Richard Port was interviewed by the Yorkshire Post for a legal Q&A feature which appeared in the paper on 19th September. Read Richard’s full interview here.
What’s the biggest development you have seen in the legal world during your career?
I qualified in 1998, so since that time I would probably say, in terms of employment law, the introduction of tribunal fees in 2013. Of course, that regime has now been abolished, as of July this year, but what a change it brought about at the time, with a drop of 71% of claims made. Regardless that there was a fees remission procedure, it was clear to many lawyers at the time that the system was unreasonable and unfair.
What law would you like to see changed?
Probably a bit late now, but it would have to be Article 50 of the Treaty of Rome. Whatever your politics, I cannot believe that anyone has welcomed the process that we (all Europeans) are now in. Whether or not the UK is truly set for a golden age once outside of the EU, law should be about certainty and should be readily understandable. There does not seem to be a clear line of understanding from any quarter in relation to Brexit nor an effective mechanism for withdrawal – a real shame.
What’s the most exciting work you have ever done?
I was privileged enough to have been involved with purchase of Leeds Bradford International Airport back in May 2007 by Bridgepoint Capital. I was at Addleshaw Goddard and worked with a fantastic team on a deal that was right on my doorstep and which still has positive repercussions for the region today.
Who do you admire most in the legal world?
A couple of characters, and both now historic, and both acclaimed for having a brilliant and incisive mind, famed for their oratory and writings and both for the profound and lasting legacies left for following generations. The first is the great orator Cicero, a lawyer before he was a politician: the second would be Nelson Mandela, a partner in his own law firm before being banned in 1952, under the Apartheid regime.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
Always act with honesty and integrity, know the law for yourself and not regurgitated through articles and posts of commentators, respect you clients and those around who support your career. Above all, keep a weather eye on artificial intelligence and its impact not only on your chosen field of expertise, but for its potential to undermine the legal framework that underpins our society