IF YOU’VE EVER NEEDED LOCAL LEGAL ADVICE, THEN YOU’RE PROBABLY ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH THE TALENTED TEAM AT TRINITY CHAMBERS. THEY’VE BEEN SUPPORTING ISLANDERS WITH EVERYTHING FROM WILLS TO PROPERTY PURCHASES FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND CONTINUE TO GROW FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH. A TESTAMENT TO THIS IS THE ADDITION OF PETER STAHELIN, WHO RECENTLY JOINED THE FIRM AS A LEGAL CONSULTANT. WE CAUGHT UP WITH PETER FOR A CHAT ABOUT MOVING TO GUERNSEY, HIS PASSION FOR HELPING BUSINESSES TO GROW, AND HIS IRREPRESSIBLE LOVE OF HOCKEY.
Tell us a little about your background. You’re not from Guernsey originally, are you?
No, I originally qualified as an English solicitor and subsequently as a Guernsey Advocate. Having lived in the UK for most of my life, I discovered Guernsey via a life-long passion of mine, hockey, and made many friends during 20 years of Easter hockey festivals at Footes Lane. Subsequent summers spent in Guernsey with my wife and children over a 10-year period cemented our love of the island and when the opportunity came up for me, work-wise, we jumped at the chance to move as a family.
How has your career developed?
Throughout my career, I have been a ‘commercial’ lawyer with extensive experience both in-house and in private practice. I’ve also been a Board member and legal adviser to a range of businesses, including retail, real estate, telecoms, pensions and, regulated industries as well as individuals and families. I have a wide-ranging combination of legal and regulatory experience with a very commercial and practical orientation and approach, including being comfortable with financial questions and budgets.
What about the shift to becoming a legal consultant – how did you decide to make the jump? After an unexpected health problem at the beginning of the year, thankfully now resolved, I decided that it was time to take better control of my life, which in work terms I describe as ‘doing the sort of work I enjoy for the sort of people I enjoy working with’. The logical way to achieve this was for me to become a legal consultant. This would give me the chance to work with other professionals and business people to continue to help and advise on commercial and trust legal matters and contribute to the development of others’ businesses. I am not afraid of an argument or debate, but feel that a more constructive contribution facilitates agreement and progress; I firmly believe that a ‘win at all costs’ or ‘there can only be a winner or a loser,’ approach ultimately benefits no one. It’s far better to recognise that there always needs to be a long-term goal and understanding that what goes around, comes around.
What attracted you to Trinity Chambers?
I knew Andrew and had dealt with Trinity Chambers in the past and felt that we had a similar approach and views. I instinctively knew that working together would benefit both my existing client base and Trinity’s. I firmly believe that Andrew’s team’s skills and experience are complemented by the range and scope of consultancy I can offer, and I look forward to working with them and their colleagues as and when appropriate.
How do you see yourself working with the team? Andrew and Sam have shown a willingness to operate in the flexible and proactive way I was looking for, without undue or unnecessary obligations or commitments on either side. We see our relationship going forward as being mature and practical. There will always be times when we need or want to go our separate ways or work with others, but we will work closely together when it is right and appropriate. I have always taken a keen interest in my clients’ business and projects and see myself as an adviser, not just a lawyer. I am confident that my consultancy with Trinity and others will allow that to continue and develop.
What about your spare time; what do you do outside work?
Alongside my legal consultancy work, I am looking forward to carrying on my community involvement with projects such as the Island Games, both as a legal adviser and volunteer, Vive La Valette (although I need to work on the courage for the sea swimming part!), ‘Only Fools and Donkeys’ and other Island sporting and voluntary bodies. During my time as Guernsey Hockey president, we worked in partnership to deliver a fabulous hockey pitch and stand facilities, and I am delighted to say that my sons have also inherited my love of hockey - so the link continues! As far as I am concerned, consultancy is the ‘next step’ rather than a start of winding down or retirement. I know I still have a lot to give and at least as much to learn.