THE (NOT SO) LONELY LITIGATOR’S CLUB 27: DANIEL HERMAN (WITH DETAILS OF THE DANNY TURNBULL SCHOLARSHIP)
Our latest member is Daniel Herman a partner at Stewarts in Leeds. I have asked Daniel one additional question in addition to the usual seven. As everyone knows the constitution of the Club includes the aim of encouraging people to become lawyers from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible. Daniel Herman joining gives me an opportunity to pass on details of the Danny Turnbull Scholarship. This is awarded to an individual who is disabled and wants to undertake the Legal Practice Course at the any of the University of Law’s campuses.
Where are you working from now
I’m working from my home in a small village near Easingwold, North Yorkshire. We’re lucky to have an office at home but this was commandeered by my wife at the start of lockdown. I was sent packing up into the loft which is where I’ve spent most of the last few months.
What has been most difficult about working remotely?
2. I think I’ve coped pretty well with working from home. Of course, I’ve missed seeing my colleagues and in particular the seemingly endless supply of cakes and treats they bring to the office. But the biggest issue for me has been that every working day is spent sat at the same desk. I can’t wait until my days are spent visiting clients, attending conferences in chambers, being in court, and doing all the other little things that make each day different.
What has been your biggest technical challenge?
3. We’ve all had dual monitors in the office for years and so working on my Surface Pro’s small screen proved frustrating at first. My firm quickly decided to allow give everyone a budget to buy a second screen: I ended up investing in an ultra-wide monitor which offers as much screen space as three regular monitors. It did take me a few days to work out how to adjust the display settings though…
Is there anything (work wise) that you wish you had with you
4. Had you asked me this question a few weeks ago, I would have said one of the fantastic multi-function printers in the office because I always preferred to print off draft documents and mark them up by hand…
What has been the most helpful thing you’ve learned.
5. …but over the last few weeks I’ve genuinely embraced paperless working. In the whole time I’ve been working from home, I think I’ve only printed off three documents – a testament to my improved IT skills and my wife’s zealous guarding of her printer ink.
Do you think this is going to change the way you work in the future?
6. The biggest change has been the widespread adoption of video call apps. The whole country has been having business meetings, family gatherings and catch up coffees over Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. Certainly the number of “normal” telephone calls with clients has reduced significantly. There are very real advantages in speaking to a client with video as well as audio: you can better detect whether your advice is going down well; you can see whether your client is engaged in the conversation; you can sense whether your client is in pain and needs a break; and you can tell whether your client understands what you are saying. I can’t imagine going back to “normal” telephone calls after lockdown.
What is the first thing you are going to do when you are out of lockdown?
7. My wife, my son and I have agreed that, once lockdown is over, we’re going to eat out every evening for a fortnight. All that weight I have lost as a consequence of lockdown exercising will be back on before I know it.
Tell us about the Danny Turnbull Scholarship
8. My partner and friend Danny Turnbull very sadly died in 2017. Danny was with Stewarts for 17 years, joining as a paralegal in 2000 before qualifying as a lawyer and being made partner. Danny was a fantastic advocate for and inspiration to those with spinal cord injury. He was a trustee of the Back Up Trust and in November 2017 was posthumously awarded the David Norman Cup for an Inspirational Person with a spinal cord injury. The fact that the church at which his funeral took place was packed with many people following the service outside tells you everything about the man and the many lives he touched.
Following Danny’s passing, the trustees of The Stewarts Foundation decided to establish a scholarship in his memory to assist other disabled people realise their ambition of becoming a solicitor. The scholarship is awarded each year to a disabled individual who wishes to study the Legal Practice Course at any of the University of Law’s campuses. Details of the scholarship are available here.