In Conversation: Simon Painter

Simon Painter

We regularly speak to some of London’s leading figures from within the property, investment, finance and charity sectors.

Those we have spoken with recently include Sonal Shah, Executive Director of The Capital Community FoundationChristopher Hamer, The Property Ombudsman, and Richard Blakeway, Mayoral Advisor on Housing.

Today we talk with Simon Painter, Partner in Litigation and Dispute Resolution at central London law firm Bircham Dyson Bell LLP.

In one sentence, please give us a summary of your job
I am a specialist property litiga tor dealing with a full range of cases involving both residential and commercial property, from everyday to cutting-edge.

What is your background?
I studied history at Durham University and then went on to qualify as a solicitor in 1994. In 2003 I bec ame a partner at Bircham Dyson Bell LLP which is a central London law firm with a strong property litigation practice.

What are the main day-to-day challenges you face in your role?
Perhaps the main challenges from day-to-day come from meeting the often very tight deadlines which court litigation inevitably throws up. I sometimes have to liaise minute by minute with clients and counsel to make sure a defence or witness statement is ready in time.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
Winning a case for a client at trial, particularly if you manage to win on appeal by overturning the decision of the court below.

What has been your most memorable moment or proudest achievement in your work life?
Being part of the team that took a case to a second tier appeal in the House of Lords (now the Supreme Court) which is the highest appeal court in the country. We managed to win the case and in doing so overturned the decision of the court of appeal. For a variety of reasons it is rare for civil cases to reach the Supreme Court, and so I was pleased to take at least one case during my career to the Supreme Court.

Where might you be found on a daily basis?
In the office for part of the day, out at meetings with clients in and around London, in conference with counsel, or at court.

How do you expect things to change in your sector over the next 5 years?
There are changes ahead for the legal world in that as currently proposed solicitors will soon be able to go into partnership with non lawyers such as surveyors or accountants and will also be able to receive outside investment; there will also be significant changes to the litigation costs regime which will have an impact on how litigation is funded.

What do you consider London’s greatest asset?
London is a great city with numerous advantages, but from my point of view as a lawyer working in the property sector it has to be the fact that London is a vibrant international city which attracts inward investment in property from abroad.

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