That PowerPoint should be a doddle compared to figuring out what's going on in the scrum.
A Squire Patton Boggs partner has been chosen to referee the rugby world cup final this Saturday, between New Zealand and South Africa.
For the day job, Wayne Barnes is a criminal barrister and partner based in SPB's London office, tasked with defending corporate clients who are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office or other law enforcement entities.
But on the rugby pitch, Barnes is the law. The 44-year-old is the world's most experienced referee with 110 tests under his belt, having made his international debut in June 2006. He will become the second Englishman to officiate a rugby world cup final, and will also give opposing fans an easy (albeit weak) gag that it was the only way an Englishman would make it to the final, this year.
Barnes posted on social media that getting the world cup final gig was the "greatest honour" of his career:
Although, just a few days earlier he'd also said that his life was "now complete" after a sandwich was named after him. So it's unclear which achievement he ranks higher:
Barnes refereed his first match aged just 15, when he couldn't play rugby due to injury, and school teachers and his father encouraged him to have a go with the whistle instead.
Barnes said that one particular week in November 2003 would "always stick" in his mind, when 3 Temple Gardens accepted his application to join the chambers, and on that Saturday he also officiated his first Premiership rugby match. "It was a whirlwind 72 hours,” he told England Rugby in an interview, last year.
The SPB partner said that wherever he has worked, his employer has been "really allowing and willing" for him to do the two jobs, and that the RFU (Rugby Football Union) has always supported him.
Barnes said that each job provided a "release" to take his "mind off" the other role, and that it had probably made him "a better referee and a better lawyer by juggling both jobs". Shoehorning in an apt metaphor, he added: "At times...you’ve got a lot of balls in the air".
He noted that there are "lots of similarities" with the skills needed in dealing with rugby captains and clients, as he has to give his "opinion...listen to people," and "make sure that people feel that they’ve been heard".
It's also unlikely that Barnes would be easily intimidated by opposing lawyers, given that he's used to brandishing red cards to pumped up 18-stone rugby players.
Steve Mahon, Global Managing Partner at Squire Patton Boggs told RollOnFriday: "We're very proud of Wayne and overjoyed that he has been selected to referee the rugby world cup final. Wayne has the unique gift of being the world's foremost rugby referee while at the same time being best-in-class in the assistance of clients in complex investigations and compliance matters."