Lord Neuberger on what judges really like, his most memorable cases and being a hopeless banker

Lord Neuberger looks back on his career highlights ahead of this year's Commercial Litigation and Arbitration Forum

Lord Neuberger has enjoyed an illustrious career in the law, retiring as president of the UK Supreme Court in September last year. Speaking at Legal Week’s recent Trust & Estates Litigation Forum, Elspeth Talbot Rice QC looks back with Lord Neuberger at his journey from – in his own words – a “not very good” chemistry student at Oxford to being appointed to the highest judicial office in the country and presiding over what many have dubbed the case of the century.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC: You didn’t take the direct path from Oxford into the law; you went from Oxford into working life as a banker with Rothschilds – what made you go into banking?

Lord Neuberger: I was very influenced by my mother and she didn’t approve of lawyers, so I had never really thought about a career in the law. When I realised I was not going to be a very good scientist, I looked around and the ‘in thing’ to do that year was to go into what was then called merchant banking. I was a totally hopeless banker. Worse even than as a chemist.