In many respects David Cooper is just like the other 400 millionaire lawyers working in the City.
He owns properties in the most salubrious parts of town, sends his children to private school and drives some very fast sports cars.
But after negotiating a record-breaking deal with a British property consortium, the 64-year-old planning specialist has catapulted himself above his peers to become Britain’s most expensive solicitor.
Mr Cooper is to be paid the staggering fee of £100m to advise a client on the development of a new town to be built between Birmingham and Milton Keynes.
Even among the rich elite of lawyers working for the so-called magic circle firms in the City, this counts as an eye-watering return. Last year the highest-earning solicitors were claiming annual fees of £1.3m.
This year, as the leading law firms start posting record profits, those earnings are likely to be even bigger. But despite predicted increases of 20-25 per cent on profits per partner, no one is likely to catch Mr Cooper, who claims his earnings from last year were around £2m. And despite charging a minimum of £650 an hour, Mr Cooper is still much in demand from a number of high-profile clients, including Arsenal Football Club.
Most solicitors practising on Britain’s high street will be lucky if they make £40,000 this year. Mr Cooper is happy to defend the disparity. “Of course I’m well off but I’m not fabulously wealthy. I don’t earn any more than a top footballer or a chief executive of a top company,” he protests.
“Look at what I don’t have. I don’t own a house outside London. I don’t have a boat and I don’t have a helicopter or a private jet. Oh, and before you ask, I don’t shoot and I don’t fish.”
But that still leaves an awful lot of wealth. While it might be true that none of Mr Cooper’s properties is outside London, all six are located in Belgravia. Tucked away in his Belgravia garages he keeps 26 cars, including his pride and joy – a Pagani Zonda – four Aston Martins and a selection of top-of-the-range Porsches and Mercedes. Mr Cooper, who describes himself as a mad art collector, has also bought around 6,000 antiques and pieces of fine art for his home.