My dad was born in Kashmir and was in the Pakistani Air Force, posted to Turkey. India and Pakistan were separating and he decided he wouldn’t go back. He moved to the UK and met my mum at night school. She worked in a biscuit factory when I was a kid and was all about, ‘You’re going to do better than this.’
I didn’t start working life as a lawyer. I’m Asian and started in retail – freshly-squeezed orange juice and health food products. My dad wasn’t impressed. He was first generation here and said: ‘This is a fantastic country with great opportunities, I did not come here for you to be another Asian shopkeeper.’ Continue reading “Life during law: Leona Ahmed”
I was probably the world’s worst children’s entertainer. I needed a Saturday job to earn money but played football on Sunday mornings and rugby on Saturday mornings. A friend had a business that did magic tricks for children’s parties and I could fit the job around the sport. No, I didn’t dress up as a clown. I might have been a bit of a clown, but I didn’t dress up as one! I was the person at whom the children shouted: ‘I know how you’re doing that trick!’
They gave you a Fisher Price magic set. My stage name was Roger because they already had a Michael. I’m amazed you managed to find out about this – I thought it was quite a well-kept secret! Continue reading “Life during law: Mike Francies”
My father is Greek, my mother was English. There’s been no law in the family, much more of a trading background on my father’s side. But there is a wonderful circularity between his old Greek shipping mates that would be in my environment as a child, and the fact that Clyde & Co is the world’s number one marine firm.
I had an open mind going into articles. I was lucky to have a seat in Paris, which is disputes and arbitration. A combination of that plus the domestic disputes work I did, I just preferred it to corporate or real estate. Continue reading “Life during law: Simon Konsta”
My dad is a Marxist. Imagine how he felt when I became a City solicitor and married a banker. He might have brought that up in his wedding speech!
I decided to study law when I was 11 or 12. I thought it would be nice to be a lawyer. I envisaged courtroom law. My family couldn’t believe I didn’t do a PhD or become a barrister. Continue reading “Life during law: Amy Mahon”
Never wanted to be a lawyer. I was persuaded to read law at Oxford by my school. I wanted to do history. Hated law at university. Wasted my time. I was lectured by the great and good but didn’t find it interesting. The one interesting course was on international trade, which was given by a guy called Francis Reynolds. Also a guy that tutored me at college, Peter Gross, who later became a Lord Justice of Appeal, they kindled that interest for me.
When I joined Holman Fenwick & Willan, as it was then known, my intention was to get my two years’ articles and do something else. Continue reading “Life during law: Richard Crump”
I grew up in North West London. My parents came from working-class, Irish Catholic backgrounds from Liverpool. Nobody had been to university. My mum left school at 14 but she was always keen on education.
I did law at Bristol University. It was in the pre-Thatcher days and I was lucky enough to be sent to university by the ‘Socialist Republic of Brent’. They paid for everything. Continue reading “Life during law: Paul Maher”
When I moved to Hull from Sheffield at five my next-door neighbour was a just-born, [Linklaters partner] Alex Woodward – Woodie. A very good friend. Our mums and dads are very good friends. Went to the same schools, drank in the same pubs.
Woodie is super-smart, so he got a training contract at Linklaters, whereas I trained at Stamp Jackson & Procter in Hull. Continue reading “Life during law: Richard Youle, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom”
My family moved from London to Essex in the seventies, we bought a big house with a big garden and were going to live off the land. We were basically seen as the village’s hippies – the obvious background for a City lawyer! It went wrong because my dad wasn’t very good at killing chickens, and I became very attached to a duck. He became a teacher to get an income to buy things.
I never decided I wanted to be a lawyer. I studied law because I wanted a fresh start. The school I went to – a large Essex rural comprehensive – did not traditionally produce Oxbridge candidates and I thought: ‘At least everyone is starting from the same place if I do law.’ But even then, I was clearly going to be a footballer, a rock star or a journalist in my head. Continue reading “Life during law: Tom Cassels, Linklaters”
My father was in the Ministry of Defence. There was a naval base in Singapore. Our family moved there when I was a baby. Left on a boat and arrived three-and-a-half weeks later. Singapore was pre-independence – a low-rise post-colonial town. Now you can stand on the waterfront and see skyscrapers for miles.
I trained at Cameron Markby and they offered me work in property and banking when I qualified. I’d set my heart on corporate. I had to decide: Ashurst or Linklaters. The partners at Cameron were supportive. They universally said that they would go to Ashurst if it were their decision. Continue reading “Life during law: Mark Elsey, Ashurst”
I grew up outside London and left school at 16 to start a mechanical engineering apprenticeship.
I didn’t have A-levels so the options were limited. I went to the Polytechnic of Central London. There was a mixed group from different backgrounds. We were all there because we wanted to be. Continue reading “Life during law: Andrew Witts, Gowling WLG”