Alison Gowman: DLA Piper UK

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being locked in the office with my supervising partner and his wife on a snowy Christmas Eve.

DLA Piper UK” />What was your first-ever job?
Hospital cleaner.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being locked in the office with my supervising partner and his wife on a snowy Christmas Eve – the caretaker had disappeared for a Christmas drink.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
It varies tremendously since life is not, thankfully, predictable.

What do you do at weekends?
Enjoy London and write speeches.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Harry’s Dolci, Venice.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
An architect. I now satisfy this yearning by being a trustee of the Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Who is your hero and why?
Queen Elizabeth I – she lived through many vicissitudes but thrived in a man’s world.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Being at the heart of transactions and making things happen.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Juggling it with my role as an Alderman of the City of London and trustee of various charities.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Telling a friend about an awful solicitor on the other side only to find that he was sitting next to me at the opera. Careless talk spoils a good opera.

What car do you drive?
BMW 3 series.

What book are you currently reading?
Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Too much to mention but includes The Kite Runner soundtrack.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Buying the Cammell Laird shipyards out of receivership when acting for the only other shipbuilders in England. It was a race against time but we made it.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
A wind-up radio and chilled champagne.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
It will probably be next year’s, when we’ll all be marooned on a ship for two days with no escape.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Power naps can break up the longest day, let alone the occasional overnight stretch.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Dame Judi Dench – she can play a woman of any age and cracked open a bottle of champagne on our nearly shared birthday when I went backstage to see her last year.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Living on the 38th floor, my life relies on a lift, so I don’t want anyone with me if I’m putting on my lipstick.

Name: Alison Gowman
Title: Partner
Firm:DLA Piper UK


Barbican, London
Education: Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Van Mildert College, University of Durham
Work history:1978-80: Articled clerk, Alsop Stevens Batesons & Co
1985-present: Partner, Alsop Wilkinson (now part of DLA Piper)