Work-Life Quiz: PJ Kirby, Hardwicke Building

What was your first-ever job?

Odd jobs at a college, starting wage: 12.5p per hour. 

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

On a long train trip with one of the practice managers or on the chambers ski weekend.


What do you do at weekends?

Walk and pub lunch with wife and dog. Watch Chelsea if they’re at home. Church on Sunday, followed by roast. Work.

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

In my dreams a footballer or a DJ; in reality a teacher or probation officer.

What’s your favourite film?

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but more embarrassingly I also love the last third of Love, Actually.

What was the first record you ever bought?

I bought two: A Horse With No Name by America and, again more embarrassingly, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing by the New Seekers.

Who’s your hero and why?

Nelson Mandela – a lawyer who stands up for what is right and has the capacity to forgive.

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

Appearing in the Court of Appeal with grounds of appeal containing so many points that the good ones were overshadowed by the hopeless. Lesson: focus on the good points.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The insight you get into life and business.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Unpredictability of the workload.

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

The current one involving the UK’s first employee share option plan and allegations over the acquisition of a majority shareholding in RoadChef by the then chief executive. The numbers are big, the law is difficult and there are numerous clients and third-party funders to deal with.

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

I went two years without losing a case; I sang on the Middlesbrough FC record in the 1970s; someone once bid £400 for charity for me
to cook for a dinner party.


Name: Peter John Kirby (‘PJ’)

Title: Barrister, QC 

Chambers: Hardwicke Building

Lives: Balham


1977-80: LLB, University of Hull

1980-81: College of Law, Chester

Work history

1981-83: Articled clerk, Goodman Brown & Warren

1983-86: Assistant solicitor, Goodman Brown & Warren

1986-89: Partner, Goodman Brown & Warren

1989-present: Barrister, 3 New Square which, in 1991, became Hardwicke. (Became a QC in 2013)