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Q&A with Madeleine Richards

1 March 2017

Madeleine Richards is head of legal and business affairs, Entertainment, ITV

You're talking to a friend of a friend at a party. How do you describe what you do?

I’m a lawyer who works at ITV. I support the programme commissioning team so I look after the bringing in, negotiating and buying of rights for the company. My job involves a combination of commercial and legal knowledge, planning and management, and people skills.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m negotiating terms for an entertainment/documentary programme featuring popular talent. I have also been working on acquisition of some digital/tech content that is ancillary to another programme and I’ve been working on terms for some fairly big and popular entertainment shows.

What was your first job?

Picking fruit (I grew up in rural Australia – enough said!).

Career highlight?

Apart from picking fruit? I love what I do now, it’s great fun working with such a fun dynamic bunch of people at ITV and I really do enjoy law (I know!).

Intellectual property and media/digital law is very interesting and being in-house has been a great opportunity for me as I worked in television production before becoming a lawyer. The ability to apply the knowledge from these two careers in a fairly commercial and complex media environment feels like the perfect role.

Share some great advice you've been given.

Aim for the stars and at least if you miss you’ll end up on the moon.

What's in your desk drawers?

Travel books.

Can you recommend a local lunch or coffee spot?

Konditor and Cook has been a long time favourite - it does a great coffee and delicious food and cakes.

How do you relax?

I’ve been told not enough! When I do relax I love spending time with my family, outdoors and at the seaside, going to live music concerts and I do a weekly yoga class on Sundays which is a nice relaxing way to start/end the week.

What's your pet hate?

Prejudice.

Sum up working as a solicitor in one word.

Interesting.

Favourite city?

Too many! I’m hugely loyal to London – I’ve lived here for 18 years and it’s a great city. I also love Sydney (and Hobart, where I'm from) . If I didn’t live in London I’d probably choose Sydney for the climate alone.

What book is on your bedside table?

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan which I'm part way through reading.

What needs to happen to get more women into leadership roles?

The more women who get into leadership roles the more role models and inspiration I believe there are for other women. So that’s a start.

I also think flexible working is key but with flexible working being more equally available for everyone and allowing men and women to achieve a better work/life balance.

I believe workplaces have taken a huge number of positive steps to help mothers be working mothers, but the same energy promoting partners and their flexible working patterns/work life balance would be hugely beneficial. I believe when partners share the parenting in the home it allows women to be more equal partners at work and also helps promote understanding in a professional environment.

You are a member of the Law Society's Intellectual Property Law Committee - what does that mean to you?

Being a member of the IP Law Committee is a great chance to reflect on and analyse changes in IP law that are coming down the line, and work with a great group of engaged and experienced IP lawyers - I feel very fortunate. It is an interesting time to be on the Committee - the changes over the next few years in light of leaving the EU and trying to work out the impact on both the legal profession and businesses is going to be interesting.

If you hadn't become a solicitor, what would you have done?

I was very keen on being an astronaut for a while but I was also fairly fickle! Film producer and pilot also rated highly on my career wish list from a young age.