Stefano D’Ambrosio, environmental and planning solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, on how he got started in property. He also shares his cultural tips, his worst purchase and what he would do with a million pounds.
How did you join the property industry?
I started my career as an environmental lawyer in Peru working on large-scale natural resources projects. Personal reasons incentivised me to come to the UK and dual-qualify as a solicitor here. I started looking for opportunities in environmental and planning law, which led me to find my current position as part of Irwin Mitchell’s real estate team.
What does your job entail?
I am responsible for dealing with standalone environmental issues and giving legal assistance in environmental matters during property transactions. Some of my recent work has involved working on environmental due diligence, planning permissions, renewable energies and environmental permits.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The possibility of working on a wide variety of cases. As all industries need to deal with property matters, we work with clients of many backgrounds and deal with different issues on a daily basis.
And what do you dislike most about it?
There is a clear political focus on accelerating the construction of houses, but this might mean overlooking environmental protection. For example, there is a proposal to grant automatic outline planning permission for developments in ‘growth’ zones. However, there are concerns over how the environmental impacts would be identified and mitigated.
What would you change about the property industry?
I would like to see greater concern over the effects of housing on climate change. The housing shortage needs to be addressed, but the government’s plan is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this, the design and construction of houses will need to take green technologies and environmental concerns into consideration.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
My past two years were full of accomplished challenges. First,
I completed my lifelong goal of regaining my Italian citizenship, for which I had to show evidence that I was the descendant of my Italian great-grandfather. Later, I relocated to the UK and passed the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) exams to dual-qualify as a solicitor, which involved significant time and effort. Finally, I managed to land a position as a solicitor in a highly recognised firm, Irwin Mitchell, working on my favourite subject, environmental law.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud that I have been able to dual-qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. When I took the QLTS exams, I already had seven years of work experience in Peru. However, it was still a considerable challenge, as Peru follows the civil law system while the UK follows the common law system.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Work hard and try to learn as much as possible. Also, take your time to find out how you want to develop your career, as it is possible to direct your career in many ways and different law areas.