Work Life Quiz: Gary Howes, Fasken Martineau

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office? If I find it, I’ll let you know.

Gary Howes
Gary Howes

What was your first-ever job?

Vegetable picker. If you’ve never stuck your ­fingers into the heart of a ­putrefying cabbage, you haven’t lived.


What was your worst ­experience as a trainee?

A constantly angry ­partner entrusted his new Volvo estate to me and another trainee to visit a client. All went to plan until we shut the tailgate and the back window

just popped right out and ­shattered on the road.

The maelstrom of wind, rain and papers swirling round us on the drive back was nothing to what awaited us.


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

If I find it, I’ll let you know.


What time do you usually leave the office?

No fixed time.


What do you do at weekends?

Visit Portobello Market, watch QPR, do some baby and toddler taming (plus celeb spotting) at the Princess Di Adventure Playground, go dinosaur hunting at the Natural History Museum.


What’s your favourite ­restaurant? 

Patara in Soho, London.


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

A footballer.


Who’s your hero and why?

Isambard Kingdom Brunel – great name, great ­engineer, great hat.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Relative to most of ­humanity, the very high money to talent ratio.


What’s the toughest thing about your job?



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

When at one division of the BBC I applied for a job at another division. At the interview they brought along the head of legal from a third division with whom I had some history. For some reason he asked why I hadn’t applied for a job at his division. I heard myself saying, ­convolutedly: “I wouldn’t want to work for an ­organisation of which you were head.” The lesson learnt, though ­seldom ­followed: never call a ­crocodile ‘big mouth’ until you’ve crossed the river.


What car do you drive?

A Rover 75.


What book are you currently reading?

The Soccer War by Ryszard Kapuscinski.


What’s on your iPod at the moment?

The Notwist’s Neon ­Golden (German, ex-punk/grunge, indie rock, avant-garde jazz ­electronica doesn’t get any better) and The National’s Alligator and Boxer.


What’s your favourite ­children’s book?

Hot Hippo by Mwenye Hadithi.


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

My job is to not get excited. That’s the client’s job.


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

An ocean-going motor launch with crew and ­fishing gear and a ­perpetually replenishing bottle of port – a 1966 Fonseca would be nice.

Or maybe just two bottles of that.


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

Laguna Beach, California, because I missed it. Our next gathering is in ­Toronto – maybe ask me again after that.


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

About an hour and a half.


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

Orson Welles – the odds on making the film and him starring in it are about the same.

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

Michael Crawford.

He presents twin perils – the Frank in him might try to fix the lift, or the phantom in him might start ‘singing’. ­Neither is an attractive proposition.


Name: Gary Howes

Firm: Fasken Martineau

Title: Regional managing partner, London

Lives: London


1974-80: St Peter’s College, Auckland

1982-85: LLB, The University of Auckland

Work history:

1986-87: Trainee, Martelli McKegg

Wells & ­Cormack, Auckland

1987-91: Assistant, Martelli

1991-93: Legal adviser, BBC Subscription TV

1993-95: Assistant solicitor, Stringer Saul

1995-2007: Partner, Stringer Saul

2007-09: Partner, Fasken Martineau

Stringer Saul (post-merger)

2009-present: London managing partner,

Fasken Martineau