Following his inclusion in The Lawyer’s 2018 Hot 100, a directory of “the best lawyers in the business”, Sam Longworth’s ‘Career Quiz’ was published on The Lawyer’s website and is outlined below.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
There are two, which perfectly demonstrate the roller-coaster that is that particular period of time. Receiving news that I had got the job, after months of applications, interviews, preparation, waiting. It is a wonderful moment and well worth fighting for.
The second, and at the other end of the spectrum, being told with just a few weeks to go that the NQ position I had been allocated was no longer available due to macro issues within the firm. While on reflection this turned out to be a fantastic event for me as without it I would probably not have been in the right place at the right time for the positions that followed, it was an early lesson that however good you are, and however hard you work, you must always be prepared for the unexpected, or at least be agile enough to quickly regroup, plan, and move forward.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
I have learnt from every ‘boss’ I have had, and could not select one over the other. I owe my skills in communication, empathy, and relationship building to one, my case strategy and direction to another, and my commerciality and business development abilities to a third. We learn from everyone around us, and it is crucial in today’s legal world that we appreciate and embrace this fact.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Joining Stewarts in 2007. At the time I had two offers on the table, and the other was from a well-established and well regarded team. Stewarts was a new entrant into the family law market, and relatively unknown.
There was a real clarity of vision both from Stephen Foster, who headed the team, and John Cahill, managing partner. They were going to create the best family team in London and the firm was going places. Tried, tested and safe versus dynamic ambition. After taking soundings from contacts, barristers, and senior clerks, my gut instinct to join Stewarts was confirmed. A decade later, the clarity of vision remains and the positioning of the practice continues to strengthen.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
You will not get to the top without hard work, dedication, perseverance and a bit of luck along the way. It doesn’t matter where you start from, but you will also not get there without a vision, dream, or plan. From early in my career I knew that I wanted to be one of the best lawyers in Family Law. That was my aim, and I started to build a plan to achieve it from a standing start. Once you work backwards from the aim in steps, even if there are a lot of steps, your path and objectives become clear. Then you just have to make them happen, one by one.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
The rule of law is something we take for granted in much of the Western World. There are many fantastic charities and organisations who do so much in this field but in many ways I feel we all have a duty to foster and develop it.
The original article can be found on The Lawyer website here.
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