Work Life Quiz: Guy Heath, Nabarro

Guy Heath

What was your first-ever job? 

Working in a surf shop in Cornwall in university vacations. Several other students were doing the same thing and we took turns to go surfing.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee? 

Spending weeks camped out in Banbury at a planning inquiry on a proposed M40 service station. The experience convinced me I would not be happy as a planning lawyer.

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

My secretaries. They have a network.

What time do you usually leave the office? 

Between 7.30pm and 8pm.

What do you do at weekends? 

We have four teenagers. My daughter likes history so we often visit something old, but everything else is sport.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

Probably the Oxo Tower.

I like the view of the river.

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

A writer or in advertising.  I like the mixture of ­creativity and psychology.

What’s your favourite film? 

North by Northwest.

What was the first record you ever bought? 

It was by the Electric Light Orchestra. It was blue vinyl, which was a big thing at the time.

Who’s your hero and why? 

Looking to a previous age, George Mallory, the climber. He did ­extraordinary things in a rather quiet way.

What’s the best thing about your job? 

I like the variety of work and the people I work with.

What’s the toughest thing about your job? 

As well as the day job and being group head, I have a few other jobs. There are times when it can be hard to fit everything in.

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

I’ve been fortunate enough to develop my career at the firm with which I started. I’ve seen plenty of people move firms for the wrong reason. I’ve learned from other people’s ­mistakes.

What car do you drive? 

A Mercedes GL – good if you have a lot of people to cart around.

What book are you reading? 

Epitaph For A Spy by Eric Ambler.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book? 

Moonfleet by J Meade Falkner, which I discovered reading to our kids. When I was young I loved Arthur Ransome’s books.

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

A case in the European Court of Justice over whether parallel imports infringed trademark rights. It’s a rather arcane topic but there was a lot of buzz about it at the time because it was picked up as a consumer issue.

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

A surfboard and a notepad to write that novel.

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

Heathrow Airport. It’s ­better as an airport than a conference location.

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

Only about 36 hours. I think the glory stuff is best avoided if possible.

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

Apparently I have a ­resemblance to Rex ­Harrison. He’s no longer with us, but then I don’t suppose the film is very likely ­anyway.

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

My son Peter. He wants a Labrador, which I’ll end up walking. I need to avoid him until it’s blown over.

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

As a trainee I led the Nabarro team that won the ‘most corporate T-shirt’ prizes in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate ­Challenge; in my early years at Nabarro I was sent off in a five-a-side match against the post room; my first experience of the law was being given an award by the police for safe road-crossing at age 10.

Guy Heath
Firm: Nabarro
Title: Head of IP
Lives: South Bucks
1983-86: LLB, London School of Economics
1986-87: Law finals, College Of Law, London
Work history:
1987-89: Trainee, Nabarro Nathanson
1989-96: IP associate, Nabarro Nathanson
1996-00: Partner, Nabarro Nathanson
2000-08: Partner, head of IP, Nabarro Nathanson
2008-present: Partner, head of IP, Nabarro