Work Life Quiz: Mark Soundy, Weil Gotshal & Manges

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been? A (failed) pop star, or possibly a (really bad/sad) DJ.


Mark Soundy
Mark Soundy

What was your first-ever job?

Door-to-door salesman for Home Genie – “trust us to clean your carpets, curtains and furniture beautifully”.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

Attending a fast and furious completion meeting [at Allen & Overy] with a ­fellow trainee, where a number of things went quite badly wrong, the worst of which was our managing to lose the banker’s draft amid the mountains of completion papers and piles of empty champagne bottles.

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

There are some Weil ­alumni who manage to stay really well-informed about what’s going on.

What do you do at weekends?

Remind myself why I work all the hours that God sends during the week.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

Mark’s Club, London W1.

What’s your favourite film?

Blade Runner.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Sweet Talkin’ Woman by ELO.

Who’s your hero and why?

Right now I have two ­particular heroes: blind cyclist ‘Boo’ Heitz Jackson and Canadian explorer David Pierce Jones.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The simple fact that I’ve always loved every minute of it, right from the start, mainly because of the amazing people I work with.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Being reminded about the sacrifices that others (mainly family) make to allow me to do what I love.

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

Walking out of a very ­heated meeting along with my clients to make it look as if we’d reached our ­breaking point, then lying in wait down the corridor for the other side to emerge from the same room so we could kiss and make up and give the deal one last go. An hour or so later I realised that the other side had left the meeting room by another door and were on a train back up North, never to be seen again. That taught me that playacting is not for amateurs.

What car do you drive?

A Mercedes SLK.

What book are you currently reading?

Team of Rivals: The ­Political Genius of ­Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

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

The £220m secondary buyout of Thomson Directories by Apax Partners from 3i and Advent International in July 1999. I was acting for a brilliant management team who did all the hard work, negotiated a great deal and made me look ­terrific. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, that deal would change the course of my career forever.

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

Forman’s Fish Island – proof that you really can have too much of a good thing. And slicing smoked salmon is not conducive to partner bonding.

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

Three days and nights – a stupid thing to do.

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

Greg Wise, because I can’t think of any other reason for anyone wanting to watch that particular movie.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)

I once carried the Olympic torch; recently I donned an Elvis mask and sang Return to Sender in front of most of the London office; I then received a standing ovation.

 

CV

Name: Mark Soundy

Firm: Weil Gotshal & Manges

Title: Partner

Lives: London and Gloucestershire

Education:

1983-86: MA Law, Trinity College, Cambridge

1986-87: Law Finals, College Of Law, Guildford

1991: New York State Bar, US

Work history:

1987-89: Trainee, Travers Smith

1989-90: Corporate associate, Travers

1990-91: Stagiaire, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

1991-97: Corporate associate, Travers

1997-2004: Corporate partner, Travers 2004-present: Corporate partner, Weil Gotshal & Manges