Getting to know you: Zoe Robinson, Managing Partner, Raworths

Zoe Robinson

What do you currently do?

I’m currently the managing partner of Raworths, a medium-sized law firm based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The firm, which is 130 years old has evolved to become one of the area’s leading practices. An intrinsic part of my role is to help define the vision and values of the business as it moves forward, helping it to keep evolving. We provide legal services to both commercial and private clients and that means there’s a lot to stay on top of. My overriding priority is making sure our client’s needs are always put first.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

My predecessor Christopher Butterworth who has been with the practice for over 50 years and managing partner for 20 of those years. He taught me that we are stewards of the business and we have a responsibility to make the business the best it can be to hand over to the next generation.

What defines your way of doing business?

I think having respect for other people, whether other colleagues, partners or clients is critical. I never burn bridges or underestimate the person standing in front of me. Driving a business in today’s economic climate is understanding that every person has a role to play, whether a key decision maker or a member of the support team.

Who do you admire?

Christine Legarde, the first woman to become finance minister of a G8 economy and the first woman to head the IMF. She has been successful in a largely male dominated environment and always manages to appear on top of her game.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

As a young person, I was so focused on my immediate job and building my career that I rarely got out of the office. In hindsight, there is so much that can be learnt by engaging with other businesses and peer groups. Since I have become managing partner I spend a lot more time getting to know other businesses and individuals in our community, which can be very rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Always be honest with yourself and others; it’s also important to be open-minded, it’s very easy to judge situations and people without objectively considering an issue. Working in the legal profession means you’re often representing one side but it’s crucial you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.