Job spotlight: Legally speaking with James Sargeant
The associate’s role in the contracting team of construction law firm Quigg Golden shows him an ever-changing industry.
Describe a typical day in your job.
I work with a mixture of public and private sector clients in the construction industry, including developers, contractors, subcontractors and consultants.
I specialise in NEC3/4, JCT and bespoke forms of contracts, so I spend the majority of my time working on contractual matters.
My days are varied but generally I spend around one-quarter of my time working on non-contentious matters such as reviewing contracts, drafting amendments to standard form contracts and advising clients with regards to collateral warranties and other legal documents. I also give regular training seminars to clients on a variety of construction law and procurement law topics.
The majority of my time is then spent working on contentious matters such as adjudications, litigations and mediations. I represent both claimants and defendants and at any one time I am usually involved with several disputes, of which no two are ever the same. They can vary significantly in subject matter, value and the legal processes which are involved.
The remainder of my time is usually spent at CPD and networking events.
What training/education path did you follow?
I studied law for three years at the University of Kent, graduating in 2011.
In order to qualify as a solicitor, I undertook a two-year training contract with Quigg Golden, while also studying the Legal Practitioner’s Course for two years at BPP University in Holborn. I also intend to study for my Law master’s, which I am planning to start in September 2020, also at BPP University.
What do you find challenging and rewarding about your role?
My work can be very challenging. When I am involved in disputes, particularly adjudications, the timeframes involved are very tight which can mean lots of long, stressful days working into the night to ensure I get the best result possible for my clients.
I thoroughly enjoy the diverse nature of my role. The law is constantly changing and evolving, which is what drew me to a career in law in the first place.
I also get to work with a variety of clients from right across the construction industry which means I am exposed to a mixture of projects in terms of size, value and location. I also get to work on jobs outside of UK jurisdiction, which often involves travel; another nice perk of the job.
However, the best part about my job is the feeling of satisfaction whenever I am able to achieve a good result for a client in a dispute.