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Paul Bennett

Professional practices & employment partner, Aaron & Partners LLP

1. IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO?

We deal with the complex and vital legal issues that arise regarding owning, running and selling businesses. Our core market is owner managed business. My specialist area is advising other law firms nationally on their internal challenges.

2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT JOB?

I joined Aaron & Partners LLP in May 2013.

3. EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: 

If only there was a typical week! Here goes last week. As a workplace mediator I resolved a directors’ dispute with a colleague, I made written submissions to an accountancy regulator for an accountant accused of inadvertently breaking their rules, I completed a 5 month-long case of a City executive leaving an Investment Bank in London following discrimination by the CEO and COO, I drafted employment contracts for a local farming business and partnership agreement for an events company. And every day I worked on an appeal case in the High Court for a solicitor we won a case for recently.

4. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? 

The rise of the unqualified advisers. In employment law, for example, many companies do not understand the threat of unqualified advice from HR Consultants. HR has its place which is helping to get the most out of employees, performance-wise, but legal advice is a distinct skill and often we clear up the mess left by others.

5. AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? 

Technology is evolving and will in the next 5-15 years revolutionise legal services. This means that the opportunity to become focused on wider business advisory services exists.

6. HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? 

Ensure they are better than you at some aspect (so you let them get on with it) and work out what motivates them. For some, it is praise, for others recognition and for some a real challenge. Once you know their motives then play to that strength and get them to perform consistently to a high level.

7. WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE?

A new professional client with a dispute, it lasted around 30 minutes and was productive as we have a way of tackling the dispute.

8. HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM?

Anywhere from 120-150. I spent about two to three hours per day dealing with emails from clients, other advisers and courts.

9. DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? 

I try not to. I generally turn my phone off at 6pm on a Friday night and turn it back on on Sunday evening in case I need to be aware of a priority for Monday morning. I’m never in contact during any holidays – I’m a great believer in the digital detox in the evening and at weekends.

10. HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? 

Straight talking.

11. BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN?

The economy is what it is. Businesses will adapt. Political clarity would be very good and ease the burden on businesses.

12. HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

Ten years ago I acted in the Court of Appeal as the junior advocate to a QC on a media channel reporting restrictions case involving Special Forces soldiers. It’s the sort of case that happens once in 25 years and we won so that is my highlight.

13. PET HATES? 

Petty people. What does being petty ever achieve?

14. IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Relax and enjoy the ride.

15. HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK?

Walking locally with my wife and daughters and watching Shrewsbury Town FC.  Listening to music, going to concerts and cycling last year. . . I rode from Liverpool to Hull, this year I’m cycling from London to Paris.

16. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? 

It’s a community. In any major city, this gets lost but locally we are so lucky that we can create and maintain a community approach.

17. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. 

I’m obsessed with music, I used to DJ and that came from a love of music.

18. YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, The Shawshank Redemption and Oasis Definitely Maybe.

19. YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE?

My friends! The fun you have with close friends can not be bettered.

20. WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM…?

Beef bourguignon and dauphinoise potatoes

 

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