Andy Ballard: Shoosmiths

What car do you drive?

A battered VW – it looks and sounds like a taxi.

What was your first-ever job? 

Working in the warehouse at Marks & Spencer.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Leaving a divorce file on the counter of the now defunct Woolies after buying chocolate on the way back from court.

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

It used to be the trainees but now it’s the business development team.

What time do you usually leave the office?

I’m an early starter so about 6:30pm.

What do you do at weekends?

Gym, perhaps a little bit of running, work, go to the best restaurant in the world – the Dilshad International Tandoori in Alvechurch.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Dilshad International Tandoori in Alvechurch!

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

An architect.

What’s your favourite film?

The Choir – very French and sophisticated – or Snatch – neither French nor sophisticated.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Zager and Evans, In The Year 2525. It’s a collectors item and cost six shillings and nine pence.

Who’s your hero and why?

My dad. He was orphaned at 14, joined the Army aged 17 in 1939, and when he came back never stopped working.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Finding solutions that allow housing providers to do their job.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Being responsible for the mortgages of the team at the time of a recession.

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

Failure to properly supervise a colleague who hid mistakes. I learned that people should always keep their doors open.

What car do you drive?

A battered VW – it looks and sounds like a taxi.

What book are you currently reading?

I’ve got about eight on the go but the one making progress is Andrew Marr’s A History of Modern Britain.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

Any by Roald Dahl.

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

As a young solicitor working on the case of C v S – an abortion case that got from the first instance to the House of Lords in about 10 working days.

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

A camera charged by solar energy and an unlimited memory card.

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

My home town Swindon – because it’s my home town.

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

Not too bad – about 18 hours probably. There are no all-nighters in housing.

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

Woody Allen – it’s all a bit chaotic at times.

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

Anyone who holds themselves out as being a ‘celebrity’ – because they are invariably self-obsessed and very boring.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)

I’ve got an English Schools FA Certificate.

I ran a respectable London Marathon in 3 hours 50 minutes.

My hair is golden brown.

Andy Ballard
Title: Head of housing
Firm: Shoosmiths
Lives: Alvechurch, Worcestershire
1967-74: St Josephs, Swindon
1975-78:Law, Bristol Polytechnic
1978-79: College of Law, Chester
Work history:
1979-81: Trainee, Raskins, Swindon
1981-83: Solicitor, Bevirs, Swindon
1983-96: Partner, Rigbeys, Birmingham
1996-99: Partner, Irwin Mitchell, ­Birmingham
1999-2002: Partner, Lee Crowder, ­Birmingham
2002-07: Partner and national head of ­housing, Cobbetts, Birmingham
2007- present: Partner and national head of housing, Shoosmiths, Birmingham