Q&A with Corinne Staves

Corinne is partner of Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP and chair of the Association of Partnership Practitioners.

Corinne Staves1. You're talking to a friend of a friend at a party. How do you describe what you do?

I am a solicitor who does a wide range of work for individuals and privately owned/owner-managed businesses.

Normally, you then have to go on to explain that a solicitor is typically not the sort of lawyer that spends all day in court.

2. What’s been your career path and what led you to advise on partnerships and LLPs?

I was lucky enough to train and qualify at Allen & Overy LLP before the team demerged to form Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP (MTG).

I have always had the opportunity to work with good clients on interesting work and I was encouraged to start developing my partnerships and LLPs practice from qualification.

Partnerships and LLPs are often used in people businesses, such as professional and financial services firms, so every day has been different and interesting.

3. What kind of problems do you tend to come across?

A huge range. Everything from a partner admission or exit to mergers and international structuring.

The personal nature of these businesses means there is always more involved in the decision-making process than a risk assessment and a costs/benefit analysis.

The unpredictable nature of human beings doesn’t make things straightforward, and rarely is this truer than when attending a client’s partners’ meeting, but I relish a challenge and my job is never boring.

4. Do you have any advice for junior lawyers interested in this area?

I would encourage junior lawyers to pursue it actively, especially as many don’t get the chance to specialise in this area until they are more senior.

Working for other law firms and lawyers is a great privilege.

They are (usually!) very sophisticated clients, and they really keep you on your toes.

5. Do you have a role model or is there someone you admire and why?

I greatly admired Lesley Lintott. I first encountered her in her capacity as Managing Partner of Penningtons (as it then was).

She was commercial, pragmatic and, despite the vast gulf between our respective levels of seniority and expertise, she treated me as an equal.

There were very few women leading law firms at that time and I feel very fortunate to have met such an inspirational character so early in my career.

6. Unusually among most City firms, Maurice Turnor Gardner has a majority female partnership (with eight out of 11 being women). Do you have any advice for firms looking to increase gender diversity at partner level?

We have not set out to achieve this gender balance.

The partner team that demerged from A&O was predominantly female, which MTG then inherited, and since then the goal has been to ensure our partners are the brightest and best.

I am horribly biased, but we are lucky at MTG to have a variety of strong role models, female and male.

Perhaps it is as simple as drafting the LLP deed in the feminine, as we have, but I fear not ...

7. Share some great advice you've been given.

Anything is manageable if you tackle it in 25-minute chunks.

8. How do you relax?

I love mountain biking and sewing, but with two young sons, with whom my husband stays at home all week, my ‘downtime’ typically consists of playing Lego, collecting mini-beasts and trying to get squashed raisins out of the carpet.

9. What book is on your bedside table?

Anna Burns’ Milkman got rave reviews, so I was excited to pick it up at a charity book sale for £1, but I confess I have yet to open it.

10. Favourite city?

I love cities in northern Europe. Bruges, Berlin and Luxembourg are real gems.

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