The work-life quiz Juan Picón

What was your first-ever job?
Teaching tennis and skiing at university.

Name: Juan Picón
Firm: DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary
Position: Regional managing partner, Spain
Lives: Madrid, Serrano
Education: Law and economics degree, ICADe (1987). LLM in European Community law from Université Libre de Bruxelles (1989)
Work history:
1987: In-house legal counsel, Banco Santander
1988: Associate, Clifford Chance, Madrid
1995: Senior associate, Clifford Chance, Madrid
1997: Madrid managing partner, Squire Sanders & Dempsey
February 2006: Joined DLA Piper as Spanish managing partner

What was your first-ever job?
Teaching tennis and skiing at university.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being sent to a due diligence review without having a clue of what I was looking for.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?
Around 8.30-9pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Spend most of my time with my family, especially with my two boys, and run – I’m a marathon runner so I train quite a bit.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
A Basque restaurant in Madrid called Goizeko Wellington.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
Something to do with sports, ideally skiing.

Who’s your hero and why?
Paula Radcliffe. She is an outstanding example of determination, commitment and drive. What’s the best thing about your job?
That you’re exposed to very talented people who teach you interesting things, particularly the younger crowd, who are always refreshing.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
When you have to tell someone that their performance is inadequate and they have to leave.

What’s your biggest work career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Not being clear enough with an associate who was not performing and postponing the bad news because I wanted to do him a favour. When I finally told him, it was totally unexpected. I learnt that it is best to send clear messages early on, whether they be good or bad.

What car do you drive?
A Maserati Quattroporte.

What book are you currently reading?
A Spanish history book.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Craig David and Shakira.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Tintin books.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you have worked on and why?
I helped a Spanish company on a Nasdaq listing. It was the first time a company in Spain had done a primary listing in the US without being listed in Spain. It was an invaluable experience, both professionally and personally.

If you were stranded on a desert island what, two luxury items would you take?
A solar device that would allow me to cook and a fur coat for the bad weather.

What is the worst partner conference location you’ve attended?
Kiev, but that is mainly due to the weather as it was during the worst part of their winter.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Two and a half days.

If a movie was being made about your life, which an actor would play you and why?
Woody Allen. I’d like the movie to be fun and I’d be able to laugh at myself.