Work Life Quiz: Jonathan Peacock, Irwin Mitchell

What was your first-ever job? Selling vintage clothing on Portobello market.

Jonathan Peacock
Jonathan Peacock

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

I had to prepare proceedings for a man whose neighbours were building an extension which encroached on his garden, but the names of the three women who owned the house sounded familiar. They were the wives of three partners in a local law firm so my principal sent me to court to obtain the interim injunction. The judge sent me back with a stern message for my principal, which I decided not to deliver. Soon afterwards, I moved to Birmingham.

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

Our Bristol office is small at the moment so we all know what’s going on.

But usually, you rely on trainees and secretaries.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Sometimes 5pm, usually later and occasionally much later. Very late finishes are rare.

What do you do at weekends?

Relax with my family. I have a 17 year old son, and my wife and I have an 11 year old daughter and a baby son. My wife is a busy ­litigation lawyer, so weekends are precious.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Mud Dock in Bristol.

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

When I had my stall at Portobello the founders of Hackett and Vivienne Westwood were selling vintage clothing too, so maybe I’d have a fashion empire by now.

What’s your favourite film?

Blade Runner.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Ride a White Swan by T Rex.

Who’s your hero and why?

Joe Strummer. He had an honest world view and loved what he did.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?


What’s your biggest work/ career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Once I shut my tie in a box file and then put it on a high shelf. As I stepped back the file came off the shelf and hit me on the head. I learnt you should only wear ties when you really have to.

What car do you drive?

Volvo XC60.

What book are you currently reading?

The Orwell Diaries.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

My 11-year-old daughter has just read To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t think it’s strictly a children’s book, but it’s one that every child should read.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you have worked on and why?

Selling a leather jacket to Joe Strummer on Portobello market in 1985.

If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?

A notebook and a box of pencils. If that counts as one choice I’d also take my trilby, which my daughter has made me swear never to wear in public

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?

All the ones where I had to make presentations on the second day, inevitably with a hangover. Everywhere seems dreadful in those circumstances.

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

I’ve never gone 24 hours without sleep on account of work.

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

Apparently, I can sound like Rodney Bewes from The Likely Lads so he’d

be perfect.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

Rod Hull or Billy Ray Cyrus. You need me to explain why?

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

I hitch-hiked to Geneva to see Elvis Costello in concert; I’ve been teetotal for 24 hours; I once ordered a pig’s head in a Portuguese restaurant by mistake.


Name: Jonathan Peacock

Firm: Irwin Mitchell

Title: South West regional managing partner

Lives: Bristol and Birmingham


1980–83: LLB, University of Hull

1883–84: LLM, UCL

1991–92: LSF, Birmingham Polytechnic

Work history:

1992-94: Trainee, Shoosmiths

1994-95: Assistant solicitor, Shoosmiths

1995-96: Associate, Shoosmiths

1996–99: Assistant solicitor, Irwin Mitchell, Birmingham

1999–2010: Partner, Irwin Mitchell, Birmingham

May 2010-present: South West regional managing partner, Irwin Mitchell, Bristol