Life During Law: Monty Raphael QC

Life During Law: Monty Raphael QC

My parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. My father came after being conscripted against his will in the Tsarist army and took a tortuous route via Germany and Paris. My mother came from Russian-occupied Poland. We lived in Stepney and my father waited for people to die and sold their clothes in Petticoat Lane market.

Before pop stars all we had were film stars. But there were glamorous lawyers like Hartley Shawcross, whose face was always in the newspapers as he was a prosecutor in the Nuremberg war trials. I’d never met a lawyer. It was a fantasy.

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Life During Law: Stephen Wilkinson, Herbert Smith Freehills

Life During Law: Stephen Wilkinson, Herbert Smith Freehills

My summer holidays were spent licking envelopes at my parents printing factory in Hemel Hempstead. My parents were an odd mix, my mum an Italian immigrant and my father as English as they come. They were very keen that I have a profession as they wanted something better for their kids. The business is still in the family.

I learnt classical guitar as a kid. Every time I got to the next grade, a bit like a dog getting a treat, I got a guitar. I had a room full of guitars in my late teens. My Fender Stratocaster is one of my most prized possessions. They end up getting used more by my daughter now.

I was crazy about basketball as a kid and toured with the England youth teams. Nowadays I wouldn’t get anywhere near a team – I’d need to be twice as big.

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Life During Law – Edward Sparrow

Life During Law – Edward Sparrow

The legal market has become more competitive. One way of measuring yourself is profit share. For some partners, the size of this share is very important. When I started getting offers, I realised money wasn’t something that motivated me. Other factors were much stronger.

I started out with a managing clerk – he was a bad influence in terms of litigation because he was at a stage where he couldn’t be bothered with the detail, but he was fantastic. He was the firm’s troubleshooter. Whenever the client had a problem – if there was fraud in the factory or somebody was stealing – he was the guy that got called in. He was like something out of a 1970s police programme. He was my first influence.

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Life During Law: Kevin Gold, Mishcon de Reya

Life During Law: Kevin Gold, Mishcon de Reya

My career has been one of misfortune for others and fortune for me. I had two senior partners that died – one was very young, Alan Rosin at Bayer Rosin – he was in his 40s, I was about 30. As a result of his death, which was a huge tragedy, I inherited a practice.

Bayer Rosin was a unique firm. The partners were either South African or East African. South Africa was just coming through apartheid and so on his death the opportunities presented themselves. Many firms wanted to merge with us as we had a strong practice in the region. One was Mishcon… I brought about half the firm with me, others went their own way. The second person was the then-senior partner Martin Bayer. He came to Mishcon but died a few years after we joined.

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Life during law: Peter Crossley, Squire Patton Boggs

Life during law: Peter Crossley, Squire Patton Boggs

I started life in South Africa mainly doing crime and divorce. Knowing something about criminal law, and the cut and thrust of the courtroom, is a good base for anybody who wants to do litigation.

I wanted to go to the Bar but my father was a bank manager in South Africa with a lot of barrister customers who weren’t doing very well so he basically said: ‘You’ll never make it so become a solicitor.’ Both my parents were English, my father was at Dunkirk and was badly wounded and captured so he emigrated to South Africa for health reasons. He was always a pretty strong character and was the sort of man who you couldn’t ignore!

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Life during law: Mark Darley, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Life during law: Mark Darley, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

The lift bank on my floor is the perfect length for a cricket pitch. My son’s old school cricket bat gets used and at 10pm it can be dangerous, as there is quite possibly a golf ball being chipped down the corridor. I have a number of dents outside my office. There is some valuable artwork on that wall, but nobody’s succeeded in hitting it yet.

I trained at Simpson Curtis in Leeds in the early 1980s, because I swore I would never come down to London. I just wasn’t going to come down to this nasty part of the world where it was a case of one-up-over-the-Joneses.

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Life During Law: Niri Shanmuganathan, Taylor Wessing

Life During Law: Niri Shanmuganathan, Taylor Wessing

I’ve always been interested in two things. One is people and that is a key part of the business. I’ve always liked the business of law and I wanted a role in the direction of the firm because I am home-grown. I’ve been here a long time – it means a lot to have some influence.

I did a history degree at Durham and I was looking at film and TV production, journalism and law. My family are pretty much all professionals – they would have been concerned if I went down the journalism or TV route.

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Life During Law – David Ereira

Life During Law – David Ereira

I’m always in the present and think of the now.

You make your own luck. You have to put yourself in harm’s way. You have to be standing by the street when the ambulance goes by or you’re not going to be able to chase it. There’s a degree of intelligent positioning.

I come from a generation who have been very lucky. The role of law firms and lawyers went through a dramatic transformation in the 1980s with the Big Bang, and my generation rode that wave.

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Life During Law – Kevin Ingram

Life During Law – Kevin Ingram

I fell into a career that suits me. I’ve done interesting things that kept me motivated and worked with intelligent, motivated people. I’ve never had a patch I didn’t enjoy.

I was the second person from my South Wales school to go to Oxford or Cambridge. All of the law firms at the time were recruiting heavily – nothing changes – I sent some printed CVs. It was quicker than filling in forms and Clifford Turner was one of them.

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