The work-life quiz Peter Rees


Peter Rees
Firm: Debevoise & Plimpton
Title: Partner and head of the London international dispute resolution team
Lives: Maida Vale, London
Education: Baines Grammar School, Cambridge University, Nottingham Trent University
Work history: 1979-81: Articled clerk, Norton Rose
1981-87: Assistant solicitor, Norton Rose
1987-2006: Partner, Norton Rose
2006-present: Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton

What was your first-ever job? Petrol pump attendant in the days before self-service petrol stations were invented.

What was your worst experience as a trainee? Being too hungover to attend the completion of the sale of a ship and having to explain to the partner why I couldn’t go.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office? I’m still trying to find out. It used to be the football team in my old firm.

What time do you usually leave the office? Between 7pm and 8pm.

What do you do at weekends? Very rarely the same thing, except that it usually seems to involve opening the post and unpacking and repacking my suitcase.

What’s your favourite restaurant? Roussillon in SW1.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been? A professional footballer – in my dreams. More realistically, an architect or garden designer.

Who’s your hero and why? Leonardo da Vinci, because he was good at everything.

What’s the best thing about your job? The travel.

What’s the toughest thing about your job? The travel.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it? Allowing part of a successful team to be ‘relocated’. The lesson I learnt was to put people before politics.

What car do you drive? An old BMW 320ti and an even older Porsche 944S2.

What are you currently reading? A History of the Middle East by Peter Mansfield and Rapids by Tim Parks.

vWhat’s on your iPod player at the moment? Christina Aguilera, Scissor Sisters and Al Stewart.

What’s your favourite children’s book? The Biggles Flying Omnibus by Captain WE Johns.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why? Acting for the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire in preparing all the engineering consultant appointments, civil engineering contracts and acting on the disputes that arose out of the construction of the Large Hadron Collider, which will be the world’s largest particle accelerator when it opens next year. The scale and innovation of the project, to discover what matter is composed of, is just breathtaking.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take? A golf course and my golf equipment.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended? A place in Teddington that shall remain nameless. Why we went I’ll never know.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep? 40 hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why? Sean Bean or Andy Garcia – because I know my wife is keen on both.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why? Christina Aguilera – because I’ve done my ‘dignity in the workplace’ training.