The work-life quiz: Michael Francies

What was your first-ever job?Cutting wood and bagging nails and screws at a hardware store on Saturday morning, closely followed two weeks later (I was sacked for wasting too much wood due to bad sawing) by becoming an entertainer at children’s parties.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?On my first morning at Clifford-Turner I was asked to buy some books by a particular publisher so I could cut out the trademarks on the covers and attach them to some trademark applications. I managed first to buy books by the wrong publisher and second to stick the cut outs in the wrong place.

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

What time do you usually leave the office?Anytime from late afternoon to the next day or days.

What do you do at weekends?Work, watch my children play sports, watch Watford, watch Saracens, go to the gym, work.

What’s your favourite restaurant?The River Cafe. Who is your mentor/role model?My father – someone who was always there for me and always had good advice (even if I didn’t want to hear it).

What’s the best thing about your job?The clients and the people I work with.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?The clients and the people I work with.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it? As a junior associate I left redrafting an agreement to the next day as I thought it wouldn’t take very long. The seller wanted to sign it in the morning, it wasn’t ready and they took an offer from another purchaser. Lesson is don’t leave to tomorrow what needs to be done today.

What car do you drive?I am the world’s worst driver. Sometimes my wife lets me drive her Renault Espace (but not her Mercedes) and sometimes my son lets me drive his Citroën C3.

What books are you currently reading?Bound for Glory – Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, Sharpe’s Fury by Bernard Cornwall, and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.

What’s on your iPod at the moment?Kicking Television: Live In Chicago by Wilco, Tired of Hanging Around by the Zutons, Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.

What’s your favourite children’s book?Stalky & Co by Rudyard Kipling.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?My iPod and the complete set of John Wayne DVDs.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?I attended one in Jersey once and it rained non-stop.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?Three or four days, but I suspect I fell asleep from time to time.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?George Clooney, because Brad Pitt has too much hair.

Name Michael Francies
Title: Managing partner
Firm: Weil Gotshal & Manges
Lives: Moor Park, near Watford
Education: Kingsbury High School, Manchester University, Lancaster Gate College of Law
Work history: 1979: Articled clerk, Clifford-Turner 1981: Promoted to assistant 1983: Associate director at Carlton Communications 1984: Assistant, Clifford-Turner 1986: Partner 1987: Partner, Clifford Chance 1998: Joined Weil Gotshal & Manges