In this edition of Realm Talks To..we spoke to Andrew Welch, Managing Partner at Stephensons LLP. During our conversation, Andrew gave us an insight into where to get the best Spanish food in Manchester, changing career paths from politics to law, and his plans to travel and see great art in 2022.
At what age did you decide that the law was for you?
I did a politics degree and had not considered the law at all when I was at university. No one in my family or circle of friends had anything to do with the law, so it did not cross my radar at an early stage in life. However, after having left university and tried out another career, I realised that I wanted something that was challenging and intellectually stimulating. My girlfriend, and now wife, was a trainee solicitor (we met in a nightclub – again nothing to do with the law). She seemed to be enjoying it and I guess that is what directed my attention to a legal career. I then undertook the Common Professional Exam and LPC and the rest is history. I am very glad that I did because entering the law was one of the best decisions I have made – as well as getting married, of course!
What makes your firm different?
We are serving a wide variety of clients, but what drives us is a desire to make accessing the law easier for people. We believe that we are making lives better through accessible legal advice for individuals, businesses and organisations. So first and foremost, what we are doing is worthwhile for many people on many levels.
Although we have a structured and organised approach to running our business, which means that we can give a lot of support to the lawyers, freeing them up to do the legal work, we still aim for a family feel. People who join us quickly become part of the team and often make close friends. There is a social element to work, as well as an economic one, and we value both.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Genuinely – never get into a fight with a small drunken Scotsman. It has saved me trauma on a number of occasions!
What’s the best thing about your job?
Every day is different and the challenge is still there after over 30 years. Changes in the law and the way legal services are delivered have been constant and the pace of change has increased, especially in the pandemic. We’ve all had to adapt to new ways of life and working. I don’t think that is going to reverse and I guess that you can rail against it or roll your sleeves up and adapt. I would like to think that myself and Stephensons take the latter view, while still wanting to preserve the best of what has gone before.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2022?
Pretty standard really – do more exercise as a way of keeping physically healthy and mentally Zen. I also like art history and if we can, hopefully, get back to unrestricted foreign travel in 2022, I want to see a bit more great art in foreign locations.
When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Linked to the New Year’s resolution, I always find that a bit of exercise helps clear the mind. Also, it helps to keep things in perspective to remind yourself that if you and your loved ones are healthy and happy, most other things can be sorted. And finally, I recall that no one ever had “I wish I’d spent more time in the office” chiselled on their gravestone.
Where’s your favourite place to eat out?
I do like Spanish food so El Gato Negro, Evuna or El Rincon in Manchester (I hope that my discount vouchers are in the post for that advertising!). However, the most memorable Spanish meal I have ever had was an evening on the terrace at the Paradore inside the Alhambra in Granada. I can thoroughly recommend it as a bucket list experience. It’s not wildly expensive and you get to see the sun go down over the Alhambra, a world-class site, which you then have to yourselves after the thousands of tourists have gone home. A memory to treasure.
About Andrew Welch
Andrew is a Managing Partner at Stephensons LLP. After joining the firm in 1994, he quickly progressed to partner in 1998, followed by managing partner and deputy chair of the board in 2008. Andrew began his legal career working as a personal injury solicitor and over the course of his career has obtained millions of pounds for seriously injured individuals. He now focuses on the operational aspects of the business, ensuring that Stephensons’ clients get excellent care and customer service.