Interview | Tim Gray

Staying Power

Issue 32

Longevity in business is something to be admired. In this series of features, we are celebrating some of the most accomplished professionals from across the North East business community. Aimed at major players with 20+ years' experience in their respective sectors, we provide a fascinating insight into what makes them tick and what we can learn from them.

Did you always envisage a career in the law industry?

I got into University after studying Classics at A Level which I loved. I could not see much future in that as a career and was advised to look at the law, which I came to love even more.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?

Dealing with my clients, many of whom I regard as friends and the pleasure of bringing their matters to a successful conclusion.

What has been your career defining moment?

Before University, I worked with a firm in Newcastle who allowed me to attend court to watch their cases. One day, even with highly experienced barristers, we lost our case comprehensively to the formidable combination of a Solicitor Ted Potts and his brother Humphrey (later to become a High Court Judge). I decided I must try to join Ted’s firm which was then John H. Sinton & Co. I joined that firm.

How do you measure success?

By the satisfaction I can give clients, who to me are without doubt the most important aspect of my job.

What have been the biggest changes in the industry since you started?

Massive over-regulation (as far as I can see, with little purpose), the demise of the ‘characters’ in the law and the preoccupation on the part of too many firms making money at all costs.

How has your skillset developed accordingly?

By seeking to be philosophical about the changes referred to.

Are you a risk taker by nature or more conservative?

There is a need occasionally to take calculated risks, as long as these are understood by the client and agreed. I think this is acceptable and indeed many commercial transactions could not proceed on any other basis.

To what would you attribute your success?

A great education at Dame Allan’s School and Cambridge University, caring about people and over the years, working rather strange hours! I have been very lucky in the support that I have had from colleagues over the years, which very much continues at Mincoffs.

What’s your biggest weakness and how have you managed this?

Showing occasionally an over commitment to my work which I fear must have affected my family. Since realising this, I have done my best to make amends.

How do you retain motivation?

Motivation does come easily to me. Having retired, I still retained that strong motivation and hence now my consultancy with Mincoffs.

Would you prefer to be liked or respected?

I do not think the two are mutually exclusive. I prefer both!

I’ll retire when…

I can derive no fun at all from the law. Given the nature of some of my clients this is an unlikely proposition!

Sign-up to our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.