John Durkan
John Durkan
Richard Bell

Festive Focus: Bdaily chats with Switalskis Solicitors managing director John Durkan

Can you introduce yourself and your business to our readers?

“I’m John Durkan, Switalskis Solicitors’ managing director. I’m a chartered accountant by profession, which is pretty unusual for a managing director in a legal firm.

“I joined the firm in 2001 and in 2008 was appointed managing partner because Legal Services Act 2007 changed the law such that non-lawyers could apply to be approved by the SRA as partners in law firms. I was one of the country’s first non-lawyers to be approved and probably the first non-lawyer in the country to be appointed a managing partner.

“We were established in Wakefield in 1993 and have grown to a £16m turnover business with 260 staff and 12 offices across Yorkshire, delivering personal and business services in over 15 areas of law including family, medical negligence, catastrophic injury, property and crime.”

What was your company’s biggest achievement of the year?

“What a year it has been! We’ve marked our 25th anniversary with a number of charitable initiatives, including raising over £10k for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. From a business perspective, the biggest achievement has to be that we’ve had a record financial year which has seen turnover at the firm grow by more than 25%.

“This continued success simply wouldn’t be possible without the high calibre team we have in place.”

How would you approach 2018 differently, given the chance?

“2018 has been a busy year, full of huge projects. I would have liked to have had more time to absorb and reflect on our achievements but sometimes you’ve just got to grab the next opportunity that arises and make the most of it.”

What are your company’s plans for the new year?

“We have been investing significantly in attracting and retaining exceptional staff. This year we introduced our first Associate Development Programme, which saw the promotion of 12 new associates within the team last month.

“In 2019, we plan to consolidate and ensure that the investments we’ve made in people and infrastructure during 2018 deliver on all levels across the company.”

What’s your favourite Christmas song?

“Fairytale of New York, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl version, without any hesitation.”

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