Richard Tett: Freshfields ­Bruckhaus Deringer

Who’s your hero and why?
Steve Redgrave – he’s a fantastic oarsman who changed the face of British rowing.
To keep up that commitment and intensity of hard work for two decades is awesome.

What was your first-ever job?
Science/maths teacher in a Kenyan Harambee School.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
In the days before Deltaview etc, we had to underline/write in the changes between drafts. I was told this would help me understand the structure and content of a vast offering circular or whatever – I was always impressed that my seniors could say that without laughing. When I tell trainees about this, they look at me as if I came from the age of quill pens.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Wherever the trainees and associates are on a Friday evening after a few drinks. When the phrase “and another thing” comes out and the finger starts pointing, you know that you’re getting to the heart of the matter.

What time do you usually leave the office?
The past six months have been anything but usual in restructuring. It’s been extremely interesting work and on many days the time has rather flown by, so it’s tended to be later than I’d have wanted.

What do you do at weekends?
Things that normal people do during weekday evenings such as seeing family and friends. Also, church on Sunday with the family, some jogging/sport and catching up with non-urgent know-how/admin.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Bleeding Heart in London.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
I was musing over being a rowing coach, surgeon or a teacher before ending up in the law.

Who’s your hero and why?
Steve Redgrave – he’s a fantastic oarsman who changed the face of British rowing.
To keep up that commitment and intensity of hard work for two decades is awesome.

What’s the best thing about your job?
There are lots of enjoyable aspects, but probably the best thing is working with talented people and the teamwork.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The look on my children’s faces if I end up letting them down at the last minute due to a work commitment.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
As an associate saying “yes” too much. It’s tricky as jobs are unpredictable, but I’ve tried to learn to put my hand up when I need to share the load.

What car do you drive?
Honda – well-made and very reliable cars.

What book are you reading?
Through Many Dangers: The Story of John Newton by Brian Edwards.

What’s on your iPod?
JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. My children are separately listening to it, so I need to know what’s going on in Hogwarts or else I’m left out when they start talking about “He who shall not be named”.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Tussauds’ acquisition of the London Eye. It was the first major job that I ran as a partner and the high-profile nature of the London Eye added to the interest.

If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?
A good supply of Chateau Lafite and a comfortable bed (with a mosquito net,
I guess).

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
Generally our partner conferences are in Paris, which is a pretty good location.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
If you exclude nodding off at your desk (euphemistically called power napping), something like 36 hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Tom Cruise or any actors from LA Law – just so that they could see how unlike The Firm or LA Law life as a lawyer really is.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Hannibal Lecter – I don’t fancy losing weight that way.