Ian Gatt QC joined our Commercial Litigation team in February 2017 from Herbert Smith Freehills. Ian is an experienced advocate and commercial litigator with more than 30 years’ experience of all forms of dispute resolution. He was called to the Bar in 1985 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002, at the age of only 38. He has been described in The Legal 500 and Chambers as “dependable and reliable on just about everything” and “user-friendly, client-friendly, cost-effective and commercial”.
At Stewarts, we aim to recruit and retain the best people at all levels of the firm. The ability, dedication and technical excellence of our people are critical to the successes we achieve for our clients. In this article, we take the opportunity to speak to Ian regarding his role at Stewarts and career:
What is your role at Stewarts?
My role involves managing a wide variety of cases including large and complex commercial claims, and smaller but equally interesting matters; some High Court and appellate advocacy; reviewing and assessing the merits of potential cases; and, as with all partners, working hard to develop new business for the firm.
What career progression have you gone through and what responsibilities have you had that are relevant to your existing role?
I joined Stewarts from Herbert Smith Freehills where I had been a partner for nearly 12 years. At Herbert Smith Freehills I was latterly Head of Advocacy and had also headed up the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion group in London.
My practice comprised large and complex cross-border litigation and arbitrations, and I undertook the trial advocacy on cases in Sweden, Singapore, Dubai and Switzerland. I was also involved in many City-based employment disputes, concerning, for example, bankers’ bonuses, sex, race and disability discrimination and whistleblowing. I appeared in the Supreme Court in a leading employment case: Geys v Societe Generale, concerning a claimed €25m bonus.
Prior to joining Herbert Smith Freehills, I was a barrister at the self-employed bar, practising from chambers in the Temple. I was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002 at the age of 38. I qualified as a mediator in 1997 and have conducted over 100 mediations. I also sat as a judge in the Crown Court for 17 years, trying a variety of cases.
How does Stewarts differ to other firms you have worked at?
I enjoy a number of aspects of working at Stewarts. Within a few weeks of joining I was struck by the high quality and approachability of the fee earners and support staff at all levels. There is a strong and supportive team ethic and culture. Added to that I enjoy the wide variety of cases which cross my desk, and the breadth of my role including as it does some advocacy, some case management, some business development, some case risk assessment and some training. The firm is still small enough to be genuinely collegiate but big enough to punch hard when necessary.
What advice would you give to others getting into the same field as you?
To anyone looking to work in law, I would advise them that there is no substitute for hard work. Always ask, if you don’t understand something. Pay attention to the detail. Cases are won and lost on detail. Never leave a stone unturned. On each piece of work you do need to ask yourself how you can perform your role more effectively or in a more innovative way. Be gracious in victory and learn from your defeats. Treat your colleagues, clients and opponents with respect and courtesy. It’s a very small world and what goes around comes around. Eventually.
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Commercial Litigation pages.