The Lawyer Inquiry: Tony Girling

Tony Girling, 52, manages the Kent practice Girlings and is deputy vice-president of the Law Society. This month he is locked in a battle with Martin Mears for the society's presidency.

What was your first job?

Farm labourer.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

I forget, but my income was £2,400 in the first year of partnership.

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

A journalist. Martin Mears is a better journalist than president, I expect to be a better president than I would ever have been a journalist.

Which law could you live without?

The imposition on solicitors of remuneration certificates and taxation – an objection not suffered by other professions.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

As president of the Kent law society in 1982, explaining to our Intourist guide in Moscow that two of the 140 members of the society I had brought there had gone AWOL.

What car do you drive?

Alfa Romeo 164.

Which person would you like to go out with?

Kiri Te Kanawa, to talk about her passion – golf.

Where would you go to eat?

Chiaroscoru, London WC2.

What's the best thing on TV?

Drop the Dead Donkey.

Which movie do you wish you'd appeared in?

Dangerous Liaisons – for the chance to wear those clothes.

What's your most often-worn piece of clothing?

A burgundy silk handkerchief.

What is your all-time favourite record?

The speed of the sound of loneliness, by Nanci Griffiths.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone entering the profession now?

Be proud of it and remember to vote.

What do you like about yourself?

My readiness to see the best in everyone. Well, almost everyone.

What do you hate about yourself?

My inability to sleep.

Where would you most like to be right now?

Amid the gorse of County Down with the mountains of Mourne as a backdrop and the Law Society presidential jewel in my safe.