The Work-Life Quiz by Tim Taylor

Firm: SJ Berwin
Position: Head of international arbitration
Lives: Notting Hill, London
Education: The King’s School, Canterbury; St John’s College, Oxford
Work history:
1978: Joined Herbert Smith & Co as an articled clerk
1980: Qualified as a solicitor
1987: Joined SJ Berwin as an assistant solicitor
1988: Appointed to partnership
1996: Appointed head of litigation
2004: Appointed co-head of international arbitration

What was your first-ever job?
Wringing turkey’s necks to sell them for Christmas, aged six.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Losing the only copy of a 100-page statement of claim off the back of my motorbike. This was in the days of typewriters, so it meant starting over.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
As soon as I can.

What do you do at weekends?
Get in touch with my feminine side.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Casa Layla in Marrakech.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
A criminal, sculptor and philanthropist.

Who’s your hero and why?
Mohammed Ali, because he was a better boxer than CG Jung.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Travelling all over the world, pissing important people off.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Wondering who’ll do my time sheets if my secretary ever leaves me.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Failing to get a judge to hand down his judgment before he died. I learnt that I’ll never know what I learnt from this mistake, or even if it was one. What car do you drive?
Whichever one my wife hasn’t taken; usually my Vespa.

What book are you currently reading?
The Quran.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
A bottle of Veuve Cliquot is on it; Damian Marley is in it.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The one I’m going to write on my sabbatical next year.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
The trial of the alleged murderers of the widow of President Abiola of Nigeria. Being tear-gassed in court on television was a tad more interesting than the average afternoon in St Dunstan’s House.

If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?
My wife and a yacht.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
The International Bar Association in Cancun.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Five days and four nights finding Pamella Bordes in Bali while avoiding the press pack.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Jack Nicholson. He copied the ‘Daddy’s home’ routine from me in the first place.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
Jordan’s wedding planner.