James Knight, Keystone LawName: James Knight

Firm: Keystone Law

Position: Managing partner

Trained at: Trowers & Hamlins

In Hot 100 for: Floating Keystone Law. Read his full Hot 100 profile.

What is your most vivid memory from being a trainee?

Visiting the site of a sink hole which had completely swallowed the owner’s house in the middle of the night, together with their garage and car.  Thankfully, the owners escaped relatively unscathed, but not so their black cat (called Freddie), who was never found. My firm was acting for the insurer of the house but the unusual nature of the loss meant that the claim fell into interesting territory, so to speak.    

Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you? 

Jeremy Martin was the training partner in my first six-month seat, and also the individual who helped me secure my training contract in the first place. He was one of the firm’s oldest lawyers and also its most profitable. He taught me how to work fast and cleverly, what was important and what to ignore. In other words, how to see the wood from the trees. 

What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?

Undoubtedly, that would be to set up Keystone Law, a decision I made in an Oxfordshire garden on 6 June 2002 and something I never regretted for a moment. The journey from then to now has been challenging, exhilarating and rewarding in equal measure. The best thing about it is that after 15 years of discovery and exciting growth, it still feels as though we have only just got started and there is much to look forward to.    

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?

Follow your instinct. If you feel passionate about an opportunity, a business or a career, then you should indulge that belief even if others try to convince you otherwise. Even if the original concept turns out to have some flaws, by following a passion you will eventually end up doing or creating something worthwhile.

What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?

Keystone has a lot of excellent sports teams and a host of other activities. I get involved in a few, but would like to have time to do more.