The work-life quiz: Mark Dawkins

What was your first-ever job?
I had a paper round when I was 12. It meant getting up at 6am every morning to deliver newspapers for £1 per week.

What was your first-ever job?

I had a paper round when I was 12. It meant getting up at 6am every morning to deliver newspapers for £1 per week.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

My first appearance in the High Court on a contested time summons. I was asked to do it with no notice and had to read the papers in the cab on the way to court. I was terrified.

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

My secretary.

What time do you usually leave the office?

It varies, but I try to leave before 6.30pm and take work home in the – usually vain – hope of seeing my youngest child before she’s in bed.

What do you do at weekends?

I have four children ranging in age from 12 months to 14 years, so most weekends are taken up entirely with the family.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

My local Indian restaurant.

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

I’ve always enjoyed languages, so maybe a French teacher.

Who’s your hero and why?

Nelson Mandela. Because he has inspired more people more deeply than just about anyone else I can think of, living or dead. And he’s a lawyer.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Persuading people to do things they didn’t think they’d be doing.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Persuading people to do things they didn’t think they’d be doing.

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

The in-house lawyer of a new banking client once invited me round for a chat. I arrived expecting a friendly one-to-one meeting, only to face a grilling by three senior bankers. I learnt to never take anything for granted and always prepare for the worst.

What car do you drive?

BMW X5.

What book are you reading?

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?

Katie Melua, Piece by Piece.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

Winnie-the-Pooh.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?

Advising the non-executives and company of Blue Arrow on allegations by the then chief executive officer. It had everything: colourful characters, board bust-ups, Department of Trade and Industry investigations, litigation, corporate restructuring and lots more.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?

A very large bar of chocolate and a yacht.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?

The person who stranded me on the desert island.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended?

A dreadful place just off the M1 before Milton Keynes. I can’t remember its name.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

About 30 hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Rowan Atkinson. My sister says he reminds her of me.

 CV

Firm: Simmons & Simmons

Position: Managing partner

Lives: Surrey

Educated: Exeter University

Work history:

1983 Joined Simmons as an articled clerk

1985 Qualified as a solicitor

1990 Promoted to the partnership

1997 Appointed head of litigation

2000 Became financial markets head

2005 Appointed managing partner