Getting to know you: Giles Searby

What do you currently do?
I’m a Dispute Resolution partner at hlw Keeble Hawson which operates out of four offices across Yorkshire. After training with a top 10 firm in the City of London, I amassed two decades of experience with global and UK practices. As well as dealing with contractual disputes with an emphasis on overseas trade, my expertise also covers IT & technology and sports law and my clients are predominantly small and medium sized enterprises. Passionate about Sheffield and the benefits of collaboration, I’m the current President of Sheffield & District Law Society and chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP’s Sector Group for Professional Services.

What is your inspiration in the business?
Having recently moved to hlw Keeble Hawson – because I was attracted by its ethos and reputation – I want to play a key role in developing existing areas as well as new ones.
In today’s climate where we are witnessing unprecedented growth and opportunities in international trade, I’m committed to helping businesses through the minefield of exporting. This includes supporting them in minimising their risk and potential liabilities in international supply chain contracts.

Who do you admire?
Anyone who has made a success of what they do. I’m a firm believer in the ‘get out what you put in’ adage in life and in work – reinforced in Gary Player’s famous and extremely pertinent ‘the harder you work the luckier you get’ quote.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
No, I believe in serendipity and not having regrets.

What defines your way of doing business?
There are several key facets:
1. Building networks – since returning to Sheffield in 2002 after my 10 years in the City of London I had to build a new business network quickly and I have worked hard to maintain that ever since.

2. Building relationships – I am always looking to build long-term relationships with my clients to achieve that much sought after trusted advisor status with them. As a contentious lawyer that means alot of advising on how to avoid problems aswell as assisting when problems arise.

3. Being inquisitive – I am fascinated by my client’s businesses. Whether it’s widgets, software or sport we create so much in this region and I am constantly learning by spending real time with my clients.

4. Having a sense of humour – I think there is great danger in taking yourself too seriously all of the time. I am professional and tough when needed but never personal.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
I’d have three pieces of advice to someone just starting out:

1. Act like a “sponge”. Seek out those with the experiences you want to learn from, be it within your firm, client companies or other advisors. Get to know them, listen to them and ask questions.

2. Network – in the real sense. Get out and meet people, learn the art of “small talk” and following up.

3. I always tell my new assistants to read “If” by Rudyard Kipling – and in this context the relevant extract would be:

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute, with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it”