Meet the Partners: Owen Walsh, Commercial Property Lawyer
Owen Walsh is a Partner specialising in all aspects of commercial property work at GoodLaw Solicitors. In this Q&A, Owen sits down with our marketing executive, Dannie Moore, to discuss his journey within Law and becoming a GoodLaw Partner.
How did you get into law?
When I was growing up, I was fascinated by legal dramas, John Grisham novels, linguistics and politics. Doing a law degree seemed to me a natural place where all of these fascinations came together.
How did you qualify as a lawyer? What route did you take?
After doing A Levels, I received an offer to study Law at Middlesex University for 3 years. After university, I could not decide whether I wanted to be a Barrister or Solicitor. I had won an award for the highest mark in Evidence so took a year out to spend some time obtaining work experience at Chambers and Solicitors. I decided to go down the route of becoming a solicitor having worked as a paralegal during my year out in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
I was accepted to Exeter University’s Legal Practice Course, and while there received an offer for training contract with an historic firm in Maidstone, Kent. I received invaluable training with them and was very lucky to get excellent exposure to clients, agents, and other professionals while there.
It is scary to think that I qualified nearly twenty years ago now. Things have changed significantly in that time – when I first qualified I did not have a mobile phone, emails were new and most correspondence was still done via the post (aka the “snail mail”). Most of my work was done dictating into a Dictaphone and giving the tapes to a legal secretary to type up. Losing half a day’s work due to the tape getting caught in the mechanism was a serious threat!
What barriers did you encounter on your career journey so far, and how did you overcome them?
I feel privileged and lucky enough to say that my barriers have been very few and far between. Most have been self-inflicted footballing injuries hampering my ability to go to networking events!
What brought you to GoodLaw? What do you value about working here?
Having spent a successful ten years commuting to London, I decided that I wanted to be closer to home so that I could spend more time my two young children and step-child. Having known many of the people at GoodLaw for some years, this seemed like the perfect fit to grow my practice in Brighton and Hove and the surrounding areas while staying in touch with my contacts in London.
GoodLaw is new, dynamic and the perfect modern environment I was looking for. I have been taken aback by the friendly, open atmosphere – the freedom to progress and develop is refreshing.
How did you become a Partner?
I was lucky enough to be offered the role as Partner in recognition of my prior experience in London. Given the talent already here, I have a lot to live up to!
What are the most valuable lessons you have learned?
I have learnt over the years that you have two ears and one mouth – you should listen and speak in that proportion. Some might say that I am continuing to learn that lesson!
Other important lessons and skills I have learned are to communicate with clients and contacts, make sure you get their name right, and do your best to find the common point of interest so that you can relate to people in all situations – people buy people in this industry.
How do you manage that work-life balance?
I found fitness and yoga when I hit 40 and now I would never change it. Carving out time to work on yourself is important both physically and mentally, particularly in this job when you are so focussed on achieving other peoples’ aims. Going for that Sunday morning bike-ride (and the all important cake-stop at the top of the South Downs) is essential!
I also have an extremely supportive family and friends – I enjoy spending time with my children playing games, reading books, building Star Wars Lego and walking the dogs across the South Downs.
What has been the best moment so far in your career?
I have been blessed with so many highlights it is difficult to narrow it down. Winning my first referral after working hard preparing a pitch and getting to know the client will always stay with me. There are a couple of extremely high-value transactions (value £250m plus ) that also stay in the memory – I live for getting transactions over the line!