Work Life Quiz: Richard Kenyon, Field Fisher Waterhouse
11 September 2011
What was your first-ever job? On a small production line in our next-door neighbour’s garage, making cardboard tops for buckets of washing powder. These days it would be called child labour, but back then it was called pocket money.
What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Attending a meeting for a partner that turned out to be a negotiation between two airlines where the other side were claiming a lien over our client’s aircraft. I made a “knock-out point”, quoting a case involving dry cleaning, and the response was: “If that’s your attitude, Mr Kenyon, we’ll just sue your client for the full £30m.” I asked for a moment to take instructions/find an exit.
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Anywhere where two or more trainees are gathered together.
What time do you usually leave the office?
Ten minutes before I get home. That’s a plug for inner city living.
What do you do at weekends?
Borough Market, including some quiet time at the Rake, which has a surprisingly baby-friendly deck to park a pram and read the paper. Mighty Kickers and Wavelengths in Deptford are also becoming a feature.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Leather Uppers, a great new addition to my local area away from the Bermondsey Street crowds.
If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
What’s your favourite film?
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. The first time I saw it I laughed so much at the opening scene I missed most of the rest of the film.
What was the first record you ever bought?
All Kindsa Girls by The Real Kids.
Who’s your hero and why?
Dr Samuel Hutt, aka Hank Wangford. How can you not admire a man who combines country music with a family planning practice for the NHS?
What’s the best thing about your job?
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Balancing competing demands, along with the Sisyphean task of processing several hundred emails a day (probably more demoralising than tough).
What’s your biggest work/ career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Let me answer that in reverse. I learnt not to discuss it publicly.
What car do you drive?
I don’t have a car, just Boris Bike and cab habits.
What book are you reading?
Worms Ate My Garbage by Mary Applehof. I’m going through an eco fad: I have half-a-dozen pot plants on a roof terrace and a compost bin with the European potato peelings mountain.
What’s your favourite children’s book?
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss.
What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
It’s hard to beat the feeling of winning my first Employment Tribunal case as a barely qualified solicitor. The entire corporate department signed a card and hung congratulations banners over my desk.
If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?
A shortwave radio for the BBC World Service and a dinner suit for special occasions.
What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
Gatwick Airport – too much temptation.
What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
It gets shorter each year. Probably down to about five hours now.
If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Keith Allen. He already has the beard and would be grateful for the work
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Keith Allen, having just insulted his career.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)
I’ve been to Timbuktu (twice); I played football for England school boys (twice); I appeared on Cheggers Plays Pop (twice).
Name: Richard Kenyon
Firm: Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW)
Title: Head of employment and pensions
Lives: London, SE1
1985-88: LLB, University of Sheffield
1989-90: Law, College Of Law, Chester
1990-92: Trainee, FFW
1992-96: Employment associate, FFW
1998-2001: Employment associate, FFW
2001-08: Employment partner, FFW
2008-present: Head of employment and pensions, FFW