Work Life Quiz: Jan Mugerwa, Olephant Solicitors

Jan Mugerwa

What was your first-ever job?

Barman at a hotel. This was clearly a long time ago as my nickname was ‘Sooty’.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Being told by a partner in an opposing firm “to stick the White Book where the sun don’t shine”, after which he complained to my head of department. Fortunately my head backed me over him. I was right (technically).

What do you do at weekends?

Gym, read, write my blog, watch a movie, listen to my youngest on piano and watch my eldest play football, if I’m not at my newly renovated house in Fez.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

The Delaunay.

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

Everyone who goes to my house in Fez says an interior designer, but I say a political activist.

What’s your favourite film?

The Jungle Book.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Message in a Bottle by The Police.

Who’s your hero and why?

Harry Belafonte; actor, singer and outstanding humanitarian.

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

I once sat on a writ (claim form to younger readers) and at 3pm on the last day I realised it hadn’t been served. My paralegal flew out of the door and got it served just in time. I learned never to sit on things if there’s a deadline, even if the client asks me to.

What car do you drive?

I don’t. I have a Vespa.

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

Having conduct of a case (Pell Frischmann) from first instruction to the Privy Council and winning. It was a six-year journey where we rode the roller-coaster from despair to celebration; from poor judgment to good.

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

My iPod and a real Hungarian Vizsla (to replace my imaginary one).

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

Harry Belafonte. He looks like me and sings like me (in my dreams).

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

The judge at first instance in Jersey in Pell Frischmann.


Name: Jan Mugerwa
Firm: Olephant Solicitors
Title: Principal
Lives: Dulwich

1986-89: LLB, University of Bristol
1991-92: Law, College Of Law, York

Work history
1993-95: Trainee, Bristows
1995-98: Assistant solicitor, Bristows
1998-2001: Assistant solicitor, Memery Crystal
2001-02: Assistant solicitor, Stephenson Harwood
2002-present: Founder, Olephant Solicitors