SLN Spotlight: Philip Rodney

Philip Rodney

Philip Rodney chairman of Burness Paull comes under the SLN Spotlight this week.

What has been your best experience as a lawyer?

Working with an amazing team in building the firm into a leader in the Scottish market. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together and feel extremely privileged to work with such brilliant, talented people.

What has been your worst experience as a lawyer?

A House of Lords case where our senior counsel (now deceased) turned up rather the worse for wear. I should have had the guts to sack him, but didn’t …with obvious results!

Why did you choose the law?

As the Jackie Mason joke goes, I couldn’t stand the sight of blood – not that far from the truth. Being a nice Jewish boy, it was assumed that I would go into a profession of some type. I was hopeless at sciences, accountancy sounded boring and there were some lawyers in the family. For the first few years, I thought that I had made a mistake. Then I found my niche and it clicked.

Who or what has been the greatest professional influence in your life?

Alfie Phillips was the senior partner at my last firm, Alexander Stone & Co. He was a truly brilliant lawyer, a perfectionist (I still try not to split my infinitives) but most importantly he taught me about having integrity in everything you do.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in the law?

It sounds like a cliché, but you get out of it what you put into it. If you have the passion, energy and imagination, the rewards are terrific. While my contemporaries in other professions have become tired and cynical, I still love what I do.

What would you want to be if you were not a lawyer?

Be a DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music.

How do you relax after work?

Loud music, fast cars, family, travel.

What is your favourite holiday destination and why?

I don’t really have one favourite. We try to balance doing and seeing new things with some old favourites. In the former category, come driving across Botswana and cycling from Berlin to Copenhagen. In the latter, we have been many times to Tuscany, South Africa (where my wife is from) and Northumberland. This year we are going to Cape Cod.

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