The work-life quiz: Richard Ginsburg

What was your first-ever job?
Warehouse receiving clerk.


Richard Ginsburg
Title: European head of private equity finance
Firm: Weil Gotshal & Manges
Lives: Maida Vale, London
Education: University of Texas at Austin; Texas Tech University; Texas Tech University School of Law
Work history:
1975-91: President and chief executive, Quicksilver Resources 1994-95: Law clerk, Fifth District Court of Appeals, Dallas, Texas
1995-2000: Senior associate, Weil, Dallas
2000-present: Partner, Weil, London

What was your first-ever job?
Warehouse receiving clerk.

What was your worst experience starting out as a lawyer?
When I was a summer associate, spending six weeks in Houston, Texas in the summer with a car that had lousy air-conditioning. Houston is the hottest, most humid place in the US.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
One of my senior associates.

What time do you usually leave the office?

What do you do at weekends?
Spend time with my wife.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

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

Who’s your hero and why?
Franklin Roosevelt, because he never let polio get in his way. I had polio as a child.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Working with highly motivated people. What’s the toughest thing about your job?Working opposite people who don’t care about getting it right.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Being in business with family. Only be involved in business with people who are personally invested in the enterprise and are at least as motivated as you are.

What car do you drive?
Lexus RX300.

What book are you reading?
Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert.

What’s on your iPod player at the moment?
Surprise by Paul Simon.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Dr Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Premier Foods – from the leveraged buyout acquisition of Hillsdown in 1999 to Premier’s IPO in 2004 to its acquisition of the UK Campbell Soups Company and refinancing this year. It’s my favourite ‘deal’ because of the continuing relationship.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
My golf clubs and my bed.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
About 60 hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Harrison Ford, because it would be a real acting challenge.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Madonna, because with her it’s always ‘me, me, me’.