Work Life Quiz: Jane Cowley, Howes Percival

What was your first-ever job? Selling pet food.

Jane Cowley
Jane Cowley

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Breaking the photocopier.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Usually around 6pm.

What do you do at weekends?

Eat, drink, relax and be merry.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Anything oriental.

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

A psychiatrist.

What’s your favourite film?

The Exorcist.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Top of the Pops 1977.

Who’s your hero and why?

Nelson Mandela. A truly inspirational and genuine man who will forever be recognised for uniting South Africa.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Interacting with clients.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Interacting with clients.

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

I once mis-diarised a court hearing and arrived at the county court 30 minutes late. I insisted on a ­personal meeting with the district judge so I could provide my apologies. The judge made me a cup of coffee and told me about the mistakes he had made in his career, and said how much he appreciated the fact that I had dealt with the matter so directly. I learnt that organisation is key, always own up and take responsibility, and honesty is always the best course.

What car do you drive?

Golf GTI.

What book are you currently reading?

The ‘Millennium’ trilogy by Stieg Larsson.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Anything by Roald Dahl.

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

A collaborative case ­involving a high-street name with complex ­financial issues, which was resolved by agreement.

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

Some chocolate and a toothbrush.

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

A well-known masonic lodge in Leicestershire with no windows and no fresh air.

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

Twenty-four hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would you like to play you

and why?

Susan Sarandon. She’s ­gritty, realistic and ­expressive.

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

An overweight male with body odour, for obvious reasons.

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

I enjoy yoga and weightlifting, and hate spiders.


Name: Jane Cowley

Firm: Howes Percival

Title: Partner and head of the family law team and East Midlands private client group

Lives: North Leicestershire


1984-88: BA Hons, French and English, Trent Polytechnic

1988-89: CPE, Trent Polytechnic

1989-90: Law Society Finals, Trent Polytechnic

Work history:

1992-97: Associate, Owston & Co, Leicester

1997-2002: Partner, Ironsides, Leicester

2002-10: Partner, Harvey Ingram (formerly Harvey Ingram Owston), Leicester

2010-present: Partner, Howes Percival, Leicester