Peter Lawson: Burness

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The pub below our office, especially if someone’s leaving.

What was your first-ever job?

Pest control operative for Dunfermline District Council.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Working in my first seat in the residential property department, I handed over the keys on a sale without having received a large chunk of the sale proceeds. The money came through two days later, but it was a pretty terrifying couple of days.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The pub below our office, especially if someone’s leaving.

What time do you usually leave the office?
It varies. Anytime from 6pm.

What do you do at weekends?
I try to go for a run, dodgy knee permitting, play golf, weather permitting and spend time with my family and friends.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Nobu Matsuhisa Mykonos.

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

Who’s your hero and why?
Ranulph Fiennes – he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents after having a heart attack and a double heart bypass operation just four months earlier.

What’s the best thing about your job?
My colleagues and our clients. Most of them anyway.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The antisocial hours.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
See my worst experience as a trainee. It taught me lots of things, including that you must tackle mistakes head-on.

What car do you drive?
Mini Cooper S.

What book are you currently reading?
Ranulph Fiennes’ Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?
The Skids and David Guetta.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Anything by Michael Hardcastle.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
The hostile takeover of South African oil company Engen by Malaysian oil giant Petronas. I spent a few weeks in South Africa on my own working to complete the deal. I was pretty junior at the time and was flying by the seat of my pants on the cultural and legal issues, but somehow I managed to get through.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
My wife Andrea and my fancy dress box.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
The locations have all been pretty grim – we don’t splash out on lavish partner conferences.

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

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Some say I look like Owen Wilson, and others say I look like Glen Close. I’ll go with Owen.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
The child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Name: Peter Lawson
Firm: Burness
Title: Head of corporate finance
Lives: Edinburgh
Education: Dunfermline High School and Edinburgh University
Work history: 1994-96: Trainee, Burness
1996-98: Assistant, Burness
1998-2001: Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
2001-present: Partner, Burness