I took a law degree at Oxford Brookes University.
- What skills did you have when you graduated?
From a legal perspective, the ability to analyse case law and construct an argument. I was a good multi-tasker as well, combining my final year's work with rowing and socialising.
- What attracted you to planning?
I am a not-so-secret transport geek and I was fortunate enough to indulge this passion by obtaining authorisation for transport projects such as Merseytram.
- What did you learn in your first job?
How to pull a good pint.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Tact and diplomacy - it is an ongoing process.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
My previous and current heads of department, in different ways. The previous for instilling the importance of finding a solution and the current for being prepared to talk a point out. Herbert Smith is the first place I have worked where everyone seems to enjoy talking about planning law.
- What is your career highlight?
I genuinely feel pleased when a client is satisfied, but nothing beats the feeling when an important permission is granted for a scheme such as the Docklands Light Railway extension to Stratford International - especially without a call-in, challenge or appeal.
- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?
Regular exercise keeps you mentally alert, which is helpful in this job. A sense of humour is also essential.
- What further skills do you aim to attain or develop?
Working for a length of time enables me to consolidate what I have learnt and I anticipate further consolidation over the next few years.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
Very, both professionally and in terms of looking for common ground at work or social events.