Work Life Quiz: Deepak Nambisan, Fountain Court

What was your first-ever job? Outdoor clerk for a high street law firm, being paid £50 a week.

As I drove a pimp to trial for attempted murder, I learnt the best method for passing cigarettes between two pimps travelling in separate cars on a motorway.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

Being cross-examined for 10 uncomfortable minutes about a piece of work where I’d completely ­misunderstood what I’d been asked to do.

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

The clerks’ room.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Nowhere near early enough – but I work from home much of the time.

What do you do at weekends?

Complain mildly to my wife for organising a far too ­hectic day at the end of a long week, have a fantastic day with the family, apologise for having complained and make note to self not to complain next time.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

Penks in London.

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

Professional basketball player, assuming that ­various height increase and weight loss remedies were made available to me.

What’s your favourite film?

The Three Colours trilogy.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits.

Who’s your hero and why?

One of my many character flaws is the absence of a hero figure.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The moment before you get up on your feet in court, when your heart stops pounding and you can start living in the moment rather than ­worrying about it.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The fear of being found out, the long hours and the seemingly inescapable fact that the more senior you get, the more difficult and stressful the job becomes.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake?

I’ve made many mistakes, but early in my career I missed a deadline for a draft opinion that had already been extended once because of an ­unforeseen emergency on another case.

What car do you drive?

Haven’t got one.

What book are you currently reading?

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.

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

A trial seeking repayment of the contents of a suitcase of cash stolen at gunpoint in Nigeria. It involved allegations of illicit gold smuggling, Swiss bank accounts, a body at the bottom of a Canadian lake, two blind 80-year-old troubadour priests and an entire courtroom breaking into song.

What’s the worst conference location you’ve attended?

A Fountain Court party at a local hostelry complete with paisley carpet, dried-out sausage rolls and cheese sandwiches, a wide selection of peanuts, warm white wine and a mobile disco playing a selection of ’R&B hits’ was a low point.

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

Over 50 hours.

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

Perhaps Rajinikanth (South Indian film actors being thin on the ground).

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

Hazel Blears MP. Nothing personal – and I’m sure she’d rather not be stuck in a lift with me.

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

I almost ended up playing Mowgli in Walt Disney’s live action remake of The Jungle Book; a male ­member of the Royal ­Family once approached me at a party and observed that I had “very, very black hair”; I’m married to a Bafta- and Emmy-winning TV producer.


Name: Deepak Nambisan

Title: Barrister

Chambers: Fountain Court

Lives: Kensal Green, London


1984-91: King Edward’s School, Birmingham
1992: Williston Northampton School, Easthampton
1992-95: Christ’s College, Cambridge
1995-96: Exeter College, Oxford
1996-97: Harvard Law School
1997-98: Inns of Court School of Law

Work history:

1998-99: Pupil barrister, Fountain Court
1999-2000: Visiting barrister, Herbert Smith
2000-present: Barrister, Fountain Court