Work Life Quiz: James Wood, Penningtons Solicitors

Work-life quiz: James Wood, <a class=Penningtons Solicitors” class=”inline_image inline_image_left” src=”/pictures/web/images/14973_14_jameswood.gif” />What was your first-ever job?
A paper round earning a meagre £3.50 per week.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?
I accidentally sent an email to a rather demanding client setting out my frustrations. The relationship with the client and the supervising partner deteriorated after that.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
We mostly leave between 6pm and 6.30pm. ­Penningtons encourages a home life.

What do you do at weekends?
I enjoy time with my partner Yvonne, sleep, swim, eat, socialise and shop.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?
The Gainsborough at the Grand Hotel in Torquay, in conjunction with a ­weekend away.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
As a boy, my best friend’s mother said I’d either earn a lot of money or end up in prison.

Who’s your hero and why?
David Bowie. He caught the imagination of an impressionable young man, although I abstained from the make-up and the spandex… honest.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Knowing what I do makes a difference.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Switching off.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Email can be dangerous. The client’s always right.

What car do you drive?
Until recently I had an MX5, a Smart Roadster and a Hyundai Coupe, but I’m in the midst of an inverted midlife crisis and I now drive a Citroën C4 diesel, which is good for 55mpg.

What book are you currently reading?
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer – it’s taking a while.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
I’m a little behind the times in this respect – on my ‘turntable’ I have Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?
The Very Hungry ­Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
A case in Antarctica ­involving a doctor who alleged carbon monoxide poisoning, having been stranded in a small hut for several weeks. Very ­interesting to get an insight into this remote part of the world and to understand the dynamic and psychology of ­Antarctic living.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two ­luxury items would you take?
A satellite phone with built-in GPS and a solar charger.

What’s the worst partner ­conference location you’ve attended and why?
It was at Honda in ­Swindon, where the ­temperature was so cold I was forced to wear my coat and woolly hat throughout.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
As a student I was often found asleep in the library. Things have improved, although I’m not adverse to the occasional nap at my desk.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Kevin Kline, minus the moustache.

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

James Wood
Firm: Penningtons Solicitors
Title: Associate
Lives: Northampton

1981-86: Exmouth Community College
1996-2000: Law, ­University of Exeter
2000-01: Inns of Court School of Law
Work history:

2001-04: Trainee, Thring Townsend
2004-08: Defendant personal injury solicitor, ­Greenwoods Solicitors
2005: Joined Spinal Injuries Association (SIA)
2008: Elected vice-chair of SIA
2008-present: Claimant personal injury associate, Penningtons