Duncan Morter gained a degree in music before switching entirely to a career in law. He chats to BQ about how he juggles his role as MD of law firm and playing in band.
What is it the company does?
We are a firm of Solicitors.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As well as being a senior legal adviser in our commercial property team, I am the managing director of the firm. The Board of Directors sets the strategy for the business and I am responsible for overseeing the delivery of this. This role covers aspects of finance, IT, marketing, HR and risk and compliance.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I obtained a music degree from Cambridge University before converting to a career in law. I trained at Henmans Solicitors in Oxford, working with Tim Henman’s father who was the senior partner. I moved to Crombie Wilkinson when I qualified in 1999 and I have been with the firm ever since.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Whilst it is not for me to say whether I am a great leader or not, I do feel that working in the business from being a newly-qualified solicitor, then in roles such as head of a department, salaried partner and then finally as a business owner and managing partner/director means that I have a good understanding of all aspects of the business.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
I have to juggle two roles, as managing partner and as a senior legal adviser responsible for acting on some large and complex property matters.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and children, including going off camping in our 1970s VW camper. I am still a keen musician. I run a choir, play guitar in a Beatles band and also play bass in an originals band (Watching Planes) which is about to launch an album.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The lead guitarist in a touring rock band.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I don’t like to see waste, for both financial and environmental reasons. We have recycling policies and try to reduce things like electrical usage.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We have had a growth strategy for a number of years, and have recently announced a merger with a small practice in North Yorkshire. This adds to our ability to be able to provide an enhanced service to our clients, offering a range of areas upon which we can advise from a number of locations. I believe the increased size of the firm also makes it a more attractive proposition for younger entrants into the workplace, which is vital to ensure the longevity of the business. I hope that we can develop this strategy yet further.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
You need credibility, so ideally will have a strong track record to prove your own performance. You also need the trust and confidence of your colleagues, so it is important that you act accordingly, but you also need to be yourself. You spend too many hours at work to try to be someone you are not.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Time flies scarily fast as you get older, so make the most of everything and try not to turn down opportunities that present themselves.
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