1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your job and where in the world you work.
My name is Alessandro Morgan-Gianni, I am an Associate in the Professional Risks team based in Bristol. I joined DWF in September 2018.
2. What key industries/sectors do you work with?
In the Professional Risks team at DWF, we work to defend claims against a range of professionals. We are particularly well-regarded for our work with accountants and construction professionals. We primarily act for insurers and their insured professionals, working alongside insurance brokers, managing agents and third party claims handlers.
3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the variety that Professional Risks brings, we act for such a wide range of professionals that no two cases are the same and things are kept interesting.
I also enjoy the unique balance that it brings, working alongside institutional clients (large insurance companies) on the one hand, and then the insured professional, typically an SME (a sole trader/partnership/limited company) on the other. This means each case has to be looked at in two different ways and means that you get to be two different types of solicitor; advising, often, on the broader scope commercial issues with insurers, with high level advice on key items, as well as considering and advising on the all-important reserves and cost estimates, whilst being able to build a more personal relationship with the insured professional and with that relationship requiring greater synergy in terms of factual and technical matters, as well as drafting.
4. What makes Bristol unique compared to other locations?
It is very well positioned geographically in the UK, with easy access to Devon and Cornwall, Wales and the great outdoors. It is also not difficult to get into London along the motorways or by train.
It also has that big city feel, with distinguishable areas within the city, whilst not having the sprawling vastness of London or Manchester. You can quite easily walk from one side of the city to the other in an hour and a half or so.
The only downside to Bristol, but something that is not unique to cities in the UK, is the high levels of traffic congestion. The road networks in and around the city were developed a long time ago now and simply cannot cope with the volume of traffic! I do think improvement efforts are underway in the worst areas for congestion, however.
5. What piece of advice would you give to a young professional looking to work in the Bristol office?
You need to have an interest in one of the contentious practices concerning an insured's liability, for example, professional risks, personal injury or product liability, as that is the main focus of the DWF office here. There is great quality work here in this office, with an array of big insurer clients. You also get to work our excellent partners and directors, who are experts in their specialist areas and who you can learn a lot from.
There is also a good work-life balance in a hard-working team, there is no presenteeism, which should be made the most of. You can exchange the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities without sacrificing the other perks, such as quality entertainment and food. Bristol is also a great place to get back in touch with nature, as so many of the country's most beautiful spots are on your doorstep.
6. If a young professional from another country was coming to visit you, where would you take them?
If someone was to come in for a quick lunchtime bite, I would have to take them to Matina in St Nicholas Market. They serve fresh, high-quality food (mainly handmade naan breads filled with delicious meat or veggies) which is cooked right there in front of you and is a great example of what Bristol food has to offer.
To sample the Bristol music scene, I would also recommend the Fleece as they regularly have good live music there.
And finally, to get a sense of the beautiful landscape around the city, I would either take them for coffee or a pint at the Avon Gorge Hotel. This has fantastic views over the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge - one of the city's centrepieces. Or I would take them for stroll around Dundry village - which also has impressive views across Bristol.
7. If you could work anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
It would have to be the West Coast of America, probably San Francisco. The weather there is a lot warmer throughout the year but it is still a bit like Bristol, it has a big port, a coastal climate and lots of things to do outdoors. It has all the perks of California without the vastness and celebrity culture of Los Angeles.
Written by Hugh Lyon, Professional Risks Paralegal and Alessandro Morgan-Gianni, Associate Professional Risks
The views & recommendations in the article are of the author and not DWF