Work Life Quiz: Sue Medder, Withers

What was your first-ever job? Making turbans and other hats for a fashion designer.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Trying to divide the contents of a large farmhouse with the divorcing couple  snatching pieces out of my hand and rowing in front of me.

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

One of our ’one-stop’ kitchens.

What time do you usually leave the office?


What do you do at weekends?

Walk my dog. He’s young and deaf and needs extra care and attention.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Baltic in SE1. Great East European food and ­fantastic cocktails – you only need one.

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

An art dealer.

What’s your favourite film?

Avanti – an old Jack Lemmon film.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Breakfast in America by Supertramp. Typing that makes me feel very old.

Who’s your hero and why?

Anyone who’s prepared to fight for liberty.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Helping families deal with the  emotional ­trauma  caused by wills written out of spite or misunderstanding, and the injustices of our intestacy rules.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Not being able to help families when they’re suffering hardship but there’s no basis for a legal claim.

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

Forgetting to ask the judge to order the other side to pay my client’s costs and not realising until I was outside the Royal Courts of Justice. I learnt not to get carried away with winning and that it’s always worth going back and throwing yourself on the judge’s mercy.

What car do you drive?

Audi A3.

What book are you currently reading?

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.

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

It’s not strictly a case, but the most exciting thing I’ve done as a lawyer to date is act as legal ­consultant for the recent six-part BBC2 TV series Can’t Take It with You. Learning to be a TV ­presenter and to give ­legal advice on camera was exciting and terrifying in equal measures.

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

A solar-powered coffee machine and a supply of dark chocolate.

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

They’ve all been great.

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

Eighteen hours preparing for a hearing.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Cate Blanchett. Great actress; intelligent;and has integrity.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

My dog Jasper. He barks furiously in cars and I imagine the same would be true in a lift.

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

I worked for Van ­Morrison; I was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness; I’m a very bad cook.


Name: Sue Medder

Firm: Withers

Title: Partner

Lives: South London


1994-97: LLB, University of Bristol

1997-98: LPC, University of Bristol

Work history:

1998-2000: Trainee, Withers

2000-08: Assistant solicitor, contentious trust and succession group, Withers

2008-present: Partner, Withers