The work-life quiz

What was your first-ever job?

I was an articled clerk with Glanvilles Wells & Way in Portsmouth. My mentor, Judge John Wroath, recommended me to the firm, so they had no choice.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being young and innocent and trying to deal with the emotions of divorce work. Battered wives and one emotionally battered husband were hard to deal with.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
I have my sources, but they’d have to kill me if I told.

What time do you usually leave the office?
Recently, not before 7.00pm.

What do you do at weekends?
I try to do as little as possible, but recently I’ve had work to do at some point. I’m into a range of activities and there’s so little other time to spare.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
I eat often at The Chancery just off Chancery Lane. It’s excellent and they greet me like a friend.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A rock drummer (I do play, but not so well); a racing driver; or, more sensibly, a psychologist, or even perhaps an airline pilot because I love to travel.

Who was your mentor or role model?
Judge John Wroath. I’ve known him since I was four. A truly great man. He had a way of stopping screaming children with one withering look and a growl.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The range of people and issues I have to deal with.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The petty-minded, antagonistic approach of many solicitors who mistake aggression and pedantry for good commercial ability.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
I took a job as vice-president, legal, HR and commercial property, for a large multinational. I did not fit with its culture and failed to achieve anything worthwhile. I learned that all that glisters is not gold.

What car(s) do you drive?
BMW 330d Sport.

What book are you reading?
Critical Mass by Philip Ball. It looks at the application of science (particularly physics) in the context of social science. Very powerful stuff.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Steve Hackett’s new classical work Metamorpheus – it’s wonderful.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
War of the Worlds by HG Wells.