Work Life Quiz: Louis Manches, Manches

What’s the toughest thing about your job? The (luckily few) occasions when we’ve had to make people redundant.

Louis Manches
Louis Manches

What was your first-ever job?

Clerk in the office of George McGovern, then US presidential candidate. My first paid job was ­selling encyclopaedias.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?  

On my third day, when my principal Peter Angel came back from paternity leave and I realised that I was supposed to be sitting at a little table facing the wall rather than the nice big desk with the loudspeaker telephone.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

Outside with the smokers.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Ideally around 7pm; later if necessary. And sometimes the office comes with me.

What do you do at weekends?

Play tennis, watch Arsenal with my sons and spend time with my two little daughters.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

Automat; Rainforest Cafe with my little girls; Little Italy for late night ­sustenance.

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

Ski instructor or psychotherapist.

What’s your favourite film?

A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson; Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino.

What was the first record you ever bought?

The Beatles albums Please Please Me and With the Beatles.

Who’s your hero and why?

My father Sidney Manches, for his drive, energy and determination, his loyalty to people and for always finding time to spend with me; Jane Simpson and Helen Ward, stars of the family law world; and my university contemporaries Benazir Bhutto and Tony Blair who read law while I read politics, but still did pretty well.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The sense of having played a part in building a vibrant and energetic firm, and the friends I’ve made  along the way – clients, colleagues from here and even lawyers from other firms.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The (luckily few) occasions when we’ve had to make people redundant.

What’s your biggest work career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Probably some of the lateral hires we’ve made (no names, no pack drill), but we’ve made some good ones as well.

What car do you drive?

BMW M5, but more often a Ridgeback Elements  bicycle. 

What book(s) are you currently reading?

One Day by David Nicholls and A Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Just William by Richmal Crompton, which I’m ­reading with my daughter.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you have worked on and why?

A silly question – I’m a ­property lawyer.

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

My Kindle and my iPod; and if they could be combined, my album from last year’s Kilimanjaro climb.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?

No disrespect to our ­Scottish partners, but Turnberry in November was a bit bleak.

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

About four hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Dustin Hoffman – or Rowan Atkinson if it was supposed to be funny.

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

One of the laterals ­mentioned above.

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

I played tennis for an Oxford and Cambridge team against a Harvard and Yale team; I snogged  the leader of the band ­that played at our university summer ball; she went on to become a rock legend, but I never kiss and tell.


Name: Louis Manches

Firm: Manches

Title: Senior partner/head of London office

Lives: Camberwell, London


1972-75: MA in Philosophy, Politics and

Economics; St John’s College Oxford

1976: College of Law, Chester

Work history:

1978-80: Trainee, Manches

1980-84: Assistant, Manches

1984-2005: Head of property, Manches 

2004-present: Head of London office (also head of property since 2008), Manches