Paul Kitson: Russell Jones & Walker (RJW)

What was your first-ever job?

Cleaning boats on the ­Norfolk Broads. My first self-employed job was as an ice-cream salesman.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
In the conveyancing department I successfully completed on a house
purchase, but failed to complete on the ­corresponding sale. For a couple of days my client was unexpectedly the owner of two houses.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
7pm-ish.

What do you do at weekends?
On Saturdays I ferry my sons to parties. On Sundays I coach mini rugby.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
San Remo in Barnes. Unpretentious, quality Italian cuisine.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
An architect.

Who’s your hero and why?
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. Exceptionally courageous, supreme ­leadership skills and a truly remarkable life.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Recovering compensation for severely injured accident victims.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Often the legal process fails to deliver fair or ­adequate compensation.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
‘Overegging the pudding’ on a catastrophic injury claim and seeing the case unfold in court. This was an extremely wounding experience. I learnt a ­lesson the hard way.

What car do you drive?
Embarrassingly, a Vauxhall Zafira. At least it’s practical.

What book are you currently reading?
Can we Have our Balls Back, Please? by Julian Norridge. This is a ­fascinating history of how the British invented sports.

What’s on your iPod player at the moment?
The Best of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Taking Wells v Wells [1998] and Page v Sheerness Steel [1998] (the multipliers cases) to the House of Lords. This case introduced fairness and precision to the calculation of future losses. Until then damages for future losses were severely undervalued.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
An iPod and a good book.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
A December partners’ weekend at the Slough Marriott. The location says it all.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Fortunately, as a personal injury lawyer, I don’t have to work through the night, but occasionally my job does give me sleepless nights.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Tim Roth. Some people have commented that I bear a resemblance to him.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Robert Mugabe. It makes my blood boil just to hear his name.

CV
Name: Paul Kitson
Firm: Russell Jones & Walker (RJW)
Title: Joint head of personal injury
Lives: Barnes, London

Education:
1977-80: Hewitt School, ­Norwich
1981-84: University of Essex
1984-85: College of Law, Chester

Work history:
1985-87: Trainee, Prettys, Ipswich
1987-92: Assistant, RJW
1992-2005: Partner, RJW
2005-present: Joint head of ­personal injury, RJW