Jonathan Porteous

What was your first-ever job?
Descaling a tower at a ­concrete factory with hydrochloric acid. Drops kept flying off the broom into my face.

Jonathan Porteous

Jonathan Porteous

What was your first-ever job?

Descaling a tower at a ­concrete factory with hydrochloric acid. Drops kept flying off the broom into my face.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
Being caught by the ­managing partner having a fight with a student at a firm recruitment event at Cambridge University. I was aggrieved that a ­student had stolen a lawyer’s badge to get access to free champagne.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Managing partner’s desk, middle drawer on the left-hand side.

What time do you usually leave the office?
It varies. Any time from 4pm to 1am typically.

What do you do at weekends?
Cycle or play cricket with the kids, watch Sky Sports.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
Saaki Tandoori, Liss, Hants.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Professional gambler.

Who’s your hero and why?
I can’t decide between Ranulph Fiennes, green campaigner and Guardian columnist George ­Monbiot and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling. I’m sure the ‘why’ is self-evident in each case.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Working with pleasant and reasonable colleagues.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Having to lie about what I do at parties.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn?
After a day at the cricket, squinting at the ­BlackBerry, I mistakenly replied to the client rather than forwarding a ribald comment to a colleague. The lesson is to step away from the BlackBerry when over the limit.

What car do you drive?
Saab 9-5 Aero.

What book are you reading?
The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock.

What’s on your iPod?
Nothing – I haven’t worked out how to use it yet. In the car it’s Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
I like the Harry Potter books but my Voldemort voice has scared my ­daughter so I can’t read them to the kids any more.

What’s the most exciting deal you’ve worked on and why?
In my old job I led a team working on a merger of the Hungarian and Croatian former state oil and gas companies. The deal was foiled by the death of the Croatian president, a strong supporter of the merger. The sheer scale and chaos of the deal was exciting in a rather ­terrifying way.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
An Orange Trophy football (sadly not produced since the 1970s) and a bottle of Black Mamba venomously hot chilli sauce.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
A hotel in Godalming springs to mind. Even now, thinking of the fish course is enough to make me gag.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Sixty-two hours. It was part of a new record weekly chargeable hours total at the firm. The record still stands (excluding my ­partner Keith Syson, of course, who has mutated into a life form that requires no sleep).

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
The wife used to say Hugh Grant. Now it’s Russell Grant.

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

Jonathan Porteous
Firm: Stevens & Bolton
Title: Partner
Lives: Petersfield, Hampshire
1977-83: Brentwood School
1984-87: BA, Cambridge
1987-88: College of Europe, Bruges
1989-90: College of Law, York
Work history:
1988-89: Associate, Van Bael & ­Bellis, Brussels
1990-92: Trainee, Allen & Overy (A&O)
1992-95: Associate, A&O (London)
1995-98: Associate, A&O (Prague)
1998-2001: Head of office, then partner, A&O (Budapest)
2001-02: Partner, A&O (Amsterdam)
2002-present: Partner, corporate, banking and finance, Stevens & Bolton