Today, Clive Halperin specialises in corporate and commercial, technology, internet and intellectual property law. Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, he qualified and practised as a pharmacist. What was it that persuaded him to change lanes? For the latest in our series of GSC Stories celebrating 50 years of GSC Solicitors LLP, Clive explains his fascination with the legal world.
I was working in a pharmacy but I was keen to build a broader base of knowledge—something that might at some point help me in running my own pharmacy. With my boss’ agreement I took a business course at night school. One of the modules was law. I found it fascinating and absorbed it all.
I considered taking law further but let the idea percolate for a while. This wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly. When I committed to going to law school, I reasoned that, even if I didn’t like it, some legal education would surely come in useful.
When I started studying, I realised that every element of society in a country like the UK revolves around law. It felt as though my learning gave me the key to unpick the lock of how the world works.
Law is so integral to everyone and every aspect of life. Whether you’re a pharmacist, a doctor, an architect; if you’re buying a product, selling your house or borrowing money, your rights and obligations are governed by the law.
Law influences the relatively small and superficial, like what happens when your builder doesn’t turn up or the dry cleaner damages your clothes. It provides the platform and set of rules for the biggest, most profound things in life like buying a company or getting divorced. If you happen to find yourself getting arrested, it’s the law that will come to your rescue.
Before you study law, the mechanism for this seems quite mysterious and daunting, as though it’s hidden in some big, mysterious cloud. Once you study law, you understand how to analyse and get to grips with a legal problem.
That’s not to say you can be an expert in every area, any more than a surgeon can be an expert in every area of medicine, but you understand the processes; you have the tools and the ability to apply them.
In a country governed by the rule of law, having those tools made me feel as though I was privy to some secret understanding of the way things work.
For me, that’s where the fascination with law always lay. It still does.