Ben Ward, Ashton KCJ
This month’s ‘In the Chair’ features Ben Ward of Ashton KCJ, winner of the LawNet Young Lawyer of the Year award 2014.
Recognised by the Legal 500 at only three years post qualification and acknowledged as a ‘rising star’, Ben tells us how he like to spend his spare time, the advice he would give to others considering a career in law, and why it’s always wise to double check your emails before hitting ‘send’!
How would others describe you in three words?
Determined (pushy), out-going (opinionated), fun (cheeky)!
What was your favourite subject at school and why?
Sports/PE – it was the only decent GCSE grade I obtained. As a boy I had no interest in studying and couldn’t sit quietly for more than 5 minutes – this will come as no surprise to my colleagues!
Could you please give us a few words regarding winning the LawNet Young Lawyer of the year Award / attending your first LN Conference...
The conference was motivating. I was encouraged that my firm do encourage younger lawyers to innovate and try to seek improvement within our business already but I came away with some good ideas on how to make small improvements. Being nominated for the award and receiving that recognition from my own firm was encouraging. Then going on to achieve the award was a great accolade not just for me but also for those who have put up with me for the last few years.
Tell us about one surprising thing you’ve learned since qualifying?
About 5% of my job relates to law. 95% relates to soft core skills, business development and client service. Everything you were never taught at Law School.
What aspect of Law first attracted you to the industry?
I wanted to read law at university and then things just progressed from there.
If you could go back in time and give your school leaver self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Believe in yourself and concentrate on your strengths not your weaknesses.
What has been your most embarrassing/amusing professional moment to date?
Believing I had sent an email to my supervisor explaining how useless (in slightly more colourful language) a Defendant lawyer was. Have you guessed yet? Yes. Whoops. I sent it to the Defendant lawyer! Thankfully my boss found it amusing and we proceeded to settle only a few months later! A valuable lesson in not hitting the send button too quickly.
Who (or what) inspires you?
Anyone who is resilient and has the drive to stand up and challenge the status quo.
What advice would you give young lawyers or those considering entering the legal profession?
Do your research. A training contract is about you selecting the right firm not the firm selecting you. Gain experience in as many specialisms as possible. The specialism you set out to do is not always the one that you are best suited to.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a keen but frustrated golfer. I will play and watch any sport. I love visiting the States. I try to keep fit. I also have a great social network of friends and family who know how to party!
What is your favourite film?
I struggle to sit through a whole film without the need to get up and do something! So my favourite film would be short, to the point and filled with action.
Favourite T.V show?
Name one of your favourite places in the world (a travel destination, or even a favourite pub/restaurant)
Las Vegas. It’s an adults playground.
Finish the following sentence:
By this time next year... I want to continue to raise awareness of the desperate need to improve psychiatric NHS provision throughout East Anglia for young adults suffering with mental illness.
If I won the lottery I would... not be a particularly wealthy man because I would have to share it with my 12 strong golf squad!