The Inside Track With: Carina Pennant-Williams | Litigation Director | Bowcock Cuerden LLP
- March 27, 2023
Every month we speak to prominent professionals working in, around, and for the legal sector in the UK, uncovering their greatest inspiration, what makes them tick in a work capacity and out, and their own career paths and journey to the top of their game.
Interview with: Carina Pennant-Williams | Litigation Director & Solicitor | Bowcock Cuerden LLP
WHAT HAS YOUR MORNING LOOKED LIKE?
I have been working on settling a fairly nasty re-possession matter, advising on an adverse possession case, taken calls from four new clients, had a remote directions Hearing and somehow managed to make a coffee and then deal with a bird brought in by the cat.
HOW IS BUSINESS AT THE MOMENT?
We are all busier than ever! We have some great links with other professionals and bodies referring work to us, as well as quite a lot of repeat business, so we have been looking to recruit across most departments to help us to service the volume of work coming in.
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN ‘LAW’ AS A CHOSEN CAREER?
I actually wanted to be a pilot, but have no idea where that came from. As I’m now a bit of a nervous flier, it’s probably just as well I went into the law. When I was choosing my A-levels, Law was offered as a ‘distance learning’ course and I thought that I would give it a try. I found it interesting, applied to study Law at University and then carried on from there.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Often it’s the small things that give a real feeling of accomplishment, such as settling a case for a client on favourable terms. It might not be something that gets you into the law reports, but there is a great deal of satisfaction in achieving a good result for a client that has saved them the costs and stress of litigating to Trial.
In terms of a win, I would say that it was a 5-day public inquiry a few years ago, at which I successfully opposed public rights over my Client’s land which would have absolutely devastated his business and livelihood.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
It may be a bit of a cliché, but it has to be my dad! He climbed the career ladder, through utter determination and hard-work, from the bottom to being appointed the chief of staff and director of a large NHS trust. In the end, he had too many job titles and letters after his name to remember.
WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT?
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE START OF YOUR CAREER IN THE LEGAL SECTOR?
To be patient about the amount of learning, in different areas of law, and embrace the experience in those different fields. I knew early on that I wanted to end up in litigation, but the knowledge and practice in other areas really has helped me, so it’s all been worthwhile.
Learn what you can about every area of law and soak it all up like a sponge!
HOW HAS THE LEGAL SECTOR CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?
More home working has perhaps been the biggest change, although myself and some of our other Solicitors did that to an extent before Covid. The lockdowns forced everyone though to think about whether remote meetings were suitable, as well as enabling more Court Hearings to be handled remotely, saving time and costs. We have also dealt with some remote mediations, which have worked well.
Since I started in litigation, there has been a real focus on monitoring the costs of both parties. The implementation of costs budgeting was a real learning curve and, whilst I wasn’t a huge fan at the outset, I do see the clear benefits for clients and am able to explain and discuss that with them. Generally clients now want to know exactly what litigation is going to cost them, so there has certainly been a shift towards fixed fees in many cases, whether that is for the whole case or perhaps for each stage of the proceedings.
OUTSIDE OF WORK, WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?
I cherish my weekends with my family. My children are 7 and 10, so time with them is precious. I’m also into cold water swimming, so can often be found in a waterfall in North Wales.
AND FINALLY, YOUR GO-TO PODCAST?
Bowcock Cuerden LLP is a leading commercial law practice based in Nantwich, South Cheshire. Founded almost 30 years ago, the practice offers a variety of legal services to both individuals and businesses including Residential and Commercial Property, Insolvency, Family, and Corporate and Commercial, as well as niche areas including Agriculture and Equine Law.