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Q&A with Keoghs Partner Chris Green
Food for Thought Winter '19
Since 1995 Chris has defended and prosecuted food, health & safety and environment cases and specialised exclusively in regulatory prosecutions. Chris sits on the IOSH Food and Drink Industries Group Committee and acts for large food manufacturers and FBO retail chains.
He is retained by large pub operators and suppliers. Recent cases include three separate new strands of salmonella food poisoning outbreaks where no prosecution was brought, successful appeal of a zero star food hygiene rating and advising a client in relation to the supply of an unlabelled allergen containing product which resulted in a customer suffering anaphylactic shock.
How long have you been with Keoghs?
Still in my first year here and liking every minute so far!
Can you tell us a bit more about your team?
I am one of six partners in a national team of 20 specialist regulatory lawyers, spread across our offices in the North Midlands and South. What’s really beneficial day-to-day is knowing that these cases are all we do and that there is genuine experience at all levels in all of the different work types that our clients may want our help with. We really do have the capacity and strength in depth within the Crime and Regulatory team to respond quickly to whatever type of incident may get called in at short notice.
What does a typical day in the office look like?
A lot of the time we are out helping clients and working in court, police stations, client premises, public speaking at events and delivering seminars and training in the boardroom so we can sometimes spend quite a few days at a time out of the office or on the road. Given the nature of what we do, we have to be available for new incidents, so it can mean a bit of unexpected scheduling at short notice. So to get a day or two to catch up on paperwork and to check up on progress with others in the region (we have five working out of the Midlands) is great.
We do like to be agile and allow our lawyers flexibility as there are a lot of tasks that can’t be scheduled at rigidly fixed times. Our IT and working electronically does permit much of our work to be completed from out of the office and we are all really keen to help everyone strike a bit of a balance.
What are the values that drive you?
I remember the first Environmental Law Partner I worked with as a newly qualified lawyer saying that we went out of our way to look after our clients and being told to “love your clients to bits”.
I must confess that I might have been more from the “live to work” school of thought than “work to live.” The firm has just published our collective values and working hard while being approachable and down to earth really struck a chord with me both personally and professionally. Being involved in building specialist regulatory teams and watching them grow, with the junior lawyers developing and learning their craft, still really drives me to come to work every day. To guide our clients to manage their way through some of the most key business critical events and on some of the worst days that they may ever have to face in a career, is a real privilege.
What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
We do unfortunately see a lot more individuals being prosecuted personally these days and the best calls I make are the ones where I get to ring the client and tell them that the proceedings against them are being dropped.
We never forget that many of our cases arise after someone may have died or been seriously injured but it is nice to be able to tell companies or Directors personally that the case has reached an end and they can begin to move back to normality.
On a personal level to get on with your team and really like them, and working alongside them, is another really enjoyable and important part of why I have been doing this now for over 25 years!
Finally, what’s your favourite food and/or drink?
The team would probably say any type of black coffee, from the amount of it I drink, but my own preference whenever I can is for a bottle of “Bitter Blue” which is usually while I am relaxing out of work. With two teenage daughters telling me to save the planet and go vegan I may have to make the most of my Beef Wellington while I still can!