Michael Hatchwell, head of corporate, Davenport Lyons
What was your first ever job?
Selling beautiful Danish tents to English campers in a Brighton antiques warehouse.
What was your worst experience as a trainee?
I have to say my traineeship was great [at Gamlins, 1986-88; since taken over by Penningtons]. Two experiences during my broader training left a mark: visiting a client in prison at Brixton and not being allowed to give him a pad of paper so he could write more letters to his family; sitting with a matrimonial partner during my litigation seat for six months and hearing in intimate detail what can go on between a man and woman.
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Firm drinks evenings, after a couple of hours.
What time do you usually leave the office?
What do you do at weekends?
Spend time with my family and sailing.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
La Poutre, Col du Galibier, France.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A doctor, teacher or professional sailor – yachts, I should add.
Who was your mentor or role model?
My principal mentor was David Rockberger, formerly my head of department, and as a younger man an old family friend, Robert Seabrook – now QC.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Working in a people business and forming a good corporate team. I very much enjoy working with my clients and I have the great privilege of only working with clients I like. And I love winning new business.
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Finding the inspiration and energy to set a good example on a daily basis and to do the three things mentioned above well.
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
I once accepted a job in another firm to head up the corporate department and then changed my mind late in the day. It was a mistake to let someone down in that way… It was, however, the right decision for me.
What car(s) do you drive?
I’m a Mercedes man but I only like the older ones. My current favourite is an E36 from 1995.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m not. I read books on holiday.
What’s on your CD player at the moment?
What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Harry Potter series.