The work-life quiz: Roger Blears

Name: Roger Blears
Firm: Martineau Johnson
Title: Senior partner


Roger Blears
Firm: Martineau Johnson
Title: Senior partner
Lives: Worcestershire
Education: Nottingham Trent Polytechnic, BA Legal
Studies; College of Law, Guildford
Work history: 1985-88: Assistant, Wragge & Co
1988-89: Associate, Wragge & Co
1989-90: Joined Martineau as equity partner
2001-03: Head of corporate, Martineau
2004-06: Head of funds, Martineau
2007: Senior partner, Martineau

What was your first-ever job?
Six weeks spent painting wooden cable drums red during a summer vacation working at Connolly’s Cables, North Manchester, when I was 14.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?
Being thrown out of the Marylebone County Court during my second degree placement for applying for a witness summons but not being qualified as either a solicitor or a trainee.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
My fellow corporate partner Andrew Stilton – also famous for his air guitar.

What time do you usually leave the office?
7.30pm, but I also normally attend several social functions each week and also work at home.

What do you do at weekends?
Watch my children play school sport, cycle with the Evesham Wheelers, tend my vineyard and go to dinner parties.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Le Pont de la Tour in London.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A novelist and a gardener.

Who’s your hero and why?
Lawrence Dallaglio for his commitment.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Motivating others.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Time management.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
I once met Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame on a train back from London, who signed the front flysheet of my Rules of the London Stock Exchange with the immortal words ‘Roger, Be Happy, Robert’ in Led Zep IV handwriting. A filing clerk later threw this flysheet away when doing an update filing. Disaster strikes where you least expect it.

What car do you drive?
BMW 525 Touring Estate.

What book are you currently reading?
Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present by Peter Hessler.

What’s on your iPod player at the moment?
Mostly classical guitar music, but also Wagner’s The Ring and several Mahler symphonies.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
Acting as the London Stock Exchange sponsor on the flotation of Foresight Technology VCT in return for a one-third share of the carry, which paid out 18 months later.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
My classical guitar and my fly fishing rod.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Three days.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Denzel Washington – nobody laughs at his mules.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Any journalist who would want to write about the experience.