Work Life Quiz: Juan Carlos Machuca, Uría Menéndez

What time do you usually leave the office? It’s always dark outside.

Juan Carlos Machuca
Juan Carlos Machuca

What was your first-ever job?

Being a terrible waiter in my parents’ home town, although my friends quite enjoyed having me on the other side of the bar.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

My worst experience was drafting the minutes for a board of directors’ ­meeting of a large Spanish ­insurance company. I was replacing the lead ­partner, who’d had a heart attack that weekend and was still instructing me from his hospital bed while using an oxygen mask. The relationship between the joint venture partners was far from ­amicable, and on top of that I had to prove I ­understood everything that was going on in the room in English. It was a complete nightmare.

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

The IT department ­without a doubt.

What do you do at weekends?

They’re always too short, but I usually spend them with friends, running in the park, going to ­exhibitions, discovering new gastro pubs and flower markets, going to a good gig or improving my English with my four-year-old goddaughter Olivia.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

In London, when I feel ­nostalgic about my mum’s cooking, the best place to go is Cambio de Tercio or its sister tapas bar Tendido Cero. If you’re lucky, you can even bump into Rafa Nadal during Wimbledon.

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

I always dreamt about being a fashion ­photographer.

What’s your favourite film?

Out of Africa and ­Almodovar’s Volver.

What was the first record you ever bought?

One of Dire Straits’ ­masterpieces, Money for Nothing.

Who’s your hero and why?

His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain. He did so much to transform Spain after the death of Franco in very difficult ­circumstances.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Although it’s a cliché, I’d say that working with bright people is always very stimulating and the day-to-day intellectual challenge when dealing with clients’ requests.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The fact that sometimes you don’t have control of your own time and the frustration of ­disappointing people when you cancel personal appointments with friends.

What book are you currently reading?

Trois femmes puissantes by Marie NDiaye, The House of Wittgenstein:

A Family at War by ­Alexander Waugh and Anatomía de un instante by Javier Cercas.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Imposed by my goddaughter’s dictatorship, the Dora the Explorer books.

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

Advising Banco Santander and the consortium of banks on the acquisition

of ABN Amro.

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

A Tom Ford swimming costume and a supply of fresh Pimm’s.

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

A couple of days, which might not sound very impressive, but is something you never forget.

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

Antonio Banderas, if the movie happens to be in English. After more than

a decade in an English-speaking country both of us still have such strong, sweet Spanish accents.

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

Kate Moss used to call me JC and my friends adopted the nickname. It took me a while, but I’m now fluent in Mandarin. I’ll always be grateful to my Margarita, who taught me how to dance flamenco.



Name: Juan Carlos Machuca

Firm: Uría Menéndez

Title: Resident partner

Lives: London



1996: Law degree, Universidad Complutense, ­Colegio Universitario San Pablo CEU, Spain

1997: EC law degree with honours, Colegio ­Universitario San Pablo CEU, Spain

Work history:

1996-2000: Junior associate, Uría Menéndez, Madrid

2000-02: Junior associate, Uría Menéndez, London

2002-07: Senior associate, Uría Menéndez, London

2007-present: Partner, Uría Menéndez, London