The work-life quiz: Simon Rainey QC

What was your first-ever job?
Outdoor clerk at Herbert Smith’s Paris office in my gap year. Great fun and I can still find my way around Paris blindfolded.

What was your worst experienceas a pupil?
Being sent to purchase an emergency change of underwear for a temporary pupil-mistress. I misheard and got the wrong size.

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

What time do you usually leave chambers?
Between 6pm and 7pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Work or walk.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
St John in Clerkenwell. Good for carnivores and always lively.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
An archaeologist digging in sunny climes.

Who’s your hero and why?
My father: high intellect; big heart; utter probity and serene courage in his final illness. What’s the best thing about your job?The intellectual stimulus of appearing before all sorts of tribunals and of working with very good solicitors. It keeps you sharp.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The hours, especially during a long trial.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Telling an important solicitor chasing for something in early days: “I do have other clients you know.” Lesson: first and foremost we are a service industry. A good lesson to learn early on.

What car do you drive?BMW 5 Series.

What book are you currently reading?
AP Herbert’s The Secret Battle; timely given the current debate about the reprieve of World War I soldiers shot for cowardice.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Holst’s wind suites. Brazen but stirring; good for early starts.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

What’s the most exciting case you’ve worked on and why?
Sonangol v Lundquist, a huge commercial fraud case with colourful allegations on all sides about Angolan oil. Fascinating legal issues, extraordinary facts and travelling to a host of curious jurisdictions around the world.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
The collected works of Anthony Trollope and a bottle of 16-year-old Lagavulin.

What’s the worst location you’ve done a case in and why?
The Falkland Islands: fantastic location but it blew a gale for two days during my opening submissions, which made it very difficult to be heard in court and rendered me literally speechless for the reply.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
40 hours finalising closings in the Glencore v Alpina Insurance Metro litigation.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Nigel Patrick – he’s a suave golden oldie, a sort of British, rationed version of Cary Grant.

Name: Simon Rainey QC
Title: Co-head of chambers, Recorder (Crown and civil)
Firm: Quadrant Chambers
Lives: London
Education: Cranbrook School; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge Work history:
1982: Called to the bar
1983: Joined 2 Essex Court (now Quadrant Chambers)
2000: Appointed silk; appointed recorder (Crown)
2004: Appointed recorder (civil)