The things I know

Patrick Robinson, Planning Partner, Burges Salmon, Bristol.

Patrick Robinson
Patrick Robinson

- Where did you study planning law?

The University of Leicester and the Chancery Lane Law School.

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

An ability to reduce matters to their component parts - fundamental in spotting the underlying issues.

- What attracted you to a career in planning law?

I took a planning specialism at law school. You have to get a genuine kick out of what is around you, both in the natural and built environment.

- What did you learn in your first job?

To keep the momentum going on legal matters. It's much easier to achieve results and get people involved if there is a degree of urgency.

- What skills have you had to learn over your career?

Top is the ability to put myself in other people's shoes. At the very least, it narrows gaps with the other side. Also to avoid being misled by phrases like "no-brainer" and "foregone conclusion". People who succeed challenge that sort of complacency.

- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?

Decision-makers who demonstrate a willingness to listen. Without their quality and intellectual rigour, it would be very difficult to move forward in this area of work.

- What is your career highlight?

Acting as advocate in securing permission for the Fullabrook wind farm in North Devon. We genuinely engaged people on its impact and mobilised public support.

- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?

The danger of egocentricity. Surprisingly, the less that you promote yourself the more people take an interest in you.

- What further skills do you aim to attain or develop?

The art of persuasion is a lifelong challenge. It's the most tantalising aspect of the law.

- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?

It is essential, for the simple reason that the law follows reality in planning.

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