What do you do at weekends?
Cook, eat, read, general pampering and being a taxi service for my teenage daughter.
What was your first-ever job?
Waitress at the local golf club.
What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being sat in a cell with a woman who was being interviewed by the police for stabbing a lady in the public toilets and then being told afterwards by the officers that she was going to be sectioned. I was alone with her.
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The spare office nearest the kitchen. Or, according to the staff I asked, my room as they seem to think that I have the place bugged.
What time do you usually leave the office?
Always after 6pm but my secretary and daughter both say not early enough.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Fisherman’s Retreat in Shuttleworth, Lancashire. It serves fantastic organic homegrown food as well as some amazing wines and whiskys.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A doctor, if my dad had had his way.
Who’s your hero and why?
My dad. I respect him and hope I am in some ways like him.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It sounds clichéd but the people I work with. You spend a lot of time with your colleagues and staff so you need to enjoy their company. It makes the hard days much easier.
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Feeling responsible for so many people’s continuing employment.
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Taking a case against my instinct. I was not happy with what the client proposed although there was nothing illegal. It led to a claim which was ultimately shown to have no cause but I wished I had followed my gut and said no. I learned that if I do not feel comfortable with a job, do not take it.
What car do you drive?
Silver Mercedes c200, my 40th birthday present to myself… I love my car.
What book are you currently reading?
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman.
What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Stevie Wonder, The Script and Vaughan Williams.
What’s your favourite children’s book?
Anything by Enid Blyton.
What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
One of the most memorable this year was a case regarding the unfair dismissal of a trainee solicitor from a firm in Manchester. The practice went against the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s rules of dismissal and the tribunal found in our favour. It was a great triumph as it showed that trainees are the future of our industry and should be protected accordingly. It also achieved widespread press coverage and debate.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxuries would you take?
Sun cream ( I have fair skin) and a thick book.
What’s the worst partner conference you’ve attended and why?
Lawyer discretion kicks in, I cannot possibly say. But there’s been a few.
What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
We did a straight 24 hours recently. I can’t manage anymore than that.
If a movie was made of your life, which actor would play you and why?
Everyone says Victoria Wood because I sound and look like her. Personally, I don’t see it.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
The man who made me redundant as a young property lawyer just after the Christmas holiday. Need I say why?
Name: Shefali Talukdar
Firm: Clough & Willis
Title: Managing partner
1982-85: University of Hull
1985-86: Chester College of Law
1986-90: Articled clerk and solicitor, Woodcock & Sons
1990-91: Solicitor, Ramsbottom & Co
1991-97: Solicitor, Clough & Willis
1997-2003: Partner, Clough & Willis
2003-present: Managing partner, Clough & Willis