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Five minutes with...Paul Burbidge

Position in Firm      

Partner and Head of the Commercial Department .

When did you join Gullands?      

I joined in October 2005

Why did you become a lawyer?

Purely by chance really; I started work in a leading London firm (Simmons and Simmons) in a very humble capacity and they encouraged me to qualify as a solicitor.

Describe a typical day at Gullands?

Work typically starts around 8am, reviewing case files for a couple of hours.  There are usually two or three client meetings a day, followed by more case work.

I am generally out to see clients on site or at their premises most afternoons, returning to deal with significant case investigation and drafting towards the end of the day.

Two evenings a week there will be a networking event which I endeavour to attend.  Once a month we will have an in-house partners meeting and a separate departmental meeting, where we review new client instructions, technical developments and problem areas.

What has been your most memorable moment in your career?

My most memorable moment has to be the completion of a development involving a large supermarket chain, a local authority, a household name builder and a charity, which was my client.  This involved the swap of land to provide an entrance to my site, an easier entrance to the supermarket, the building out of 200 homes for the house builder and the building out of approximately 40 sheltered homes and an administrative office at no cost to my client.

What has been your most embarrassing moment in your career?

My most embarrassing moment was when my Principal at Simmons and Simmons (a Mr Gordon Simmons) called me to his office and enquired whether I wanted to be a good lawyer one day? I replied in the affirmative and he responded: “well get your bloody hair cut boy and that will be a good start”.  Not such a problem nowadays as I am, as they say, folically challenged, but that exchange has stayed with me to this day.

If you had not chosen a career in the law, what would you be doing now?

I would probably have tried to gain a foothold in brewing.  My great grandfather was a master brewer and owned a brewery in Colchester and my father was a vintner, so the preparation and sale of alcoholic beverages is very much a family tradition.

What keeps you entertained outside of the law?

I am married with two teenage children and I do have a rather “sad” hobby, as my children would say, that is the preservation of a vintage tractor; a 1952 David Brown Super Cropmaster.  I enjoy taking it to country shows in the summer season and have been known to show it at the Gullands trade stand at the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match.  My ploughing skills are, sadly, lacking, but I am working on improving them.  My next “restoration project” is a wartime Willys Jeep, but that will not occur unless and until I have approval from “she who must be obeyed”.

I am also a keen collector of “Churchilliana”, particularly books written by and about W.S. Churchill and my collection number 300 volumes or so!