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John Quarrell, leading pensions lawyer and Nabarro Nathanson's "school of life" philosopher, has won a top pensions accolade.
Quarrell was named top pensions lawyer and his team the strongest pensions practice in Pensions Management magazine, after a survey of partners at 43 leading firms.
A lawyer friend said of him: "A great achiever, an Ernest Hemingway type, a philosopher who goes bullfighting and drinking. He likes to come across as a hard bastard but he has a warm heart and helps people behind the scenes."
Another added: "John generates extreme reactions. He can be mischievous, and loves debate and controversy."
On why he had won the accolade, Quarrell said: "I don't know. If I'd known, I would have spiked it."
But he added: "The most important thing about a good lawyer is that he doesn't make his client feel like an intellectual twit. You need the four A's - ability, accessibility, availability, affability.
"We are in a service industry. In the scheme of things, we're only marginally above telephone sanitisers and lavatory cleaners."