Harvey vs Hooper – Ed Hooper – S1E4

This week our host Robert Hanna was joined by leading Corporate Partner, Ed Hooper. Ed is a Partner in the London office at Trowers & Hamlins, an international law firm. Ed discusses his journey to Partnership and the challenges it brings.

Show notes

Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

1. What does the role of a corporate lawyer involve? 

2. What makes a great transactional lawyer?

3. Learn more about risk-taking and careers.


Episode highlights:

Ed’s interest in the law:

  • From the GCSE stage, Ed was interested in the law after having a vacation placement in a law firm which appealed to the skillset that he was developing. 
  • Ed was recommended books to understand the law and introductory guides.
  • Ed believes law is the type of career path that people jump into as soon as they know it is what they want to do. 

What does Ed enjoy about corporate law?

  • Ed enjoys corporate law because of collaborative exercise – building something with a team of not just lawyers, but investment banks, brokers, accountants, financial advisors, other firms and clients. 
  • Corporate lawyers differ from litigators, although they work together on how to draft a court document.
  • Ed believes corporate lawyers and litigators can learn a lot from each other, despite their mindsets being different.

What makes a great transactional lawyer, and what skills do they need?

  • Ed believes transactional lawyers develop their skills over time.
  • In Ed’s opinion, what transactional lawyers should strive to be is a decisive project manager with the ability to take a strategic oversight of a particular transaction.
  • At the same time, Ed thinks a lawyer should be involved enough in the detail of what is going on and be able to communicate the details to those who need to know. 
  • Transactional lawyers should appreciate that different clients have different attitudes. 
  • Having the flexibility to adapt your style to your kind is key.

What do Ed’s two roles involve?

  • Ed has a business development function and a black letter law function.
  • Ed’s business development involves meeting new prospects, clients and generating new business.
  • As part of this role, Ed has to understand what his clients want, which can be done in many forms, such as having lunch.

What does Ed think partners could be doing to bring out the best in their associates and team in building a collegiate culture?

  • Ed believes that there are multiple ways one can manage their team. 
  • Flexing his management style to the person in the team that he is working with is key.
  • He understands that some people like nurturing and feedback, whereas others might appreciate more responsibility. 
  • Ed describes how his generation has learnt from managers who have different approaches.
  • Trainees can be afraid of partners, but this management style is not beneficial for either individual.
  • Ed pinpoints the trouble – lawyers grow up learning to be great technical lawyers at the expense of how to be a great manager.

What risks has Ed taken throughout his career?

  • Ed describes how when advising a client, they are the ones taking the risk, and the lawyer is there to guide them and give opinions.
  • In Ed’s career, he details that every move is a risk, both for the person moving and the firm.
  • He believes there is a risk in getting comfortable in a firm, including whom to speak to for advice and knowing how the operational functions of the firm work.
  • Ed advises that if you are not progressing at the speed you wish to, think about taking a step back and thinking about what is right for you. 

Ed’s advice to corporate lawyers and about specialising:

  • Ed understands that flexibility is needed in these markets, and lawyers should have the ability to turn to other areas, such as restructuring or M&A.
  • He does not advocate specialising too soon since the benefits of having a broad knowledge are not clear.
  • The more different transactions one comes across as a corporate lawyer, the more one realises how similar they are and can apply the same principles.

How does Ed win clients, and what things is he most proud of throughout his career?

  • Before becoming a partner, Ed had been focusing on becoming technically able, and what he wanted to achieve and did, was running any kind of transaction and taking the lead on them.
  • Business development became more important to Ed when he first became a partner, as he needed to bring in work and manage a small team. 

What are Ed’s long-term plans for his practice?

  • Ed is currently in ‘building mode’; he has been at the firm for 18 months and has been tasked with building the capital markets practice.
  • He is ambitious and wants to grow the team, wanting it to become a big part of the firm’s corporate offering.
  • He is looking to find great people to build a team that could be at all levels. 

Ed’s advice on taking risks and what he has done to benefit himself at the firm:

  • Ed suggests simply being confident – if the image of confidence is lost, so are an individual’s colleagues and the people they are targeting. 
  • For Ed, it is about the amount of preparation, whether it is a conversation with a colleague internally or for a prospective or existing client.
  • Having done the groundwork pays huge dividends. 

