In the first of our series of interviews, poking our noses into the lives of lawyers, Miguel Florit props up the bar with Jenny Cromack, former colleague and Real Estate Finance Partner at Addleshaw Goddard. He hears how the supportive environment has continued at the firm, Jenny’s top tips for millennials looking to thrive in the legal profession and also discovers what song was number one when she qualified (and one which is actually quite apt given the length of time both it and Jenny have enjoyed their respective leading positions!)
What attracted you to becoming a lawyer?
In a previous job (in the days before the Crown Prosecution Service), I was a detective constable in the Leeds City/West Yorkshire police service. I spent many hours with the prosecuting solicitors, who were then employed by the police, discussing cases in which I was the arresting officer. It made me think that being a lawyer would be an attractive choice for my next career move.
What made you choose to work at the firm/company?
When I left the interview in 1989, it felt the right place for me. There were no second or third interviews in those days!
What’s kept you there so long?
It is still the right place for me. We bring together a diverse range of characters from varied backgrounds who are united by being friendly, supportive and straight talking.
How has the firm changed since you joined?
Having started at Booth & Co in Leeds, following a number of mergers over the years, Addleshaw Goddard is now an international law firm with 11 offices spanning key commercial centres across the world including 6 in the UK. We have a fantastic international client base, so I am no longer just working for our regional clients, but with a wide breadth of clients doing some fantastic, exciting work across the UK and beyond.
How has the firm helped you grow into your current role?
I started as a trainee in September 1991 and was promoted to partner in May 2001, so have been with the firm 26 years. In that time, I have had many learning opportunities both internally and externally. As a firm, all our partners and employees are encouraged to immerse themselves in business development and client development activities.
Are you hiring at the moment and what can you offer someone joining your team in 2018?
We are always on the lookout for talented individuals to join the Addleshaw Goddard team, and have a number of vacancies across all of our offices.
For anyone interested in joining Addleshaw Goddard: we can offer a great place to work, and you will be working for some top-notch clients on a variety of matters. All our associates have client contact from day one, as well as many opportunities to work with partners on business development activities, and all of this happens in a fully supported environment. We want everyone to fulfil their potential and hence offer strong technical training, business skills training, and mentoring programmes. We also recognise that our people are increasingly seeking greater flexibility so they can balance the demands of their jobs with those in their personal lives.
Who’s been the most influential to you in your career?
My most influential career mentor has been a former partner and colleague who recruited me to the firm. Even as partners, there are some situations and circumstances we have not come across before; to this day, I still use him as a sounding board.
What piece of advice would you give to millennial lawyers looking to join the legal profession?
I think the term ‘millennial’ can sometimes be viewed in a negative light. This generation of lawyers are the future partners of our business – they are technically savvy, clear on their own career direction, and have a thirst to develop and learn.
My advice to anyone joining the legal profession would be to find a firm that suits you culturally and a firm that is transparent, where you can understand its strategy and the part you play in this. Embrace everything that comes your way; absorb knowledge like a sponge; ask for feedback; and don’t be afraid to make suggestions on how things could be improved.
What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?
I love fashion – so shopping!
What song was No.1 when you qualified?
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You – Bryan Adams.
What did you do before you were a lawyer?
Before I became a lawyer, I was a police officer in Leeds City Police. I then became a Detective Constable in West Yorkshire Police before leaving to have my son. When he was very young I studied for my law degree, as well as working at Leeds City Council as a social welfare officer; in this role, I worked with young offenders on an alternative to custody scheme.
If you could spend an hour with anyone the world of business, politics or entertainment, who would it be and what would you ask them?
The Yorkshire-born Dame Judi Dench. I’d love to talk to her about how she’s sustained her longevity as an actress, as well as what it’s like to star in a Bond film.
What was your first car? / What’s your favourite car? And Why?
My first car was a Mini 1000cc, but my favourite car would be Black Aston Martin, because I love fast sports cars.
Besides being a lawyer, if money were no object and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you most like to try or do?
Own and help manage a luxury hotel and spa.
What 3 things would rush to save if your office was on fire?
Drawings done by my 3-year-old granddaughter, my handbag, and my Nespresso coffee machine. I’m sure my colleagues can find their own way out!
And finally: What’s your…
… guilty pleasure?
…most interesting/enjoyable book you’ve read in the last year?
America`s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford.
favourite book of all time?
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
The boiling water tap in my kitchen! (see photo)
Porto Restaurant, in Bowness on Windermere.
…favourite holiday destination so far?
Lake Windermere, which I think has some of the best scenery in the world.
…next holiday location?
Where next? Majorca in spring time for some sunshine (quick flight from Leeds/Bradford and arrive in time for lunch).
A G&T made with Bathtub Gin, slimline tonic and slices of lime.
…top 3 things on your ‘bucket list’?
Keep driving a Porsche until I die.
See my granddaughter’s graduation.
Grow old disgracefully!
…most embarrassing moment?
On my first day as a trainee working in a corporate department (which at that time was almost 100% male lawyers), I was emptying a crate containing my possessions. I turned around too quickly and fell backwards into the crate. Fortunately, all the people who witnessed this have now left the firm!