The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Running in to a hearing at the Bear Garden without having had time to work out which of the three parties I was meant to be representing.
Where’s the best place to go for firm gossip?
I haven’t worked this out yet. Tips welcome.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Walnut Tree, near Abergavenny.
What’s your favourite film?
Can I have two? The Addams Family (I always wanted to be Wednesday) and Harold & Maude (I fear I might actually be Maude).
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
I’ve taken on individuals as clients a couple of times because they looked to have a case that deserved to be tried, but High Court litigation is not good for normal people. To paraphrase Bierce, you go in as a pig and you come out as a sausage. Never again.
What’s the most exciting case you’ve worked on?
Oxford Gene Technology v Affymetrix. David v Goliath, plucky UK start-up vs US giant. I had to learn molecular genetics and synthetic organic chemistry from a standing start in 12 months, with world-famous experts on both sides. Settling the day before trial was the biggest letdown of my career.
If a movie was being made about your life, who’d play you in it?
Well, if Erin Brockovich can have Julia Roberts I can have Tilda Swinton play me, although the mind boggles at casting her as a City lawyer – in fact, I’ve never quite understood how I got here either.
If you were stranded on a desert island which two luxury items would you take?
An unlimited supply of Lindt Excellence 70% (in a fridge) and an ebook reader loaded with all the books I haven’t had time to read in the past 25 years.
Who’s your hero and why?
Cyclist Dervla Murphy. She shows anything is possible. (And my bike’s hero is her bike, Rocinante.)
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself:
I could give up chocolate if I wanted; I was once, briefly, famous in Kazakhstan; I’m planning to emigrate when I retire.