What was your first-ever job?
Washing up for the one hotel in our local village.
What was your worst experience as a trainee?
In my first week being sent on a hearing in front of the late, lamented Master Ritchie. There was no training in procedure at Law School then. I’d never heard of the White Book. I had no idea what I was doing and there was counsel on the other side.
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
To the outdoor clerk.
What time do you usually leave the office?
In time to get home to see Coronation Street.
What do you do at weekends?
Play tennis, admire – rather than dig – my garden, watch QPR lose and host long, noisy dinner parties.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
It used to be Chez Moi in Addison Avenue, London, but unfortunately it’s closed down. It hasn’t yet been replaced in my affections.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?
A theatre director.
Who was your mentor or role model?
Perry Mason. I found my Della Street – my current secretary – but I’m still waiting for Paul Drake to turn up with the mystery witness that wins the case.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Autonomy – I choose what I do and how I do it.
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Losing. It only happens occasionally, but I hate it.
What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Not having a mobile when a client wanted to talk to me, a problem which turned into a case that went to the Lords and changed the law in an interesting way. As clients couldn’t contact me immediately, they went to another firm. But I still believe in uninterrupted holidays. I’ve learnt to be discreetly available in case something I actually want to do comes up.
What car do you drive?
An old Fiat that looks as if it’s been through a war zone – parking is not my forte.
What book are you currently reading?
I always have several books on the go. The one beside my bed is Alice Munro’s short stories.
What’s on your CD player at the moment?
What’s your favourite children’s book?
My brother’s unpublished masterpiece ‘Jackson The Fruit Dog’.