Jack Khurana Interview – Released to Succeed
Jack Khurana, you’re a Spencer West Partner specialising in commercial disputes and employment law. You’ve had positive comments on LinkedIn about the adventurous physical challenges you undertake, including rather scary-looking assault courses. How does it feel to push yourself like this?
Exhilarating. I can’t tell you how great it felt to be in that pen at the start of a 13.2km Spartan Obstacle Course, with ‘Carmina Burana’ (music from The Omen movie) blaring loudly whilst waiting for the klaxon to sound. When it went, it felt like being released back into the wild. And then the first hill nearly killed me!
How did you get into all this high-intensity physical activity?
I first came across Spartan Assault Courses two or three years ago, via the gym I joined when I moved to this area (Leicestershire, England). The other people in my gym classes, most of whom are all much younger than me liked the look of it, and I thought why not sign up for it as well? It was a 6km run with climbing frames, ropes, and you could get up to your neck in mud. What could possibly go wrong? I had to test my limits.
Do you like to push yourself in your professional life as well?
I absolutely do. Physical activity is great training for professional challenges of all kinds. On an individual level, it’s about testing yourself. When you’re doing it in a group, like you are on these assault courses, it’s about helping each other to overcome obstacles. It’s about the mental challenge as much as the physical one, about having the support of your friends.
“Spencer West’s culture of collaboration is hugely encouraging.”
Whether you’re on a climbing frame that’s 25feet up in the air, spear throwing, going over a fire jump, or facing a really challenging professional brief, you need the positive mindset that says, “I can do this”. When you work in a culture of collaboration like we do at Spencer West, it’s hugely encouraging.
Spencer West’s fee-sharing model releases its partners to manage their own workloads. Has this self-management culture been an advantage?
Absolutely it has. The firms I worked at before, in an employed capacity, had fixed expectations around your daily schedule. I had to get up at 5am to get to the gym for 5.30am. Now, if I manage my work and client relationships, I don’t have to go to the gym at 5am anymore. I’m in control of my own time and workload.
“I’m massively happier, both professionally and personally, since coming to Spencer West.”
I pride myself on being able to give the best, highest quality service to my clients, and without those fixed corporate expectations getting in the way, there are none of those heart-sink moments when you get pulled away. So, I’m massively happier, both professionally and personally, since coming to Spencer West.
Does the physical activity involve support for good causes?
In the back of my mind, I’d always thought it would be quite nice to do some volunteering work and give back to the community, but I’d not really done anything about it apart from a 100 mile bike ride raising money for liver and pancreatic cancer research. Coming to the ESG meetings and seeing how passionately and wholeheartedly my partners at the firm support good causes has really pushed me to start volunteering.
“Because Spencer West is so supportive of ESG, we constantly hear about the inspiring things partners are doing.”
Recently, I was a marshal at a charity running event, “Conquer the Castle”. I met people I’d never met before, and it gave me great satisfaction and enjoyment to clap and encourage the people who were doing the running. It was one of the first running events post-lockdown and it was in the stunning grounds of Rockingham Castle in Northamptonshire. The entry fees were donated to charity by the organisers, and some of the entrants were running for a specific local charity, and I’m now in touch with them on LinkedIn.
I’ve also just filed my application to be a volunteer for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I’m originally from Birmingham; my Mum still lives there and my son goes to university there. It’s so exciting that this is coming to my home city.
Is physical activity something you always did, or has it been a more recent thing for you?
I’ve been up and down to be honest. I wasn’t very good at sports at school. I was always the last person to be picked for every team event. Then a couple of school friends and I signed up for the Brum Fun Run at the age of 19. But the whole business of university and becoming an adult, buying a house, a car, having a family, means that physically activity can easily take a back seat.
“I’m no Action Man, it’s about getting involved.”
I was a smoker, back in the old days. I stopped when the smoking ban came in 2007, and I’ve never looked back. My health has got better, and when I hit 50 I took the view that I had to start taking better care of myself. I don’t think my parents really appreciated the benefits and by the time they started to take notice, it was a bit of an uphill struggle for them. I think I might have injured my ankle at the latest race – but you have to take responsibility for your own health and safety with these things. I’ll give myself time to recuperate. I’m no Action Man, believe me. I just love getting involved. And now that I am involved, wild horses wouldn’t stop me.