My hero: James Jardine, by Shaun Jardine
An inspirational stepfather remains an example to a boss at one of the UK's leading solicitors firms
My real life hero is my stepfather James Jardine: a former policeman who died in January 2014 at the age of 86. He was a dour Scot and a great, honourable man who taught me to go after my dreams, while always remaining true to my values. And values should never be compromised.
Although I am not a Scot (I am half-Irish, with an English mother who was born in New York), I regularly wear his Saltire cufflinks – I’m sure they bring me good luck!
My other hero is Sylvester Bowen – a fictional character in a truly inspiring book. I believe all lawyers (and, in fact, all professional services advisors) should read Canadian lawyer Mitch Kowalski’s Avoiding Extinction: Re-imagining Legal Services For the 21st Century. It is a management guide written in the form of a novel, and Bowen is the firm’s chief executive.
It’s a really pithy novel about a law firm of the future… a firm that is different in the way in treats its staff and its clients. It’s the firm that you will want to work for, or have working for you. When I read it, I decided that it would be the basis for the firm I wanted to be a part of. So it has become a bit of a road map for me.
The book was recommended to me by a very astute law-firm marketer called Simon White, who I regularly have lunch with. We chew the fat over what is happening in the legal services market, and whoever thinks they’ve got the most out of our meeting pays. Simon’s recommendation during that particular lunch resulted in me picking up the tab – although I’m pleased to say that when we met in late February, he paid!
One of our lawyers recently read Mitch’s book. She sent me a text on a Saturday morning saying: “I want to work for that firm!” My reply was, “You already do! We just haven't finished building it yet.”
Heroes are fine and great to look up to. The key is to learn from them and aim to follow in their footsteps. With my stepfather I have a hard act to follow. But I will enjoy every moment trying to do so.
Shaun Jardine is chief executive of law firm Brethertons Solicitors LLP.