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60 second interview with Nigel Tait, Carter-Ruck

9 April 2019

April French Furnell

In our 60 second interview series, Citywealth speaks to Nigel Tait, managing partner of reputation law firm Carter-Ruck about the rise in UHNW clients being blackmailed and still getting a buzz from stopping intrusive or defamatory articles about clients being published.

Tell me about your role

I’m the managing partner of reputation specialist law firm Carter-Ruck. Carter-Ruck has the largest and most respected defamation and privacy practice in the UK and advises on sensitive disputes, not just in the UK but globally. I’m responsible for the day-to-day management of the business, supported by my partners. I lead a very busy reputation management practice and am supported by a fantastic team.

How has the private client industry changed?

We have seen a significant rise in clients being blackmailed. The decision of the Supreme Court in PJS v News Group in which Carter-Ruck acted for the successful claimant confirmed that without more there is no public interest whatsoever in writing about a high-profile person’s sex life. This has helped us with stopping stories, obtaining injunctions and deterring blackmailers.

What lessons have you learnt?

To act promptly and to gain a client’s trust immediately, particularly in a crisis situation.  Good and frequent communication is the key to success in this business.

Tell us about interesting client instructions.

One of the joys of working at Carter-Ruck is that each case is so different but equally interesting, you can come into the office in the morning planning your day, only to find that everything has to be dropped so that you can go to court in the afternoon on an urgent injunction. One day you can be dealing with a case about social media and soccer, the next day, doctors, celebrities and finance. It’s an infinite variety of work and you get to meet so many interesting and successful people with amazing life stories. 

What challenges do your clients face?

Social media platforms remain ever prevalent and are a challenge with the substantial cyber issues we frequently deal with. We work with our clients to navigate through the legal problems including jurisdictional issues. We have seen a stark increase in the amount of preventative and pre-publication work for clients who are the subject of threatened articles or broadcasts.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?

That’s easy, helping the younger lawyers in the firm turn into highly professional, empathetic and competent legal advisors. I also get a real buzz from stopping intrusive or defamatory articles being published about clients (I call it suppressing free speech) and winning cases, particularly ones which have a significant impact on the legal system. Also, many of my clients and their lawyers (as well as some newspaper lawyers) have become friends, which is a great bonus.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

My old boss, Peter Carter-Ruck used to say if you let the camel’s nose into the tent, the rest of the camel will surely follow through, in other words, don’t give away any information to the other side unless you absolutely have to.

What was the last book you’ve read?

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall. As it says on the cover, it tells you everything you need to know about global politics. I highly recommend it.

Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?

Dubrovnik, Croatia. An amazing city with such friendly people. I’m off to Las Vegas next week with two of my sons and will spend the rest of the year paying for it!

How do you relax after a long day?

Some weeks I am out almost every night. Time with the family is precious. I also swim and have recently taken up Pilates which is a great way to relax and keep fit.

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