What on earth is mycology?
Horror stories about law firm working hours are all the rage, so it’s easy to assume that once you start your training contract or pupillage you’ll barely have enough time to sleep, let alone keep up your extra-curricula hobbies.
But fear not. Legal Cheek has tracked down 10 lawyers, all of whom have managed to keep on top of their weird and wonderful hobbies while leading successful legal careers.
1. Marcus Rutherford
Partner at Enyo Law
Mycology, unbeknownst to most, is the scientific study of fungi. While Legal Cheek imagines looking at mushrooms for an extended period of time would send most people to sleep, Marcus Rutherford has long been a fan. Though we’re sure he’s spent a lot of time doing important ‘partner stuff’ at three different law firms — including commercial giant Reed Smith — Rutherford still enjoys searching for mushrooms at the weekend. Interestingly, he’s also an illustrator, and enjoys drawing the mushrooms he finds.
2. Olivia Potts
Junior barrister at 5 Paper Buildings
Criminal law specialist Olivia Potts rightly describes herself as a “barrister by day, baker by night”. Having studied at both Cambridge and City University, Potts has forged a career in the hard-hitting world of criminal advocacy. In her spare time, however, Potts is crazy about baking, and documents her creations and recipes on her personal blog. In the future, maybe Potts could take a leaf out of freelance solicitor Kay Ma’s book — she juggles a successful cake-making business with her demanding legal career.
3. Bill Braithwaite QC
Barrister at Exchange Chambers
Hobby: motor racing
Brain damage guru Bill Braithwaite QC is a self-confessed “wheel freak”. The Liverpool University graduate, whose specialises in personal injury law, has been big into motor racing since he turned 48. He’s a member of the Historic Sports Car Club and travels the country racing cars. Though he admits he doesn’t have too impressive a track record when it comes to winning races, he thinks there’s “no better feeling than sitting on the grid on the start line, waiting for the lights to go out and signal that the race is on”.
4. Paul Beckett
Senior counsel at MannBenham Advocates
Hobby: tattoo art
Professor Green once asked his devoted Twitter following whether you can be a lawyer if you have tattoos, and Paul Beckett is living proof that you can. The Oxford grad is, according to 2012 Legal Cheek, “the most tattooed lawyer in the British Isles”, and is covered pretty much head to toe in ink. His Japanese style inkings — which include a dragon and a samurai — aren’t the only thing that makes Beckett stand out from the rest of the legal crowd. He’s also a qualified masseur, an art collector, an occasional film extra, and a former boxer.
5. Martin Porter QC
Barrister at 2 Temple Gardens
Though it’s hardly a weird hobby, Legal Cheek thought Martin Porter QC deserved a mention on our list because of how cycling-mad the Cambridge educated silk is. For most, cycling is just a mode of transport, but for the personal injury specialist, it’s a way of life. Not only does he have a blog dedicated to cycling, he also hit the headlines earlier this year when he brought the UK’s first ever private prosecution for dangerous driving after Porter and his trusty bike had a bit of a run-in with a speeding car. Though the defendant was acquitted, you’ve got to admire Porter’s resilience.
6. Alex Marzec
Barrister at 5RB
Hobby: inline skating
Who says you can’t be well-respected libel barrister and a keen inline skater? Alex Marzec is doing just that. Some onlookers think it’s an immature hobby, but Marzec isn’t bothered. The University of Warwick graduate is part of a skating community in London, and though she doesn’t claim to be a pro when it comes to tricky skills and moves, she does say:
When you get it right, the sensation is like flying.
7. Chris Walters
Senior pro bono counsel at Reed Smith
It’s a hobby that appeals to more than a few of us — and Chris Walters is absolutely potty about bird-watching. His interest was sparked when a biology teacher took Walters and his classmates on a school trip, though he admits he didn’t meet any like-minded people at university and his hobby took a bit of a dip during that time. Come 1978, Walters — who is firm-wide senior pro bono counsel at Reed Smith — was back bird-watching, and has been devoted to his passion ever since.
8. Alex Wade
Freelance media lawyer
Alex Wade is a former Carter-Ruck lawyer, who spends most of his time writing for and lawyering for national newspapers. But that’s not all he’s been up to in his lively career. Wade travels extensively, is a keen poker player, and absolutely loves to skateboard and surf. He’s written two whole books about what the Hawaiians call “the sport of Kings”, and blogs regularly about surfing — and other things — on his blog Surf Nation.
9. Simon Allen
Head of personal injury at Russell Jones & Walker
Lawyers, stereotypically, are rubbish at two things: maths, and art. But not Simon Allen, who has been head of personal injury at Russell Jones & Walker for 27 years. At work, he specialises in mesothelioma claims, accidents at work, post-traumatic stress cases and amputation claims, but in his spare time he’s a skilled photographer. He particularly enjoys photographing New York, though as you’ll see from his website, he’s also been snapping away in Berlin, Rome and Tokyo, to name a few.
10. James Greig
Partner at Blake Morgan
Hobby: Bible tours
James Greig: University of Cambridge educated, partner at Blake Morgan, and keen conductor of Bible-themed tours. The deeply religious property lawyer has been running tours for about 20 years, in famous locations across the capital like the British Museum and the British Library, but also in Oxford. And they’ve proved very popular: Greig explained:
There’s a great deal of interest in the connections between archaeology and manuscripts and what the Bible says.