Ex-managing partner of Travers Smith quits City law to become a teacher

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By Alex Aldridge on

From profit per equity partner of £882,000 to rather less teaching A-level students


What to do with all the commercial awareness gleaned during a three decade-long journey to the top of the corporate legal ladder?

That was the question facing Travers Smith‘s newly-former managing partner, Andrew Lilley (pictured), as he readied to quit the firm where he had spent most of his working life.

Would Lilley, 52, follow the legions of other ex-City lawyers — who famously adhere to a code of retiring in their early-50s — into ad hoc consultancy careers, dishing out bits of advice to pals in big corporates in between sessions on the golf course?

Or would he retreat from the world and immerse himself in all the box sets that he had heard so much about but never had time to watch, using his commercial legal knowledge as a prism through which to frame analysis of the day’s viewing to his family each evening?

As it turns out, Lilley has opted for neither of these futures, deciding instead to become a teacher.

Yes, this City law bigshot — whose bank account enjoyed many years of being swelled by partner drawings just shy of £1 million — will shortly be starting a new career as a teacher (average starting salary: £24,400). Appropriately, in view of his experience at the helm of one of the City’s more eminent outfits, Lilley’s subject will be A-level economics.

Of the rationale behind his move, Lilley told Legal Business:

“I’ve been very fortunate by ending up as an employment lawyer, there’s really quite a large amount of teaching involved in that role. A lot of HR professionals are keen to be trained and taught and you teach junior lawyers over the years. So I’ve been able to feed that interest for some time. Now I’d like to pursue teaching at A-level at a school while I still have the opportunity.”

Next stop, the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which a spokesperson for Travers Smith indicated to Legal Cheek that Lilley will be beginning in September.