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Staff profile Legal eye on John Roberts

Name: John Roberts

Position: Managing Partner and Head of Criminal & Regulatory 

Areas of expertise:

I have worked in the field of criminal litigation since qualifying as a solicitor in 1992. In that time I have represented clients charged with everything from motoring offences to murder, including two murder cases in the last year. I have also been involved in a number of high value “white collar crime” frauds, including what was, at the time, the biggest ever case brought by the then DTI. I have also developed expertise in regulatory law, in particular in the areas of Health & Safety and Environmental investigations and prosecutions. I feature in the current edition of the Legal 500 as a Tier 2 lawyer.

What has been your biggest career lesson and why?

Never to be afraid of change and a new challenge. I did not qualify as a lawyer until I was 30. I studied Management Sciences at University and spent 3 years working in industry before deciding to re-qualify as a lawyer, a change of career which I have never regretted. My business degree and time in industry have, however, provided excellent experience for my new role at Gullands.

If you were not in this job, what would you be doing?

I came through several rounds of the interviewing process for the Diplomatic Service after passing the initial exam and I have often thought that this would have been a wonderful career. I have a love of travel and foreign climes and would probably be off travelling again when the children have flown the nest. 

Biggest changes in practice?

As a criminal litigator, the biggest challenge has been to adapt to the ever changing law and the ever reducing rates of pay for legal aid work. Initiatives such as hearings by video link and digital file management have also changed the way the work is done nowadays. Across the firm, advances in IT continue to throw up ways of working more efficiently and it is important to keep up to date in this regard.


I have 3 daughters and 2 dogs, a black Labrador and a Springador who, between them, continue to occupy most of my spare time (although my eldest is now at University in Durham). I go on an annual golf tour with University friends but struggle to get in the practice in between. In time, a return to fell walking and foreign travel.