Our spotlight on our solicitor series allows us to uncover more about the experts behind the legal advice. This time, we caught up with Mairead Powell, a mum, keen netball player and Senior Commercial Solicitor at Harper James.
What/who inspired you to begin practicing law?
‘Honestly, watching the show ‘This Life’ as a teenager sparked my interest in law!’ said Mairead. ‘It was a brilliant TV series in the 90s about a group of trainee solicitors sharing a flat together in London. It made working in law look exciting and the social life even better.’
Has the legal industry lived up to your expectations?
‘Absolutely, it’s fast paced and pressurised, but it’s ultimately a really rewarding industry to work in. You get to help people from all walks of life and challenge yourself intellectually on a daily basis.’
What has been the highlight/key moment of your career so far?
‘Overall, I have been lucky enough to be involved in some very interesting projects and work with some great clients over the years. However, the highlight of my career so far would have to be the day I qualified as a solicitor. Qualifying is the hardest part – it can be demanding, but it feels like a major achievement when you finally get there.’
How does Harper James compare to other firms/places you have worked at?
‘Working at Harper James has been great so far! The work has been extremely varied and has given me the opportunity to speak with some very interesting clients about their businesses and help them with their legal requirements.’ explained Mairead, who joined the firm in 2022. ‘Harper James trusts its solicitors to get the job done and effectively manage their own workload whilst putting the client’s needs at the heart of everything it does. It’s so refreshing.’
Define commercial law in a sentence?
‘Commercial law covers a variety of legal fields, but its primary focus is regulating the behaviour of people and businesses that are engaged in trade, sales and commerce.’
What’s the best piece of commercial advice you could give to a business?
‘I advise businesses to try and involve legal from the outset. Commercial lawyers can provide a lot of added value to businesses in the early stages of commercial negotiations because of their experiences in similar matters.’
What do you think clients value the most about the way you work with them?
From her experience working in both private practice and in-house legal teams, Mairead understands the pressures and worries businesses can have when needing commercial legal advice. She says, ‘I would say my clients think I am approachable and responsive. I take a pragmatic approach to providing businesses with solutions to legal matters.’
Any hobbies? What do you do to unwind?
Outside of work, Mairead is a mum and likes to keep fit at her local sports clubs. ‘I really enjoy spending time with my family and most of my free time is spent ferrying my children between various activities! Other than that, I like to keep active and enjoy playing netball in a local league – when I’m not doing that, I’m improving on my tennis skills!’