Name: Ed whittington
Firm: Moore barlow
Role: Managing partner
Trained at: Wansbroughs Solicitors
Year qualified: 2005
Read his Hot 100 profile
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Regularly falling asleep in the library doing loose leaf updates – both of which are thankfully a thing of the past!
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
“The toughest times give rise to the most compelling opportunities.”This is one of the most memorable sentences said to me by an American called Barry Ridgeway – Barry works for Microsoft and coached me for about a year on general leadership and management. The strange thing about this relationship is that it was conducted entirely on Zoom, but before the pandemic!
The truth and helpfulness of this statement also can’t be overstated. It continues to provide me with inspiration on tough days, and it’s a mantra that me and my team relied on in the early days of the merger in lockdown.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
My old boss, Christopher Ward, was a prolific biller into his late 60s and this earned him the nickname Lord Ward. When he retired he handed a client base to me that he had accumulated over 45 years. At the time I was 4PQE and despite being reasonably junior I moved the client base to Moore Blatch in 2010, and managed to hold onto a good share of them.
This was a huge stroke of good fortune which I built on, ultimately launching me into salaried partnership and then equity partnership within seven years of qualifying. And most importantly we still act for many of them!
On a technical level, Christopher was also a fountain of wisdom, who provided holistic advice to his clients beyond the law, and was happy to advise them on almost anything in life and work. The willingness to give such broad advice has been something I have embraced, and I now apply this approach to my role as managing partner and my other external non-executive appointments outside of the legal sector. His most memorable advice, which I have passed onto many others in a crisis, was “if you’re going to panic, panic slowly!”.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are / do the job you do?
Be positive, tolerant, hard-working, care about and be polite to the people around you. Step up in a crisis and help, bend over backwards for colleagues and clients, scrap the ego and muck in. Form a vision, hold that vision, manage the energy, coach rather than command, and as important as everything else, don’t take life too seriously and have a laugh along the way.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
Sarah Jordan was a good friend and flat mate at The College of Law, Guildford. I head hunted her into my team at Moore Barlow eight years ago, and she has since become a partner and now taken my fee earning job, heading up the Moore Barlow rural services team. And she’s still a good friend!