1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am Tony Wentworth, I’m a partner at Jacksons working in the company commercial department based from our Stockton office. I handle a mix of business sales and acquisitions, business financing, business administration and business to business contracting. I originally joined Jacksons as a trainee solicitor in 1986 and have been with the firm ever since.
2. Where did you go to school/uni?
I went to St Gabriels (Ormesby) and St Albans (Redcar) primary schools before going to secondary school in Carlisle. I then studied for my law degree at Liverpool University and sat my solicitor exams at Chester College of Law.
3. What brought you to Jacksons?
I’m from Teesside and wanted to come back to Teesside to work after I’d finished my university education. I didn’t know a great deal about the Teesside legal market at that time and so I took advice from a neighbour of my parents, who was an accountant with a practice in Stockton. He advised me that the two most highly regarded firms were Jacksons Monk and Rowe and Cohen Jackson. I applied to both and took up a position with Jacksons Monk and Rowe. Shortly after I joined, Jacksons Monk and Rowe and Cohen Jackson merged to become Jacksons and so I ended up working for both of the most highly regarded firms on Teesside! The fact that I’m still here 35 years later is testament to the fact that I made the right choice.
4. Why did you decide to stay at Jacksons throughout your career?
As stated above, because I made the correct choice at the very outset. Over the entirety of my career, Jacksons has always maintained its reputation in the Teesside legal market. It is also a firm that cares for and supports its staff and I’ve worked with, and continue to work with, lots of wonderful people. Why would I move ?
5. What do you love about being a corporate lawyer?
The variation of the work, no two businesses are the same and no to jobs are the same. Corporate work has also given me the opportunity to meet and work with many of the inspirational people who have been the key shapers of the Teesside economy over the past 35 years.
6. What changes or difficulties have you seen in Teesside during the time you’ve been with Jacksons?
When I first began my career, Teesside was in a state of transition. Its economy had traditionally been fuelled by behemoth industries such as steelmaking, which, at that time was already in steep decline, chemical manufacturing, which was in the process of being fragmented and shipbuilding, which had all but gone. Over the course of my career I have seen Teesside re-invent itself from a region which was largely dependent upon those traditional industries, to one which is now driven, much more, by the ambition and entrepreneurship of its people. Most recently, I’ve seen an explosion of new businesses in the digital and tech sectors, which gave me great confidence that the baton is now in the hands young, energetic and ambitious people who are putting the building blocks in place which will see Teesside continue to evolve and thrive well into the 21st century.
Oh, and the recent government announcements concerning the free port and Treasury North developments aren’t going to do any harm either!
7. How do you see the future for Teesside?
I would refer you to my answer above. I’m more optimistic now about the future prospects of Teesside than I have ever been.
8. What do you do to support the local business community?
I have been a trustee of the Endeavour Education Trust (a multi academy trust) for the past four years and before that I was a school governor for thirteen years. I am a great believer in the power education; the better that we equip our young people with valuable skill sets and help them to blossom into considerate, socially aware citizens, the more that we will all benefit from their contribution to society and the economy for many years to come.
9. What projects/matters which you been involved with are you most proud to be associated with?
The privatisation and sale of Tees & Hartlepool Port Authority is probably the most high profile transaction that I’ve been involved in. The port was, up until that point, a trust port which was very restricted in its powers to invest in and develop its facilities. Freeing it from those restrictions has led to the port developing beyond all recognition from the organisation and facility that it once was. It’s opportunities will only be further enhanced by the recently conferred free port status.
Whilst highlighting that one particular transaction, the fact of the matter is that, I’ve helped more business owners than I could ever remember to achieve their ambitions. Each job, no matter how large or small, is hugely important to that client at that time, and so I’m proud of each and every one of them.
10. What do you do in your free time?
I’m a season ticket holder at Middlesbrough Football Club and regularly watch them play (quite often badly). I play golf (invariably badly) and I also enjoy cycling (in a slow, meandering, from café to pub to café sort of way). Also, we have a pool table in our house and I’m still able to beat my kids more often than not, which still gives me loads of (very sad) competitive dad pleasure.
11. Sum up why Jacksons is a great place to work in one sentence.
Working with my wonderful, talented colleagues and our inspiring clients.