Work Life Quiz: Peter Taylor, Lovells

The work-life quiz Peter taylor
What was your first-ever job?
Photocopying assistant, at a weekly wage of £9.50.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Attempting to defend a County Court claim for an auditor’s fees by counterclaiming for professional negligence, in a case where I was “briefed” (ha-ha!) the night before.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
Whichever wine bar is occupied by my group manager.

What time do you usually leave the office?
6.50pm if it’s an early night.

What do you do at weekends?
Slash and burn-style gardening on Saturday, Church on Sunday, or north to the Highlands for fishing, walks and ‘chillaxing’.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Vivat Bacchus in town; The Chaser Inn, Shipbourne, at home.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A long-distance truck driver.

Who’s your hero and why?
Neo from The Matrix – he never gives up.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Intellectual challenge and helping people to make complex things happen.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Telling people they can’t always get what they want.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Advising a client that a hugely prejudicial matter was “discoverable” in London litigation and sticking to my ethical guns when he refused to disclose it. A colleague persuaded a QC to advise that the matter was (arguably) irrelevant to the pleaded case on the law as it then stood. From this I learned that while the law could not always resolve moral dilemmas, there was usually a legal answer to a client’s legal difficulty if you were prepared to work hard enough to find it.

What car do you drive?
Honda CR-V.

What book are you reading?
Christianity and the Religions by Jacques Dupuis SJ.

What’s on your iPod?
No iPod, but I have Runrig’s The Stamping Ground in the car; Santana’s Abraxas in the sitting room; Maire Brennan’s Whisper to the Wild Water in the study; and Graham Kendrick’s Do Something Beautiful in the kitchen.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on?
The release of a vessel from arrest in Bordeaux from under the nose of the leading French marine lawyer.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
A set of fishing tackle and a grand piano.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
Bournemouth. A ghastly hotel that reflected all that’s depressing about England.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
I don’t do ‘corporate’ hours – 3am is my record.

Which actor would play you in a movie of your life?
Gregory Peck.

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

I suspect I’d be glad of any human company.


Name: Peter Taylor
Title: Partner
Firm: Lovells
Lives: Plaxtol, Kent
Education: Cambridge University
Work history: 1979-80: Barrister
1980-83: West of England Protection and Indemnity Club
1983-87: Holman Fenwick & Willan, Paris
1987-88: Holman Fenwick & Willan, London
1988-90: Requalified as a solicitor
1990-91: Associate, Stephenson Harwood
1991-93: Partner, Stephenson Harwood
1993-present: Partner, Lovells