High Flyers: A passion for adventure is the law for Chris

Chris Ross, managing partner of commercial law firm McKees.

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Chris Ross, managing partner of commercial law firm McKees, which specialises in corporate, financial services, real estate and dispute resolution.

To take part in the High Flyers Q&A, get in touch via

What was your first job?

During the summer after my first year at university, I worked as a camp site courier for Canvas Holidays in the Loire Valley in France. As well as performing the usual camp site duties, I taught our guests to windsurf on the lake beside the camp.

What qualifications do you have?

I studied for my law degree in Manchester and qualified as a solicitor after completing the Law Society Finals Exam in Chester.

What do you attribute your success to?

I attribute my success to a positive mental attitude (I don’t do negativity) and my passion for adventure, instilled in me by my parents who took us on some fantastic family holidays as I was growing up. I tend to view obstacles and difficult situations as challenges which open doors to new opportunities.

How would you describe yourself to someone who'd never met you?

I would probably describe myself as determined, loyal and passionate. I love a good challenge. I like to laugh and have fun and have been described as energetic and lively!

Who do you look up to in business?

My father who was instrumental in growing our fourth generation family business into the dynamic commercial law firm it is today. Even during retirement, he still commands huge respect from clients and staff alike. He taught me the importance of sound judgment, clear advice and treating people fairly.

How do you get the best out of the people who work for you?

I always try to lead from the front and don’t expect any of my people to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Good communication (being interested – not interesting), constant encouragement and praise for a job well done always bring out the best in people.

If you could change one thing about business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

Slow down the pace of work, stop working at 100mph and reduce the level of frantic activity which leads to so much stress and mental health issues. I would love to see a return to long, lazy lunches with clients, colleagues and friends!

What website or app could you not live without?

Stupid Zombies on my iPhone is hugely addictive and has kept me amused on my travels for the last few years. It is a welcome release from the serious side of business management and development.

What was the last book you read?

“Making your Marque” by James Espey – 100 tips to build your personal brand and succeed in business. He gave a great talk in W5 last year and taught me that the most important brand that everyone must learn to manage is themselves. His passion for life and work is infectious.

What car do you drive?

A Land Rover Discovery Sport but I prefer driving my wife’s Fiat 500 which is great fun to drive round town and much easier to park!

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I worked with the Surgical Eye Expedition whose surgeons performed sight restoring cataract operations on local residents in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. The highlight though was being allowed into an operating theatre to watch one of the surgeons perform a Caesarean section procedure. An amazing and very humbling experience.

What's your greatest passion outside work and family?

It used to be training for and competing in triathlon events, but my body is telling me to slow down so I spend more time cycling now. I love the freedom and exhilaration of getting out early in the morning on my bike – preferably somewhere sunny with fantastic scenery like Majorca.

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