Work Life Quiz: Lesley Graves, Citadel Law


What was your first-ever job?

Dressing up as Mr Wimpy handing out balloons. Pay: £5 plus lunch.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Lounge 10 in Manchester. They have a fortune-teller and my life has five different endings, seemingly depending on my hairstyle and outfit when I see her.

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

In my dreams, an artist living in London, hanging out with Tracey Emin, after studying at St Martins.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Long-Haired Lover from Liverpool, by Little Jimmy Osmond.

Who’s your hero and why? 

There are two – Elizabeth Taylor for survival instinct and elegance, and Bette Davis for not giving a monkey’s.

What’s the toughest thing about your job? 

Delivering bad news in terms of risk exposure or lost opportunity to bring in cash due to poor file-handling or advice. The sweetener is that we can turn things around.

What book are you reading?

A Matter of Life & Death by my friend Paul Carroll, marketing guru and no-nonsense Yorkshireman. 

What’s your favourite children’s book?

The 1972 Ladybird version of Cinderella – she gets to go to three balls at the Palace and has a pink dress, then a blue one and finally a jewelled one – what’s not to like?

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

A photo album full of memories and my favourite flouro pink Vivienne Westwood dress.

What’s the worst conference location you’ve attended?

I consulted for a personal injury firm and once advised at a table right by the men’s toilet. I was there for five hours – and the door wasn’t even sound-proof. 

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

There are a few people who don’t get what I’m trying to achieve in the sector. I’d have to fake illness to avoid conflict. 

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

I fell out of a building due to overzealous dancing; I fell into a kerb in high and defective shoes, and broke my nose; I fell on stage while collecting my award for Boddingtons’ Brewery Best Barmaid – North West Region.


Name: Lesley Graves

Title: Managing director

Firm: Citadel Law

Lives: Bowdon, Cheshire



 1988-91: LLB, Leeds Polytechnic

1991-92: Law Society Finals, Manchester Metropolitan University


Work history

 1992-97: Articled clerk and assistant solicitor, Pannone

1997-2003: Associate and partner, Donns

2003-07: Partner, Alexander Harris/Irwin Mitchell

2009-10: Consultant 

2010-present: MD, Citadel