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60 second interview with Stephen Baker, Senior Partner, Baker & Partners

22 June 2020

Karen Jones

Stephen Baker, Baker & Partners, Jersey

 

Tell me about your role.

 

Baker & Partners is an independent specialist offshore litigation firm.  As Senior Partner I am privileged to have a wide-ranging role which on any given day can include the representation of clients in court to business development.  Essentially the role comes down to ensuring that the firm runs smoothly in order that our clients receive a top-class service from our team of court-room specialists.

 

Walk us through your daily routine.

 

There is no routine day. On a court day I would tend to get up very early and finish final preparation for the hearing.  I would then expect to spend a long day in court dealing with the challenges each case brings, then meet with clients.  On a non-court day I will inevitably have a series of meetings and a mass of e mails to deal with.  These covering the full gamut of running a specialist law firm. 

 

Tell us about a recent client instruction.

 

The cases in which we tend to be instructed are almost inevitably substantial, complex and factually unusual.    We are presently in litigation with a major Russian metals enterprise whose top company was incorporated in Jersey.  Our client is an inventor whose claim is for some USD1 billion plus given the industrial efficiency her invention enabled.  The Jersey court has ruled that there is a real risk she will not get a fair trial in Russia.  That decision is presently subject to an application for leave to appeal.

 

What is the most challenging issue your clients are facing currently, and how are you helping your clients to overcome it?

 

The current pandemic caused great uncertainty.  Hearings were adjourned, timetables disrupted and all conferences suddenly had to be remote. We had to make immediate changes in order to maintain our standards of client service. From ebundles and remote hearings to the handful of hardy souls who kept our office running, I was extremely impressed by the way our team adapted and innovated.   

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

 

My proudest achievement is the creation and development of Baker & Partners and the results the firm has achieved for its clients.. We started seventeen years ago with three of us and a photocopier. Today we have a team of 27 all of whom put in the hard work necessary to deliver a first-class service to our clients. It has of course been challenging at times, but I am extremely proud of what we have achieved and look forward to future growth.

 

What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?

 

In my experience important leadership qualities are resilience, vision, influence, and positivity with a substantial dose of humility.

 

Who do you most admire and why?

 

Sir John Goldring.  I had the good fortune to work with John on many occasions when I was at the English bar.  He taught me how to investigate, prepare and present the most complicated cases to the court.  He was a master at handling lay and expert witnesses.  The skills he taught me enabled me to establish Baker & Partners.

 

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

 

Most recently I travelled to Geneva to meet with key clients and present at a global asset recovery event on the future of offshore jurisdictions.  It seems a long time ago.

 

If you weren’t in the wealth management / legal industry, what else might you be doing?

 

Once upon a time centre forward for Sunderland.  Now going slowly on a road bike.  I am fortunate to have fallen into an extremely fulfilling worthwhile profession which has best suited my strengths and enabled me to hide my weaknesses.

 

How do you relax after a long day?

 

My wife and I take a long walk with our chocolate labrador along one of the many beaches or cliff paths in Jersey.  If that can be followed by dinner cooked on the barbecue then that is perfect.

 

Best piece of advice for Generation Z?

 

When looking for an opportunity, try and find a way to show a prospective employer that you want to be a lawyer more than you want anything else. When in court, don’t worry about how you think an advocate should sound. Just focus on what you are saying and say it slowly.

 

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