Work Life Quiz: Philip Rainey, Tanfield Chambers



What was your first-ever job?
Temping for the Crown Suppliers.

What was your worst ­experience as a pupil?
I was with my supervisor in the Family Division on the last sitting day before Christmas. An agreement was reached between two parents-at-war for contact over Christmas. It was all quite jolly and I didn’t take a note. Later there was a dispute over what was agreed. I was not popular.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Drinks in the Bung Hole on High Holborn.

What time do you usually leave the office?
5.40pm, so I can get home to Cambridge before the children go to bed.

What do you do at weekends?
Relax with my wife Helen and our three children, no work if I can help it, ­making sure I don’t miss the children growing up.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
Midsummer House in Cambridge, or Chez Bruce off Wandsworth Common.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Probably an archaeologist.

What’s your favourite film?
Blade Runner.

What was the first record you ever bought?
I Surrender by Rainbow. Bought second hand because I thought I could make a profit at school. It didn’t work out, ­confirming I wasn’t going to be an entrepreneur.

Who’s your hero and why?
Anyone who achieves greatness through grit and determination, despite not being the most naturally gifted. Graham Hill, twice Formula 1 World ­Champion, is one example.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Arguing cases that involve arcane points of landlord and tenant law that have lain undisturbed.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
There’s always something you know wasn’t done as well as it could have been.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
I was in the middle of a witness action that wasn’t going well. At the end of a long day, I couldn’t find the time to read a two-page fax and spend 20 minutes on the phone with a solicitor. The instructions went to a colleague and it developed into a major case.

What car do you drive?
BMW M3 convertible.

What book are you reading?
The Templars by Piers Paul Read.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on?
26 Cadogan Square, my first time in the House of Lords. It was a privilege to address the Law Lords before their abolition.

If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?
A Hobie Cat and a book on how to catch and cook fish.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
Cheltenham – a long drive and the hotel was so depressingly dull and ­average I can’t remember much about it.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
I haven’t. I learnt early on that beyond midnight the work product isn’t reliable.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Colin Firth. There might be a passing resemblance and I can sympathise with Mr Darcy’s outlook.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
A keen golfer – requires no further explanation.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)
I broke the circuit lap record on a chambers ­karting event; I’m named Philip after my great-grandmother whose ­birthday I share; I once advised a client that despite having a good case, there were risks “because the judge may think you’re a form of pond life”.

CV
Name:
Philip Rainey
Chambers: Tanfield Chambers
Title: Barrister, head of property
Lives: A village outside Cambridge
Education:
1972-86: King’s School, Tynemouth
1986-89: LLB, University of Leicester
1989-90: BVC, Inns of Court School of Law
Work history:
1990-91: First six pupillage, 1 King’s Bench Walk
1991: Second six pupillage, 1 Temple Gardens
1991-93: Tenant, 1 Temple Gardens
1993-2001: Tenant, Francis Taylor Building
2001-present: Tenant and head of the property group, Tanfield Chambers