Meet the Team – Gary Knight

Next up it’s time for Gary Knight to answer the questions in our latest Meet the Team instalment.

First job you ever had? On leaving school I became a trainee Tea Broker – this consisted of tasting 244 teas on the Monday with an auctioneers book and noting the condition of the leaf both dry and wet and commenting on the sample. Would then attend the London Tea auction with orders to buy from the likes of Tetley and Brooke Bond. Was actually good fun.

What led you to work in this field? I was fortunate in that my older brother Jim Knight co-founded a firm of Costs Draftsmen. Having spent 5 years drinking tea for a living, I was looking for a change and Jim offered me a chance to train under him and I’ve never looked back.

Best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? Treat people how you would like to be treated – applies in life as well as at work.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of our company right now? The team – we have so much talent; all of our Costs Lawyers have considerable experience with us old ‘uns closing in on 40 years in the profession! All are employed by the firm unlike some firms who insist on their employees becoming self-employed and then paid a percentage of their invoicing. Staff are the life blood of a firm and as such should be treated fairly; loyalty is a two way street.

What’s your most used productivity hack? CostsMaster.

What’s the best thing about being a costs lawyer? Variety – we can be involved in providing general advice on costs; preparing Bills of Costs and Replies to Points taken, in the alternative preparing Points of Dispute and negotiating settlement; dealing with preparation of budgets; advocacy at Costs Management/Detailed Assessment.

What’s the worst thing about being a costs lawyer? Difficult opponents – the aim is to achieve the best outcome for the client; taking unnecessary, repetitive points helps neither side.

What would you be if you weren’t a costs lawyer? Centre forward for West Ham United, but given my age, an extra in Eastenders.

Best thing about working at Harmans? It really is the team. Each and every member goes out of their way to help clients and help each other and the way the team pulled together during the pandemic meant we got through an incredibly difficult period intact.

Biggest misconception about costs lawyers? Too expensive – failure to use the services of a good Costs Lawyer can cost clients more in the long run.

How do you explain what you do for a living to family and friends? At great length, and when their eyes glaze over I say I work out how much a solicitor should be paid at the end of a case.

Work related achievement that you’re proud of? Seven years on the Association of Costs Draftsman (ALCD) as was, now the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL), including one year as Vice-Chair. The profession has come on in leaps and bounds since I started in costs back in 1983.

Biggest work pet peeve? Clients who still fail to record the nature of lengthy attendances be it with client or counsel and the time spent. So many taxations/assessments where attendances are challenged and the ones with file notes are allowed and the ones unsupported are struck out.

If you could change one thing about your job what would it be? The view from my office window… a tropical beach would be my preferred option.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? Date nights, catching up with family and friends and kicking back.

What are you currently binge watching? Final season of The Walking Dead which I have to watch alone, and with my better half it’s Midsomer Murders, up to season 16.

Do you have any pets? Can we see a photo? Meet Bow the dog.

If you could have dinner with one famous person who would it be? Robin Williams – comic genius and underrated actor.

Do you have a hidden talent? I can sleep 11 hours Saturdays and Sundays.

Favourite sport to watch? What about to play? Football – West Ham but not so much this season. Rugby – Saracens/England and most of the Golf Majors. Now too old to play football, so I play golf (badly).

Connect with Gary on LinkedIn.