The Happy Solicitor – Jay Sahota – S2E14

This week on the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Rob Hanna was delighted to be joined by “The Happy Solicitor” himself, Jay Sahota.

Jay is a Senior Partner at Jarmans Solicitors, the firm has been providing world-class legal advice to their clients for over 150 years.

Jay read law at Cambridge University and trained with Allen & Overy in London before spending several years at city firms as a commercial litigation lawyer.

He has acted for the likes of Ryanair and Tesco’s. Jay’s motto at Jarmans is that “we have an exceptional team providing exceptional client care”.

Jay has worked on small to very large (e.g. £3.5billion) litigation claims for a range of clients and is head of the growing dispute resolution department at Jarmans.

Jay talks around his impressive City career and how he has been able to maintain the quality of work he was accustomed to whilst moving out of Central London!

He is passionate about networking and giving back. He also has plenty of tricks as he is a great Magician and Singer!


[0:00:00.0] Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I am delighted to be joined by the Happy Solicitor, Jay Sahota. Jay is a senior partner at Jarmans Solicitors who have been providing world class legal advice to their clients for over 150 years. Jay read Law at Cambridge University and trained at Allen and Overy in London before spending several at city firms as a commercial litigation lawyer. He has acted for the likes of Ryanair and Tesco. Jay’s motto at Jarmans is that we have an exceptional team providing exceptional client care. So, a very big welcome Jay.

[0:00:40.2] Jay Sahota: Morning, how are you Rob? Good to speak to you.

[0:00:43.4] Rob Hanna: Very well, very well and it’s great that I’m speaking to a Happy Solicitor during the current times. We have an icebreaker question on the Legally Speaking Podcast that you may be familiar with. But it’s around the TV show Suits, so we ask every guests. On the scale of 1-10, 10 being very real, how real do you rate the TV series Suits?

[0:01:09.3] Jay Sahota: Well, that’s an interesting question. I have to carry it on my answer by saying that my wife and I did watch probably series 1 to 3 or season 1 to 3, it’s American isn’t it. And then we stopped watching because it became unrealistic. Probably partly answers your question really and it became more of a political, sexual drama thana real-life legal drama really. On a scale of 1 to 10, how realistic?

I suppose bits of it are realistic and it depends which area you practice in some of the litigation stuff I watched and think this is really good because it’s a reflection of my strategy and decision making and you know the dos and pros of litigation every day. So, I probably say about 4.

[0:01:448] Rob Hanna: Yeah, I think four is for… some people give it a little bit higher based on their like of a bit of Hollywood. But, if you are going on the realism you are probably about right with the 4. But there is so much we need to get through you know throughout, you know I’d love to hear more about your sort of illustrious career. But let’s sort of go right the way back, do you want to sort of tell the listeners a bit about your sort of background and your upbringing firstly? 

[0:02:08.0] Jay Sahota: Yes, of course. I was born in Kent and I never actually wanted to be a lawyer to start off with, I was either going to be a magician because I was a semi-professional as a magician when I was growing up. So, I went with my aunt to Hamleys when I was 6 years old, fell in love with magic and I bought all the magic sets. I wanted to be a magician basically or a weather forecaster.

When I realized there probably wasn’t any money in either I was speaking to one of my aunts, I was probably about 15 at that time and she said to me, have you considered; A, going to Cambridge and I chuckled and I thought nobody I know has ever been to Cambridge – that was not going to happen or B, becoming a lawyer. And that was the firsttime either of those ideas had come across my mind, nobody ever mentioned them to me and I certainly hadn’t thought of them on my own initiative.

And she said, “you like arguing, you like putting forward an argument, you are articulate why not try it?” and I did it. I mean it sowed the seed and I worked really hard, did well at school and went to Cambridge, read law, enjoyed it and I’m probably one of the few lawyers who read law and is actually a lawyer. A lot of them stopped by doing history or doing somewhat similar and then end up being lawyers.

