Work Life Quiz: Patrick Somers, Berwin Leighton Paisner

What was your first-ever job? Hotel porter.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

Leaving a draft sale-and-purchase agreement with all the financial details in it at an airline check-in desk. Fortunately it was in an unopened envelope and was handed to me as I boarded the plane, just as I was about to phone the partner I was working for and offer not to come back.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

The office Christmas party around midnight.

What time do you usually leave the office?

If I’m not in the middle of a transaction, around 7pm.

What do you do at weekends?

Spend as much time as possible with my family, play tennis, listen to music and cook.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

The Notting Hill Brasserie.

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

I remember telling the careers teacher I wanted to be a surfer in California, but she threw me out and told me to be sensible.

What’s your favourite film?

Blade Runner: The ­Director’s Cut is an all-time favourite, but The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King (extended version)
is very close. A bit of escapism is good for you.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Ride a White Swan by T Rex.

Who’s your hero and why?

David Bowie. He’s written some of the best music ever and is still able to adapt and innovate.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The variety.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

When many weeks or months of work end up being for nothing when a transaction falls over.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Not checking that the phone was off and saying out loud what I was ­thinking.Some things are better left unsaid.

What car do you drive?

I prefer my motorcycle.

What book are you currently reading?

Unreliable Sources: How the Twentieth Century Was Reported by John Simpson. Don’t believe all you read or hear, however reputable the publication or production appears to be. I’ve always found that getting a wider perspective is better.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Ginger by Charlotte Voake. The cat in the book was exactly like our children’s cat.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?

Closing a privatisation the day after the hurricane hit London. The deal was interesting, but it was exciting trying to get the logistics of signing sorted out when most of the transport system had come to a halt and it was vital that the deal closed that day.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?

My hi-fi and CD collection plus something like a solar power source to keep it playing (I wouldn’t last very long without music).

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?

A training centre ­somewhere off the A1. Everyone got food ­poisoning, spent the entire weekend being ill and then went home. Possibly one
of the most productive ­conferences we had.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

Forty-two hours. This is not a sensible way to do business.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Bruce Willis. He has no hair.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Some things are better left unsaid.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)

In the ’70s I played guitar in a band that had a single in the indie charts; NME reviewed the single and said it was the best song they’d ever heard; I still wish I’d gone to California when I was 17.


Name: Patrick Somers

Firm: Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP)

Title: Partner

Lives: London and Warwickshire


1981-84: LLB, Sheffield University
1984-85: Law Finals, College of Law, Guildford

Work history:

1985-87: Trainee, Irwin Mitchell
1987-89: Assistant solicitor, Irwin Mitchell
1989-99: Partner, Irwin Mitchell
1999-2002: General counsel, Lattice Group
2002-05: Partner, Hammonds
2005-present: Partner, BLP