Meet the MD: John Howe

John Howe is the managing director of Yorkshire's Just Houses Ltd, having launched the company back in 1994. 21 years on, he is still making taking the company from strength to strength. He tells BQ what he has learned so far.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I am the managing director of Just Houses Limited a Limited company which was formed to take over the undertakings of John Howe & Co a Solicitors Practice which I formed in 1994.

Having built up the business based solely on recommendations as managing director I take ultimate responsibility for attracting work and ensuring that the work is done efficiently and correctly.

The day to day administration of running the company is shared between my fellow shareholders and directors and we all still ensure that we retain a hands on approach to providing the legal services.

What is it the company does?

We are a general legal practice providing legal services to a wide client base around the country and abroad. In addition we have recently started our own estate agency in which we combine the selling and the legal process together in one fee.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Not only do I have to ensure that our own business is run correctly, and operating at sufficient profit to ensure that the stresses are well compensated, I also have to provide advice to a wide variety of commercial clients to ensure that their own businesses are run as well. Juggling lots of balls successfully is a pre-requisite for being a leader.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

I have had a number of challenges over my 30 years in the business and new challenges are introduced every day. Previous challenges however have led to me holding the record for the quickest every divorce which I achieved in 5 days, and has enabled me to undertake often complex property work over in Bulgaria.

Due to major changes in the law, the erosion of legal aid, withdrawal of funding from the courts and increased competition any law firm in order to survive has to adapt and that is what we are very good at.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I play in a band often performing at private functions.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?


Any pet hates in the workplace?

Bureaucracy which is ever increasing and the loss of commonsense which appears to ever more evident as computerised management systems are used.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

I would hope that the business continues to grow.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Continue to apply common sense, take risks but ensure that they are calculated.

Where did you start your career?


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

Degree from Newcastle.

Finals in Leeds.

Training in Leeds.

Worked in general practice from 1988 to 1991 in Bradford, Bingley, Brighouse.

Worked in general Practice from 1991 to 1994 in Pudsey Ilkley and Wakefield.

1994 set up my own Practice as a Sole Practitioner.