But I read law at Cambridge and trained in the city, Allen and Overy. And all the stories are true, it is that sort of fervent get, a bit akin to Suits in the sense of what we were talking about just now. And I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it but of course, the training was magnificent you know one of the best firms in the world you know. It grounded my career and so I actually qualified into the corporate and commercial seat and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

I remember the first time I was presenting with a bit of a work by the partner in the department, in the corporate department. He brought me a set of, I think it was agenda’s and board minutes, and I thought God, I can’t do this for the next 40 years, I really can’t. And then I hopped back to my training contracts and thought “why, I should have been a litigator.” And then I moved to Howley which was the US Law at the time to do a litigation, which is wonderful because I was doing all sorts of international litigation, really challenging stuff.

I remember my first day there one of the juniors brought in 40 or 50 files into my room and just piled them up around the room and went “this is your first case.” And I said “okay, what’s it about?” expecting some contractual dispute or something. And I said, “oh, it’s a bit of credit link load fraud litigation I thought “great, what’s that?” And obviously as litigators do, I had to get on top of it overnight and it ended up being immensely enjoyable. I was working on largely that case for about two and a half years really. I had proceedings going on in lots of different jurisdictions, really good fun, fantastic training you know it covered all the areas of litigation that you could hope for: strategy tactics, the law, the academia and it set me up really for the rest of my life in litigation. So, Howley, then Lawrence Graham and then Pitmans out in Reading, I had a wonderful time in Pitmans Reading and had a really fantastic head of dispute resolution called Sue O’Brian, who actually was probably my first mentor.

I know we talk a lot about mentors in our careers and she was my first mentor who said to me, “have you ever thought about doing it yourself and having your own firm one day?” And at the time, as with many wise words spoken by people, I had no idea what she was talking about really. I liken her to my granddad who throughout my life he has been a very big influence on my life and career.

And he said to me when I was growing up, “everything in life is about respect.” Again, at the time I didn’t really know what he was talking about really and now I think it’s true. I mean particularly given the time that everything is about looking after each other, respect, treating people well, trying to do the best that you can for yourself and for others. It’s also a part of my seed faith, etc.

But coming back to Sue, you know fantastic boss at Pitmans and then one side being out in Reading, I thought I’d come back down to Kent and to cut a long story short, I had my own litigation firm for a year. And then took over Jarmans in July 17 and haven’t looked back really. It has been an interesting nearly three years at Jarmans. It has gone really quickly and it has been great fun.

[0:05:55.6] Rob Hanna: Good stuff and we have a lot of people who listen to the podcast from all levels of the legal career and even further field but one of the things we would like to find out from lots of people, who have particularly broken into sort of stop US magic circle firms, you know how did you, looking back, how did you secure your training contracts at the time and how did you handle any sort of rejections and what advice would you give to people who are perhaps, particularly given the current COVID 19 situation, you know about how they could maybe think about applying for those training contracts?

[0:06:24.5] Jay Sahota: Good question actually. It was actually a bit easier in my day. I don’t mean to diminish the achievements of those who were applying around the time that I was but you know we had the milk round, you know, the law firms would come to come to your university and sell themselves to you, come and join A&O or Linklaters or whatever and we’ll give place and give you a chance whatever. Whereas now, I think times have changed and it’s more difficult depending on where you go to university, your background.

I know there are a lot of initiatives trying to get different types of people into those training contracts and there does need to be a bit more effort in that respect. I’m not going to get in to that whole argument, that’s a whole other podcast isn’t it really. But I mean the only thing that I did, and it’s what I have ever known really, was to just work really hard atit. You know keep doing it and don’t take rejection, just keep trekking on.

I mean I didn’t have the benefit really of anybody in my family who was a lawyer or even anybody as a close friend who was a lawyer or who had before been a lawyer, when I was seeking to do it then. So, I got on gut instinct really, you know I talk a lot about gut instinct in my career and I know that you did too as a fellow entrepreneur, it’s about gut instinct doing the right thing just keeping on, not giving up, not taking no for an answer.

