Jo Footitt, SJ Berwin

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Keeping focused on maintaining a good work-life balance when it’s so easy to slip into the long hours culture.

SJ Berwin” />Name: Jo Footitt
Firm: SJ Berwin
Title: Partner
Lives: St Albans
Education: University of Bristol, Chester Law School
Work history:
1995-97: Trainee, Manches & Co 1997-2001: Junior associate, CMS Cameron McKenna
2001-07: Senior associate, SJ Berwin
2007-present: Partner, SJ Berwin

What was your first-ever job?

Working on the bakery counter at Tesco on a Saturday.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being forced to do a property seat despite my best efforts to get out of it. I hated land law at university and was adamant that I did not want to be a property lawyer. And yet here I am, 10 years later, not only practising property law, but enjoying it.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
I try to leave at 5pm at least twice at week so that I can put my children to bed.

What do you do at weekends?
Try to fit seven days’ worth of being a domestic goddess into three. I’m at the beck and call of my children from the minute I walk through the door on a Friday night until I leave for work on a Tuesday morning.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Ivy in London.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Probably a headmistress as I’m often told that I behave like one.

Who’s your hero and why?
I’m still searching for the perfect role model of someone who combines a brilliant career with being a yummy mummy. Someone like the fictional heroine of Sophie Kinsella’s The Undomestic Goddess.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people. We have a great team.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Keeping focused on maintaining a good work-life balance when it’s so easy to slip into the long hours culture.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Not asking for a flexible contract sooner (I work four days a week). No one’s going to hand you the perfect career on a plate – you have to ask for it and then be prepared to work hard to make a success of it.

What car do you drive?
BMW 5 series.

What book are you currently reading?
I rarely get time to read, but I must confess that when I do it’s likely to be the latest edition of OK! rather than the Booker Prize winner.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Nothing – I’ve not got around to learning how to work it.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
CS Lewis’s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
A huge bar of chocolate and a nice bottle of wine.

What’s the worst partner conference you’ve attended and why?
A property conference where, as a result of an admin error, I didn’t have a room, so had to stay up all night with a lot of very drunken surveyors.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Three days.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Kristin Scott Thomas – she is stylish and sophisticated, everything I aspire to be.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
A legal journalist. I’m far too honest, hopeless at avoiding difficult questions and live in fear of saying the wrong thing.