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Robin Gill

Head of corporate and commercial, Storrar Cowdry Solicitors

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO?

We are one of Cheshire’s best-recognised law firms. We advise both business clients and private individuals on a full range of services. We were founded in 1983 and serve clients all across Cheshire, and beyond.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT JOB?

I joined Storrar Cowdry in September 2012. I’ve lived in Chester for 20 years and jumped at the chance to join the firm, having worked for commercial firms in both Liverpool and London previously. I had known of Storrar Cowdry since before I even contemplated being a lawyer, so was delighted when I started here many, many years later.

EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE:

My week will be primarily geared around if I have deals completing. At the moment I have deals on involving the sale of a financial services business, the acquisition of a light engineering business, the sale of a leisure storage facility, the acquisition of a financial advisory business, plus numerous others. Around my transactional work I also advise on company structures and shareholders’ agreements, as well as more commercial issues. In addition to client meetings, the typical week will also involve practice management meetings, be it our board, my department, meetings with our auditors and suchlike. We are currently working on a new website and I have been leading this project with our digital agency, which is a whole other skill set they don’t tend to cover at law school! Lastly there are also extra-curricular meetings from time to time that are typically in the early evening.

 WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?

There are a number: Brexit. Cyber security. Commoditisation of the sector as a whole. Funding. Law firms that don’t adapt get left behind, so we have to always be aware of what is going on and how we can improve.

AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES?

Opportunities to advance with technology remain huge – investment in back-office systems allows us to be efficient and ultimately improves the client service.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF?

Trust them to do what they do best. People don’t thrive on having the management breathing down their necks! We have a far better working environment than I have experienced in previous firms and that is down to the staff and how we work together and treat each other; our people perform far better as a result and we are well known for it.

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

I have just had clients in to sign the completion documents for a Cheshire-based engineering company they have now acquired. It involved a boardroom table covered in a few dozen documents, so it took a while as there were a few curve-balls that we had to resolve on the day – buying a company is often a warts-and-all transaction so this can happen! This is the best type of meeting; the deal is done, the clients can get on with their business and we all momentarily bask in the feel-good factor of getting it over the line – so yes, you could say it was productive!

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

It depends on the type of day – on a very busy completion day there can be over a hundred back and forth like a game of table tennis! Reading them is usually quick, giving them proper consideration and responding to them is often the time consuming part!

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

By exception rather than by rule. For me the balance is determined by making sure my children have my time and attention during the golden years of their growing up, I know I won’t get to see it twice!

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU?

Dependable.

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

I’ll tell you when (if) we actually get there! I think there’s far too much detail yet to be negotiated for us to possibly say, but I am sure there will be unexpected consequences arising from it, both good and bad.

HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

As a trainee solicitor in London I cut my teeth working on a very complex intellectual property case in the High Court involving a major British high street retailer and it was an incredible learning experience.  The best highlight, however, has to be receiving recognition from the firm and being invited to become a Partner here, which was an extremely proud moment.

PET HATES?

As the husband of a teacher, I would have to say it is when people don’t show respect to those who have extremely tough jobs, often in the public sector. Treat others how you would want to be treated and you won’t go far wrong.

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

Although I was taught to be cautious, it would have to be to trust my judgment more; it turns out it was right far more often than not.

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK?

I play drums and guitar as often as my two children’s demanding social lives allow, but nothing truly clears my head like setting out on a run along the banks of the River Dee, either taking in nature’s soundtrack or listening to my selection of guilty pleasure songs on my running playlist. Either way it’s my form of escapism.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT CHESHIRE, AND ITS BUSINESS COMMUNITY?

I rate Cheshire very highly. The county is beautiful, it is incredibly accessible, it has fine traditions but above all the people are proud of their county and that is reflected in their business, with quality in abundance.

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

Back in the late ‘90s I was close to getting a summer work placement in London with the then MP for Chester, Christine Russell. I just missed out but as a result I instead organised a summer ball at Old Trafford for 900 University of Chester students and it is how I met my wife, as she had organised it the year before. I met Christine again very recently after all these years and told her she had unwittingly been very instrumental in the path that followed!

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

A diary for me to fill, Ghostbusters (1984), and Definitely Maybe by Oasis.

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE?

Above all it should be a fun evening, so I think a combination of Spike Milligan, Sir Terry Wogan, Vic Reeves, Sir Roger Moore and my late grandmother, Helen, would provide a balance of wit, comedy and silliness, and a night for me to truly cherish.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM?

I would hate to disappoint them with my cooking but I am told that I can muster up a decent bit of lamb. It would have to be followed by an impressive cheese board, which is a bit of a bit of a weakness of mine...

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