Lessons I Have Learnt: Claire Read

Partner, Birkett Long.
Claire reflects on her younger self and her ambition to reach Everest Base Camp.
Published in UK Director Magazines Summer 2024

About Claire

I joined Birkett Long as a solicitor in 2000 and became a partner in 2005. I specialise in wills, trusts, and probate, and have recently been included in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame. I am head of our private client department and love working within other areas of the law in our business. We are a full-service firm and can advise on everything a business needs along with all aspects of personal life.

We asked Claire to look back and reflect on her younger self…


How would you describe yourself at 18?

Very enthusiastic and hard working. I was always one of the first to volunteer or join in, and some will be surprised when I say I was also quite shy.

What inspired you to become a partner in the business?

I wanted to become an equity partner so that I could more directly influence Birkett Long’s path and direction.

If you could go back knowing what you know now, what three things would you tell yourself to do when you first became a partner?

  1. Keep asking questions – no question is a silly one.
  2. Be bold and confident – don’t take no for an answer.
  3. Take the time to understand all parts of the business, including financials, and take advice on any subject where needed.

What are the biggest lessons you have learnt professionally?

Remain passionate about your profession and business. Seek out others who have the same enthusiasm and passion. Without enthusiasm, passion, and drive at all levels, a business cannot successfully thrive and reach its full potential.

How did you deal with a big mistake, and what did you learn from the experience?

Mistakes are bound to happen, but they also present opportunities to review and reflect. If something does not go according to plan, it is necessary to acknowledge that and identify the root cause. Then, you can look at the impact and see how or what to improve to move forward. Do not be afraid to share the experience with others. Sharing such experiences in a positive way is inspiring, brings the team together, and can convert a loss into a win.

What are your ambitions for the future?

To see our firm’s vision of ‘Inspiring in Every Interaction’ become embedded in Birkett Long’s DNA at all levels, and to continue to see Birkett Long grow in size and stature. I also want to continue to share the technical and practical skills I have learned with more junior members of the firm, and those wishing to enter the legal profession. 

What does the future have in store for you personally?

Perhaps a few more holidays, including a visit to Everest Base Camp! To enjoy the wonderful views there (and those along the way), I will have a 14-day trek ahead of me. In early preparation for this, to get my fitness levels up, I have entered my first ever triathlon later this year, and the training is going well – I just need to keep it going!

Lessons I Have Learnt: Claire Read 1


Photo of Claire taken by Phil Jones Photography

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