The work-life quiz with Sunil Gadhia


Sunil Gadhia
Firm: Stephenson Harwood
Title: Chief executive
Lives: Mill Hill, North London
Education: Nottingham University
Work history: 1988-90: Articled clerk, Stephenson Harwood
1990-97: Assistant, Stephensons
1997: Partner, commercial litigation, Stephensons
1999: Finance partner, commercial litigation, Stephensons
2004: Chief executive, Stephensons

What was your first-ever job?
Delivering newspapers.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Falling asleep in the loos one evening within weeks of starting – I’d drunk a tad too much at a do to celebrate some partner promotions. I was woken up by the dulcet tones of a senior litigation partner.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
Between 8pm and 8.30pm.

What do you do at the weekends?
Sleep, play football and play the piano.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Nobu chain.

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

Who’s your hero and why?
Nelson Mandela, because he’s a dude.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people I work with.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Dealing with the press.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Sending a fax that was intended for our counsel to the opposition. I learned to check fax numbers.

What car do you drive?
Audi TT.

What are you currently reading?
John Irving’s Until I Find You.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Nothing, I prefer to listen to the radio.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
The Maxwell pensions litigation. It was a complex, fast-moving and extremely high-profile case.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
My piano and a ‘teach yourself how to play’ book.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended?
Somewhere in Windsor.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
24 hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Sanjeev Bhaskar, the star of The Kumars at No 42 and Goodness Gracious Me. He’s hilarious.

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