Q&A with Patrick McCann

We speak to Patrick McCann, Linklaters’ global head of learning and chair of the City of London Law Society Training Committee.

Patrick is a white man with short dark hair and a salt and pepper beard. He wears a pink patterned shirt and grey suit jacket, and he is smiling. You’re talking to a friend of a friend at a party. How do you describe what you do?

I try hard to help colleagues really enjoy their work by being amazing at what they do. 

I lead a team of dedicated learning experts who relish upskilling people – we aim to equip our people to astound the market by what they can do. 

It’s really fun to see people really soar in their work – it really drives us.

To date, what has been the highlight of your time at Linklaters?

I know this sounds odd, but we had an away day on an overnight ferry between Sweden and Finland – although we were definitely working at the time, the seascapes were so astounding.

It was such an uplifting, almost spiritual, experience. Thanks to the firm for letting it happen. 

Apart from that, you do get a buzz every day from how brilliant your colleagues are.

What motivated you to get involved with the City of London Law Society?

I love a committee!  For what you can get done, I should say. 

What I really like is working with a committee of exceptional people (all much brighter than me) to help guide City law firms on their learning activities.

We’ve run various workshops through the pandemic which I think have really helped fellow L&D people (often we’re pretty isolated in our organisations) to tackle the challenges and opportunities that have emerged. 

It’s been frightening, exhausting, exhilarating and never dull.

Give us one piece of great advice you received

From my lovely, late dad, a retired lieutenant colonel: “Don’t take yourself too seriously, son. We all end up in the ground.”

I’m keen you understand that he wasn’t a macabre person and would have said this with a massive cheeky smile on his face – he was definitely one for finding the fun in everything.  

What book is on your bedside table?

Is it awful that I say not much at the moment?  Two are there but as yet unopened:

  • Why The Germans Do It Better by John Kampfer (my Deutshe mutter would approve)
  • Anxious Man – Notes on a Life Lived Nervously by John Roberts (he came to speak at Linklaters several months ago and lot of what he said interested me)

Any hidden talents?

I’m such a show-off that I can’t imagine keeping any talent hidden – I only wish I had more of them.

I will say no one will ever beat me in a 1980s pop quiz, however. Oh, and roller-skating back in the day.

Favourite city?

I think I’m more of a coastal town boy these days – I’ve been living in Deal in Kent for the last year or so and I’m hooked. 

If it had to be a city, Sydney – but only if you’re obscenely rich.

Any pet peeves?

Badly cooked pizza, coffee that’s not hot enough, rainy weekends, people who don’t 'get' dogs (what is that all about?)

What is your biggest hope for the legal profession?

I’d love to see the legal profession continue to do more to help those in society who really need the help, look after its people exceptionally well and bring in and keep colleagues who were truly representative of the societies in which we operate.

In rare moments of calm, how do you relax?

I’m getting much more of these moments recently – I used to rush around at pace, happily, but I’ve become much better at carving out quieter times during my week.

Dogs, beach, Below Deck Mediterranean, takeaway vegan pad thai, my husband – if my week has all of that in, I’m content. 

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