Ed’s perspective on legal tech and its role in the profession:

  • Legal tech has a place in the sector and will grow rapidly. 
  • Ed stresses the importance of the real customised tailored approach to match client needs.
  • The more commoditised the advice being given is, the better tech becomes.
  • He believes there are certainly pockets of the firm where tech is great, but for him, an email or phone will work fine.

What would Ed change about his job?

  • Over the past 5 years, Ed had tried to instil more fun in the day job.
  • Since he finds it can be quite turgid at times, he brings his personality to work and lets it shine in the workplace and with clients.

What has Ed contributed to the wider legal community? 

  • Over the years, Ed has established a network.
  • He keeps in contact with his trainee friends, who have gone into interesting areas of the law and keeps the networking going.
  • He believes in being a part of something bigger than just his practice.

What does Ed do outside of work?

  • Ed recognises it is hard being a parent and it is hard being a partner in a law firm, but he ensures he makes time to spend with his family.
  • He focuses on taking time out for himself, staying healthy and keeping fit. 

5 powerful quotes from this episode:

  1. “I think you have to have confidence in yourself. I think we’re in an age now where career isn’t likely to last the whole time in one firm”.
  2. “I think if you’re not progressing at the speed that you want to be if you’re not finding the work that interest you; if you’re not working with people that are exciting to work with, then they are always good drivers to have a think about, take a step back and have a think about whether the way you are, is absolutely right for you”.
  3. “…I can see a bigger picture in that if you win a small matter, it can often lead to a lot more in the future”.
  4. “…so bringing your own personality to work, letting that shine through both in the workplace with clients, I think is really key.
  5. “…for me you’ve got to the amount of time that you spend doing that you’ve gotta enjoy yourself”.

If you wish to connect with Ed you may reach out to him on LinkedIn.  

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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Robert Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.

Disclaimer: All episodes are recorded at certain moments in time and reflect those moments only. 


Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast, powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. Today I’m delighted to be joined by Ed Hooper a high-profile corporate partner at Trowers & Hamlins.

Ed Hooper: Welcome, Rob. Thanks for having me along.

Rob Hanna: This week is called Harvey versus Hooper suits, real or not. So I must start by asking you the all important question that everyone in legal community wants to know, particularly as you are a corporate partner in London as well. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, how real do you rate the TV hit series, Suits?

Ed Hooper: Well, that’s a hell of a question to start off with Rob, you know, I’m a fan of Suits, and you know what? I like to sit on the fence. I’m going to go with 10 being very real.

Rob Hanna: There we go, 10, so we are back to 10. So I think it’s only our dear friend James Breeze we had on the other week who decided to give it a one and his rationale for that was, he’s yet to meet a secretary like Donna.

Ed Hooper: Well you can’t argue with that. Donna’s a cracking secretary, but I think I’ve pondered this one in the past, and I think there’s a lot of reality in Hidden Away. I think you have to search quite hard to the reality. They’ve removed all the drudgery that one might imagine goes on behind lawyers, offices. You have to get over the fact that you’ve got litigators doing corporate work and vice versa.

Rob Hanna: You mean that doesn’t happen in real life?

Both: [Laughter]  

Ed Hooper: Well, there’s a bit of a cross safer now and again and, photographic memories, who has those? I wish I did. But I think that there are some really interesting points there and the sort of themes that come up. I think they all display superb lateral thinking, strategy and  a real aptitude when it comes to winning clients. And I think that’s what I mean when I say that it’s very real because I think these were really key qualities, funny lawyer and if you could make it seem more glamorous than this than it is. So for the purpose of entertainment, then so much the better.

Rob Hanna: Well Ed , you’ve definitely won the most detailed and impressive comprehensive answer off suits thus far, so thank you for that. But today we are we are talking about sort of the reality of being a corporate partner in a major international law firm, which obviously you are. But let’s go back a step first. Did you always want to be a lawyer?

