When I decided to leave the Bar, I went to several job interviews, with my new suit and haircut, and polished shoes. I received several rejections, always for the same reason – lack of relevant commercial experience.

At one interview, after about the fourth complaint of my lack of relevant commercial experience, I lost my rag: “And if nobody ever gives me a job, I never will have any relevant commercial experience.”

Much more recently, I was invited to lunch by a prospective client, in one of the best restaurants in the City. They had asked me for a CV, but I decided not send one.

At lunch I apologised for not sending a CV, and said that it was fifteen years since anyone had asked me for one, so I needed time to update it, and think what to put in it.

They quickly said they did not need a CV.

The project was in ultra-deep water offshore Brazil, the hottest oil province on the planet, one that the entire oil industry wants to get into.

I could not resist it. “You do realise, don’t you, that I have never done anything in Brazil? You would see that from my CV.”

“Oh, that doesn’t matter!” they replied. “All oil provinces are the same,” (a proposition I would have to disagree with), “Will you be able to help us?”

What a difference thirty years makes.

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.