Work Life Quiz: Kate Oldfield, Davis Blank Furniss

What’s your favourite film? Kind Hearts and Coronets or any of the old Ealing comedies. I love the mix of humour and romanticism.  

Kate Oldfield
Kate Oldfield

What was your first-ever job?

Working in stock control for Great Universal Stores.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Being sent by my boss to a consent order and finding myself in open court with no rights of audience. It wasn’t fun.

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

My secretary’s desk. She’s one of the most popular members of the team and knows ­everything.

What time do you usually leave the office?

It depends on my workload but I do try to get home and have dinner with my children most nights.  

What do you do at weekends?

My two children take up a lot of my time so I’m often seen tearing around the North West going from various sports fields to music lessons and ­everywhere inbetween.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

San Carlo, the famous ­Italian in Manchester, is just around the corner from the office so that’s a regular.

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

A doctor.

What was the first record you ever bought?

I can remember it like it was yesterday. It cost 80p and was the early 1970s version of NOW! That’s What I Call Music.

Who’s your hero and why?

I learned a lot from my dad, who was a ­Superintendent in Greater Manchester Police. He was renowned for being firm but fair, which is ­something that I like to think I’ve emulated.

What’s the best thing about your job?

It’s a cliché but the people I work with really are great.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

A lot of my work is in the clinical negligence sector so some of the cases are very sad.

You have to draw on your professionalism and not see the emotion.

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

Some days I would say becoming managing ­partner. The lesson is that I will retire early.

What car do you drive?


What book are you reading?

I’ve just finished The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

The Mrs Pepperpot stories by Alf Proysen – works of literary genius.

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

Late last year, I advised all the families involved in the Redfern Inquiry, which looked into the cases of 65 dead Sellafield nuclear workers whose body organs and tissue were taken for analysis without their families’ knowledge. It was a high-profile job that resulted in a ­Government apology to the families.

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

My iPod and a good-­quality moisturiser.

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

I’d say one at Manchester Airport about 10 years ago. A catalogue of personal disasters on the day meant that I had to take my 11-month-old baby along with me. The managing partner wasn’t impressed.

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

At our firm, the all-nighters tend to be done by the corporate department, but I do lie in bed worrying about a case or ­firm-related matters.

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

I’m nearly six foot, so it would need to be someone tall with big feet.

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

I find ignorance and ­intolerance unbearable so anyone who embraces those traits.  

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

I used to ride a Triumph Bonneville. My middle name is Maude. I have a passion for all things red.


Name: Kate Oldfield

Firm: Davis Blank Furniss

Title: Managing partner

Lives: Culcheth, Cheshire


1983-86: Law degree, Leeds University

1986-87: Solictors Finals, Chester Law School

Work history: 1987: Trainee, Davis Blank Furniss

1989-91: Assistant solicitor, Davis Blank ­Furniss

1991-93: Associate, Davis Blank Furniss

1993-2007: Partner, Davis Blank Furniss

2007-present: Managing partner