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Q&A: Jonathan Kembery

3 February 2017

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

I’d do almost anything to avoid talking work. But, if pressed, I’d say I’m head of a team that helps a leading law firm manage its legal and regulatory risks around the world.

What are you working on at the moment?

Well, Brexit is a looming issue for international organisations and the SRA’s fourth regulatory regime in a decade is keeping me busy.

What was your first job?

Stacking bales on the family farm. Looking back at it, my Uncle paid me 50p for a full day’s work, so I must have been a bit naïve.

Career highlight?

I have a few but I’m not really one to reminisce; I always think I can do better tomorrow.

Share some great advice you've been given.

‘You always have enough time’. In a crisis, the temptation is to try to get to a solution as soon as possible and not risk acting too slowly. However, that's a risk in itself- have you really considered other options before acting too soon and taking the wrong path?

What's in your desk drawers?

Over fifteen years of accumulated rubbish. It’s just too much of a task to tackle them. I’ll probably just get a new desk!

How do you relax?

I lift weights and play the piano; when I’m doing either I can’t think about anything else!

What's your pet hate?

People who are arrogant and impolite.

Favourite city?

London, with New York and Venice (when its quiet) close behind.

What book is on your bedside table ?

Two; Deep Work by Cal Newport and Golden Hill by Francis Spufford. Both are worth a read.

You're the chair of the City of London Law Society Professional Rules and Regulation Committee; what does that mean to you?

I’m gratified to have been asked to do it and I see it as a chance to have a positive effect on the way our profession is regulated.

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

I read Philosophy, Politics and Economics rather than Law, so it was a toss-up between Law School or Business School. If I had taken the other path, I would probably have ended up as a management consultant because I love the analytical, problem solving side of my job.