Work Life Quiz: Julian James Clark, Holman Fenwick Willan

Work-Life Quiz: Julian James Clark, <a class=Holman Fenwick Willan” class=”inline_image inline_image_left” src=”/pictures/web/images/15119_P15_cv.jpg” />What was your first-ever job?
Playing keyboards in a five-piece cabaret band on the North of England club ­circuit.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
I managed to avoid that stage, having come into the profession as a barrister. However, when starting my shipping career I was sent on board a vessel loaded with chickpeas to collect samples to find that the cargo was infested with flies and beetles. I still don’t eat chickpeas.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The secretarial bays, ­obviously.

What time do you usually leave the office?
I try to get away by 7.30pm-8.00pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Juggle the free time between writing and playing music, teaching Celtic Shamanism, playing with my five-year-old daughter Willow and my wife Emily (not necessarily in that order) and walking my six-month-old Golden Retriever, Albus Dumbledog – Headmaster of Dogwarts School of Doggery and Bitchcraft.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
The Bleeding Heart, ­London.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A professional musician or an actor.

Who is your hero and why?
My brother – he was such a great guy. If not him then Merlin – there’s simply not enough space to explain.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people, both clients and colleagues, and ­especially having a role in helping young lawyers develop their career paths.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The long hours and ­opponents who can’t help but treat litigation as some kind of personal vendetta.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Disturbing the Independence Day holidays of two US attorneys, two experts and a port agent to attend to meet a vessel arriving in Boston with a serious problem – only to find the vessel was actually arriving in Boston, Lincolnshire.

What car do you drive?
A Jaguar XF and Porsche 944S.

What book are you reading?
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

What’s on your iPod?
How long have you got? The latest recording by my band Crocodile Thong and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Can I give two? One would be a case involving a ship fire aboard a vessel fully laden with coal which resulted in my eventually running a London ­arbitration for three weeks in Durban, South Africa. The fire was so extensive it actually resulted in the Durban Fire Brigade exceeding their budget for the year. The other one was a case involving personal injury to crew members on board a vessel. To obtain treatment for two crew members, we not only medevaced medics to the scene, who were ­parachuted into the water and then attended on board the ship, but we also negotiated with the US Navy. It deviated an ­aircraft carrier to midpoint between the vessel and shore so that helicopters could fly from shore, land on the aircraft carrier to refuel and then continue to the vessel, pick up the crew members, return to the ­aircraft carrier to refuel and return to shore as the vessel was out of helicopter range. I’m busy writing the screenplay.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
My yurt and my shamanic flute.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
I don’t think I’ve ever attended a bad partner conference, so I’ll say ­playing keyboards at the Club Cherokee in Hull – it’s worse than the chickpeas.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
52 hours.

If a movie was made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Tom Hanks – he has a ­similar sense of humour and life philosophy. Of course, he would have to shave his head.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
A sabre-toothed tiger – three guesses why.

Julian James Clark
Firm: Holman Fenwick Willan
Title: Partner
Lives: East Sussex
1984-87: Kingston University LLB, Inns of Court School of Law
Work history
1988: Called to the bar
1988-90: Barrister, Transport Counsellors International
1990-93: Barrister and later claims executive, North of ­England P&I Association
1993-97: Self-employed ­professional musician
1997-2004: Senior associate, ­Clifford Chance
2004-present: Partner, Holman Fenwick Willan