I was in the first ever gender-mixed year at my college in 1976. I got on very well with one particular girl and she was reading law and I developed an interest. I applied to Freshfields, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Lovell, White & King and Simmons & Simmons. I got five interviews and five offers in 1982 and chose Freshfields. In those days it was a lot easier to get a job.
Regrets? I would have loved to have gone off and done more mountain climbing, but that would have been very selfish as I had a family. Sport has always been a stress buster – I used to work closely with Anthony Salz, when he was co-senior partner at Freshfields, and I used to drive him mad because I’d hit the gym for an hour right in the middle of a deal, but it really helped to refresh me. But there was a tension between being a sportsman and a serious lawyer. But from early on, I wanted to be the best M&A lawyer. My three boys – Max, Tim and Nicky – are all sportsmen and it drives my wife mad as it is one hell of a competitive place at home.