comes to entering the legal profession.  Why did you choose the traditional route?

If I’m honest, at the time it seemed as though this was the only route to a professional career in law. The sector has become so much more diverse in recent years, in that respect.

If I was starting that journey today I would give some serious thought to undertaking a legal apprenticeship. However, despite the hefty price tag, I really don’t know if I would give up that university experience!

Tell us what does a typical day looks like?

It might sound a bit clichéd, but no two days are ever really the same and this is what I love about the job.

I get to assist different team members with caseloads, covering contentious and non-contentious matters for a range of clients which involve both personal and corporate insolvency scenarios.

Typical tasks include conducting investigations into the conduct of directors of insolvent companies relating to antecedent transactions and misfeasance claims or dealing with possession and sale proceedings in bankruptcy matters and generally assisting with hearing preparations.

One thing that is consistent though is a good cup (or two) of coffee!

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Aside from the variety, I would probably say the intellectual challenge. I joined Pannone Corporate right in the middle of the pandemic – something that has had a profound effect on the insolvency sector, in particular.

Not only have companies come under extreme pressure and struggled over the last two years, but insolvency law has continued to evolve in response to the pandemic.

No more so than with the introduction of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, which has introduced both permanent and temporary measures which we have also seen various extensions to.

As such, it’s been really important to keep abreast of all those changes, adapt and continue to find innovative solutions to the issues faced by clients in the current unusual circumstances.

What are you career ambitions?

Apart from the obvious one of qualifying as a solicitor and successfully making my way through the ranks, I really hope to be able to make a difference in improving social mobility within the legal profession.

As someone who was state school educated and the first generation in my family to go to university, I, like many others, have found navigating the legal profession particularly difficult at times.

I want to help level the playing field for younger people from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether that’s by mentoring students or supporting charities/groups that have this kind of aim in mind – for example, The 93% Foundation.

Whilst work is being done to raise awareness and increase diversity within the profession, in my view more must be done.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do?

I would go out and invest in employee fitness in some way shape or form, because participating in regular exercise has had such a positive impact on my own lifestyle and mental health.

Perhaps by partnering with a local gym, to arrange weekly group classes that are private to employees of the firm, with maybe with some light-hearted competition thrown in between different teams/departments!

This would help maintain a healthy, happy and productive workforce, whilst increasing camaraderie between employees at the same time (sounds like a great return on my investment!).

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law?

I almost picked psychology for a degree, so it would probably be something in this field.

Why people do things in the way they do, why they feel and react in a certain way, as well as exploring different personality types, really fascinates me.

In fact, there’s a link with both psychology and the law – psychology seeks to understand and explain human behaviour and the law seeks to regulate it.

Understanding how emotions can complicate decisions taken by clients/opponents or having the ability to anticipate your opponent’s reaction, while being able to use effective tools of persuasion, can be really helpful in law too.

What can lawyers / the legal profession do to better support clients and does anything need to change?

I’d say improving client responsiveness remains an important aim, as this is something clients really value and, whilst it sounds simple, it’s also easy to get wrong and fall short sometimes.

By responsiveness, I don’t mean dealing with everything there and then, but making sure you acknowledge it and manage your clients’ expectations appropriately. This involves being more than just reactive but also proactive, such as updating the client before having to be asked. This is something we are very conscious of as a team and as a firm.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I love hiking, particularly with a good scramble included to make it that bit more adventurous! The highlight of last year was scrambling along a knife-edged ridge called Crib Goch in Snowdonia.

I love escaping from busy city life into the hills with a packed lunch in my rucksack – there is literally nothing better.

This summer I am completing Tour du Mont Blanc – an 11-day hike through Switzerland, France and Italy, covering 170km. The combined elevation of this route (over 10,000m) is higher than Mount Everest is tall.

I always document and post route information/inspiration on my hiking Instagram page @hikewithg_

 

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In our latest My Life in Law, we speak to new recruit, Emma Hafez, who joined Pannone in April 2021 as part of our Real Estate team. 28-year-old Emma talks about her career so far and why she decided to join the firm earlier this year after taking a career break to have children.

