The work-life quiz with Ann Benzimra


Ann Benzimra
Firm: Hammonds
Title: Head of human capital (employment and pensions)
Lives: Warwickshire
Education: Queen Anne Grammar School, York; Birmingham University; Chester Law College
Work history: 1989-91: Articled clerk, Needham & James
1991-95: Assistant, Dibb Lupton Broomhead
1995-99: Associate, Wragge & Co
1995-2004: Partner, Wragges 2004-present: Partner, Hammonds

What was your first-ever job?
Looking after chickens and collecting their eggs.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being sent to serve an injunction and being pushed forward to do the deed with the partner standing behind with a very angry recipient.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Over a coffee and muffin at Starbucks.

What time do you usually leave the office?

What do you do at weekends?
Go to the gym and catch up with friends and family.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
My sister’s house.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
A make-up artist.

Who’s your hero and why?
My husband, as he sets goals and always achieves them.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people I work with, both clients and colleagues.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Balancing the needs of the business with the individual needs of the lawyers.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Looking for clever ways of challenging an agreement and missing the obvious clause, which would have had the case struck out straight away rather than in a protracted way. I learnt that you shouldn’t try to be too clever.

What car do you drive?
BMW coupe.

What book are you currently reading?
Memoirs of a Pet Lamb by David Sylvester.

What’s on your iPod player at the moment?
By All Means’ It’s real.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
A piece of litigation involving truckloads of documents coming in on a daily basis with claimants who could be best described as crooks. It was exciting as there were regular applications to the court challenging court procedure.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
My husband and a pair of tweezers.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
The office. Need you ask why?

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

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Julie Walters, as she’s pretty quirky.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Anyone obsessed with their BlackBerry or mobile.