The MT Interview: Nigel Boardman

Enigmatic and self-contained, this Slaughter & May partner has made a name as the City's best merger lawyer, bar none. He saw off both of Philip Green's assaults on M&S - going for the jugular each time - and personally advises an astonishing 12 of the FTSE-100 companies.

by Chris Blackhurst

Nigel Boardman is ready for me now. I'm sitting browsing a magazine in Slaughter & May's huge glass reception area in Bunhill Row in the City and, suddenly, a tall, thin figure has glided imperceptibly over to me.

I've been made to wait. Long enough that the level of jelly babies in the vast bowl sitting on top of the law firm's check-in counter must have dropped a centimetre or two. As well as stuffing my face, I've had time to take in the large contemporary sculptures that stand by the stairs and the imposing security men who guard the front door. It's all a far cry from Slaughter & May's old offices in nearby Basinghall Street. Those were cramped and rambling; these are modern and swish, more investment bank or multinational head office than solicitors' practice.

The atmosphere is quiet and unhurried. A lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into these premises. The light isn't glaring but calming, the stairway is luminescent. Nothing is so grand or boastful as to make clients think twice about the size of their bills, but neither is it so small as to make the lawyers within seem belittled. This is a place of power, class, influence - and affluence.

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