Work Life Quiz: David Marsden, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin

David Marsden

What was your first-ever job?

Paperboy. By the time I was 16 I had worked my way up to managing all the other paperboys. I introduced a bonus system to encourage them not to make mistakes and within a week the ‘bonus’ had become a ‘right’. This taught me a valuable lesson in how to manage the expectations of people.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Not receiving proper training or supervision when dealing with a £100k High Court claim. My principal pointed to the White Book and told me the answer was in there and I’d better find it. This helped to put me off litigation for life. Thankfully, the way trainees are looked after now is much better than in the old days.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Chez Marsden on a Saturday night. My wife is a great chef and even better company.

What do you do in your spare time?

Have skiing adventures and go mountain biking. The skiing usually involves a bit of off-piste and après-ski work.

Where’s your favourite place to ski?

It varies, but this year’s favourites include Verbier.

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sleep?

I used to be in the infantry (Territorial Army). When we went on exercise we would have to exist on no more than around two hours’ sleep at a time for as long as two weeks. Even that would normally be snatched in the back of a Land Rover, in a trench or sharing a barn with pigs and/or chickens. After that you learn you don’t need luxuries to enjoy life.

Where’s the best place to go if you really want to hear the office gossip?

Sorry, I really don’t listen to gossip.

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

A year’s supply of food and a decent tent.

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

Telly Savalas – he bears such a striking resemblance to me.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

My wife.


Name: David Marsden

Title: Head of real estate

Firm: Matthew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB)

Lives: Berkhamsted, “where there appear to be more lawyers per square mile than anywhere else in the country”


Cardiff University

College of Law,

Guildford School of Infantry, Warminster

Work history:

(1979-92: Royal Anglian Regiment (Territorial Army))

1979: Started as articled clerk at MAB

2013: Still there