Q&A with Lord Tim Clement-Jones CBE
You're talking to a friend of a friend at a party. How do you describe what you do?
I’m a hybrid animal part lawyer and part politician.
What was your first job?
As a teenager working in a carnation nursery. I still like them! After university as a trainee (Ok… articled clerk) at what was then Coward Chance. I can still remember the annual salary - £1100.
Not done yet! London managing partner at DLA Piper. While legal director and Company Secretary at Kingfisher against the odds winning substantial damages off BSkyB for damaging Comet’s satellite aerial business. (One of the few financial pluses I may say for Comet in retrospect, the brand no longer exists!) and getting the Sunday Trading Act through at around the same time.. Many other political highlights of course, such as my private members Live Music Act deregulating music licensing and chairing the Lords AI Select Committee recently.
Sunrise or sunset?
It’s sunrise all the way. Even though I don’t now pursue a mainstream career in the law (some would argue I never have!) there are areas like the Digital Economy, Data Protection, AI and IP that I continue to focus on in politics where new developments take place all the time and a legal background is really useful in understanding their implications and which are increasingly at the core of public policy concerns.
Who or what has influenced your career most?
I’ve never been a great technician and I’m an extrovert so it’s the close contact with clients and the ability to understand and solve their business problems that I value most. That’s why I went in house after qualifying and then joined DLA Piper, a commercial firm after my own heart.
Share some great advice you've been given.
Always engage with the opposition. My great friend the late Nigel Whittaker, former corporate affairs director at Kingfisher, always said even if you disagree with them profoundly and however much it goes against the grain, you should always meet and enter into discussion with those who oppose what you’re trying to do, whether in business or politically, you may get good intelligence and you never know what might come out of it.
Can you recommend a lunch or coffee spot?
I’m always on the run, but a deck chair in Paternoster Square would be wonderful. On a sunny day and with a bit more time I like Dions nearby.
How do you relax?
Good question that my wife can’t answer! It has to be well way from London, normally on holiday with plenty to see and do during the day and later in the day with a good meal and a book.
What's your pet hate?
I’ve travelled a great deal but never wanted to live anywhere but London. I love Lisbon for breaks however.
What book is on your bedside table?
David Sumpter’s Outnumbered: From Facebook and Google to Fake News and filter-bubbles-the algorithms that control our lives published a couple of weeks ago. I chaired the Lord AI Select Committee which produced its report in April but I’m still keeping up!
How would you spend your last £5?
Probably on a Portuguese custard tart!
Favourite TV box set?
Games of Thrones. I have every series!
Seaside or mountains?
Both are indispensable, but I would compromise with a lake-especially in the Lake District!
I’m an amateur genealogist so I could trace your family tree a fair way back.