Al Goodwin

Consultant Solicitor

What’s your background?

I trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a top City law firm, before going on to work at several well-known global and national firms (including five years as a partner at Foot Anstey LLP, successfully growing a new practice area). In 2016, I joined one of my clients, a global advanced manufacturing and engineering group, as Head of Commercial. Two years later, I opted for the freedom of consultancy roles (while still advising my former employers), bringing a pragmatic, commercial perspective to my legal work.

During my career, I’ve successfully advised on contracts and projects that have a combined value of more than £40 billion. I’ve also been able to gain useful in-house perspectives from secondments to the Ministry of Defence and MAMA Group (a subsidiary of HMV plc at the time) and have more recently been working (on a self-employed basis) with Google’s legal team. I’ve acted for all shapes and sizes of clients, from central government departments through to small charities, and this experience has often helped me to provide insights into other parties’ mindsets.

What do you love about what you do?

I get the biggest buzz from being presented with something complicated or challenging, and helping to find a way to break it down into something more manageable? ?. Sometimes, that’s about applying practical experience and legal knowledge, but equally often, it’s about using plain English to communicate unfamiliar or complex things, so that everyone knows where they stand and what to do.

I’m also a big believer in the power of collaboration – which I think is a well-used but poorly understood word. I’ll generally try to find the collaborative way forward, although sometimes, you just have to roll up your sleeves and fight your client’s corner.

Going self-employed at the start of 2018 has proved to be one of the best moves I ever made. It means that I get to consult for Pritchetts Law (and work with Stephanie and Ben? ?, which is a genuine pleasure), but also enjoy a wider range of work for other clients, which can often come in handy when cross-pollinating ideas and experiences? ?.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

I think the biggest highlights come from playing a part in delivering a tangible result. One deal that I worked on involved a quasi-disposal of a licensed nuclear site – it was hugely complex, entailed getting new legislation passed and took a large team months to deliver, but we ended up creating a new legal model and, even better, saving the UK taxpayer over £200 million.

Another, more recent example involved helping a charity that had been treated abysmally by a very high-handed local authority. In a real team effort, where I learned a lot about exactly what the charity did, and the charity’s senior management learned more than they ever wanted to know about public procurement law, we successfully challenged the local authority’s decision and forced a total climb-down? ?. It always feels good when the right thing ends up winning the day!

Of course, external recognition’s nice, too, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be shortlisted for the Financial Times 2013/14 "Innovative Lawyer of the Year" award and, going back even further, named by The Times Online as a "Future Star of the Regions" – whatever that means!

Tell us about a few things you love doing.

Outside law, I enjoy living the rural life – variously feeding, exercising and being outwitted by my pigs, bees and three children. I’ve been known to cook a fair bit, too, and to go running far less often than I should.

Expertise and accreditations

BA Law with French Law, Hertford College, University of Oxford and Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2)
LPC, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice

“Al Goodwin is an exceptional projects lawyer who, in my view, is on a par with the best lawyers with whom I have dealt.”

David McIntosh, Head of Commercial Law, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority


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