My Career Journey
Corporate Partner at Weil | London
Don’t lose touch with people you enjoy working with and aim to build long term working relationships. They are likely to become important to you later in your career. [Peter King, Partner at Weil]
Where does the story start? Could you please tell us about your background?
My background is on the face of it conventional for a City lawyer: English boarding school, Cambridge, training at a Magic Circle firm. Neither of my parents went to university, but they were very keen that my brother and I should have the opportunities they did not have. As a result of the sacrifices they made I was able to have an excellent education and entered a supportive working environment where I was able to flourish and have access to high profile work from the very start of my career. I only became unconventional when I left my Magic Circle firm after 13 years as a partner and moved to the London office of a US firm: I was one of the first corporate partners to do that.
Why did you become a lawyer?
It was almost by accident. I was studying languages (French and German) at Cambridge and realised I did not want a long term career doing the sort of things which linguists then often ended up doing (teaching, translating, interpreting etc.). Someone suggested that I might be good at law, so I arranged to go to some introductory law lectures. Within about two hours of attending these lectures, I was hooked and realised that this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my working life.
If you weren’t a lawyer what might you be doing now?
There are lots of other things I sometimes dream about: being a musician, writing the definitive book about something, running a church or a Christian charity, opening a restaurant for example. Then I tend to realise that I would not be anything like as good at these as I am as a lawyer!
Can you tell us about the work you do?
I mainly work with public companies, advising on capital markets, M&A and corporate governance and compliance matters. A lot of the clients with which I work come from outside the UK, particularly the US, China and India. I tend to work across a broad range of industries. I also do pro bono work for a number of larger and smaller charities, again dealing with corporate matters. I am a trustee of several charities as well.
If your client only remembers one thing after working with you, what do you want it to be?
That I solved the problem and that they enjoyed working with me (I know that is two things).
What advice would you give a young lawyer starting out?
Don’t lose touch with people you enjoy working with and aim to build long term working relationships. They are likely to become important to you later in your career.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Classical music (listening and playing clarinet and saxophone), going to the theatre and art galleries, cooking, gardening and travelling.
Favourite place you have been to / favourite holiday?
It’s hard to beat India for variety of experiences and great hospitality.
Is there anywhere on your travel bucket list?
This list gets longer rather than shorter! There are some rather obvious places on the list which I’ve never visited, such as the Grand Canyon, for example.
Tell me something you have learned about the business world?
Cultural differences matter a lot and it’s worth trying to understand them: the way business is done in different parts of the world reflects the local culture.
What is the best piece of advice you ever got ?
Early on in my career someone told me not to make enemies unless absolutely necessary. I’ve tried hard to follow that advice and not succeeded all the time!
London | Dublin | Paris | Dubai | New York | Boston | San Francisco
OUR PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS
Co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, one of the world’s most influential news and information brands.
Linda was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and one of TIME’s 100 “Innovators for the 21st century”.
What I’ve learned is that fear is not something that should hold you back from what you want to do.