Life during law: Mike Francies

Life during law: Mike Francies

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”

Life during law: Simon Konsta

Life during law: Simon Konsta

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”

Client profile: Julie Smyth, BAE Systems Air

Client profile: Julie Smyth, BAE Systems Air

‘My husband has virtually no understanding of what I do,’ admits BAE Systems Air chief counsel Julie Smyth. ‘He thinks I sit in meetings all day.’

Secrecy and security at the £18bn defence multinational is paramount. Its mammoth Warton airfield base, which dominates the village of the same name a short drive from Preston, is classified as a ‘List X’ site, meaning it can hold UK Government information considered ‘secret’ and above. Continue reading “Client profile: Julie Smyth, BAE Systems Air”

Client profile: Martin Cook, Funding Circle

Client profile: Martin Cook, Funding Circle

The London office of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is exactly what you would expect from one of the UK’s largest and most high-profile fintech businesses.

Open-plan, has meeting rooms with names like ‘Borough Market’, and staff play table tennis as you walk into reception. It feels like a fun place to work. Continue reading “Client profile: Martin Cook, Funding Circle”

Life during law: Richard Crump

Life during law: Richard Crump

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”

Client profile: Richard Price, Anglo American

Client profile: Richard Price, Anglo American

Shortly before Richard Price went in-house as group general counsel (GC) and company secretary at Anglo American, the legal team’s headcount was cut in half. This was not coupled with a reduced workload, however. Expectations remained the same.

Quite a platform for Price, a former external adviser to the company as Shearman & Sterling’s co-head of mining and metals, to find his feet in-house after more than 20 years in private practice. Continue reading “Client profile: Richard Price, Anglo American”

Perspectives: Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley

Perspectives: Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley

I didn’t intend to become a lawyer. I’m the first of my family; we’ve been teachers and priests. My brother got a place at Oxford to study law. I got unexpectedly good A-Levels – I was meant to be going to Thames Polytechnic to read humanities. Sibling rivalry.

Criminal law was one subject I was good at, at uni. Wasn’t good at much! It’s about people’s behaviour – why they do the unfortunate things they do. Gets me out of bed. Continue reading “Perspectives: Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley”

Perspectives: Clive Zietman, Stewarts

Perspectives: Clive Zietman, Stewarts

I got into law almost by default. I didn’t even like it when I started with Herbert Smith where I was doing non-contentious stuff, but when I did my final seat in litigation I decided this was for me. I’m a games person: I like sport, I like Scrabble, I like fighting. It was only at that point when I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.

It was always going to be litigation. If you look at my profile on our website it says: ‘Clive’s hobby is litigation.’ It’s absolutely true. If I go on holiday and have a bad holiday, I sue the holiday company. Which is, in fact, almost inevitable. We were building a house down in Cornwall and we were entering into a building contract that my wife was helping to draft. I said: ‘Why are you calling in the builders? They’re the defendants!’ Continue reading “Perspectives: Clive Zietman, Stewarts”