People are the essence of the Hazlewoods Legal Team and, in this series, we strive to get to know more about them. The first person in our series is Associate Partner, Ian Johnson.
What drew you to Hazlewoods originally and how has the firm changed since?
I started back in 2008 as a manager in the Legal Team, having previously worked with a Big 4 audit firm in Bristol for several years. I always enjoyed working with professional practices, and that is what drew me to Hazlewoods. Since then, my team, and the firm as a whole, has grown a lot – but the core values and working styles have remained the same.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s definitely the people. I actually spent a year running my own management consultancy business for law firms, but the opportunity to return to Hazlewoods as a Partner and work with the team again was just too attractive.
What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?
Anything and everything. A big part of what I do is to give practical, pragmatic advice to help make my clients’ lives easier – and that advice can come in many different forms.
What is the best career lesson you have learned so far?
Your workload is never more important than anybody else’s. If the whole team isn’t working effectively, then you can’t work effectively as an individual.
How do you see the Legal team changing in the next 10 years?
If the last 10 years has been anything to go by, I think we’ll definitely be bigger (in number – not waist size), but we’ll always have the same core of key team members who really make us the envy of other firms.
Can you share any insights regarding the current legal sector?
Yes – plenty. COVID-19 has obviously had an effect on many firms’ outlooks, but not in the ways some might have predicted. There’s a lot of noise in the law firm M&A market and, overall, there’s a real sense of vibrancy and a need to plan for the future. Everything feels very forward-facing at the moment.
What do you enjoy about the office locations?
I love Cheltenham and we have a very nice location in a particularly picturesque part of town. We’ve also just opened a new office right in the centre.
What is the best advice you can give to someone just starting out in their career?
Never be afraid to speak out if you don’t know the answer to something – that’s the whole point of training in a profession, but also don’t be afraid to challenge the answer if you don’t like it.
What would you do (career-wise) if you were not in this current job?
I would be a musician – I’d like to think I would be on the celebrity end of the spectrum rather than the struggling artist end, but who knows!
If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
If you mean somebody new – I’d like to meet Ginger from The Wildhearts (look them up) and ask if I could join his band.