And I just applied to as many firms as I possibly could and tweet the application for each firm to suit each firm, which is obviously very important. And again, I didn’t have anybody sitting on my shoulders telling me what to do. I just worked very hard in applications to get that personal statement section of the application. But I still don’t have many memories now Rob, I haven’t jotted these statements sitting in my parent’s dining room in 2001. I think he was drafting his applications. And to picks things out, very different now is technology, etc. But I just worked really hard and wrote very good personal statements. I brought in all my experience with what I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, talking about the regiments, etc. Talking about the firm you know tapping into why I wanted to go to that particular firm, etc. And I don’t really think there was any magic in it aside from working really hard, presenting yourself as best as I possibly could.

I mean it’s slightly different now because I think people do it in a different way, they again depending on where you are in terms of which university you have been to, who you learn from and who you associate with. A lot of people, I get them regularly, approached us from students, LPC students, etc asking if they can apply for training contracts at our firm. So, I think a lot of people are doing it via contacts now which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so that might be the way to go about it these days.

And I think it’s that mixture of the academics’ side a bit, you know. Doing your very best application and then also potentially doing it via contacts. Let’s say it’s very hard to get a training contract these days. So, you need to make use of your connections. I think back in the day it probably would have been frowned upon to do that sort of thing, but now actually I mean we know a lot about networking, don’t we?

And you know contacts and referrers are working with each other, passing work to each other. It works in a very similar sort of way. So, why not make use of your connections as long as you’re working hard and presenting yourself in the best way at the same time and drafting the best application that you can. So, it’s a combination of working hard and luck and contacts I suppose these days, but I suppose it’s not easy, the world has changed.

[0:09:29.7] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no and that’s one of the things you know throughout the podcast in every section, every week we had in and then you know networking – you can’t underestimate the value of networking putting yourself out there and going the extra miles. So, I’m glad you have kind of highlighted that as well. And I’m sure a lot of people would be fascinated to know more about your journey.

You touched on some of the firms that you had gone from A&O, you know a big city law firm and firstly, did you always want to be a Partner at a law firm and then secondly did you always want to then have your own firm as well. Were they actually ambitions you had from the start or was it kind of… you were going to see how it all went?

[0:10:00.4] Jay Sahota: That’s a good question. I think your aims and ambitions change, don’t they as you go through your career. I think when I started at A&O, obviously the magical vision is to become a partner there and you know earn these multimillion-pound salaries or whatever. But I think the longer I spent in the city, I realized that it probably wasn’t what I wanted to do staying the city.

Particularly when I, you know, when I mentioned Sue O’ Brian, who said to me “actually why don’t you think of doing something a bit different?” So, I think we all start with this ambition and this goal and then you know, not to besmirchthose bigger firms at all, they are wonderful places but when I looked around me at the partners who were, you know, going through divorce or having a harder time not being able to spend time with their family or travelling all the timeand had no work balance at all. I thought great they are earning multimillion pound salaries, but they are not really having quality of life or spending time with their families. So, it probably isn’t what I wanted to do and also you can’t really make your mark. I mean even if you are a partner in a big city firm, you are still a small cog in a big wheel – in a very big wheel in those respects. So, I wanted to make more of a mark and be a leader and manage a team and make an imprint on a firm and do my own thing in my own way which you can’t do within the shackles of a big city firm. No matter how high up you are, because you are still within that hierarchy – within that big machine, So, I think initially I did want to do it and then my ambitions changed. And they did probably change around the time I was at the likes of Pitmans where I realized there were types of firms out there who had different ways of doing things. And I’m really pleased I went through those different types of firms because I think, and this is probably a word of wisdom to those who are going to enter the legal profession.