Ed Hooper: So, from a pretty early age, yes, I’d say from sort of GCSE stage onwards. I already had a vacation placement in a law firm. Noticed that it appealed the skill set that I was developing what was thoroughly interesting work. Didn’t really understand what it was but wanted to get a better understanding of it so I did more vacation schemes. I was recommended books like understanding the law and, you know, sort of introductory guides to the law and it took off from there. I think it is fair to say a lot of us lawyers get thrown on to a second path at quite an early age, because once you’ve decided you might want to be a lawyer, you already deciding what a levels might be good ones to choose, and then whether you go ahead and do it as a degree or whether you sort of fall into it later on, but I think it is quite a sort of career part from the word go. Sent you alone into training contracts in the traditional roots anyway, and from there it’s a career in house or private practise. You know that the options that

Rob Hanna: Yep. And so again the other week we had a staunch litigator who was very pro contentious work had no time for non contentious work at all or didn’t interest him. So, you know,  that’s quite the contrary to today you’re very much a transactional lawyer. That’s always been your bread and butter. So why do you enjoy? So why do you enjoy that so much? And why do you think people who are thinking about a career in law, particularly corporate should consider corporate?

Ed Hooper: So I’m a big fan of corporate law because, say, collaborative exercise, one is building something often with a great sort of team involved and say we’re not talking just lawyers, but it often in my world I’m teaming up with investment banks, brokers, accountants, financial advisors, other law firms, great clients and that package together built often an amazing product now, no disrespect intended to litigators.

Rob Hanna: Oh no, go for it.

Ed Hooper: But  they’re looking at it from a three different lens they’re looking into when things go wrong things, things pivots and they change, but we’re always trying to build something. And to be honest, I didn’t have a great deal of overlap with litigators for that reason. Occasionally, things get heated we might have an activist travelled. Someone who hasn’t been paid a fee, who wants a commercial negotiator off than an out and out litigator.

Rob Hanna: Yep.

Ed Hooper: But I think we can also as corporate lawyers learn a lot from our litigation friends and do when when they come and talk to us about how how to draft something so that it stands up in courts and how to meet something watertight. So I think we can learn a lot from each other, but I think the mindsets is very different and it diverges that the long need it.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, and obviously you’ve had a wonderful career. You’ve been very fortunate. But through lots of hard work to work in magic Circle firms, you’re now in a sort of top international law firm. But from your experiences again, people probably wanted to rise up the ranks. What do you think makes a great transactional lawyer and what skills and things that need to be thinking about?

Ed Hooper: So I think transactional lawyers. I think you develop it over time. I think you can’t be learning on the job yet gaining experience through doing it time and time again, I think where you want to be or at least in my opinion, where you want to be and where I strive to be, is to be a decisive project manager with an ability to take a strategic oversight  of a particular transaction but at the same time be involved enough in the detail of what’s going on, and being able to communicate that detail to those who need to know.

Rob Hanna: That’s a really important point. I think a lot of lawyers fall into the trap where they forget their clients want to understand the solution and I think some lawyers who are exceptionally technical may not be able to present the solution in the way that their clients can fully understand that. I think that’s from my experiences. I’ve seen, you know, it’s a client business as well, you’ve gotta bail to communicate to the clients the way they’re going to understand it.

Ed Hooper: That’s right. And appreciating that different clients have different aptitudes. So some are very much helicopter view. You don’t really want any detail at all. Others won’t take your word for it unless it’s fully supported. So I think it’s having the flexibility to adapt your style to your kind. Really? On that front.

Rob Hanna: Yep, and lunchtime. I know it’s a big thing for you as it is for everyone. Are you a sandwich and stay at your desk kind of guy? Or are you a depart and dine? What would you tend to do?

Ed Hooper: I like a lot like the way you’ve put those.

Both: [Laughter]

Ed Hooper: I think it’s fair to say a bit of both

Rob Hanna: A bit of both okay.

Ed Hooper: And I’m going to sit on the fence on this one on.

Rob Hanna: But I thought you said at the top, you weren’t gonna sit on the fence Ed.

Ed Hooper: There’s a reason I’m sitting on the fence on this one because I’ve got two roles, I’ve got a business development function and I’ve got a sort of black letter law function I suppose, and so wearing my business development hats it’s really important for me to be out and about and meeting new prospects, new clients and generating new business. Now that is done in many forms. It can be a breakfast it can be a coffee. It can be going for a run. It could be having lunch, supper, all sorts of variations.

Rob Hanna: A beer?  

