Managing Partner Spotlight: Jane Penman
Here, we find out a bit more about Russell & Russell’s new Managing Partner, Jane Penman.
Appointed to the role in May 2023, Jane tells us what she wants to achieve during her tenure, how much she values the support around her, and how outings with her dad as a child led her to where she is today.
What is your job title and experience?
I am a solicitor in the Personal Injury Department and Russell & Russell’s Managing Partner.
How long have you been at Russell & Russell?
I started my training contract with Russell & Russell Solicitors in 1998 at the Bury Office and qualified in 1999 after moving to the Middleton Office.
When did you become Managing Partner of Russell & Russell?
I was appointed Managing Partner in May 2023.
What does being Managing Partner of a law firm involve?
I deal with all operational aspects of the business, from Marketing, Human Resources, Compliance and Finance.
No two days are the same. I am fortunate to have been appointed to a role where I am supported by a Management Board that is united in its willingness to protect the business, which was established in 1887, and to build upon the success of the former Partners.
What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of the role?
Law firms are affected to a large extent by the economy and changes in political leaders can dramatically affect the legal landscape. We have to be ready to react and adapt to those changes.
What do you think you will enjoy most?
I am a people person. I enjoy interacting with clients and staff and the various agencies we deal with across the departments.
I also enjoy seeing the career progression of employees who rise through the ranks.
What do you want to achieve during your tenure?
I hope to maintain the excellent standards of service we are renowned for and hopefully build on the firm’s reputation for being a fair and compassionate employer.
Will you be making any major changes to the running of the firm?
I am constantly reviewing how we operate and the client journey with us. Hopefully, we can improve on that process.
What are the biggest challenges facing the legal industry?
Political uncertainty and changes to statute to restrict access to justice.
How do you think the provision of legal services will change over the next 20 years?
I think there will be a move to more online legal services, but we will always put client care at the heart of everything we do. If customers want a face-to-face appointment, we need to provide that service.
What areas of law do you specialise in?
I specialise in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence.
How will you juggle being Managing Partner with your Personal Injury work?
I have reduced the number of cases I am dealing with, but I continue to act for the seriously injured and victims of clinical negligence.
I am lucky to have a fantastic team who assist with my caseload and my Personal Assistant, Fiona White, is simply the best. She is key to my ability to juggle my role as a Solicitor and Managing Partner.
What is the most memorable case you have worked on?
I have dealt with several memorable cases. The most difficult ones are the fatal cases where we are dealing with the family of a loved one who has been killed due to the negligence of others.
I can’t bring their loved ones back, but I hope to bring some comfort by recovering compensation to ease the financial burden.
Why did you decide to work in the legal industry?
I was always interested in law and politics. My dad used to take me to the Law Courts in Liverpool when I was a child, and I was mesmerised by the grandeur of the buildings and the sight of the lawyers walking the halls with their clients.
We would sometimes sit in Court if the public were allowed in, and I would wonder what it would be like to be involved in this legal world.
What skills do you need to be a successful lawyer?
You need to be professional at all times, tenacious but willing to compromise, and see the bigger picture. It is important to be firm but fair.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a solicitor or work in the legal industry?
Aim high, work hard, have a positive outlook and be a team player. Do that, and anything is achievable.