Work Life Quiz: Libby Savill, Olswang

What was your first-ever job?
Working in a boutique in Sydney aged 15.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
I wasn’t really ever a trainee – the concept didn’t exist in Sydney when I started working. But as a very junior lawyer my worst experiences were self-inflicted, by bringing my personal life – boyfriends – and my extravagant dress sense into the office, much to some of the partners’ disapproval.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
I have to wait for someone to come to me with the gossip. But sooner or later someone does.

What time do you usually leave the office?
Between 7pm and 8pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Pretend to be a housewife and shop for groceries etc, and spend time with my partner and our two sons.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Ivy in London.

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

Who’s your hero and why?
Essayist, author and activist Susan Sontag, because every time I read something about her or by her I’m struck by her wisdom about the world generally and about women specifically.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Although it doesn’t appear so to the untrained eye, having some control over my work-life destiny.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Never being able to be complacent.

What car do you drive?
A very unglam and environmentally unfriendly 1997 Jeep.

What book are you currently reading?
The Secret River by Kate Grenville.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
It’s full of world music and R&B.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
CS Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
A deal I handled for at Disney in 2004. It was satisfying to make a large amount of money for my client, but also to lead a large team at the firm, which worked day and night to get the deal done.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
Oodles of books and DVDs, so a library – including a personal DVD player – and some really good face cream.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
A toss-up between one in a ‘country house hotel’, which was more like Butlins, or one where we were to play bonding-type games in the mud and the rain.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Probably Jamie Lee Curtis, because I’ve been told too often we look alike. But my preference would be a glamorous Australian like Cate Blanchett.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
George Bush, not only because of the ever more disastrous Iraq War, but also for making ‘creationism’ and ‘pro-life’ political issues.


Name: Libby Savill
Firm: Olswang
Title: Head of film
Lives: Islington, London
Education: BA/BLLB, University of New South Wales, Australia
Work history: 1981-84: Associate, Clayton Utz, Sydney 1984-85: Foreign associate, Arnold & Porter, Washington DC 1985-88: International finance associate, Linklaters, New York
1988-89: International finance associate, Linklaters, London 1989-90: Entertainment associate, Olswang
1991-present: Media, communications and technology (MCT) partner
1998-2003: Head of MCT
2000-present: Head of film