Name: Helen Faulkner
Firm: DAC Beachcroft
Role: Head of insurance
Trained at: CMS
Year qualified: 1992
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Being part of the team on a huge piece of litigation involving a surveyor and a bank, led by Peter McGuire. I loved the team work, all with distinct roles and presenting to the market. It involved long cons with counsel, and pulling together a compilation tape of all the best quotes from telephone recordings of the key players in the litigation.
How things have changed – I had to sit with two tape decks, finding the right pieces on the master and recording on the other machine to construct the compilation and produce a vivid picture of the dealings which had led to the property transactions. Those were the days of compilation tapes which you put together for friend…
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
We will always be proud of you as long as you have done your best and done the right thing – my mum
I have never had any pressure put on me, was first generation to university, first lawyer in the family and my career development has in no small part been through that support from my mum and dad
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
Am I allowed two? Stephen Tester at CMS – I qualified with Stephen and he was inspirational. An excellent lawyer combining intellectual capability with an understanding of his client and what they needed. I learnt a huge amount from him and not least that you can achieve whilst being a really good person, who takes the time to train and nurture.
Marcus Campbell at DAC Beachcroft – Marcus recruited me in 1997 and supported me through three children, enabling me to work flexibly whilst managing a caseload. He told me that when I wanted to put my foot down in my career to tell him and when I did, he supported me as I accelerated into partnership and onto lead insurance. He has always been there for me, totally selfless and a great role model as someone who always puts the team, clients and firm before himself. He still sends me supportive messages before any big event which I am facing. An inspirational person.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Always be yourself and do the job because you love what you do and can make a difference. Working as a team and collaborating is the way to achieve success. Don’t let imposter syndrome get the better of you and believe in yourself as there will be tough times, you will question yourself and your capability in a wide leadership role. It may sound trite, but it is those times and the people around you who support you, which make the difference and the success all the better.
Insurance is the fastest growing sector at DACB and achieved stellar financials results this year, delivering revenues of £154m. The success is due to the strength and breadth of the team I lead and on our strategy of supporting our clients in whichever jurisdiction they need to be, offering end-to-end capability and maximizing the firm’s foot print as our clients explore new market segments. Our managing partner David Pollitt is a natural leader and fosters a supportive but challenging environment and you need that support and environment to be able to thrive and achieve what you want to, in a role such as mine.
You have to stay true to yourself and my focus has always been to drive collaboration across the insurance team, foster a genuine team approach and ensure we deliver local knowledge across our global reach.
I am also passionate about developing our younger talent, and am particularly proud that 50 per cent of DACB’s insurance partner promotions this year are female.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
Working as corporate partner at Herbert Smith Freehills.