A former high-ranking civil servant and senior prosecutor, Parkinson has been looking after politicians and high-profile individuals in spiky situations for most of his career, from Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Michael Heseltine to Rebecca Brooks, Tony Blair and former UBS chief executive Dr Marcel Rohner.
Now head of the criminal and regulatory law practice at Kingsley Napley, his clients have two concerns: ‘One is the reason they’re being investigated, and second is the reputational risk,’ he says. ‘How is it going to play in the media? How is this going to affect their future employment? For my clients, they are separate issues but they are both very dominant in their thinking… the two are very much inter-related.’
As deputy head of the Attorney General’s Office from 1999 to 2003, Parkinson was chief adviser to both the Attorney General and Solicitor General on ‘all criminal matters’, invariably the most difficult, high-profile cases in the land.
He says this unique experience continues to inform his work today, having advised six former cabinet ministers in the past few years alone (he continues to advise one client
on the Iraq Inquiry), not to mention his work with an ever-increasing number of PLC chairmen caught up in investigations by the SFO.
Respected by peers for his crisis cool, strategic judgment and political sensitivity, Parkinson joined Kingsley Napley on secondment in 2003. He was made a partner in 2005, and appointed practice head in 2006.