10 Questions: John Davis

January 8, 2018

John Davis is a consultant solicitor at Newcastle law firm Sintons. Prior to joining the firm in May 2017, John was the head of personal injury and regional managing partner of the Newcastle office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell. He is known across the UK for his work as a leading neurotrauma lawyer and he has spent the last 30 years of his career representing people who have been unfortunate enough to sustain life-changing brain and spinal cord injuries

What was your first break in business?

I am a great believer in teamwork and it’s often said that to succeed in life you should surround yourself with great people; people who inspire you and who help you to achieve more than you could do on your own. I consider myself very fortunate to have spent most of my career surrounded by people who have lifted me, challenged me and motivated me to do more.

What did you want to be growing up?

I am a lifelong Stockport County supporter and when I was a young lad I dreamed of playing for ‘The Hatters’, scoring the winning goal in a cup match at Old Trafford and becoming a local hero. Sadly, none of that ever happened. For a period, in the 60s and 70s, I thought that I might like to be an architect – probably because when I was growing up at that time, Britain’s urban landscape was being transformed and exciting modern new buildings were appearing everywhere. Of course, many of those ‘modern’ buildings are now regarded as concrete monstrosities and are being pulled down. I had no ambition whatsoever to be a lawyer when I was growing up!

What attracted you to your current role?

First of all, as a law firm, Sintons is a North East institution with a huge reputation for quality, excellence and meeting its clients’ needs. Most of all though, the firm has a real ambition to create the region’s leading neurotrauma team and to offer clients unrivalled levels of expertise and service. The opportunity to play a part in realising this ambition is very exciting and this really attracted me.

What is your firm’s mission?

Sintons is well-known regionally and nationally for its excellence, both in terms of its legal work and client service, and that is something we are keen to develop even further. As a firm, we are absolutely committed to understanding client needs and delivering a tailored, bespoke service to match their requirements. There is a lot of pride in my team and throughout the firm in what we do and how we do it.

How do you get the best out of a team?

Provide good training and give people opportunities and responsibility. Empower your team and encourage enthusiasm, motivation and ambition. Make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of their own goals and the team’s goals. Be flexible.

What has been your career highlight?

Opening a new office in Newcastle from scratch in 2003, and developing the team there into the leading neurotrauma team in the region. This is something that I am very proud to have been a part of.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Over the last few years, the Government has introduced an almost continuous barrage of changes which have threatened to materially undermine and downgrade the legal rights of ordinary people who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own. These changes have adversely affected many seriously injured people and made the law more complex and challenging for them. This relentless stream of legal changes has been a huge challenge for lawyers and there have been many law firm casualties along the way.

Who or what inspires you?

Working with people who have sustained life-changing injuries can often be truly inspiring. I could give many examples of my clients, and their families, who have shown enormous courage, conviction and determination to come to terms with the aftermath of a serious injury and often significant lifelong disability.

What are Sintons’ short and long-term goals?

Sintons is an ambitious and growing regional and national law firm, and in the short term, we will continue with our day-to-day business of delivering the outstanding legal and client service for which we are renowned. Longer term, we are committed to growing and thriving, and are always on the lookout for outstanding legal talent to join the firm. Sintons is keen to welcome anyone who shares our vision of, and commitment to, excellence.

How do you achieve a good work/life balance?

Although it’s often easier said than done, I try to focus on the things that are the most important to me and filter out the rest. I’ve learned to say ‘no’ and treat technology as a tool that should make life easier for me, not control me. I aim to have certain times of the day when I put the tech tools down so that I can focus on other things. I also like to keep active as much as I can and find that cycling is a great way to switch off, keep fit and enjoy the outdoors.

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