I planned before training to be a lawyer to be a landscape architect.
What’s your favourite film?
What was the first record you ever bought?
Nicely out of Tune by Lindisfarne.
Who’s your hero and why?
Baroness Shirley Williams for her integrity and intelligence.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The wide range of very decent and interesting clients that I get to know as a family lawyer.
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The increasingly small minority of family lawyers who conduct their cases in a destructive and aggressive way.
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
I don’t think I have any career regrets.
What car do you drive?
What book are you currently reading?
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.
What’s your favourite children’s book?
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.
What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
I can’t talk about clients so I’m not going to say.
If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?
A radio tuned to Radio 4 and a quantity of champagne.
What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?
We had a partners’ conference in the last recession at a miserable hotel in Gloucestershire – all peeling wallpaper and swirly carpets.
What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
You can’t do all-night deals in family law cases – too much stress for the clients to do that. I had one case where we were still signing off the 100-plus completion documents at 1am but that’s about it.
If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Please can I have Catherine Tate so that it would be funnier than I am?
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Jeremy Clarkson. I hope I don’t need to explain.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)
I have in the past had a particular interest in dendrochronology, restoring horse-drawn vehicles and breeding alpacas.
CV Name: Catherine Hallam Firm: Burges Salmon Title: Partner and head of private client and wealth structuring department and of the family law unit Lives: Bristol Education: 1977-80: Jesus College, Oxford 1980-82: College Of Law, Guildford Work history: 1982-85: Articles and solicitor in private client/family, Frere Cholmeley 1985-86: Assistant, Kenwright and Cox 1986-87: Assistant, Collyer Bristow 1988: Assistant, Burges Salmon 1990-present: Partner, head of family law, Burges Salmon May 2009: Head of private client and wealth structuring, Burges Salmon