Work Life Quiz: Richard Barnett, Barnetts

The work-life quiz: Richard BarnettWhat was your first-ever job?
Selling Marks & Spencer reject clothes at Ormskirk market during the summer holidays when I was 14.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
Having to undertake a ­personal completion on my first day in the property seat, without having been instructed to mark up an abstract. I returned to the office with a defective title and was immediately sent back to the other firm in disgrace to perfect the transaction, feeling very humiliated. (Land ­Registration does have its advantages.)

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
I couldn’t say – I never reveal my sources.

What time do you usually leave the office?
As I’m on the road a lot, I’m generally working whenever I can switch my iPhone on.

What do you do at weekends?
When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my wife Deborah and my children, Steven (20) and Venice (16). I also like to watch Everton play when
I can.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
At the moment my favourite is Caraffini, close to our flat in London – an excellent local Italian.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Probably unemployed.

Who’s your hero and why?
I have several, all of whom had a certain way with language. Oscar Wilde and Winston Churchill immediately spring to mind.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Having the opportunity to be innovative and help transform the way we property lawyers go about our business.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Being senior partner of a firm means the buck stops with me. I think the ­introduction of whole firm as opposed to individual partner regulation will be a step in the right direction.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Starting up your own firm means you never stop making errors, but I always make sure I learn as much as possible from any ­mistakes, so that they occur less frequently. ­Generally speaking, the more experience you gain, of good times and bad, the fewer errors you will make.

What car do you drive?
A Lexus SC 430.

What book are you currently reading?
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
I pick up a lot of podcasts from the BBC, so currently I have The News Quiz.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
At the age of eight it was probably something from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventure series.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Probably initiating a new conveyancing ­procedure for a ­commercial lender that enabled us to ­complete its commercial remortgage instructions within 24 hours. It had never been done before on a high-volume scale.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
A broadband internet ­service and a laptop.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
We’ve never really had one away from the office, but the worst place I
can think of would be a belfry.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
I’ve never seen the point in going too long without proper sleep.

If a movie was being made of your life, which actor would play you and why?
I’m not sure that an actor exists who fits my profile and I have some doubts, that ‘The Life and Times of a Conveyancer’ would be up there with James Bond, but then again…

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
I can think of several ­current TV presenters who I would find pretty ­irritating… no names ­mentioned.


Name: Richard Barnett
Firm: Barnetts ­Solicitors
Title: Senior partner and founder
Lives: Southport and London Education
1968-71: Holborn College of Law, London
1971-72: Law Society part 2/II, Lancaster Gate ­College of Law
Work history
1975: Partner, Canter Levin & Co, Liverpool
1980: Founded Richard Barnett and Co, later Barnetts Solicitors
2005: Became a ­member of the Law Society Council
2007: Appointed chair of the Law Society’s ­conveyancing and land law committee