Tell us a bit about you…
Tom: As a Lincolnshire lad, my first experience of the North East was visiting Beamish Open Air Museum as a child. These days, I’m an adopted North Easterner with two young sons born and raised here. Caroline: I was brought up in Wiltshire and enjoyed horse-riding and being a free spirit in my early years. Working in my father’s business turned my career choice from wanting to run a riding school to being a lawyer.
What do you like about working in the North East?
C: I love the local, friendly feel you get in the North East. Also, Northumberland has the most beautiful coastline. When I first visited from London, I immediately fell in love with its unspoilt beauty, dark skies and clean air.
T: I agree. Within a relatively short journey you can travel from a vibrant city centre to the stunning countryside and coastline. The people of the North East also have a positive spirit and a “can do” attitude.
When did you decide you wanted to work in law?
T: After school I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do but I decided to do a law degree and completed my training contract. It wasn’t until I set foot in (what was then) Dickinson Dees that I really settled on law and haven’t looked back since!
C: I was the opposite. I knew from quite a young age that I wanted to work in law. From my mid-teens, I helped my lawyer father and this gave me exposure to working in leisure and hospitality, property development and the retail sectors, and I soon found out that the world of commerce was inextricably linked to law.
Why Bond Dickinson?
C: The people and the clients. It is a firm which is proud of its heritage in the North East but is a progressive firm with a strong focus on innovation and – being a technology lawyer – this excites me.
T: When I moved to Newcastle to study law, I fell in love with the city. I knew I wanted to work for a firm that would offer me the greatest opportunity for growth and Bond Dickinson has certainly done that.
What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?
T: My promotion demonstrates our commitment to the residential development market and the North East generally. It is an extremely busy but often challenging time for our residential development clients and we will continue to see the growth of the Build to Rent sector.
C: It’s going to be a busy 12 months. I am a commercial lawyer and specialise in technology and data law. These two areas pretty much underpin everything we do, as we live in a world of connected systems and devices. With the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on 25 May 2018, now is a critical time for organisations to work towards compliance.
Finally, what advice would you give to those seeking a legal career?
C: A career in law takes a high level of commitment and will demand a lot of you – but it’s very rewarding too.
T: Don’t think about the law in isolation. Be curious and find out as much as you can about your clients, their businesses and the markets. Also, never forget that this is a people-focused business – a bit of personality and empathy can go a long way.