Name: Adam Rose

Organisation: Mishcon de Reya

Role: Head of Data, and international development Partner

Based: London

Trained at: Paisner & Co (became BLP, became BCLP)

Year qualified: 1992

What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee? 

The whole application process was so different and relaxed – I had my offer of articles from Paisner & Co after an interview at University, and was invited down to see the office; on arrival, I was shown into a room, where I was met by two partners who proceeded to interview me all over again, presumably unaware that I already had an offer.  Fortunately, they also made me an offer, which I accepted after a trainee (who must have left by the time I joined some three years later) had smiled while showing me around – in stark contrast to most places I visited for open days and interviews.

I remember as yesterday (indeed, probably with greater clarity than yesterday!) going for lunch with my intake of articled clerks on our first day (17 September 1990) and sitting near the fountain in Fountain Court in Middle Temple (our office being at 154 Fleet Street).

In terms of client work, I remember being asked to help a very important client by making up a ‘minyan’ (a quorum of ten) for daily morning prayers at his office when his father died (and asking one of my fellow trainees, Jonathan Morris, who is still at BCLP) to join me, and then going on holiday after the first week, leaving him to go alone for another week!). My first time working at the weekend – when working meant going in to the office – and having to find out what the dress code etiquette was.

Tell us about a sliding doors moment when your career could have gone in an entirely different direction?

Until a very few weeks before I was due to qualify, I had assumed that I would be a litigator, and in particular, an insurance and reinsurance litigator.  I vaguely knew the sector, having done summer jobs as a reconciliation clerk for insurance and reinsurance brokers, and had thoroughly enjoyed my first seat (with Jonathan Sacher, also still at BCLP). It was in my mind such a given that I’d qualify into his team that I don’t actually think I ever discussed it with him – in hindsight, maybe there was no job for me there at all!

Suddenly, I decided that the last thing in the world I wanted to do was litigation, and instead I pivoted 180 degrees and asked to qualify into what was then the Company/Commercial team. The head of that department asked me if I “would give computer law a go”, and I clearly recall saying that I didn’t know there was such a thing, but yes, I’d give it a go. And apart from all the other things I’ve been lucky enough to give a go, that offer opened the door for me to set up a trade mark practice, do a masters in IP and IT law, and practice data law for over 30 years.

The key thing for me is to be fearless as a lawyer – taking opportunities that present themselves means that no year is ever the same as another (indeed, for me, I don’t think that one day is ever the same as another).

What’s the hardest question you’ve ever been asked at interview, and how did you answer?

I have had very few interviews, having had a career in two firms (one for 23 years, and one for over 10), but the one question I will always remember was from 1987.  I had spent three weeks on a summer scheme at a firm, and was invited to interview for articles there at the end of the stint.  One question (I think word for word) went like this: “I see you have a lot of Jewish interests on your CV. Have you considered applying to a Jewish firm?” My reply (which had the advantage of being totally true, as I knew nothing whatsoever about any law firms, as pre-Internet, there was almost no information on which to base any knowledge, and I didn’t know anyone who worked for any law firm) was to say that I didn’t know there were Jewish firms.

I don’t remember my actual answer to follow-up question about whether I was “the sort of chap who would take two years training and then run off to Israel”, but suffice it to say that I rejected their kind offer of articles. And found myself at Paisner & Co, which might well have been exactly who he had in mind in his first question, although I didn’t realise at the time that firms like that, and my firm, Mishcon, were founded by Jewish lawyers who were no doubt excluded from or had careers that they could see would not progress at that sort of firm in the mid-1930s…

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do? 

Work hard, find the interesting stuff to do and do it really well so you get to do more of it, find what’s funny in what you do and in your workplace, and laugh, regularly (indeed, unless you can laugh out loud at least once every day at work, you shouldn’t do what your doing where you’re doing it).

Tell us about ONE former colleague who you miss, and why?

Fred Linge was what used to be called an “Outdoor Clerk”.  He was the guy who used to go in person to Companies House to get company searches on microfiche every day, and do other types of deliveries and collections.  He was always in early – as was I – and so I spent many starts of the day making time for him and his tales of the merchant navy, of Labour Party politics in East Ham, of his wife Mary, his time as a Constable, his various friends at Companies House, books he’d read and films he’d seen.

He held an annual Christmas party at his home where a remarkable mix of people would find themselves in his ramshackle house (every wall, or part of wall, had a different wallpaper – I think he would buy ends of rolls, and put them up, with no regard for what was already up!), and at which I once found myself sitting on a chair asking the woman sitting on the floor what she did – she was an MEP for East London, and the woman next to her was deputy leader of the council, and the former mayor.  His friend and local MP, “young Steve” (now, Sir Stephen Timms MP) was there too. Fred’s funeral – a Quaker meeting – was as remarkable as his life: every person who spoke had the same theme to their memory of him, across all of his different lives.