Work Life Quiz: Jon Vivian, Irwin Mitchell

Where’s the best place to go to find out what’s really going on in the office? Our local pub The ­Boardroom.

Jon Vivian
Jon Vivian

What was your first-ever job?

Working for a month in a sawmill – extremely hard and dusty work.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

Accepting a town cheque on a completion instead of a banker’s draft over a May bank holiday. It eventually cleared.

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

Our local pub The ­Boardroom.

What time do you usually leave the office?

It varies, but often far too late.

What do you do at weekends?

Watch my daughter play lacrosse. Sport in one form or another.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis.

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

A property developer. The grass is always greener…

What’s your favourite film?

Chariots of Fire.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones.

Who’s your hero and why?

Martin Johnson for ­winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

What’s the best thing about your job?

That magical moment when we get instructed on a new project.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

When we don’t get instructed on a new project we would have loved.

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

Possibly moving out of London at an early stage in my career. It’s important to maintain a high quality of work and commuting is tough.

What car do you drive?

A Lexis 450 hybrid. It’s very environmentally friendly.

What book are you reading?

Keith Richards’ autobiography Life. I’m amazed he can remember it all.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I always wanted a parrot.

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

A few years ago we were involved in two huge ­portfolio deals for Brixton and Prestbury in an extremely short space of time. Pressure was extremely fierce, but to complete both successfully was very rewarding.

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

A bottle of chablis and my BlackBerry.

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

A desultory day in a ­London hotel, with ­everyone trying to explain why the past year had gone so badly wrong.


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

Two nights – after which I fell asleep in a meeting on a new matter in the ­second afternoon. Luckily the client was very ­understanding.


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

Charles Bronson. There was a fleeting resemblance in the days when I sported a moustache.


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

Now that would be telling.

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

I’m a Cambridge rugby blue; I speak three ­languages fluently;

I’m left-handed.



Name: Jon Vivian

Firm: Irwin Mitchell

Title: Head of real estate


1973-76: MA, St John’s College, Cambridge

1976-77: LLB, St John’s College, Cambridge

1977-78: Law, Guildford College of Law

Work history: 1989-2001: Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna

2001-10: Partner, then head of real estate, SJ Berwin

2010-present: Partner and head of real estate, Irwin Mitchell