There are over-achievers, and then there’s Jill Parker. The Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) associate recently qualified for the Great Britain triathlon team for the World Championships in September – all while holding down her full-time property finance group role. BLP partner Mark Waghorn told Tulkinghorn that Parker had only realised she might be in with a shot of a serious athletics career last year after competing in the London triathlon. The clue came when she won the non-professional competition at her first attempt.
“I told her she had to go for it,” said Waghorn. “I said ‘you can put your legal career on hold, but you’d kick yourself if you You would not want to mess with this guy. Really. Yes, he’s smiling away, but check out the steel in those eyes. Put yourself in the shoes of a young lawyer, nervous and trembling as BLP’s head of recruitment Jonathan Brenner eyes you up and down, sizing you up. As you quiver inside, something tells you you’ve seen that face before. A movie, maybe, or an iconic photo of two footballers getting personal on the pitch? Then the fear kicks in as you recognise him; what the hell is Vinnie Jones doing working in a law firm?didn’t have a real go when there’s a chance you could really succeed’.”
Parker, it seems, agreed. Up to a point. Yes, she wanted to go for it, but no, she wasn’t about to put her career on hold. So, since January this year, she’s been getting up at 5am to train before heading into work. BLP outlined a work schedule under which her hours remained the same, but a degree of predictability was built in. It also sponsored her to the tune of a bike and a wetsuit (both liberally plastered with the firm’s logo, naturally).
Now an appearance at the Olympics in 2008 may be on the cards. If so, maybe even BLP’s work-life flexibility will have to be rethought.