The Lawyer Inquiry: Jan Middleton

Jan Middleton was born in Warwickshire in 1957. She is a corporate solicitor for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and co-chairs the London Boroughs Corporate and Contracts Lawyers Group.

What was your first job?

Sainsbury's Saturday girl, aged 16.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

The articled clerk minimum after travel expenses, for working an average 50-hour week, it left me about £1.50 a week better off than on the dole.

Which law could you live without?

Right now, the landfill tax provisions and s53 Finance Act 1996 are proving to be a bit tedious.

What's your most enduring memory from your time as a trainee?

Going to court with my knees knocking to deal with a matrimonial matter for the wife and having her husband's solicitor yelling at me that his client was not going to tolerate being accused by his estranged wife of dressing in women's clothing and forcing her to have sex. I don't know who was more embarrassed, me or his client.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

Thinking 'specious' meant 'ridiculous' and, in a very self-important manner declaring that the other side's argument was 'specious in the extreme'. My client was remarkably unimpressed, to the extent that I looked the word up in a dictionary afterwards mortifying.

Which famous person would you like to go out with?

The young Paul Newman, with the young Marlon Brando as a close runner up. Or, if they are unavailable, Stanley Ogden.

Which movie do you wish you'd appeared in?

Casablanca, as Rick, because he got all the best lines, and I'm very good at emotional airport farewells.

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

Waffle kimono. As opposed to least worn but would most like to wear often, a pair of Gucci shoes with steel-spike heels. I still haven't mastered the art of walking/wobbling more than a few steps in them.

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?

After Breathless by Jennifer Potter and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

What is your all-time favourite record?

It used to be Something Stupid, by Frank Sinatra, until Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley claimed it as their song, so now it's Someone to watch over me, also by Frank Sinatra.

What do you like about yourself?

Big brown eyes.

What do you hate about yourself?

Big red eyes in the morning, too often these days.

Where would you most like to be right now?

I'm still working out where I am right now. Where I'd like to be is beyond me at the moment…