Work Life Quiz: Colm Nugent, Hardwicke

What’s your favourite film? I have two favourite films: Back to the Future and The Commitments.

Colm Nugent
Colm Nugent

What was your first-ever job?

I worked the night shift as a chicken catcher for Moy Park chickens. It’s possibly the world’s worst job, but it  paid very well.

What time do you usually leave the office?

6.30pm, just in time to cycle home for bedtime ­stories (my kids’, not mine).

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?

I’d like to think I’d have been a photographer. In reality, if I’d followed that calling,

I’d probably have been homeless.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Joan of Arc by OMD. It was my then girlfriend’s favourite band and I was trying to curry favour. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

Who’s your hero and why?

Two, if I may: Thomas Beckett and Steve Biko. Men who gave their lives for their beliefs and their conscience, when they could have saved ­themselves by simply ­keeping quiet.

What are the best things about your job?

Having previously worked in a corporate environment, it’s the ­freedom to make decisions without committee or management oversight; and the ­opportunity to make a real difference to the ­outcome of cases in which I’m involved.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The uncertainty of ­litigation, meaning you can’t be certain whether and when you’re going to be home that night or on any given night. The real burden of that falls on my family, in truth.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake to date?

I’ll never know whether it was a mistake or not, but I had the opportunity several years ago to go to work in the Cayman Islands with a leading firm. I declined on grounds which now seem very trivial, and a colleague took up the offer instead.

In a grey London, I can’t help but look at the rain on the window and wistfully wonder how the surf is on the Grand ­Cayman beaches.

What car do you drive?

DeLorean DMC 12 (hence my favourite film). The seat shortage in the DeLorean means my wife drives a Land Rover.

What book are you currently reading?

Wolf Hall by Hilary ­Mantel; Case Closed by Gerald Posner and How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World by Francis Wheen. I also have to read aloud Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom every single night.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

Anything apart from Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom, really.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

I’ve worked for about 36 hours on a few occasions, preparing urgent ­documents for large trials. The quality of the output diminished rapidly after 24 hours, so it’s not ­something I’d repeat again in a hurry.

If a movie was made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Early years Mark Walberg because he has the six-pack I always imagined I’d like to have, and who’s going to know now whether I ever had one or not? My later career I’d like to see Tom Cruise doing it because I’d like to see how he manages to play someone at least a foot taller and if his Irish accent has improved since his role in Far and Away.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)

I have a photograph of me standing next to Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea; I once played Frank-n-Furter in a ­university drama ­production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show; I was turned down after an ­interview for a shelf-­stacking job in Iceland (the shop, not the place with the ­volcanoes).


Name: Colm Nugent

Chambers: Hardwicke

Title: Barrister

Lives: Barnes, London



1984-87: University of Kent at Canterbury

1991-92: Inns of Court School of Law


Work history:

1987: Course leader, TEFL, Broadstairs, Kent

1988-91: SmithKline Beecham, sales promotions manager

1992-95:  Pupil then barrister with QEB Hollis Whiteman

1995-date: Hardwicke, member of the insurance and commercial divisions