Work Life Quiz: Ann Harrison, Stephensons Solicitors

Who is your hero and why?
My husband, for putting up with me.

Ann Harrison

Ann Harrison

What was your first-ever job?
I worked behind the bar in a Labour Club run by my parents.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
I cannot decide which was worse: being absolutely slated by a very bad-­tempered district judge for something that wasn’t my fault, or the time I went to court thinking I was just delivering papers and ended up in front of the district judge.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
My personal assistant’s desk. Lesley knows ­everything.

What time do you usually leave the office?
6pm-6.30pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Gardening, dog walking, relaxing with friends and family, watching Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club get beaten.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
Parmesan and Pepper, Abbey Village, Lancashire.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Captain of a ship. I did apply to join the Navy, but in those days women weren’t allowed to go to sea.

What’s your favourite film?
Local Hero with Burt ­Lancaster.

What was the first record you ever bought?
Sugar Sugar by The Archies.

Who is your hero and why?
My husband, for putting up with me.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people – our clients and the staff who make the firm tick.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Keeping a straight face when someone is being blatantly ridiculous.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Thinking that I had to do everything myself, trying to run a huge caseload and hold down a management role as well. It’s actually much better and much more effective to let other people share the burden.

What car do you drive?
A Grand Cherokee Jeep.

What book are you currently reading?
North and South by ­Elizabeth Gaskell.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan ­Garner.

What’s the most exciting case you’ve worked on and why?
I specialise in personal injury and acted for a young man who broke his neck in a wrestling ­accident. He was confined to a wheelchair at just 17 years old. It was a very ­difficult, prolonged case against a local authority, but we eventually ­recovered nearly £3m for him.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
Gardening tools and my Bible.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
I have never been to a bad one.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
I cannot function without at least eight hours per night.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Dame Maggie Smith. She has a really expressive, mobile face.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Two burly rugby players. Although, actually, on ­second thoughts…

Tell us two truths and one myth about yourself (in any order)
I have two grown-up sons; I have a crazy chocolate Labrador who is currently encased in a lampshade because he has a sore eye; I’m very untidy and ­disorganised.

CV
Name
: Ann Harrison
Firm: Stephensons Solicitors
Title: Chairwoman
Lives: Chorley, Lancashire
Education:
1969-75: Wigan Girls High School, Wigan
1975-79: BA (Hons) Business Studies, Portsmouth Polytechnic
1979-81: CPE and law finals, College of Law, Chester
Work history:
1981-88: Trainee and assistant solicitor, Riley & Co, Blackburn
1988-89: Assistant solicitor, O’Riordan & Co, ­Chorley
1989-91: Sole practitioner and costs draftsman, Besford & Co, Chorley
1991-93: Assistant solicitor, Stephensons ­Solicitors, Leigh
1993-2002: Partner, Stephensons
2002-04: Deputy managing partner, ­Stephensons
2004-08: Managing partner, Stephensons
2008-present: Chairwoman, Stephensons