By Laurie Stone, Editor At Large
LAURIE STONE, Editor At Large, sits down with litigator DAN MORRISON, senior partner of Mayfair’s top legal practice, GROSVENOR LAW.
THE business community is at last emerging from its Covid chrysalis now that the war against the virus appears well on the way to being won. But there will be many battles still to fight for the high-net-worth clients of Mayfair-based UK and international litigation practice, Grosvenor Law.
The firm’s senior partner, Dan Morrison, has recovered billions for his clients since he founded Grosvenor Law in 2011 and he expects to be ultra-busy in the months that lie ahead.
“Some sectors of the economy have been hit hard by the pandemic – travel, commercial property landlords, and entertainment have suffered badly – but most of my clients have weathered the storm,” he told The Business Influencer.
“Commodity prices are up, most property has held up despite gloomy forecasts, and there is pent-up demand in the economy, plus many predictions that it will revive stronger, leaner, and fitter.
“But it’s also clear that my team will be handling a number of significant disputes in the aftermath of the pandemic: pre-Covid deals that have gone sour, managing distressed assets as people look to recover cash and re-boot and restructure their businesses, and there will be a groundswell of private client disputes which will come bubbling to the surface.
“And, of course, law enforcement agencies will get back to work with a bang, looking to justify their budgets and to hit some high-profile targets. That’s why clients need forceful and robust representation.”
Even though the ‘new normal’ of Zoom calls may apply in the business world, Morrison says there is no substitute for sitting in a room, whether it is with the client to agree legal strategy or with an opponent, either to hammer out a settlement or to pile on pressure to reach a satisfactory outcome.
“In high-stakes litigation, there is nowhere to hide. Our clients hire us because they want to win. They demand the best and that’s what we try to deliver. We fight as hard as we can. All of the time.”
Morrison makes no apologies for his sometimes-colourful language: “I was born in East London. My team fights to win. It is a personal mission to prevail in a fight, whether it is in a court room or in a private settlement environment.”
Before setting up Grosvenor Law, he worked for two of the UK’s top legal outfits, first with Freshfields, and then Mishcon del Raya, which he joined in 1999, becoming a partner just three years later.
He explains: “Looking back, I was probably braver leaving Mishcon de Reya than I realised at the time, but I wanted my own ‘shop’ and a chance to do things my way.
Mayfair is a deliberate choice: that’s where our clients are. We go to the clients. We think like they do. I am entrepreneur so I think that gives me an edge.
“It simply made sense when so many of my high-net-worth target customers lived in and around Mayfair – why would they want to flog through traffic to Holborn and the City.
“Complexity never fazes us and I love a good argument; I have a team of 30 I can call upon for the largest cases. We work with the country’s top QCs, whether it is a commercial dispute, a criminal case or a divorce hearing. We also work with the smartest players in public relations, computer forensics and asset tracing. No matter what, we bring the same tenacious approach to our assignments. That’s who we are. We fight to win.
“It’s also about knowing your client, what they want – this might sound like a cliché but I’m not sure many lawyers understand how deeply personal litigation is for a client. I’ve been in this profession for 25 years, but it took me a few years to work it out too.
“It’s about looking at an issue through the client’s eyes. For an entrepreneur who has built a business it’s deeply personal – as important as a family matter, sometimes more important – so, when things go south or people mess with you then the same instinct that made them determined to succeed kicks in.
“That’s why our ‘We fight to win’ approach resonates with them. They don’t see losing as an option and they want a champion fighting their corner. Their business achievements define them. They want legal counsel to stand up for them.
“But it’s not just about a Rottweiler approach, although I have been called that many times. You must still take a ‘cerebral legal’ approach too. In the law, brain power counts. So does strategic insight. And you need to be brave. Clients trust us with their lives, their liberty and their livelihoods. We have a duty to repay that faith, and I think we do.”
What does he do when he is not shouting at the other side, or asking the Judge to rule for his clients? Dan and his wife, Nathalie, manage the family’s wine estates, in France and South Africa. Trying to keep up with their four kids is a challenge, but no worse than suing an oligarch for billions of dollars or getting a client out of an African prison.