Peter Considine, Partner, Finance
Peter trained and qualified with one of the major City firms, working for them in London and Amsterdam before coming to Yorkshire. We asked Peter a few questions about his move.
So what brought you up here?
Leeds is at the centre of a thriving regional economy so can (and does) support a very strong and diverse financial and professional community, nearly all of whom are based within a small radius, and very close to the civic and shopping areas of the city. The countryside is wonderful, and easy to get to, and the housing options are first rate as well, be it city centre apartments, the northern suburbs, Harrogate, York, Ilkley or the villages in-between. So that’s Leeds 3 – London 0 already!
Was it a difficult decision to move and what do you miss about London?
Not as difficult for me as some as my family is up here, but I certainly miss friends and former colleagues. There are fewer cultural options but I’m in London at least every couple of months so that’s not really a problem – I think I have the best of both worlds at the moment.
Why Walker Morris?
A single site firm with the quality of clients and work of Walker Morris is a rare beast nowadays. It has an environment that suits me down to the ground because it is friendly, informal, gives me a lot of freedom and minimises unnecessary bureaucracy. The firm is very much ‘owned’ by its partners and the absence of inter-office politics means that the focus is squarely on the clients and helping the lawyers to deliver the service in the way they think best.
Are you sure about this ‘quality of work’ thing?
Yes! One of the best things is the variety – this year the team has worked on deals from the tens and hundreds of thousands up to £800,000,000. Perhaps strangely, the smaller deals were more challenging at first because the documentation is much less all-embracing so it is crucial to identify and cover the material commercial points rather than relying on lengthy standard forms – it makes you think a bit more. The variety is definitely greater because the teams are smaller than in the larger City firms so there is less specialism and more opportunity to work across different types of financings. The other things which increase the quality of the work and job satisfaction significantly are the relationships with the clients – clients tend to move less often so you have the chance to build up excellent working relationships and become much more of a trusted adviser than a document production unit. Also, with the proximity of many of the clients, its just as easy, and much more pleasant, to pop round and discuss a deal over a coffee. Lastly, don’t believe that there is no international work outside the City; in the last 12 months I have worked with lawyers in at least 10 different jurisdictions.
Any final thoughts?
Working at Walker Morris is not a soft option and there are late nights, which is inevitable in this type, and with this quality, of work but they genuinely encourage you to maintain a good work-life balance. In terms of career progression, I think that you have a better chance of being noticed here, rather than being a smaller cog in a bigger wheel, and I have never looked back at my decision to leave the City and move to Leeds.