Dealmaker: Hogan Lovells' Tom Brassington on mosquitos, bacon and Game of Thrones

Why did you become a lawyer?
I grew up in Yorkshire and the only alternative career in the job centre seemed to be at the local bacon factory. While that role promised high quality training and a focus on excellence, it didn’t have the international opportunities that I was looking for at the time. In hindsight, what the law lacks in terms of free bacon sandwiches is amply compensated for by a great mix of intellectual challenge and teamwork.

What’s your strongest characteristic…and worst trait?
A commercial and practical approach but [I can be] a bit lacking when it comes to praising my team. 

What advice would you give to young deal lawyers starting out?
Don’t be too prescriptive and get stuck in. No two deals are ever the same and you always need to be flexible in your approach. Time spent watching Game of Thrones will help to navigate any office politics.

What’s the best part of your job?
Working with both clients and colleagues who are very bright and highly motivated. It means I have to stay on my toes to keep up.

What most annoys you about the legal profession?
I am always slightly concerned when I read that clients take technical excellence as a given. It is certainly the case that a client should expect this as a minimum, but quality does still vary across the profession. 

What’s the most unusual/shocking request you’ve ever had from a client?
I was recently asked by a US client how much I knew about the mating habits of a mosquito. Having uttered a few feeble comments about how attractive mosquitoes find me at night, we were then asked to act on the acquisition of a biotech company that specialises in genetic engineering to control, among other things, mosquito populations. 

Most memorable deal you have ever worked on and why?
Doing deals in the Middle East (where I spent two years) always makes for a memorable experience. It reminds you that there are significant parts of the world where no one cares one iota what the difference is between a warranty and a representation.

What is the daftest bit of corporate jargon you’ve heard (and did you smirk)?
It’s all about straight talking I am afraid, these days. Conference calls aren’t nearly as entertaining as a result.

Do you see yourself having a career outside law?
I can see myself having many careers outside the law. The difficulty will always be persuading prospective employers of the same thing.

What’s your favourite item of clothing?
Like everyone else, I buy labels that suggest I spend my weekends sailing the Atlantic or conquering Mont Blanc. The reality tends to be slightly less glamorous but no less worthwhile – navigating the supermarket car park can be a real endurance test at the weekend.

It’s midnight and you’re in the office for the night, where’s your takeaway from?
Generally, our vending machine. I always start the evening with high expectations that things will/can happen a lot quicker than they do, with a view to avoiding the Deliveroo moped. Still, I read somewhere that a whole bag of Skittles counts as one of your five a day.

Favourite box set?
Game of Thrones (see above).