Amber Melville-Brown

What was your first-ever job?

A bicycle-riding guide around a Kentish holiday camp.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

Being locked in a police cell with an irate client arrested for an assault.

I’ve had better days – as, I suspect, had he.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

As new counsel at Withers I’m still working on that. The firm’s all-singing, all-dancing intranet site is a good place to start.

What time do you usually leave the office?

As a crisis manager my office is in my head – and I try to keep that with me at all times.

What do you do at weekends?

London has so much to offer that it would be rude not to give it all a try. That’s if I’m not fire-fighting for a client, in which case I spend it on the phone.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

J Sheekey in Central ­London. Fishily fabulous.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?

Disappointed. I might choose to indulge my love of writing – I could always legal my own copy.

Who’s your hero and why?

I’ve been inspired to take an interest in the world around me by Sir David Attenborough, who shows us the beauty, danger and excitement of the natural world.

When I teach I also aspire to do the same with the unnatural world of media law.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The media – without it work would be far less exciting.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The media – without it work would be a whole lot easier.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

As a lawyer specialising in defamation and breach of confidence I probably have to decline to comment ‘for legal reasons’.

What car do you drive?

A snazzy little red number – the No 15 Routemaster bus to be precise (but I have a driver).

What book are you reading?

A World Without Bees by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum. It’s a fascinating insight into their alien world and where we’d be without them.

What’s on your iPod?

Some dust and a few bits of fluff – I’ve not yet worked out how to download onto it.

Help anyone?

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

I have very happy ­memories of my twin sister Honey and I being read Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh when we were young.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?

As a media lawyer, most people expect you to be scintillating dinner party company.

Sadly you have to disabuse them, as most of it is entirely off-limits. But before the burgeoning law of privacy really took off I was involved in the action defending the ­photographer who took photographs of Princess Diana in the gym, ­published in the Daily Mirror. Trying to apply the law in a new and ­creative way is always exciting.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?

My sparkly Miu Mius – one for the left foot, one for the right.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?

Self-employed for the past five years, I only had to confer with myself and did so in the best locations I could find.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

The past five years.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

I’d have to say Lesley Joseph because she’s smart, she’s spirited, she’s short… and she’s my mate.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

Anyone – which is why I always take the stairs.

CV
Name:
Amber Melville-Brown
Firm: Withers
Title: Of counsel
Lives: London SE1
Education:
1985-89: BA (Hons) French and Italian, University College London
1990-91: CPE, College of Law, Chancery Lane, London
1991-92: LSFE, College of Law, ­London
Work history:
1993-95: Trainee, Simons Muirhead & Burton
1996-2002: Solicitor and head of defamation, Stephens Innocent and Finers Stephens ­Innocent
2002-03: Partner, Schillings
2003-09: Consultant, David Price Solicitors & Advocates
2009-present: Of counsel, Withers