The Lawyer Inquiry: Ian Barker

Ian Barker was born in Singapore in 1961 and is now a partner at Hempsons.

What was your first job?

Part time – as a bingo caller. Full time – on an oil rig building yard.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?


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

Become a zoologist.

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Seeing a client's conviction for manslaughter quashed on appeal.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

At an inquest representing a doctor who had given a drug to a patient who was psychotic after taking LSD. I meant to ask my client about his experience with the prescribed drug. The question came out asking about his experience with LSD. