Recently appointed as Head of Serious & Catastrophic Injury at Birchall Blackburn Law, Quentin brings more than 25 years of legal experience to the firm. On a busy Friday morning, hot beverages in tow, we sit down to ask him plenty of questions – from his inspirations to his caffeine of choice, and the ways he deals with working in one of laws most distressing areas every day.
First thing’s first Quentin, how did you end up deciding to work for a Law Firm?
Good question! I’ve always been interested in history and justice – and I seem to be pretty good at debating and arguing things I believe in – so I decided to head off to Newcastle University to study law. I suppose you could say it was a natural career choice for me and I’ve always enjoyed my work and the scope of it – I’ve worked with insurance companies, done a lot of defendant work and also big corporate stuff too, as well as acting for individuals. I also wanted to do something that would make a positive difference to people’s lives and I’m really proud to know that I’ve achieved that so far in my career.
Why Birchall Blackburn Law?
The firm is a well-respected and long-established one that is committed to doing the best thing for their clients. I’ve worked for some amazing companies like DLA Piper and Eversheds, so when a vacancy came up at Birchall Blackburn Law, it just felt right!
Serious Injury must be a really hard and emotional area of law to work in every day – how do you cope?
It’s difficult – every serious injury lawyer would agree. Acting for the families of deceased children or an individual that has become paraplegic after a terrible accident is always going to be hard, and many lawyers do struggle dealing with it all.
I’ve always made a point that when I go home, I cut off from work after a certain time. I draw a line between my work and my home life; you’ve got to do that because if you join the two together, it can be distressing. You have to empathise with people but you must keep a level of professionalism – they have come to you at a difficult time and your emotions can not get in the way of helping them to the best of your ability.
Another way I deal with it is by focusing on helping people. All we do is try and improve people’s lives, so you’ve got to keep it positive. I always tell clients that it will get better from here – you’ve been to the lowest point and now, we’re going to work together to make things better.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m a very positive and upbeat person, so I like to be around other positive upbeat people!
I’d also say, over my life and my career, there’s two or three people I’ve worked for that have been very inspiring and taught me a lot about being a good lawyer. My father has been a big inspiration too. He was a good bloke – I had a lot of respect for him and I try to do the same as him as a father.
Of course, that’s another thing that inspires me – my kids. Running around after them, seeing how they get on in life and just bringing them up to be rounded, happy individuals makes me feel amazing!
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee, definitely. I don’t actually drink tea.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Any superpower? Easy. To be able to read minds!
What is the biggest misconception about lawyers that you’ve heard?
That we’re corrupt! This couldn’t be further from the truth.
What’s something that you can’t live without?
What’s something that you’re most proud of?
What would you say is your favourite country?
Believe it or not…England!
No way! Is that because you’ve lived away from England, in Australia?
Yes absolutely. I love the places here. Don’t get me wrong, I love Australia but I think you can’t beat home at the end of the day. Plus, Australia’s creepy crawlies are not for the faint-hearted!
Do you have any sports or hobbies?
I like playing football and I used to play a lot of cricket when I was younger – I was good at cricket, not so much football – but I always enjoyed playing it!
…and i still play guitar! I’ve got quite the collection of electric guitars from my younger days and when I was in a band. I collect vinyl records too – mostly buying my past back. I had a big record collection when I was young and got rid of it over the years like a lot of people do and now, I go to charity shops and record fairs to buy them all back again. Spotify is great for £10 a month and it has pretty much all the music in the world on there – but you can’t beat buying albums!
What’s your favourite food?
Somewhere between steak and curry. Not curried steak though, that would be horrible.
What music do you listen to?
Loud guitar music!
What do you want to be remembered for?
Changing people’s lives for the better. I don’t think there’s anything better to be remembered for.
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