From trainee to Partner – James Collings

James joined the firm as a trainee and has a varied and exciting career with Foot Anstey. He is now a Partner in our Employment and Pensions team and manages teams in our Truro and Plymouth offices.

What do you do in your role?

I manage employment lawyers across the firm's Truro and Plymouth offices on advising businesses both inside and outside of the region on people challenges that they come up against. This covers a huge breadth of work ranging from advising on individual dismissals and employee relations issues through to managing senior exits, large scale redundancy and restructuring projects, business sales and acquisitions, and conducting advocacy in employment tribunals right across the UK.

You joined us as a trainee – what have your highlights been?

There have been a huge range of highlights from my time with the firm ranging from successfully representing clients in Employment Appeal Tribunal cases and engaging in high level negotiations with HMRC, through to being part of key milestones in the firm's development such as opening new offices and winning work with exciting new clients.

A great work-life balance, incredible people, and natural beauty all around – what's not to enjoy?

The pride that I felt on the day that I became a Partner of the firm is undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights, however I fear that I would be in a lot of trouble if I didn't list my biggest highlight as being the day that I first met my wife (and now mother of my two children) when she joined as a trainee the year after I started!

What advice would you give to anyone applying for a training contract at the firm?

Be honest with yourself (and with us) around what you want from both your training contract and your wider career beyond that. It's all too common to see people who have applied to a firm because they feel it's what they should be doing or because they think it will be most financially lucrative for them – carve your own path and think about what's really most important to you in terms of where you could see yourself being in 10 years' time.

What do you enjoy about living and working in the South West?

A great work-life balance, incredible people, and natural beauty all around – what's not to enjoy?

What does Powering Your Ambition mean to you?

For me, it's about putting clients at the centre of what we do and providing practical solutions to ensure that they're able to achieve their wider goals.  Several years ago, a new client was explaining why they had parted ways with their former advisors and said to me: 'I told them what I wanted to do and they told me I wasn't allowed – of course I'm 'allowed': it's my business'.  This comment has stuck with me ever since and highlights that we should always be working to understand each client's desired outcomes and partner with them to achieve those in the most tailored, pragmatic, and commercial way possible.