The Questionnaire – Martin Bloom

Martin Bloom is Partner and Head of Employment Law at Hegarty Solicitors. The firm offer a wide range of legal services, with offices in Stamford and Peterborough

What was your first job?

I shoveled manure in a fertiliser plant during the really hot summer of 1976. I worked from 6am until 6pm mixing sacks of blood and fish meal. As you can imagine, the stench was overpowering. My mother said she could smell me coming up the street on the way home – I had to undress by the back door and have two baths every night to get rid of the smell.

Who has inspired you and why?

My hero has always been Horatio Nelson. He started off with humble origins, the son of a parson in a small village in Norfolk, to become Commander of the British Navy and make an enormous impact on British history. I’m also frequently inspired by those around me – colleagues, opponents and judges – far too many to name individually.

Are you where you expected to be when first setting out?

Absolutely, yes. I’ve always been extremely driven with a very clear idea of what I wanted to achieve, and from the outset it was my goal to become partner in a law firm. I realised another ambition in 1995 when I became an employment judge. I suppose the only dream I have never managed to fulfil is to play rugby for England!

Do you like to plan, or to improvise?

I think you have to be able to do both as a lawyer. Planning is essential both at an individual case level and when running a business, but you also need to be able to think quickly and improvise in order to deal with the unexpected.

If you weren’t in this business, what would you be doing?

I probably would have been a geography teacher. I had a couple of really great teachers at school who really inspired me and geography has always been a passion of mine.

How tidy is your desk?

It’s pretty tidy actually. I’m very organised and get things done as soon as they come in.

If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?

Professionally I think that given my time again I would probably follow more or less the same path. There have been some bumps along the road, but these are the things you learn from. I’ve enjoyed my career and would happily do it all again.

If you made an unexpectedly large amount of money, what would you use it for?

I would invest it into my ever dwindling pension pot, and go on a no expense spared round the world cruise.

What’s the best bit of business advice you ever had?

There are two bits of advice that have really resonated with me. The first is that there are three golden rules to winning any case – “preparation, preparation, preparation”. If you haven’t prepared thoroughly enough you won’t succeed, no matter how good you are. The second is from a book by Glanville Williams, called Learning the Law which is essential reading for any aspiring
law student. His advice “if in doubt, don’t” has stuck with me and is good advice for both the law and for life!

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out now?

People see lawyers represented on the television and think that being a lawyer is glamorous and exciting. It is exciting, but don’t think it’s an easy life; you have to be dedicated and be prepared to work hard. That said though, if you do work hard, the rewards, both financial and otherwise, will follow.

What’s your ultimate ambition?

To continue to have a happy and fulfilling career – I don’t want to do anything else.

What item would you take with you to a desert island?

It would have to be an endless supply of matches. I’m completely impractical and couldn’t start a fire without them!

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