Work Life Quiz: Arun Birla, Paul Hastings


What was your first ever job?

Working in a fire station shadowing the firemen and doing odd jobs. I am not so sure how the practical experience has ended with me pursuing a career as a tax lawyer.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

I had to argue a case before a Lord Justice at the Royal Courts of Justice. Quite honestly, I was ripped to shreds but I would like to think that the experience has been helpful in the long run.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Punjab, Covent Garden; it’s the real deal.

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

A fireman as I have a head for heights.

What is your favourite film?

Drive (2011). The soundtrack is great as well.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Running up that hillby Kate Bush

Who’s your hero and why?

My mum and dad because of their achievements and support of our family. They are also fun to be around.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people (clients and colleagues). It would be boring otherwise.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

On some days, not having enough hours in the day to deal with everything I would have liked to.

What car do you drive?

Electric G-Wiz and a Mustang. Complete extremes, I know!

What book are you currently reading?

I have recently been given Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World by Nicholas Shaxson, so that is next on the list.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

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

My wife and my iPad

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

Approximately 72 hours on an M&A deal. I actually enjoyed it…

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

Sir Alex Ferguson (I support Liverpool Football Club)

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

I speak Italian; I am a good cook; my favourite hobby is skiing


Name: Arun Birla

Title: Partner

Firm: Paul Hastings

Lives: London


1993-96: MA, jurisprudence, Keble College, Oxford

1996-97: LPC, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice

Work history:

1999-2002: Associate, Allen & Overy

2002-04: Associate, Covington & Burling

2004-07: Senior associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

2008-present: Partner, London head of tax, Paul Hastings (Europe)