Don’t get stuck in one particular type of firm and think that is your life and that is the world around you, because you need to have seen different types of firms and people, the practices, the subject matter, topics, service sectors, ect to work out what you really want to do because often again you’ll know that this is a fellow entrepreneur. You don’t know what you want to do until you know what you don’t want to do, if that makes sense. So, you have got to have gonethrough things and say well actually, I’ve tried it but I know that it isn’t for me now.

So, it was a bit similar with me in the city firms thinking actually, you know, wonderful time, wonderful backing and grounding to my career but that isn’t really where I wanted to stay. I wanted to be somewhere like Pitmans but smaller doing my own thing, running my own firms and once that seed was implanted and kind of later in my career about 2009 and 2010 and then everything I did after that was with that goal probably heading towards having my own firm.

So, after I was at Pitmans and officially married, I then went back out to Kent and set up a litigation department in a smallish Kent firm. So, I wanted to see how that went managing people setting up a department you know and bringing in new work. I have never raiment before that so, that taught me how to bring in work and network, all the things that we have be talking about. And then having my own firm taught me that compliance side of it and running your own firm and finances, I mean, you know, contacts and structure and organizations within a law firm.

So, I sort of got ready to take over and run Jarmans basically. So, that was a really long answer, but the short answer is that I started out with an aspiration of a city career but ended up with something different. And when people say to me “why are you stuck in sitting or running a firm this isn’t you” (at Allen and Overy), I said, “you know I actually feel more fulfilled now because I am doing things in my own way and every day is an achievement because I am leading a team, managing the team, attracting work, thinking about structure organization, finances, human resources you know very, very busy every day.”And you just can’t do that in those bigger firms, it’s different and it’s more fulfilling.

[0:13:29.3] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no absolutely and I think… let’s address the you know maybe the elephant is the room or the stigma because you know, I’m a big advocate of London obviously, all my businesses are in London when I’m actually a midlands man. And I think there is so much more to business outside of London as well, so you know certain people listening will be like “well, that’s great.” But you know you are not doing London city work, you are not doing qualities and out there, I have to be in London, it’s the only place I can be and you know, what do you say to that?

[0:13:55.5] Jay Sahota: No, that’s not true at all otherwise, I wouldn’t be what I’m doing actually. If I knew that I either wasn’t in a position or couldn’t be a position where we weren’t attracting and doing good quality work, which is comparable with the work in the city, then I wouldn’t be doing it at all basically because I’d be selling myself short really. And plus, the reasons why I didn’t want to do what I’m doing at Jarmans is that I reconstituted really the sort of work we were doing.

I mean it’s a good firm with an older reputation, a very long-standing reputation but I wanted to tweak the areas that we were doing. So, when I took over the biggest areas were property private client really and a little bit of family work. And we didn’t really do as much commercial work, litigation work, the quirky property stuff that you find in the bigger firms in the city firms. And I thought why can’t a small Kent firm do that sort of thing, it’s about the people at the end of the day.

I mean the firm isn’t some magical entity that sits above everything else and means that you can only attract a particular type of work. That firm is a function of its people, as you know? So, why not attract and try to attract a bigger, better quality work with exceptional client care and really good people delivering it? And what I say here is that – and you have mentioned my motto and stuff – we do have exceptional people here delivering exceptional client care.

And a lot of us here are ex-city I mean I am ex A&O, Barry is the old owner of the firm, a very close partner here is ex-Manches, Ed is in our property department, ex-Charles Russell, Tom is in my litigation department, Thomas Edgar. So, we have got really good quality ex-city people here and they are very happy to work in the regions. They get a better work life balance, and we are providing that quality which is comparable with the city firms but at better rates.

So, what I say to my clients is we are going to get a city service here but at non-city rates so why wouldn’t choose our sort of firm. And it takes time, don’t get me wrong it does take time, but we are by building those connections and attracting that sort of work we are doing which is comparable with the city work. I mean for example, we have got on a mixture of work in my litigation department and yes, some a bit small civil stuff but some of it is very big, international, commercial litigation which is akin to the sort of work I’d be doing in these bigger firms.

