The Lawyer Inquiry: Michael Gardner was born in Hampstead in London. He is the senior litigation partner at Morgan Cole.

What was your first job?

Sales assistant in a West End shoe shop.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

£5,000 per annum.

What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?

I'd like to say a tennis professional, but more likely a salesman.

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Being elected chief lawyer for three parties to High Court litigation, where the other two were represented by top City firms.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

When my trainee persuaded the control tower at Heathrow to order a plane to return to the terminal so a passenger could be served with a freezing injunction, only to find that he was not on the plane. Fortunately the judge found this hilarious.

What do you least like about being a lawyer?

Once you have made an accurate prediction for a client, they then believe that you can infallibly read the future (even where they have not given you all the information).

And the best thing about being a lawyer?

Life may be hectic but never dull.

What annoys you most about clients?

The slow payers, but they are also the most likeable.

Who do you most admire, and why?

Those historical characters who had the spontaneous "Bon Mot" – Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, FE Smith. (Why is it so difficult to find someone of today?)

Which famous person or historical figure would be your ideal client, and why?

Martin Luther King – he may have had his faults but he was prepared to stand up against oppression, knowing that an assassin's bullet would eventually get him. When you compare him to the politicians of today…

What is your most annoying habit?

Being late for appointments.

What's your biggest fear?

Coming second in a beauty contest between firms.

How do you relax?

By putting more kick on my second serve.

In 10 years' time, where do you see yourself?

Still solving conundrums, or trying to, whether they be client problems or sales techniques.

To take part in the Inquiry call Jemma Pearson on 0171 970 467