Ed Hooper: Even a beer and again, flexing to what the person you’re meeting is really after and what keen on doing. But that does take me away often at lunch times, probably twice a week. I then like to sort of mix up the rest. I’d like I’d like to sort of try and find a least one day a week to have lunch with a colleague. We have a partners lunch here every Friday, which I try and attend as much as possible because you then get a feel for what’s going on in the business and the wider space. And it’s great. Spend time with colleagues. Otherwise, you might as well be sat at home working from home all day. Which leaves in a couple of days, probably in the week where I’m having a sandwich at the desk, feeling a bit miserable and ploughing through work.

Rob Hanna: Well, I know you’re no fan of walking, but Ed and I actually run together and I hate to admit it, but he’s 10 times better than me at running is actually can do 10k. What’s your fastest 10k of the moment. It’s sort of 30.

Ed Hooper: Just over 46.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, yeah. Which is which is not bad, which is not bad. So yeah, Ed and I do try and try and keep up the running, but I’ll give you on give you on that. In terms then, of partners. I know you’re very collegiate you always try and bring the best out the associates that work for you and you know, there’s a big thing now where shouldn’t just be downward management but upward management from associates. But what do you think partners could be doing to bring out to actually bring out the best of their associates and their team?

Ed Hooper: So I I learned a few years back now from my wife, who’s a commercial manager. But management isn’t just one trick. There are multiple ways that one can manage someone and the really important thing, I think to resit is that flexing your management style to the person in the team that you’re working with is really key. So I think I think that some people like a lot of hand holding hands, a lot of nurturing and feedback. Whereas others might genuinely appreciate more responsibility and more of its stand back approach from upon.

Rob Hanna: I think is a really interesting point. And I still think to this day some law firms are lacking and that’ll certainly no in your space and something you are a people person, and you really understand that. But I still get the impression from associates that we speak to that it’s well is this way. Or you just got to do it like that and just get on with it. I think more and more people like you are building at your practise is doing great things. They’re trying actually really build this more collegiate culture. It just produces better results all round, Right? You’ve seen some real results from that.

Ed Hooper: Yeah I mean, I think it’s fair to say a lot of my generation learned from some quite different managers who had a very different approach that they had perhaps learnt themselves very much sort of do as I say. And, you are often quite terrified of partners as a trainee. I think these days that doesn’t really cut it, it doesn’t really work for either the partners or the associates trainees. I think the the trouble is, lawyers grew up learning to be great technical lawyers, probably expense early on how to be a great manager.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said, Well said and, what I really like about you Ed following your career. It’s worth pointing that Ed and I have actually worked together as well, so I’m generally speaking first hand, one of the most, you know, competent corporate partners have had the experience of working with. But what I really like about you is you’re more entrepreneurial way of looking at the law, and you’ve actually taken risks in your career and naturally lots of lawyers, a quite risk averse. So, do you want to talk about maybe some of your risk you’ve taken throughout your career. And what you would say to people that probably are sat on the fence where they should make a move shouldn’t make a move. And, yeah, talk about your experience.

Ed Hooper: Yeah no that’s what I wondered where you were going with that for a minute because lawyers don’t take risks. And, you know, certainly when you’re advising a  client, the clients are there to take the risk the lawyer is there to sort of guide them through them and give opinions. But but in terms of risks I’ve taken with my career, I mean I suppose every move is a risk, but both for the person moving and for the firm too.

Rob Hanna: Do you think that’s been helpful, for the moves you’ve made? Do you think it’s been helpful for you as you’ve plotted the journey to make partner or do you… yeah talk us a bit about that because lots of people maybe get held up in their current firm. They get a lot of promises, you know, Maybe they’re on a track, and that sort of ripped on the way from them, yeah talk through your sort of real life experiences of that.

Ed Hooper: I think you have to have confidence in yourself. I think we’re in a age now where career isn’t likely to last the whole time in in one firm.

Rob Hanna: Yeah.

