Work Life Quiz: Heidi Lawson, Chadbourne & Parke

What was your first-ever job? I worked at a Baskin ­Robbins ice-cream shop in Florida. I ate a lot of ice-cream there.

Heidi Lawson
Heidi Lawson

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

I was in my office very late one evening and a mouse fell into the bin. I had to finish the brief I was ­working on with a mouse rattling around next to me.

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

I ask one of the associates or my assistant.

What time do you usually leave the office?

I try to leave by 6pm and then work for an hour or two more in the evening.

What do you do at weekends?

We have five children from age one to 24. What don’t I do on the weekends?

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

My husband’s a chef, so we don’t go much further than our kitchen for an amazing meal. When he isn’t ­cooking, our favourite restaurant is the Ramp on Cape Porpoise, Maine.

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

A psychologist, teacher or both.

What’s your favourite film?

One of the best films I’ve seen is a Spanish film called Maria Full of Grace, which was about drug mules. I also watch the same soppy film, Love Actually, five times a year.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel. I was 10 years old and the two guys at the record shop couldn’t stop laughing when they saw what I was buying.

Who’s your hero and why?

A teacher of mine, John. He leads a life of truth, peace and without fear.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The variety of work and the people I work with. 

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Travelling and being away from my family.

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

Staying in a job that wasn’t rewarding. I realised that when you stop growing

you have to move on.

What car do you drive?

A Lexus.

What book are you reading?

I just ordered Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Winnie the Pooh. There’s something incredibly ­comforting about reading about a bear who eats so much he no longer fits through the door. I can assure myself that no ­matter how many problems I think I have, I can at least fit through the door.

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

A case where the SEC couldn’t figure out how the defendant got inside information. We later found out he overheard the information in a lift on his way to a doctor’s appointment.

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

A fully staffed spa, so I could be pampered all day, and my iPad.

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

I wasn’t a partner at the time, but the worst ­conference location was a Walt Disney hotel in Orlando in July. It was steaming hot and the entire hotel smelled like a chlorine pool that had moulded over.

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

Thirty six hours.

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

I asked my husband this, and he said: a young ­Ursula Andress, for your wild youth; Julianne Moore for the present – smart, ginger, independent, successful, forward-thinking; and Susan Sarandon for later in life.

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

I love my mum very much but being in a confined place with her for too long could be a disaster.

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

I dropped out of high school; I used to be an ­aerobics instructor; I’m not adopted.


Name: Heidi Lawson

Firm: Chadbourne & Parke

Title: Partner

Lives: Totteridge and New York


1991-94: BA Business, Eckerd College, Florida

1994-96: Law (JD), Stetson University College of Law, Florida

Work history:

1985-94: Sales, underwriting and marketing, United Services Automobile Association

1996-2001: Litigation and corporate associate, White & Case

2001-10: International counsel, Debevoise & ­Plimpton

2010-present: Partner, Chadbourne & Parke