The many hats interview: Stephen Dawson

The many hats interview: Stephen Dawson


Today's Many Hats interview is with Stephen Dawson a consumer finance expert from Shoosmiths.

Chambers & Partners proclaims that Stephen 'is highly knowledgeable. A real professional who is approachable, straightforward and direct'. We'd agree wholeheartedly—unless you ask him to plead in front of a French court. In French. Then he might not be so approachable. Read more about this traumatic incident and much more below:

Please provide a brief bio including your role and current employer (if relevant).

I am a Partner at Shoosmiths LLP. My main area of specialism is in the financial services sector, and consumer finance in particular. When I am trying to be brief, I simply say that 'I draft small-print (but I'm actually quite a nice guy) ... '

How did you end up being a commercial lawyer?

It is often the case that lawyers have little or no choice at the start of their careers, in terms of the experience they get and opportunities that present themselves. I trained in a niche team, at a firm called Lester Aldridge, and so I have done financial services for nearly all of my career.

What type of projects are you working on at the moment?

It's a busy time for financial services lawyers. Our work at the minute is largely based around the change in regulatory supervision from the OFT to the FCA. So, we're fixing problems, filling gaps and gently holding hands.

Describe a memorable moment of your career.

I had the opportunity to spend some time working in Paris during my training contract, on the basis that I also hold a degree in French law. I attended an employment tribunal with a senior partner from the host firm and (without any employment experience or preparation) was asked to present facts on behalf of a client. I remain traumatised to this day.

What makes a lawyer a commercial lawyer?

There are many lawyers in the world but, for me, the difference in being a lawyer and a commercial lawyer is in focusing on

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