The difference really is that you’ll have mega, mega big cases in some of the bigger firms and have other 20 or 30 people who are working on the case. Do I necessarily want that huge, huge, huge work at my firm? It would be lovely to have it and, in the past, we have won bits of work which are akin to that but either we do those inhouse or we partner with other firms and we can still work on that sort of work.

But again, if you have a piece of work which is too big then it’s going to take up the whole firm basically and actually that reduces the flexibility to some extent. I want more of a mixture in terms of the makeup of a work that we do to keep it exciting really. And so, yes, we can do the quality work and we do it better than the city firms. I’ve been up against all the big firms and it’s funny the question you raised about the stigma.

Because I, when I first came out again, I was up against the likes of Bird & Bird and Clyde & Co, calls on bits of litigation. You can tell they are thinking what is this little so and so, out in the sticks in Kent going to do to us but you know I beat them all on those cases because I played them at their own game, I knew about the strategies and the tactics I’ve been there in big firms and they presumed that I wasn’t as good as they were but we actually are good as they are and we do a really good job and look after our clients.

[0:17:06.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no and well said because you know you have worked from small to very large you know multimillion billion litigation claims so you know across the range of clients. So, you know people listening in you know do consider career opportunities outside of London if they present themselves to you, if you are looking for something slightly different because you can still get the quality of work available to you.

So, really well done for kind of articulate that I think that’s very, very helpful. And a couple of things I would like to talk about in terms of this in some actual networking pace and getting yourself out there in your own brand because… tell us more about your recent sort of other podcast appearances because I think you are on the leaders’ council podcast alongside Sir Andrew Strauss. So, tell me a little bit more about your general networking in that podcast.

[0:17:47.6] Jay Sahota: Thank you, well I like getting out there. I like meeting people and talking as you probably tell us from this podcast but I like a bit of that. So, my aunt was right back in the day, I do like talking to people. I mean everything is about people and relationships and communications you know yourself probably. And it’s not somethingyou can necessarily learn but you have to hone the scale over time in terms of where it fits within your career.

So, again talking about my time with Pitmans, I have never done any networking at all when I was at those sorts of firms, again that’s something about in big city firms. You don’t really tend to get the opportunity to get out there and network and bring in work and you know build relationships, etc. And it maybe some that I thought it was missing really and you know you build up different facets of your personality and your experience overtime, don’t you?

So, when I cleaned up to Kent it was completely new to me. I’m remember this was in 2012 when I first came back out to Kent, started in the Kent firm where I set up the litigation department wanted to bring in work which is alien to most Lawyers, outgoing networking, building relationships, getting new work because usually the higher up partners in the big city firms do that. I had to do it myself at that stage although sometimes I have to bring in work and you had to do because my salary was depending on it actually when I first came out to Kent.

So, I had to get out there and network and I get it it’s an art, it’s a skill but I love, I love it. And the reason I love it is about helping other people. Again, as you know yourself from a firm network it’s about helping other people. I never see it as selling. It is about helping each other, it’s about referring one to other people, it’s about looking after contactsand clients and all that. And do you know what it certainly comes to me at the end of the day for me great, if it doesn’t at least I help somebody.

And in a way that haunts back to my faith because I’m Sikh and a big practice of my religion is helping other people without any expectation of any gain for yourself. As I know it is to many other people and you know people of all religions and of no religions. So, I love networking for that reason that’s why I call myself the Happy Solicitor I was networking down in Kent couple of months ago and somebody said to me, God! Usually solicitors are cold, stale, andboring old types you know brown and grey ties whereas you are actually happy.

And yeah, I wear colourful socks all the time sitting here with my stocking up from today it’s become a bit of a whole month for me. But I love going out mixing with people, making people happy you know building relationships and that’s what I started doing when I was out in Kent and it makes the world go around, it really does. I spend a lot of my time meeting other people networking with others, referring work to other law firms you know they refer work back to me and other professionals and it just works really well.

