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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF: Paul Mann, partner in the corporate strategy and finance practice at Squire Sanders…

Early Doors…
Depending on how busy things are I usually arrive between 7.30 and 8.30 in the morning. This allows me to settle in without the phone going and without colleagues being around; I use this time to plan the day ahead. As all lawyers will say, organisation is imperative and therefore the start of the day is usually a review of the “to do” list and an opportunity to prioritise what to crack on with first. This updating the “to do” list is often quite difficult as when I’m busy I just want to launch into things – I would love to say my self-discipline allows me to take stock at the start of the day but unfortunately the buzz of deal work means that is not always the case!

My morning very much depends on what is going on at the time. This can vary from dealing with one transaction where you are in the run up to a completion and trying to juggle the various challenges to getting everything lined up; it never ceases to amaze me the email traffic that flows in the run up to a completion. It would be far easier to sit back for the morning and then do a summary email of everything said over the last four hours, although I’m afraid to say that’s not a common occurrence. If things are a little quieter this could be doing a few smaller jobs, admin tasks, or alternatively marketing meetings or research. However, on an excellent day, my morning might be a round of golf at first sun light with an intermediary or client… all in the name of marketing, of course!

The hectic nature of the morning described above means I often haven’t had any breakfast save for fruit (Friday mornings are the exception as Friday is bacon sandwich day as a reward for a week’s hard work!) and therefore I’m relatively peckish by lunchtime. Again, this is very dependent on workflow – busy days will mean lunch at my desk with perhaps a 10 minute break (thinking of today, this included looking on in horror as England were thirty odd for three at Lords and noting my bets on the British Open Golf weren’t going too well). Alternatively, it could be a working lunch with clients or new contacts or more usually a catch up over coffee and a sandwich.

My afternoon is very much the same process as the morning and is dependent on the work I have on. The one point to flag here – and linking back to the “to do” list – is that in busy times, despite the graft you have put in for the seven hours you have been sat at your desk, the “to do” list is somehow longer. All lawyers will recognise this; as a junior it can be soul-destroying but you do get used to it and eventually accept that this is the way it has to be! How do I know I am edging towards a completion? Well, that list reducing is always a great sign.

The day can sometimes end at 5pm – corporate deals come in waves and there are times when things are a bit quieter. This allows a greater focus on marketing but is also a good time to get home on time, to enjoy new family life and to recharge the batteries somewhat so I’m ready for the next deal. On average, I try and get away by 7pm (other than when I’m in the midst of deals) and then get home, have dinner and spend a bit of time with the family before working later, if required.

I’m afraid the eyes are a bit heavy as I write this post-midnight but I think the body just needs programming to the new kind of sleep deprivation! Certain times of year (towards Christmas) there are various events in the Leeds market, such as the Insider Dealmakers Dinner and long lunches including the Variety Club and Wooden Spoon, which are all part of the heritage of the city’s scene and are great fun.
Friday is a strange day as however busy the week has been things do seem to just slow down a little at around 3pm and I do try and get away pronto. The one caveat to this is most (but certainly not all) deals happen towards the end of the week so Friday can become the Saturday and beyond. I always said to myself that when I became a corporate lawyer I wanted to change the perception that completions have to be in the middle of the night – they don’t but Rome wasn’t built in a day, I’m afraid!

For more information on Paul and his work, please visit: http://www.squiresanders.com/paulmann/

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