We asked Jonathan to look back and reflect on his younger self.
How would you describe yourself at 18?
Lanky, bookish and music obsessed. I was looking forward to going to university and just about to discover long-distance running, which remains a passion (albeit one only practised intermittently) to this day.
If you could go back knowing what you know now, what three things would you tell yourself to do before becoming a partner?
1: “Buy a larger size suit”. You are going to be sitting down for long periods of time.
2: “Take time to listen to the other partners and figure out what they do”. Working in a large organisation is about bringing what you have to the table, mixing it all together and finding the synergies over time.
3: “Be prepared to explain yourself”. Welcome people to your subject and take time to impart your passion for it.
If you could relive one day what would it be and why?
I think it would be the first date with my wife. It was Halloween and I was 45 minutes late for our meeting at a lovely bar in London. I remember thinking that she was very beautiful and had a serene confidence about her, and she remembers how scrupulous I was in dividing up the food, which was a “small plates” affair.
What are the biggest lessons you have learnt about being a partner?
Becoming a partner in a large, full-service firm enables me to work in a more holistic way. We have brilliant lawyers in employment, commercial and property law, for example, allowing us to serve clients in a joined up and strategic fashion. Birkett Long is a bit like a jazz band in that respect – although you may occasionally be asked to deliver a solo, most of the time you are playing together!
How did you deal with a big mistake, and what did you learn from the experience?
The main thing is to work out how big the mistake actually is and then implement damage limitation quickly. Be straight with the person on the other end of the mistake, be precise as to the exact extent of the damage and offer solutions.
What does the future have in store for your company?
More growth. Birkett Long is expanding at quite some speed in order to meet increasing demand for our services. We have just opened a London office and, potentially, we will make an acquisition or two. Incidentally, if there is anyone looking to sell an Intellectual Property practice, we would like to buy one, so please feel free to get in touch!
What does the future have in store for you personally?
I’m writing this on the train, having just been for the 13-week scan for our first child, so that is definitely the next big thing. Also writing a book and an increased amount of community activity in Manningtree where we live.
For more information visit www.birkettlong.co.uk/site/people/profile/jonathan.perlmutter