I mean you never know how you can help somebody or where the next bit of work is going to come from. And in that vein, I was connected recently with the part of entry review, within that they have the leader’s council and there was an opportunity to do a podcast on leadership alongside Sir Andrew Strauss as you noted. And it was great fun, it was kind of 15-20 minutes couple of weeks ago and they asked me lots of questions about leadership and how I do things and how I motivate my team, etc

And I just like helping others and even that if that’s helped somebody to think you know this is what I want you to do or this is how I need to lead or work with my team. And if it implanted in somebody’s mind and helped somebody great. I didn’t do it for any reward or expectation of any kind I did it because I enjoyed doing that sort of thing. And similarly, here we do quite a bit of stuff with local charities you know we like to get out and help the community and help people.

And I think that’s a very important part in what we need to do and its important part of our duty in our life as we see with what’s going on around us at the moment. You know look at the amazing sense of community that’s come out and people helping each other. People aren’t doing it because they want anything in return, they are doing it to genuinely help other people and it puts things in perspective and I enjoy it.

[0:21:30.6] Rob Hanna: Absolutely and well said once again. I think you know I have always taken the view you know always add value to everyone and expect nothing back and then you can maybe never disappoint and use an intrinsically to take a lot of self-value from that. So, I think that goes with what you were saying there. And just to sort of touch on leadership you know it is a tough time for everyone as well and you know, so it’s great.

And you know you and I very eternal optimist, positivity, and you are the happiest solicitor and that’s where you brand yourself and that brings so much joy to someone like me in terms of even speaking to you on this podcast. But bringing into that day to day of sort of you know managing a business or running a law firm during COVID 19 you know how are you actually finding that, how are you motivating your people, how are you keeping their wills going?

[0:22:10.1] Jay Sahota: It’s hard I won’t lie to you, it is hard I mean I remember the first day that Boris announced the lockdown you know almost exactly just three weeks ago, isn’t it really. And on that Monday, I mean just a starkcontrast on that Monday was I think we had the most number inquiries we had in a number of years actually, really busy day. And as soon as the announcement was made on that Monday night things changed on that Tuesday the world almost changed overnight on that night of Tuesday.

So, we weren’t used to working remotely I mean as you know even setting this call was a bit of a nightmare technologically for me, I am not typically burst in these areas, I’ve got used to it. That’s part of the lesson you have to adapt, so that day on that Tuesday we suddenly go right, what do we do, and it was a mixture of panic and fear and actually planning. I mean your adrenaline kicks in, you play anything right let’s calm down, how are we going to do it.

We are all going to work from home now I mean there is still four of us still coming in the office but most of us are going to be working from home. And actually, I was really impressed with my team you know I always talk about how amazing my team are and they really were because we had a big team meeting in that Tuesday morning. I had emailed them the night before and said, “We are going to meet at 10 o’clock and discuss what we are going to do” and it wasn’t me sitting there and preaching and saying right, this is how we are going to do it or else it was information sharing.

And you know gathering ideas and supporting each other and saying this is how I think we should do or how the four of us still coming to the office to keep things ticking over in terms of the posting enquiries, etc and the rest of the work remotely. And they took to it like a duck took to water, I mean they have done really, really well. It’s not easy as I mentioned earlier, I love going around and meeting people speaking to my team every day and asking them how they are because different people have different switches and different things that they like and different things that turn them on so to speak.

And it’s more difficult to tap into all of that when they are working remotely. But what I do try to do is a couple of things, one is I speak to most of them every day speak or email or make some contact with each of my staff every day. So, I’m talking to them more regularly and know that I’m here for them. And there are no barriers or anything, they are never afraid to ask me any questions, so we have a chat every day.

