The work-life quiz

Mark Pinder, co-head of international corporate, Bird & Bird

What was your first ever job?

Rebuilding HGV gearboxes for Lubrizol Oil in Derbyshire.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Being effectively the then head of corporate’s chauffeur for six months, driving his awful Rover 3500 on the motorway in the rain through roadworks and taking out the cones because the power steering was incorrectly set up.

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

To the pub with the secretaries and trainees.

What time do you usually leave the office?

It varies enormously, but if I can leave between 7pm and 7.30pm that’s good.

What do you do at weekends?

Too much: cycle training before my partner wakes up; watching MotoGP and World Superbikes on TV; helping the kids with their homework; playing football for what seems like hours with my son; and – not frequently enough – going to dinner with my partner.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Petrus in The Berkeley, London.

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

A professional motor racing driver.

Who was your mentor or role model?

The late Clive Robson, a former partner at Slaughters.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Being influential in watching a business grow, the high quality of the people around me and trying to apply some mental agility to solving a problem.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The inevitable intrusions into my private life and trying to explain what I do to my children.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Making a strong derogatory personal remark about a client to a colleague while pressing the mute button of the conference phone, only to find that the mute button was defective. The lesson: keep your opinions to yourself and don’t trust technology.

What car(s) do you drive?

Porsche GT3.

What book are you currently reading?

Nigel Calder’s Einstein’s Universe – The Layperson’s Guide.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?

Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

The Qwangle Wangle’s Hat by Edward Lear and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.