Ed Hooper: There are distinct benefits anyway, in my view, for moving firms to gain a different perspective on how to do things I think that there is a risk that you get very comfortable where you are in a firm, you know who you need to speak to for which bit of advice you know how the operational functions of a firm work and I think that that gives a great deal of comfort. I think if you’re not progressing at the speed that you want to be if you’re not finding the work that interests you If you’re not working with people that are exciting to work with, then they always quite good drivers to have a think about take a step back and have a think about whether the way you are it is absolutely right for you.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, would, would you say, because we speak to lots of people again going through their careers. Maybe there are two. Maybe they’re two or three PQE, and maybe they’re quite generous. And they’re saying, Oh, do I need to think about specialising now before I get to senior? Or what advice would you give to those people who are maybe corporate lawyers? Transactional lawyers at the moment about when to specialise, not to specialise, how to keep it  generalist.

Ed Hooper: So I think you need flexibility, and particularly in these markets. It’s fair to say at the moment, the equity capital markets aren’t singing.  So having an ability to turn to other areas where that’s restructuring or M&A it’s always valuable to a firm. I think I wouldn’t advocate specialising too soon. I don’t think the benefits of having a really broaden out knowledge are clear to see and actually the more different transactions one comes across a corporate lawyer that more one realises there are quite similar at heart, and the same principles apply as I think you know, that’s what I enjoy.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, okay. and. Then on still the building theme your you know your a partner a big part of that is BD and winning clients. We know Harvey Spectre is the ultimate closer. But how do you win clients? And you know, what are some of the things that you’ve been most proud throughout your career.

Ed Hooper: So for me, business development kind of really clicked into gear at about the time of first becoming a partner. Up until that point, I’d been really focusing on becoming technically able and what I really wanted to do and did achieve was we have the ability to run any kind of transaction and take a complete lead on those transactions. But in terms of business development, as I say it really clicked in on becoming a partner, it needed to be because the place I joined I needed to start bringing in  work to not only keep myself busy, but a small team around me. And so I think I’ve always, um, really enjoyed it it’s actually I think it doesn’t have to be a large climb wind, get me excited and I can see a bigger picture in that if you win a small matter, it can often lead to a lot more in the future. So I’m pretty open minded.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, you’re doing wonders with your practise, and it’s just going from strength to strength, that’s, undoubted. And what are some of your long what? What are the long term plans for your sort of practise? Where do you want to see it going? Because all of the things that you’re doing is real help for insights of people, but, you know, sort of lay the path down For what you know, corporate partners thinking in terms of 2020 and what it looks like.

Ed Hooper: Yes, So I’m really in building mode still there’s a long way to go yet with my brief here, I’ve bean with the firm for 18 months was tasked with building up there. Capital markets practise that the foundations are certainly there, but I don’t want to stop that. I am really ambitious and want to grow the team and for it to become a really big part of our corporate offering. So I think in terms of the details behind that, what I’m really looking to do is so we’ve got an open mandates, as you know, so you can find great people to build a team that could be at all levels really, so we’re quite opportunistic. If it was at partner hiring level, we consider it anywhere. Belay that really

Rob Hanna: I think that’s testament to all the great work you’ve done. I think you know many partners coming in you know a year and a half in the whole scheme of things isn’t a large amount of time. But to get the buying from everyone in the firm, and to really get behind you and sponsor you must be doing something right. Is there any tips of people back to the people taking risks? And maybe the more senior that they get, the higher the risk, the more level of commitments. But is there anything that you found that you’ve done that has really got people inside within a law, firm or little things you do with internal stakeholders that have really benefited you?

Ed Hooper: I think just being confident helps enormously, because I think as soon as you don’t  portray that confidence yourself. You’ve kind of lost your colleagues and probably the people you’re targeting as well. Now, obviously, confidence can’t just be you

Rob Hanna: Gotta back it up, right?

Ed Hooper: It does have to be something there and I think for me the amount of preparation, whether it’s for a conversation with a colleague internally, whether it’s for a prospective client, whether it’s for an existing client. But you just want to catch up in my view you can’t spend enough time preparing for these sorts of conversations. Unfortunately, that’s the hard work bit that there’s not really a short cut to it. But having done that groundwork, it pays huge dividends,

Rob Hanna: And that’s a really key point for both internal stakeholders , annual clients because if you’re really showing you care and getting into the DNA of them and researching and treating them as individuals and really want to add value to them and that that goes for miles, right?  

Ed Hooper: Absolutely yeah.

