Name: Naveen Gupta
Degree: LLB (Hons)
University: University of Manchester
Hobbies: Music, including collecting vinyl, theatre and cricket
Area of practice: Real estate
When and why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I first started to think about choosing law as a profession at school and spent some time doing work experience at a local law firm – spending days in the office as well as at court. My first impression from court was that barristers can often spend a great deal of time working alone. I’ve always been a people person, preferring to see a matter through from beginning to end, so it was that which led me to think that I should train to be a solicitor. That and seeing how much fun the trainee solicitors in the BBC drama This Life had, a watershed programme in the mid-1990s which made an impact on an impressionable teenager!
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
By far, the people who I work for and with – both clients and colleagues. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some great clients and I am blessed to have always been supported by those around me.
What are the worst aspects of your job?
I would not say it was the worst aspect but spinning plates can be fairly stressful. And while I appreciate the importance of the concept, time recording can be agonising. There have been many days when I have been extremely busy and then I look up and realise that I hadn’t opened my timesheet!
[Lawyer 2B note: read more about time recording here]
What’s the main issue that lawyers in your field are thinking about at the moment?
Competitive pricing is a big issue. We all know that clients expect a high quality service while keeping costs down. There is increased competition in the market and there are those who are prepared to offer very low prices. We need to ensure that our quality does not deteriorate in any way while providing flexible and innovative pricing models to our clients – ensuring we provide added value and we are more than just lawyers to them; rather, trusted advisors.
If you weren’t in your current field, what other area of law would you like to work in?
Media/entertainment law – that was an interest of mine when I was at university and I did a three week vacation scheme at a London media and entertainment law firm. As a young student I was easily impressed by reviewing a witness statement from a member of a pop group and a Hollywood actor’s film contract!
What’s the biggest misconception that students have about life as a lawyer?
That only just understanding the technical aspects of law will mean you become a great lawyer. It certainly helps and you do need to have that knowledge. However, law firms are businesses. You need more than just technical knowledge. You need to have management skills, you need to understand the commercial drivers of a client and you need to have accounting skills to comprehend the importance of billing, work in progress and debt. You need to be everything now!
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I have appeared on Top of the Pops
- I have appeared on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show
- I have appeared on [BBC Saturday morning show] Going Live.
In one sentence, what’s the one key thing that students should understand about your firm?
DWF is a national firm and we’re looking for top talent – we can offer students an exciting career path and with our six seat rotation there is the opportunity to experience a variety of practice groups.
What was the oddest thing you were asked to do as a trainee?
Not odd, but different – I was asked to be a volunteer for the Commonwealth Games 2002 in Manchester as the firm I trained at were a sponsor. It meant I accompanied clients to various events – I was lucky enough to attend both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as seeing the athletics, rugby 7s and cycling.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
All of my closest friends from law school are still lawyers, although two of them are practising in the USA.