Tell us a little bit about your career, before joining Pannone.

My route into law was the traditional route. In all honesty, this was the only one I really knew about. At college we had to lay out our career paths and this was the route I chose and stuck to.

I did a three-year degree in law, followed by the Legal Practice Course and then entered into a training contract with brief stints of working as a paralegal in between.

Prior to joining Pannone, I qualified and worked as an immigration and human rights solicitor, before taking a career break to have to have my two children, Ella and Oliver. It was during this time that I decided to pursue a career in commercial law.

Why did you decide to join the firm?

My partner is the managing director of a property development company in Liverpool. He’s genuinely passionate about his work and we often discuss it together in the evenings. As a result of this interest, I felt it was the logical step for me to pursue a career in Real Estate law.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is completely different, as the work that we do is so varied. However, a typical day usually starts with a call with my supervisor to go through the day’s tasks, followed by liaising with clients and the other side’s solicitors in relation to large developments, leases, residential investment transactions and a whole variety of work.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

I really enjoy getting positive feedback from satisfied clients which I get a great sense of achievement from.

What can lawyers / the legal profession do to better support clients?

I believe solicitors could always be more empathetic to clients, as I have the benefit and perspective of seeing the client’s point of view first hand and can appreciate the challenges faced from both sides.

Looking forward, what are your career ambitions?
I hope to be able to stay at Pannone and grow an impressive client portfolio.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do?

I would take all of the teams on a city centre canal party cruise!

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law?

I’ve always said I would have enjoyed being a dentist.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy taking my children on days out to the zoo or farms, anything which is outdoors.

 

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In our latest My Life in Law, we speak to employment director, Stephen Mutch, about his career in law and his love of bass playing in indie/alternative group, BC Camplight.

I’m what’s called a ‘one club man’ in football.  I joined Pannone Corporate’s predecessor firm as a fresh-faced trainee lawyer back in 2003. This isn’t actually that rare at Pannone Corporate – there are a good handful of people here who joined when I did.

I joined Pannone straight from university, having completed a law degree at the University in Sheffield and a post-graduate in Chester.

They had a great reputation and a very varied portfolio of legal work. Even back then, they prided themselves on having a more human element than most firms – something I still think is true after nearly 20 years.

I’m rather ashamed to say that back then it was simply what most people did. Progress has been made, in terms of alternative routes into a career in law, but there’s still a very heavy reliance on a ‘good’ degree from a ‘redbrick’ university to open up doors. Lots more still needs to be done.

I like the intellectual challenge and getting to speak to and help people run their businesses. Employment lawyers are almost always a ‘distress purchase’, so it’s nice to help people with the problems or challenges their business are facing.

I spend most of the day on the phone or emailing clients providing advice, mixed in with a healthy dose of preparing clients’ defences for employment tribunal proceedings.

I’ve always enjoyed helping more junior lawyers navigate what can be a very difficult first few years, so more involvement in what I enjoy. That’s on top of the usual partnership, world domination type ambitions of course…

I would be a penniless and struggling musician (please see below)

I think some lawyers can still be a bit stuffy. Rarer these days, but clients don’t want that kind of lawyer anymore. Being user friendly and pleasant to deal with is top of most client’s priorities.

I play bass in indie/alternative band, BC Camplight, which releases records under the Bella Union label in London, so that takes up a lot of my time. We’ve been on the radio a fair bit and get to do around 30-40 shows a year. We’ve toured in Europe and played some of my favourite venues, such as the Roundhouse in London and the Paradiso in Amsterdam (Nirvana played there!) – there were 3,000 people in the audience, and I turned off my own instrument for our last song. Not cool! Our next record is out in the Spring.

I am also a trustee for a local arts-based charity called Art with Heart. Check them out here  https://artwithheart.org.uk/

I would say ‘please see above’, but I bore everyone to death with my tales of the (not so) rock ’n’ roll lifestyle!

 

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