The work-life quiz: David Taylor

What was your first-ever job?
Paper round combined with walking my uncle’s Alsatian, which made life a lot safer in South East London.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
I started out in the criminal department at Lovells. During the prosecution of a shoplifter, it became apparent that the store detective was lying. I received a huge dressing down from the judge and the case was reported not only in the national newspapers, but in Punch magazine.

What time do you usually leave the office?
7.30pm or so. However, I have never been an early starter.

What do you do at weekends?
I have a house in Kent where my youngest daughter and I maintain a small zoo – one pony, one common buzzard, one barn owl and one ferret.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Bengal Clipper in Shad Thames. After 12 years I have a lifelong discount card.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Poorer? If not, a car dealer – classic cars, of course. Who’s your hero and why?
Anyone who puts themselves in harm’s way for others – firemen, policemen, etc.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Real estate is a small world full of smart and funny people.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Telling people hard truths – it comes with the territory.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
The most annoying mistake was not having a US visa (when you still needed them) and not being able to go to the US to get John Lennon’s signature on a document.

What car do you drive?
An E-Type Jaguar and an old Bentley Turbo.

What books are you reading?
The Reichmanns: Family Faith, Fortune and the Empire of Olympia & York by Anthony Bianco and the latest Terry Pratchett Discworld novel.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Lots of Gary Moore – I saw him in concert recently.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis – it’s much better than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
As a one-off, dealing with the property aspects of the sale of TXU, which was in financial meltdown, was fun – three power stations in seven days.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what luxury items would you take?
A PC with lots of strategy games and some snorkelling gear – I really wanted to be a marine biologist, not a lawyer.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended?
I was once a partner representative (at a previous firm) on a committee which had an away weekend. I was given a bed which was slightly smaller than my own narrow frame – that was awful.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Cary Grant – he was deeply cool.


Firm: DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary
Position: Joint global practice leader of real estate
Lives: London and Kent
Education: Shooters Hill Grammar School
Work history:
1975: Joined Lovell White & King
1980: Joined Berwin Leighton
1996: Appointed head of real estate at Berwin Leighton
2000: Joined Herbert Smith
2004: Joined DLA