The Lawyer Inquiry: Maryly Lafollette

Maryly La Follette was born in Berkeley, California in 1942. She is a partner at Charles Russell.

What was your first job?

High school teacher in California.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

About #7,000 pa.

What would you have done if you hadn’t been a lawyer?

I would like to have been a great poet.

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Bringing about a settlement which saved both parties a divorce costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

Losing my temper in the corridors of the Principal Registry.

What do you least like about being a lawyer?

Rendering bills.

And the best thing about being a lawyer?

Helping people to rebuild their lives.

Who do you admire most, and why?

It has to be a category: People who are able to emerge from crisis and rebuild productive and fulfilling independent lives.

Which famous person or historical figure would be your ideal client, and why?

The suffragettes; one could believe in their cause and it has had such a great impact on society.

What character do you most resemble in Ally McBeal and why?

Like Mr Justice Harman, I do not know who Ally McBeal is.

What is you most annoying habit?

Pushing other people to perform their job. Correcting the grammar of my assistant.

How do you relax?

Read and listen to quartets or other chamber music.

What is your most precious possession?

My step children.

Where would you most like to be right now?


What subjects did you fail at school?


What annoys you most about clients?

I cannot think of a thing. They fascinate me.

What is your biggest fear?

A client not being successful in their litigation.

In 10 years’ time, where do you see yourself?

At my desk or dividing my time between London, Burgundy and New York.