In his Yorkshire Post Legal Matters Q&A article, founder and senior partner Paul Berwin shares his experiences of the legal profession and reveals which piece of legislation he would like to see changed.
What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career?
Undoubtedly the use of technology – it’s meant that both the pace and ways of working have changed completely.
I used to have piles of files with tapes attached snaking round a room crowded with 10 or 11 filing cabinets. Now, with documents and information stored and managed electronically, I have no paper files whatsoever; I can work from anywhere – and do!
What law would you like to see changed?
Though dismantling and replacing 45 years of legislation will no doubt keep some lawyers busy for years, the government’s ‘Brexit Bill’ is a real concern.
It seems the costs will roll on, and the risks to jobs, trade and individual wellbeing add up to a world of uncertainty. It might turn out fine, eventually (I'm not optimistic), but it's a high stakes gamble, and the casualties along the way are frightening to contemplate.
What is the most exciting work you’ve ever done?
In work is with technology companies, we’re involved with cutting edge technologies, so there’s always an intellectual challenge to understand the concepts and make legal principles work with them.
Who in the legal world do you most admire?
Stanley Berwin – my uncle, and founder of both S J Berwin and Berwin Leighton Paisner, the former now gone through an ill-judged merger, the other still a force.
He was a true entrepreneurial lawyer, and a great deal maker; he knew he wasn't the greatest lawyer in the world, but he knew how to surround himself with great people and how to look after his clients with a passion.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
As any of our four current trainees will tell you, my advice is simple: you need to be a good lawyer, with sound legal knowledge – you can’t wing it.
But to get somewhere, you’ve got to go further. Really understanding your client’s businesses, what they are trying to achieve and how you can help them get there is what makes you stand out as no ordinary lawyer.
Paul Berwin's Legal Matters Q&A featured in the Yorkshire Post on Tuesday 8th August, 2017