What was your first ever job?
Assistant to the late Desmond Elliott, a publisher and literary agent. I was lucky to be one of his protégés at what was described in his obituaries last year as “The University of Publishing”.
What was your worst experience as a trainee?
I can’t honestly recall any bad experiences, although I’m sure there must have been at least one. The past is definitely rose-tinted.
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The trainees usually know what’s happening well before I do.
What time do you usually leave the office?
About 7pm – it depends whether there’s a business event to attend in the evening, as there often is.
What do you do at weekends?
Walk the dogs across the fields and think.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Cafe Boheme in Soho for gossipy lunches on a Saturday, or the restaurant at Burgh Island Hotel.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
As I worked in publishing first, I’ve already made one switch. Now I can’t imagine being anything else – but I take that to be a good sign, not a bad one.
Who was your mentor or role model?
Desmond Elliott, who showed that creating a successful business is great fun. It’s a principle I try to apply to the management of a law firm, and there are moments when it works.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Making things happen.
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Staying one step ahead.
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Losing a major commercial litigation case twice –
at first instance and then on appeal. But I learnt that clients can be incredibly loyal even in the face of such disappointment.
What car(s) do you drive?
The motoring equivalent of a Jean Muir little black dress.
What book are you currently reading?
The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith and Anthony Blond’s autobiography.
What’s on your CD player at the moment?
I’m a Radio 4 addict.
What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Pippi Longstocking books.