Our spotlight on our solicitors series gives us the chance to showcase the talent of our legal professionals here at Harper James. With these interviews, we get the chance to discover the people behind the expert legal advice. In this edition, we caught up with senior employee incentives solicitor, Liam Liddy, who joined the Harper James team in June 2023.
How did you begin your career? What/who inspired your legal career?
‘While I was searching for the degree to take at university, law came up as an interesting subject and it offered a wide range of options in terms of a career path.’ says Liam. ‘I had a friend who was also studying law at the time, and I asked them for more insight into what their degree was like.’
‘It was only when I started a summer placement at a local law firm that I decided to go down the solicitor route as it was interesting to see how everything worked in practice. I also went to see cases at the Old Bailey, as it was easy to attend in those days – this prompted me to apply for training contracts.’
Did you have any expectations of the legal industry? Has working in the legal industry lived up to these expectations?
Liam secured his training contract with top 10 law firm, Nabarro Nathanson (now known as CMS), and eventually qualified in 1991.
‘Having completed my degree and the final examinations, I started at a Nabarro Nathanson where I worked in four different departments during the 2-year training period. By the nature of the role, I was involved in a lot of proof reading and administrative work at the start. This then transitioned into more client facing work, which was highly practical and quite different from university. It gave me a great foundation for building my experience, skills and exposure to clients.’ Liam explains, ‘I got into equity incentives via my final seat at Nabarro, working in the tax department. We were advising big companies, and I found the work very interesting – that was the role I was offered at the end of my training contract, and that’s how I became an equity incentives solicitor.’
How have you found working at Harper James so far? Any first impressions?
‘Right from the beginning, I found that Harper James is client-first in the way that we operate as a law firm. The foundations put in place such as our client services, business development and marketing teams mean I feel supported in putting all of my focus into delivering high-quality work for our clients. The scale of the client services and business development teams is something I’ve not experienced before in other firms I’ve worked at.’
What’s the best piece of legal advice you could give a business?
‘When setting up an equity incentive plan for your people, ensure that the plan is flexible enough to allow for adjustments to accommodate for shifts in business strategy or market conditions.’
Can you recall any key moments of your career so far?
‘A long-standing marketing agency client I worked with at The RM2 Partnership, looking after their share incentives right up until their exit. They invited their client advisors out after a successful sale for a lunch and it was really rewarding to see our clients right through to the endpoint. Frequently, facilitating share schemes can be a long game, so to see our clients satisfied with the end result was great.’
Do you have any hobbies? What do you do unwind?
‘I like playing tennis and swimming, and as a Brighton local, I’m a Brighton and Hove Albion supporter so I also enjoy watching their games.’ says Liam. ‘And whenever I find myself in London, I really enjoy going to see exhibitions at the museums and art galleries!’