The Work-Life Quiz: Sonya Branch

Name: Sonya Branch
Firm: Clifford Chance
Title: Partner
Lives: Greenwich
Education: St Paul’s Girls School, London; Oxford University
Work history: 1996-2000: Trained and qualified at Linklaters
2000:v Joined Clifford Chance in the EU competition and regulatory group
2002-03: Seconded to Clifford Chance New York
2006-present: Partner, Clifford Chance

What was your first-ever job? Dental nurse – for my father.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?Working with a particular partner who informed me late one Sunday evening while we were working incredibly hard on a transaction that his mission was to work out how to make me cry.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office? The Caffé Nero underneath our offices in Canary Wharf.

What time do you usually leave the office? As early as I can, which is often not as early as I’d like.

What do you do at weekends? At the moment visit farms and have food battles with my eight-month-old daughter during the day and work by night with a good bottle of wine.

What’s your favourite restaurant? Andrew Edmunds in Soho.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been? I wanted to be a mounted policewoman when I was young; now I rather fancy the idea of being a novelist.

Who’s your hero and why?My mother – she brought five of us up and none of us made it very easy for her.

What’s the best thing about your job? The teamwork.

What’s the toughest thing about your job? The unpredictability of the hours.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it? Reading Jurisprudence at Oxford because I thought it would further a career in the legal profession – I would have enjoyed reading History a good deal more and would probably have done a good deal more study too.

What car do you drive? I don’t.

What book are you currently reading? My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.

What’s on your iPod player at the moment? U2 and The Pogues.

What’s your favourite children’s book? The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why? Being the lead antitrust associate working on Vodafone AirTouch/Mannesmann – it was the first high-profile ’mega merger’ that I worked on and there was an enormous buzz around the whole team at Linklaters.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take? My daughter and a case of chocolate brownies from Caffé Nero.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why? Watford. Need I explain?

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?Pretty long.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why? Cate Blanchett. She’s a superb actress and might be able to add some zest and vitality to an otherwise dull script.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why? My tutors from university.