Q&A with Tony Williams
1. You're talking to a friend of a friend at a party. How do you describe what you do?
Unless they were a lawyer, I would probably lie as 'strategic consultant to law firms' sounds mind-numbingly dull.
2. Career highlight?
Unfortunately, as my clients are still around, I can only say all of them but working in Hong Kong during the 1987 stock market crash and in Moscow in the mid-90s were certainly 'experiences'. Unfortunately, there have been a few lowlights too.
3. What motivated you to be an SRA Board member?
The profession has been good to me during my career and the SRA was getting to grips with some important reforms, so I thought it right to get involved.
It's been fascinating so far and it's good to see the SRA operating well.
4. Share some great advice you've been given.
'You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio.' Too many lawyers just don't listen and think that if they keep talking, they will impress people. Usually it has the opposite effect.
5. What advice would you give to a newly qualified City solicitor?
Enjoy it. It is a tough environment but the work is usually fascinating and technology will give lawyers more opportunities to do the really exciting stuff.
6. What's your pet hate?
Lawyers who take themselves too seriously. Law is a means to an end - lose sight of that and you are useless.
7. How would you spend your last £5?
I should say a present for my long-suffering wife but I would probably just down a pint of beer.
8. Hidden talents?
Apart from an ability to survive, I am a somewhat obsessive gardener. Beating the hell out of the weeds at the weekend is a great antidote to advising law firms!
9. Do you have a role model or someone you admire and why?
Two. Michael Slorick, who was my principal when I was a trainee, whose support enabled me to qualify and instilled in me what it takes to be a good lawyer and Richard Coleman at Clifford Chance who took a raw recruit and patiently showed me the rigour needed to be a City lawyer.
10. Favourite book of all time?
Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon, a harrowing tale of how WW1 changed everything.