Ian Jones is the Director and Principal Solicitor at Spencer Shaw Solicitors. He was also previously a Partner and Head of Litigation with larger firms, before setting up Spencer Shaw in 2007. Below, he gives us an insight into his career and how he made it to this point:
Tell us a bit about the firm and your role
Spencer Shaw Solicitors is a niche practice specialising in Employment Law and Litigation. We advise everyone affected by employment law: companies, partnerships, sole traders, employees, directors, HR professionals and workers. We advise in all aspects of Employment Law, both contentious and non-contentious.
We believe in making law accessible by offering advice in plain English, and providing a prompt efficient service.
My role is to take the lead on major cases, supervise other solicitors, and ensure that we are providing the level of service we aspire to.
Why did you choose to set up own firm?
I felt there was a need to relate to clients in a way that solicitors mostly weren’t doing at the time. Legal issues can be daunting for people without legal expertise, and it is our job as solicitors to make the process simple for them, to help them understand their options and support them in finding a solution that suits them as swiftly as possible. Too often, I felt that solicitors weren’t doing this for their clients, so I set up Spencer Shaw Solicitors to offer that service.
How long have you been working in the law?
I qualified as a solicitor in 1991, so 28 years.
Which part of the job are you most passionate about?
Achieving a good resolution for clients.
Work is such a big part of our lives that Employment issues can have a serious impact on one’s wellbeing, and making a claim can be very emotional for clients. For businesses, particularly smaller businesses, employment claims can have a huge impact on our client’s livelihoods.
So finding a resolution that provides a sense of justice and closure can be just as important as the financial settlement. I feel most fulfilled in my work when I can help a client to move on from their case with a result that they are pleased with.
Why did you choose to work in the law?
It is a fascinating subject, so it is rarely boring.
I enjoy dealing with people, and my role gives me plenty of chance to do that. I chose Employment Law as it is all about people; it affects almost everybody, significantly so.
What does a typical day in your job look like?
There is no typical day! I could be meeting clients, representing clients before a tribunal, liaising with solicitors on the other side of the case, or preparing the background matters. We work with employers and employees, and we work in all areas of employment law – both contentious and non-contentious. As principal solicitor, I oversee all of our work, so I get plenty of variety.
What skills/qualities would you say a person needs to get to where you are today?
- Enthusiasm for the law and for helping people.
- Determination to fight for the best outcome for your clients.
- Passion for the subject, whichever area of law you choose.
- The ability to listen. This job is about people, so it is important that you can relate to people and understand not only their circumstances, but their expectations, and what they hope to achieve.
What advice would you give to someone looking to move towards a job like this?
Make sure it is truly what you want to do. Talk to people who are experienced in the field you are aiming for. Make sure you understand the reality of the job, not just the image it has, and that it will suit you.
If you could give your younger self advice about your future, what would it be?
Take time occasionally to step back and review where you are. Appreciate what you have achieved and have a clear focus for the future.
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