Rob Hanna: And, you know, you do a lot of work with some interesting or have done with some tech start ups and, you know, within the world of tech generally, that’s kind of a sector I know you do a lot of work in, but legal tech is becoming more and more of a thing. You know what’s your view on that, Where do you see You know who is embracing it the most? And you know where do you see legal tech in the next five years or so?

Ed Hooper: Now, I don’t want to come across as a…

Rob Hanna: It sounds like you might be Ed, but  come on.

Ed Hooper: For me, legal tech is great. It’s got a place in the sector and it’s not gonna disappear. It is gonna grow rapidly. But for me, we can all get a bit too excited about tech and what’s equally as important still that the main driver I think behind most of what we do is a real customised tailored approach into clients needs. So for me, there’s no such thing, really as a plain vanilla truck transaction and therefore using tech to streamline a transaction that doesn’t work in its entirety. Now the more commoditised the advice being given, the better tech becomes. And I think there are certainly pockets of the firm where I’m thinking sort of due diligence and thinking sort of smart contracts where tech is absolutely fantastic. But for me, you know, an email, and a phone will do just fine, predominantly for the majority of what I’m doing.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, fair well said, well said, I think we can get ahead of ourselves, can’t we? Sometimes it’s legal tech an A I and buzz words. But, you know, I think the point you’re making there is about really customising  bespoke service because if you’re going to get instructed and you want to really understand your client, then you can’t just say, Well, this bit of tech is gonna do what it’s done for the other 10 clients because this is an individual case by case basis, and that’s your point about laced. The other point off really preparing and really delivering for your clients and understanding them and not trying to be generic,.

Ed Hooper: Yeah that that that’s it and if someone can present a solution to me that is going to save time, then I’m all for it. I’m not knocking that at all. I think there are some really exciting products out there. For sure. AI seems to be in its infancy, and that’s going from strength to strength. So I’m I’m awaiting the point where it becomes all beautiful and functional.

Rob Hanna: Ed Hooperbot watch this space, it’s happening. And if you could change okay, So if you could change one thing about your job that you don’t particularly like or you could put a change, what would it? What would it be?

Ed Hooper: So that’s that’s a tough one, because you’re speaking to a man who really enjoys his job very passionate about it and generally try and have fun with it. What I have tried to change is over the last five years or so in particular is really instilling a bit more fun in the day job, it can be quite turgid and quite dry at times and so bringing your own personality to work, letting that shine through both in the workplace with clients I think is really key.

Rob Hanna: No, it’s true. And obviously you always helpful and always wanted to get your, you are passionate as you say about the law and to give back to the legal community and we’re grateful for you, obviously hopping on today and sharing your insights. But outside of obviously being a regular feature on the legally speaking podcast, what other stuff do you do or do you contribute to or involved in the wider legal community?

Ed Hooper: So I think it’s a great question, I think. I think it’s a really great question.

Rob Hanna: That’s why I asked it Ed. [Laughter]

Ed Hooper: Full of great questions today Rob.

Rob Hanna: Gotta do it one week, haven’t you? 

Ed Hooper: So I think the key with all of this is not to fall into a rut where your coming to work, sitting behind the desk, bashing out a few emails and bits of advice and then going home you need to have a rounded approach to both your client base your firm And then I think you’re saying you were alluding to fact that we’ll see the wider community basically that sort of network you establish over the years a lot of my trainee friends from from time’s gone by have gone into really interesting areas of law key keeping that network going and being a part of something bigger than just your own practise and your own firm is really key.

Rob Hanna: Yeah, and that’s a really good point because that’s a theme that’s continually recurring on the podcast. I’m really glad that that’s coming from top down, that you’re also encouraging that I think that’s a good thing in a win for the industry. There is one word we have also avoided using up to this day on the podcast because everyone’s sick and tired of it. But it does begin with a B and Ed. You’re gonna be the first to tackle this question. Good old Brexit and is that having an impact on your practise the market generally, and what’s your take on it?

Ed Hooper: Well, we probably need to date stamp we are having this conversation because what I say Now will be heavily out to date in 24 hours time, I expect. I think it is having an impact on the practise on the market as a whole, but I think it’s also a great excuse that’s being banded around by a lot of people. There are lots of really exciting projects which, apparently on hold until more certainty comes through in the market. And so one could say Brexit is perhaps responsible for some of that, but there’s an equal amounts of really good things that are happening regardless of Brexit and I think I’m an optimist. I like to focus on what’s in front of me. 

