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Silver Solicitor InterviewBy: Richenda Oldham

Brendan Walsh, Eversheds

Brendan Walsh is the head of Eversheds' East Midlands Real Estate Development team and has been a partner with the firm since 2000. "Pragmatic and exceptionally good at what he does. He runs a first rate team that are approachable and great to work with," is how Brendan has been described by Chambers. Brendan was previously with Sir Digby Jones at Edge Ellison." Digby tried to headhunt me from my previous firm Staunton Townsend, but I refused, so he merged with them … or that's the reason he gave me!"

During time off from his law studies, Brendan worked as a maternity unit receptionist and as a mortuary porter, which has helped give him a balanced view of life. "Being face to face with death on a daily basis really makes you appreciate life."

The legal profession runs in his family. Brendan's twin brother is a partner at Weightmans. "We are not as identical as we were, but still identical enough for bizarre conversations with people who mistake us for each other.  

Married with two children, Brendan is Leicester based and supports Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. He lives in hope that the former will one day match the latter's glory.

What do you like best/enjoy most about your current job?

A committed and motivated team, which irrespective of a very challenging commercial property market, greets each day with renewed enthusiasm to work contacts and to satisfy client demands. 

What inspired you to specialise in property law?

Accident rather than inspired is probably more of an accurate description.  Land Law was one of my worst subjects at university (and some may say it still is!), but I secured a training contract with a specialist boutique property firm and the rest, as they say, is history.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice was actually negative advice received from one of my Aunts before my A Levels. When I said that “if everything went well I proposed to go to university to study law”,  she gave me a pitying look and expressed a view that perhaps I was aiming too high. The “I will show you” effect of that conversation has never left me.

Who has been the greatest influence on your professional life and why?
My first mentor was Nick Townsend. Behind a very personable manner, he had a steely character and a drive to create his own practice with a strong reputation for quality and client service. He expected the same commitment from me and the rest of his team and not the 9 – 5 approach more common in the legal market at the time. These attributes have held me in good stead while building and retaining my own client base over the years.

What has been the most exciting moment in your life?
I am not sure whether it was the most exciting or the most frightening, but bungee jumping from a bridge in New Zealand into a river - some considerable distance below - comes to mind. While you are plummeting at speed towards rocks, the fact that your feet are attached to a rope escapes your mind. 

What is your motivation in life and makes you want to get up in the morning?
My kids.  Not only for the fact that I want to give them the best start in life as possible and to provide for them in the future, but also due to the fact that they are damn noisy in the morning and that is plenty reason to get up and get out! 

What is the best decision you have every made?
Probably deciding to move to Eversheds, following the closure of the Leicester office of Edge Ellison on the merger with Hammonds (now Squire Sanders).  Although I’d had a great time at Edge Ellison it was time to take stock and evaluate the best firm in terms of ethos and attributes to service my clients.

What skills/attributes have you brought to Eversheds?
Tenacity and the ability to read other people and to understand not only what makes them tick but also their point of view. This enables you to form a strategy to ensure that you achieve your client's goals, to persuade the other party to acquiesce to the same and not to get bogged down in irrelevancies or to demand something that can’t be achieved.

Have you ever had the opportunity for a life changing moment? 
Probably the inheritance that got away. My wife’s ageing aunt and uncle left everything to her in their will, as they had no children or close relatives. Her uncle had been a major film star in the 50s and also triple winner of Mr Universe. They had a big horse ranch outside San Diego with all the Hollywood trappings. They died in quick succession in their late 70s, but not before her uncle sought solace in a further marriage to a lady a third of his age, for the last few months of his life. It was back to the day job!


Features August 2012

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