Work Life Quiz: Mark Holah, Field Fisher Waterhouse

Mark Holah

What was your first-ever job?

Shelf stacker in a ­supermarket.

What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

Agreeing to do an ­‘uncontested’ hearing at short notice on an area of law I knew nothing about. I turned up at court to find a barrister, his pupil, his instructing solicitor, his client and his client’s wife in attendance for the other side.

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

If I reveal my sources they are bound to dry up, so I’m keeping quiet on this one.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Between 8pm and 9pm.

What do you do at weekends?

Spend time with my family and the friends I don’t get to see during the week.

What’s your favourite ­restaurant?

More about the location than the food: The Pavilion at The Datai Hotel in Langkawi, Malaysia, which sits within the rainforest and has a view of the ocean.

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

A rock star.

What’s your favourite film?

This Is Spinal Tap.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Baggy Trousers by ­Madness.

Who’s your hero and why?

Muhammad Ali. So much more than a sporting icon, he has always refused to compromise his values and beliefs and has used his fame to achieve a huge amount of good.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The diversity of the work and clients I am lucky enough to represent.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Having to make decisions that I know in advance people aren’t going to


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

Believing my supervisor when he said I wouldn’t need to prepare for a ­hearing. I learnt that preparation is everything.

What car do you drive?

Mercedes B Class.

What book are you currently reading?

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson to myself and Swallows and Amazons by Arthur ­Ransome to my younger daughter.

What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

The Scarecrow and his ­Servant by Philip Pullman.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you have worked on and why?

It is very hard for me to pick from the high-profile brands I work with, but I got a huge buzz when I was first instructed to act for Elvis Presley Enterprises.

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

My MP3 player (I couldn’t bear to be without music) and a pair of Crocs shoes (I’d hate to have sand between my toes all the time).   

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

Gatwick Airport, which needs no further ­explanation.

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

Under 24 hours. I can’t decide if I’m ­embarrassed or proud to admit that I have

never properly worked through the night.

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

Philip Seymour Hoffman, as I’m sure he would make me seem a lot deeper and more interesting than I really am.

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

Paris Hilton, who is to me the epitome of vacuous celebrity culture.

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

I played at the Royal Albert Hall and faked the entire performance; despite this, I am a better guitar player than Jimi Hendrix ever was; and I wish I hadn’t sold my ­guitar.

Mark Holah
Firm: Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW)
Title: Head of the trademark and brand ­protection group
Lives: Harpenden
1989-92: Law, Nottingham University
1993-94: LPC, Nottingham Law School
Work history:
1994-96: Trainee, Dibb Lupton Broomhead
1996-99: Assistant, Dibb Lupton Alsop (DLA)
1999-2000: Associate, DLA
2000-02: Assistant, FFW
2002-present: Partner, FFW