Private Equity Solicitor

Number of lawyers in corporate team: 76

Private equity specialists: 23

Q&A with private equity solicitor Matthew Kichenside, who joined in 2020 from Goodwin Procter

Why did you not choose to go down the route of becoming a partner at a traditional law firm?

What put me off the idea of partnership at a traditional firm was the mismatch between the aspirations I had for my own practice and the overall business strategy. At a lot of the established firms, I would not have the freedom to develop my practice in the way that I really want to. The other very important element was remuneration and at Keystone, there is a far closer correlation between the work that I do and the amount I get paid for doing it.

Did you have a book of business when you joined Keystone? What did your business plan look like when joining?

Similar to most senior associates looking at the partnership track, I did not really have an established book of business. However, what I did have was a developed network of contacts who I was confident would give me the chance to prove myself in an independent capacity.

What drew you to Keystone?

I already knew a number of industry contacts who referred work to certain lawyers at Keystone. It was an obvious first choice in that regard. Keystone’s ability to on-board people quickly, as well as the sophistication of their IT infrastructure to be able to facilitate remote working and provide the sort of flexibility necessary for my practice, was ideal. 

How has Keystone helped you to grow your practice?

Keystone has a wide variety of practice areas and specialisms, which a lot of the law firms who deal with private equity do not ordinarily have. Some of those services are more appropriate for management teams than they are for financial sponsors, which has made for fantastic cross-referral opportunities.

What do you most enjoy about life as a Keystone lawyer?

A platform like Keystone attracts very like-minded people who have become disenchanted with the existing conventional law firm model. Working in an environment where everyone is focused on the same things, who value the same things and want the same out of their practice, is very compelling. 

What would you say it takes to be a successful Keystone lawyer?

Firstly, you need to have an entrepreneurial streak in your personality and want to build their own business. Alongside that comes self-discipline. If you are running your own practice, you need to be motivated to do the work and actually commit to making a success of it. 

What advice would you give to other young lawyers weighing up the partnership and consultancy model routes?

My advice would be fortune favours the brave. Bravery does not necessarily guarantee success, but the odds are stacked in your favour if you are willing to step out and leverage your network of contacts. By the time you have reached the level where you are able to step out on your own, you do have that expertise. Be confident and willing to take it to the next level.

To watch a video interview with Matthew Kichenside, please click on the play button.