And the other thing I thought about recently which is quite novel you’ll probably agree, is that we now have a call couple of times a week. Now the big firm call, and we are the first one couple of weeks ago we have three since and we just discuss the topics which are non-work related. And so, the first one we did was, what is your favourite meal? So, the first one looked at favourite meal, weren’t allowed to talk about work at all. And so, everybody comes on and says what their favourite meal is and then it goes on for the next person and why. And the other one was that –

[0:24:34.5] Rob Hanna: So, which one is yours then, put you on the spot!

[0:24:36.7] Jay Sahota: Why, I’m very English at my taste actually. You’ll be surprised my wife will chastise me but mine was prune cocktail. I go 70/80s in my taste so prune cocktail and fish and chips with baked beans and coleslaw, delicious. God, I’m getting hungry now thinking about it. And then a jam Roly Poly with lots of custard because it’s kind of harkss back to my childhood. You know, growing up with school dinners, all of that malarkey. Nowadays school dinners are very, very healthy. I talked to my kids and they said we had jelly and fruit today or something. Yeah, we need some proper dessert you know chocolate sponge cake pudding.

[0:25:07.1] Rob Hanna: That is one hearty meal right there you know.

[0:25:10.2] Jay Sahota: And it isn’t really but those sorts of topics that we talk about you know and the one yesterday that we had was who do you fancy and why. So, that was really entertaining, really entertaining so these topics you know just take people out of their selves and you know some people are finding it hard working at home because there is no division between home and work. You know one of my staff said well my bed is next to my desk and I don’t feel as though I am doing anything different as it all just blurs into one.

And these sorts of course, really helped those staff, who may be feeling a bit down or don’t enjoy working at home. You’ve got the canvas and some of the love working at home, they are not distracted at all and they are actually much more productive there. So, it’s in a way a good thing because it’s enabled me to get to know my staffs even better. I know who likes working from home and who doesn’t you know and what’s the best way of communicating with them.

And that will inform a lot of what we do when we get out of the other side of this because I will then say to someone, “hang on if you like working from home why not work from home for good if you enjoy that and you are more productive and you’re happier there. No travel, and you are getting on with stuff and you enjoy it more so why don’t you do that.” And then others I then know how to change the way possibly and I communicate with them. Do they prefer calls to emails, do they prefer you know talking to me at a particular time of day, etc, etc. So, it’s not a bad thing because we are learning a lot about each other.

And as I said it’s not easy but it’s keeping in touch with people and having these lighter moments because I think humour is a huge tool a huge, huge, huge relief and tool which gets us through the toughest times. And hence my moniker, The Happy Solicitor because humour is really important. Humour, faith and work are really important things.

[0:26:46.8] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no absolutely and I’m definitely going to be asking about the great magician and singing before we wrap up but before that I just want to talk a little bit about your memberships and again, just in an extension of you getting busy, putting yourself out there, you know how you would encourage other people, you know things to get involved but obviously you have got directors. You know the federation of small businesses, just kind of talk a bit about that.

[0:27:07.7] Jay Sahota: Yeah, that’s interesting actually I mean I… it’s funny when I first started networking, I would go to the open [Unclear] [0:27:12.3] you do then wholly table time, you work out which one is good and which ones aren’t. My lesson really is to try all networking. Really when you start you need to find out what’s suitable for you so try a bit of everything and see what works.

And I usually structure it so that I have one kind of fixed form networking subject as BNI that is going around the country, I know some people don’t like BNI, but I think BNI is a great instrument. And I have just re-joined a new chapter actually. We have joined Tunbridge Wells BNI, so I have been a BNI member for 11 years now. So, it’s a long time isn’t it more than a decade. But I love BNI, so I always suggest having one fixed form networking which are going to regulate and then at home networking and stuff that you mentioned like the IOD or FSV which have been really going particularly the local FSB down in Kent, Allison Palmar who runs the Kent branch of the FSB, do a lot actually in the community there, they have been really good.

