Andrew Lawson, commercial property solicitor at Switalskis Solicitors.
What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career? Having started in the legal profession over 35 years ago the biggest change during my career is without a doubt the technological advancements. When I started in 1983, we didn’t even have a fax machine so all documents would be exchanged by post, which would, at best, be received the next day. Now, we expect to send and receive information in a nanosecond, which has dramatically changed our industry and the speed at which transactions can be completed. It has also changed clients’ expectations.
What law would you like to see changed? I would like VAT to be scrapped on commercial property transactions. It is complex and can prolong deals. Whilst good advice and careful planning can help with the process, doing away with VAT on commercial sales and leases would sharpen up the process and help with clients’ cash flows.
What is the most exciting work you’ve ever done? I acted for a client who was buying two neighbouring retail properties in the North East, concurrently, from two separate sellers. The price of the properties could have been significantly increased had either of the sellers known about the client purchasing both properties and so we had to tread very carefully. It was extremely nerveracking yet very exciting when the transactions went through seamlessly together.
Who in the legal world do you most admire? My former colleague, Bruce Copsey who I worked with over 15 years ago. His straightforward and honest approach to client work has stayed with me ever since.
What advice would you give someone out in the profession? starting You have to be able to listen to your clients and drill down to really get a firm understanding of what their exact needs are.