The Lawyer Inquiry: Pascale Wood-Atkins was born in Chatham, Kent in 1963. She is the legal counsel for Guinness in London.

What subject(s) did you fail at school?

Russian… I knew 20 words in my oral.

What was your first job?

Telesales girl for a company selling drink dispensers.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

Approximately u6,000.

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

Star of the stage and screen… ?!!

What annoys you most about clients?

That they think I perform miracles all the time, and don't seem surprised if I do.

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Passing my Law Society finals. I had to check twice to make sure.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

Being 90 minutes late for a conference which I was attending on behalf of a colleague (parking problems) and then having to leave 30 minutes later, leaving barrister and client fuming.

What do you least like about being a lawyer?

Working to other people's deadlines.

And the best thing about being a lawyer?

Being able to win arguments with my husband.

Who do you admire most, and why?

Elaine Pasini, my secretary, for putting up with me and giving me the semblance of knowing what I'm doing.

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

Marilyn Monroe… she was often late as well.

What is your most annoying habit?

Trying to work on four things at the same time and not managing to do any of them properly.

How do you relax?

I tried wind chimes in the car but my passengers made me take them down. Now I've reverted to alcohol.

What is your most precious possession?

My teddy bear.

What is your biggest fear?

Splashing bolognaise sauce down a white blouse before giving a talk in public.

Where would you most like to be right now?

Pretentious answer… snorkelling in the Maldives with my husband David, but probably truer to say at home with my cat and a good book.

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

Away from the grindstone, off the treadmill and having fun.