The work-life quiz with Robert Langley


Robert Langley
Firm: Watson Burton
Title: Senior partner
Lives: Newcastle upon Tyne
Education: Pembroke College, Oxford
Work history: 1975: Called to the bar (Middle Temple)
1977: Joined the Law Society and began training with Watson Burton
1979: Qualified as a solicitor
1991: Equity partner, Watson Burton
2006: Senior partner, Watson Burton

What was your first-ever job?
Part-time library assistant at Wallsend Public Library.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Breaking into a dead man’s house to find his will.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?

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

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Balls Brothers, beneath the London Underwriting Centre.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A schoolmaster.

Who’s your hero and why?
King Alfred the Great because he always led from the front.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Having to multi-task.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Going to the bar; I learnt the importance of risk assessment.

What car do you drive?
A Saab.

What book are you currently reading?
Reeds Eastern Almanac 2007 by Neville Featherstone.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Kathryn Tickell – she’s a contemporary Northumbrian Piper.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
I acted for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Commission on a major contract dispute. This involved visiting the Hwange Power Station complex near Victoria Falls. I found the experience of visiting Africa absolutely amazing.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
A yacht and a global positioning system.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
A team-building boot camp in Yorkshire. It was too strenuous.

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

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Alec Guinness. A consummate professional.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Otto von Bismarck – he’d be a lousy conversationalist.