Work Life Quiz: Michael Spence, Bond Pearce

Michael Spence
Michael Spence

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

It’s a toss-up between defending a small claims action with no experience for a client bent on self-destruction by continuously calling the claimant’s solicitor ‘love’, and my trousers splitting as I delivered the wine for the partners’ drinks cabinet.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Monachyle Mhor at Balquhidder in Perthshire – the best boutique hotel restaurant in Scotland.

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

I’d love to be a cabinet-maker despite, in reality, being challenged by assembling an Ikea kit.

What’s your favourite film?


What was the first record you ever bought?

My Boy Lollipop by Millie.

Who’s your hero and why?

Sir Steve Redgrave. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis before the Barcelona Olympics, then went on to win the third of his five Olympic gold medals.

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

Telling someone who had made 650 revisals to a lease I was happy to accept 640 as they didn’t make any difference. They clearly wanted a battle over it and I learned that some people are as focused on the process as the end-point.

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

The completion of the sale of five development plots one Christmas Eve. By 2.30pm we had done all five, resulting in a strengthening of the client company’s capital value by £200m.

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

The one held in an airport hotel in Gatwick which meant we never actually left the airport. But worse was to come. I was with KLegal at the time and KPMG opened the conference by announcing that their tie-in with that firm was ending with immediate effect.

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

Forty-eight hours, but to gee myself up in the middle I broke out to the gym, leaving the others sitting in the boardroom reading documentation.

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

Daniel Craig, Matt Damon or Gary Oldman, to keep up with the physical and intellectual challenge of being me – honest.

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

Groucho Marx. I’d probably die laughing before we were rescued.


Name: Michael Spence

Firm: Bond Pearce

Title: Real estate partner

Lives: Edinburgh and Aberdeen


1977-82: LLB (Hons) DipLP, University of Edinburgh

Work history:           

1982-84: Trainee, GW Tait & Sons

1984-85: Assistant, Bell & Scott

1985-2008: Assistant, associate then partner (1995), McGrigors

2009-11: Senior associate, Eversheds

2011-12: Partner, Bond Pearce