The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
What was your first-ever job? Ball boy at Wimbledon.
What was your worst experience as a trainee? Two weeks after arriving for a six-month placement in Oman, I was instructed to drive the most important client home as he’d become very drunk at the firm’s cocktail party. After leaving the party, the client refused to direct me to his house and insisted on driving his own car. He was stopped by the police and actually went to prison. I was in the doghouse for weeks.
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office? Friday’s lunch.
What time do you usually leave the office? Before 6.30pm.
What do you do at weekends? Currently triathlon training and family time.
What’s your favourite restaurant? Chez Bruce, Wandsworth Common. It’s perfect in every way.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been? An entrepreneur of some description, but probably in professional services.
Who’s your hero and why? Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE. He’s a consummate achiever and seems to manage the impossible.
What’s the best thing about your job? Being given the chance to develop and grow a law firm in a way that has never been done before.
What’s the toughest thing about your job? Not having anyone to copy.
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it? Don’t let drunk clients drive themselves home.
What car do you drive? Audi A3.
What book are you reading? The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford (a surprisingly good read).
What’s on your iPod? Hard to say. It was stolen on the Tube last week, so gangsta rap probably.
What’s your favourite children’s book? The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss.
What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on? We recently completed a rebrand of Keystone Law from Lawyers Direct, which was a huge but rewarding challenge. There’s more to changing a company’s name than meets the eye.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take? A backgammon set and my wife, Natalie.
What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why? In 1997, shortly before the handover of Hong Kong to China, we held a one-day conference on a traditional Chinese boat. The weather was terrible and everyone was ill.
What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep? Six hours.
Who would play you in the movie of your life and why? Anthony Hopkins – he makes his characters look intelligent or charming. Either would be fine.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Naomi Campbell. Could be stressful.
Name: James Knight Firm: Keystone Law (formerly known as Lawyers Direct) Title: Managing partner Lives: Clapham
Education: 1986-89: Newcastle University 1989-90: Guildford Law School
Work history: 1990-92: Articled at Trowers & Hamlins 1992-99: Consultant solicitor, Horvath & Giles Solicitors (Hong Kong) 1999-2002: Consultant solicitor (England) 2002-present: Managing partner, Keystone Law