Rob Hanna: Good stuff. And then there was one questions our listeners did want to ask given this is the Harvey versus Hooper. It’s a very much yes or no answer. Would you have Harvey Spectre in a fight? Yes or no?

Ed Hooper: So I’m gonna say yes…No

Rob Hanna: Of course you would! [Laughter]

Ed Hooper: It could be a bit of yes and no if you like. I’m not a boxer I wouldn’t, wouldn’t win in a physical fight so as you have alluded to I am a fast runner so I can show him a clean pair of heels. I wouldn’t beat him in a courtroom because I’m not a litigator.

Rob Hanna: Oh really so you don’t litigate and do corporate and do a bit of employment?

Ed Hooper: So where I would beat him or at least match him is in a board room.

Rob Hanna: Yeah. One thing, I really admire about you Ed as well is you’ve been so successful. You’ve become a partner in a very highly well regarded international law firm. But you’re still a family man as well, right?

Ed Hooper: I think that the honest truth is it’s It’s very hard, both being a parent, full stop, regardless of work. It’s a difficult role on being a partner in a law firm is a difficult job so you take on two and you imagine that to some extent it sort of doubles up. But then we’ve already established that I love my job I can tell you definitively that I love my family a lot more and…

Rob Hanna: You know, your wife’s listening to this podcast. [Laughter] That’s more socks at Christmas though, guaranteed.

Ed Hooper: You’ve got it. So I think what that means is really sort of being flexible in in how you approach how you approach those two roles. Now that it’s a constant juggling act, of course, but I think we are fortunate these days to live in a flexible environment. We do a lot of agile working as a firm. And what I personally enjoy is hanging back in the morning at home, if I can, for a bit longer in order to catch my kids when they’re full of beans and finding pockets of time in the diary that are very much circled up for the family.

Rob Hanna: But is that easier said than done sitting in a partners seat? Whereas say you’re a mid-level associate senior associate, you’ve got a young family. Is that possible? Or is it a case of having the conversation with the firm and ironing it out? Because again, people wanting to aspire to be partners and not seeing it being flexible enough? What would you say to those people?

Ed Hooper: I would say, would be pretty hypocritical, to be honest, if it if it applied only to partners so I’m really keen that everyone in my team has the same flexibility provided that they deliver the same results.

Rob Hanna: Great stuff and just a couple of questions before we wrap up. And it’s kind of on the theme of what we’ve been talking about here, and it links back to your career and all that sort of moves and risks you’ve taken. How important do you think it is to find a law firm where you suit the culture to allow you to progress simply over money moves? Because we know the U. S firms paying vast quantities of money to associates and you know there are trends happening in the London market, but what do you say to that?

Ed Hooper: Well, let’s face it, it depends what drives you doesn’t if money drives you then.

Rob Hanna: Be an investment banker.

Ed Hooper: Yes it’s seriously If money drives you then go and find the best pay packet going. Um, if you don’t like the culture and you’re purely doing it for the money, I would suggest that that’s not a long term sustainable move. We all as lawyers spend a lot of time at the desk really throwing ourselves into the profession and for me you’ve got to the amount of time that you spend doing that you’ve  gotta enjoy yourself.

Rob Hanna: Listen, Ed, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on just in terms of outside of work. What do you keep? What you do sort of have fun? What do you do to sort of downtime? I think you’ve promised me a beer after this recording, but what do you tend to do outside of work that keeps you sort of, you know, active and busy?

Ed Hooper: Well, I think thats something that I always ponder myself. I think work work can at times be conceiving at the moment I have a young family, so a lot of my additional time very much belongs to them. But I think it’s really important to take time out for yourself and focus in on a few things that you enjoy for me that’s staying healthy, and keeping fit, going for a run if you can do it with friends so much the better.

Rob Hanna: Yeah just had to drop in the running that he’s better than me again didn’t he? Ed, listen, once again thank you so much. I think that has been really enlightening in terms of the Harvey versus Hooper. People can leave it to their own assumptions, whether they still think Suits is real or not, it will be an ongoing debate for the rest of this season, but thanks very much and over and out.

Ed Hooper: Pleasure. 

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