And I am one of their ambassadors, I go about and help others and we have events together. I have done some networking at the firm. And when I get involved in their initiatives and I want to do more with the, on the coach in leadership, so that’s been really good fun. And again, some of the local IOD stuff down in Kent is really good. I mean there is a session which meets to a hotel down here every Friday or did before all this happened, which was knowledge sharing amongst professionals and helping each other in that leadership sense so that’s been really good.

The idea being again locally have been really, really good. And then on top of that networking which is a bit formal you know going to ad hoc stuff as we know it’s about one to ones. It’s setting up meetings with people and having one to one with people who you think you can help and again if you get something out if it, fine if you don’t that’s not the end of the world. At least you helped somebody, I love all that kinds of stuff but you’re right, it’s good to have some structured stuff like the FSV and the IOD which will be really good.

And I must also take my hats off to the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce because they have been fantastic you know Kaz Macklin is the local rep fallen down here and she is fantastic. Really good woman, really good connector, so she has helped in my business a lot too. So, you have got really good people within those sorts of organizations the FSV, IOD, BNI, KICC which are very good and they do then make sure the structure are looked after and helping other people. So, they are a good thing, they really are.

[0:29:27.7] Rob Hanna: Great stuff and just as my final question, we talked a lot about niche in legal services in any business so I’m sure you have a niche Jay, I mean a Cambridge educated, Allen and Overy trained, top city lawyer, and now runs his own firm and just to add to that a great magician and singer. So, come on what’s your you know best trick. It’s probably quite hard to articulate over a podcast but you know if you are trying to razzle and dazzle people what’s your sort of go-to-trick that people maybe can listen to you or watch online.

[0:29:58.6] Jay Sahota: Oh, that’s interesting, it’s just I think that my best trick is being able to see – how do you know about the singing by the way? Then after, I think my wife has been talking to you, hasn’t she?

[0:30:04.8] Rob Hanna: My production team does so much research. I can’t take the credit for this but yeah, sources tell me so what’s your go to song and what’s your favourite magician trick?

[0:30:15.4] Jay Sahota: It’s funny isn’t it? I don’t know why they would have picked on this, but they are obviously very thorough aren’t they, are giving Hercule Poirot  a run for his money, but no, it’s interesting. Although I was a semi-professional magician, I love my magic. I can sing but I would never sing in public it’s really bizarre.  So, if you were to ask my wife and my kids, they would say go on next time be a really good singer. But I would never sing in public and this is the weird dichotomy that you know, even though I network, and I sing and I do magic, I’m actually very shy. I think I am very shy but in terms of the magic I’m trying to think of my best trick. It’s probably – gosh – probably one of the tricks that I invented myself. Now I showed my kids this trick at the weekend and your right, it’s very hard to impart over a podcast but I basically lay out all the cards. It’s a normal deck of cards, they get to choose a card freely from this deck of cards.

I then get them to shuffle the cards back into the pack and then I not only reveal their card but their card is a different colour from the rest of the cards and then I show that all the other cards are blank and then I make the pack disappear. So, it’s a combination of about two or four different tricks actually which I moulded together over my career and trying to put it together.

I don’t have as much time as I did to learn my own tricks anymore but I like kind of putting different twist on the tricks and possible putting a few tricks together to make it a bit different and that’s the example of that really. But the reason I love magic is it was a release from the stress of everyday life and I really need to do that more to get back into it to I mean whenever I go out at the end of the day. My kids always say to me “show us a trick, show us a trick” and I think it might prompt me to get back into it actually. Maybe I could do magic and sing and eat some jam and work at the same time, that would be good, isn’t it?

[0:31:57.7] Rob Hanna: And on that note we have to say I’m well up for that. But Jay, listen it’s been absolute pleasure. You’re a bundle of joy, you really are the happy solicitor, so thanks so much taking the time to join us today and sharing your journey and all your insights and keeping constant positivity. I’m sure we’ll see you feature again and wishing you and your law firm and all of your extra pursuits’ tons and tons of success. So, from all of us thanks so much.

[0:32:22.6] Jay Sahota: Thank you Rob, really good speaking to you. 

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