Name: Nick Marsh
Firm: Quinn Emanuel
Role: Partner and chair of civil fraud, London
Trained at: Linklaters (London and Paris)
Year qualified: 2001
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I was determined to be a disputes lawyer, after training at Linklaters in London and Paris. When applying to qualify, you had to fill in two groups on the application form and fax it to the Linklaters HR team. My first choice was litigation/arbitration. I didn’t fill in the second box. The very nice HR team called me and persuaded me I had to fill in the second box. So I wrote down “Herbert Smith” and faxed it back a second time. This wasn’t the done thing – but I got my first choice and haven’t looked back!
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
My father (when playing poker): “Look around the table at your opponents and work out their weaknesses. If you can’t work out after five minutes who the biggest mug is, it’s probably you”. To succeed and be happy in life, you need to constantly re-assess yourself, your goals and also be aware of those around you.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
My father (again). He was a chess champion. He features on a chess painting at London’s RAC club. He taught me to think strategically, and several steps ahead, from a young age. He could spot problems, and find out of the box solutions, very quickly. He also worked in many countries, spoke several languages (like me) and taught me the importance of seeing things from different cultural perspectives, which is key to the cross-border disputes I am involved in.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
It’s a marathon not a sprint. Don’t ever be afraid to express your views and back yourself. Know what you want and carve out a niche for yourself: to get noticed, you need to do something differently from the chasing pack. As well as performing miracles for my clients, I perform amateur magic for them – I have even been to magic school!
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
At law school, my best friend planned to be a litigator (and before my training contract I thought I would be a banking or corporate lawyer). He qualified into banking and is now head of legal of a division of an international bank. You never know what you are going to like in law until you try it!