Julie Dacre Field, partner at law firm Gowling WLG, on how she got started in property, her top book and song recommendations, the superpower she wishes she had and the most ridiculous fact she knows
How did you join the property industry?
I have always had an interest in buildings and architecture, even as a child – something I inherited from my father. It was almost inevitable that I would end up working in property in some shape or form. When I qualified as a solicitor, I was fortunate enough to find a role that enabled me to work in an area that I love and that is continuously evolving.
What does your job entail?
I head the new Leeds office of Gowling WLG and lead the residential development team there. Primarily, my job involves working with a variety of clients in residential development, strategic land, the private rented sector and regeneration. I have a mixed client base, which keeps life interesting.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The people. I feel very fortunate to work with some of the most genuine and lovely people – both as clients and as colleagues. I have worked with many of them for more than 15 years, which is indicative of the strength of relationships within the industry.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The challenges in the planning regime, which result in uncertainty for everyone within the industry.
What would you change about the property industry?
All industries need to grow and evolve to ensure they successfully meet changing needs and requirements. The housing market is no diff erent – and we do have an industry that is prepared to challenge itself to innovate and adapt.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
The housing market itself has faced numerous challenges over the years and, like many of those in the industry, my team and I have had to adapt and change to meet those challenges. Nothing stands still for very long, and most challenges provide opportunities to embrace new ways of thinking.
What are you most proud of in your career?
There are many career highlights for me – and I have been very fortunate to work on some amazing schemes and developments over the years. However, I am most proud of the longstanding relationships I have built with those in the property industry, some of which have spanned my whole career. I still feel very lucky to work with clients who value my contribution and include me as part of their team.
What do you value in people?
Honesty and integrity.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
The industry covers a broad spectrum of expertise. The people who work in it are invariably knowledgeable and interesting. Talk to as many people as you can, ask lots of questions and build relationships with those around you. Try to experience as many parts of the industry as you can – and do not be afraid to try new things.