Work Life Quiz: James Knight, Keystone Law

What was your first-ever job?
Ball boy at Wimbledon.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
Two weeks after arriving for a six-month placement in Oman, I was instructed to drive the most important client home as he’d become very drunk at the firm’s cocktail party. After leaving the party, the client refused to direct me to his house and insisted on driving his own car. He was stopped by the police and actually went to prison. I was in the doghouse for weeks.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
Before 6.30pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Currently triathlon ­training and family time.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
Chez Bruce, Wandsworth Common. It’s perfect in every way.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
An entrepreneur of some description, but probably in professional services.

Who’s your hero and why?
Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE. He’s a consummate ­achiever and seems to manage the impossible.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Being given the chance to develop and grow a law firm in a way that has never been done before.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Not having anyone to copy.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Don’t let drunk clients drive themselves home.

What car do you drive?
Audi A3.

What book are you reading?
The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford (a ­surprisingly good read).

What’s on your iPod?
Hard to say. It was stolen on the Tube last week, so gangsta rap probably.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
The Cat in the Hat by
Dr Seuss.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on?
We recently completed a rebrand of Keystone Law from Lawyers Direct, which was a huge but rewarding challenge. There’s more to changing a company’s name than meets the eye.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
A backgammon set and my wife, Natalie.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
In 1997, shortly before the handover of Hong Kong to China, we held a one-day conference on a traditional Chinese boat. The weather was terrible and everyone was ill.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Six hours.

Who would play you in the movie of your life and why?
Anthony Hopkins – he makes his characters look intelligent or charming. Either would be fine.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
Naomi Campbell. Could be stressful.


Name: James Knight
Firm: Keystone Law (formerly known as Lawyers Direct)
Title: Managing partner
Lives: Clapham

Education: 1986-89: Newcastle University
1989-90: Guildford Law School

Work history:
1990-92: Articled at Trowers & Hamlins
1992-99: Consultant solicitor, Horvath & Giles Solicitors (Hong Kong)
1999-2002: Consultant solicitor (England)
2002-present: Managing partner, Keystone Law