Wednesday, 4 September 2013

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Saul Kelleher

SAUL Kelleher grew up in Warwick, emigrating with his family to South Africa aged 14. After graduating in Durban and getting married he opened a live music venue which he ran for five years before switching careers and training to become a barrister. Shortly after being admitted to the South African Bar, Saul was held up at gunpoint, prompting him to take his young family to England where, over two years, he converted his South African qualifications to enable him to work as a solicitor in the UK. He worked for two large provincial firms before opening, and becoming director of the Bridport office of the Commercial Law Practice Ltd. The 41-year-old has four children and plays for North Dorset Rugby Club.

WHY is commercial law important to get right?
Law is about creating certainty and with commercial law where there is uncertainty there will almost inevitably be dispute. If you ensure that you understand the clients’ needs and reflect those needs in the work that you do, it will enable a client to proceed with certainty in its business dealings and avoid disputes with the inevitable costs consequences.

CAN people draw up agreements themselves?
I would strongly advise against individuals drawing up their own agreements.  If something is of sufficient importance to reduce it into writing then it is important enough to spend the money necessary to have that agreement drawn up by a solicitor. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat with a client who did not think that matters would turn out the way that they did.

WHY has the practice expanded into Bridport?
I have an existing client base and very much felt that there was a place in Bridport for a fresh approach to legal services. My assistant Sarah and I are very approachable and we are more than happy to see people when they walk through our door. We are very clear about our costs and what we will do and strive to deliver the results desired within the time set out and at the cost quoted. We will always take clients’ calls and, in short, we have stripped out the stuffiness associated with solicitors from the practice.

HAVE you had any strange requests in your profession?
I was called on site to a dispute involving the construction of a conservatory to find it surrounded by a pond of water. The defence that it had been constructed properly fell away quite quickly and the matter was resolved, but I still look at the pictures occasionally when I am feeling down.

HOW important is rugby to you?
I have always played rugby, playing for Natal University and as captain of North Dorset Rugby Club. I still play and I have been on a push to get fit enough to play to a reasonable level this year. I have always loved the bond created between people who play rugby together and the way that, however hard a game is, everything is left on the field.

WHAT is the most memorable game of rugby you’ve seen?
I watched the 1995 World Cup Final between South Africa and New Zealand in a hostel in Tel Aviv, Israel.  The room was divided with South Africans on one side and New Zealanders on the other. The atmosphere was strained, particularly when the power failed just before full time. When the power came back on it was extra time and probably the most exciting finish because of what it meant to South Africa to win.

YOUR family is important to you - do you get together often?
We spend a lot of time together and the house is always busy.  Everyone mucks in and there are always friends coming around and staying. We like to do outdoor activities, but try not to rely on anything too structured. An active day is best concluded with the family and friends having a drink in the garden.

WHAT is your earliest memory?
I remember just having moved into an old terraced house and my parents had spent all the money purchasing the house. Instead of borrowing a lawn mower they began cutting the lawn with kitchen scissors. My parents are extremely practical, running a smallholding in France, and I am sure they would claim that the grass was too long for a mower, but that is not how I remember it.

WHAT objects do you always carry with you?
I carry a coin with the back and front half of a rhino on its sides. It is useful to resolve disagreements and it is not weighted as some might claim.

WHAT is your favourite journey?
I love the drive down to Cornwall and that moment when the landscape changes and becomes almost mystical. There is a beach called Greenaway Beach just outside of Rock and that is my favourite place in the world. When I go to Cornwall I know I will spend time there and that makes the trip exciting.

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