What I’ve Learnt: Jonathan Combe

November 2, 2018

Jonathan Combe is a partner and head of the award-winning Real Estate team at Muckle LLP. A highly-experienced property development lawyer, Jonathan has advised on some of the region’s most exciting regeneration projects, including the Stephenson Quarter, the Newgate Centre and the Newcastle Helix

Cash is king. That was a mantra that was drummed into me both when I was a trainee and also when I qualified. Today – wearing my Money Laundering Reporting Officer hat – though, it’s probably more accurate to describe it as ‘cashflow is king’.

Every team needs a leader and not necessarily an armchair one. It is important when you are leading a successful development project that you understand and appreciate all of the issues and are then prepared to roll your own sleeves up and get stuck in as and when needed. When I acted for Dragonville Developments, advising on its development of Durham City Retail Park, it was complex simply because of the number of different law firms and legal documents that were involved in the project. In all, there were probably 20 different lawyers involved at one stage, representing landowners, tenants, funders and others. Managing them (and their egos) was quite challenging. Thankfully, the project came together when it needed to and was a highly successful one for the client.

Trust has always been and still remains the most important thing in business and therefore when you do something wrong or don’t do something you were meant to, then the worst possible thing you can do is try to cover it up.  From an early age, I’ve always tried to take responsibility for my mistakes and learn from them.

There is no substitute for quality professional advice. Development projects are complicated and it’s vital to have people working with and for you who know what they are doing and are not learning on the job at your expense.

You get more from using ‘honey’ rather than ‘vinegar’.  And without wishing to mix my metaphors, there is of course always a time for using the stick but in my experience the carrot is usually a much, much more effective motivator.

Muckle LLP

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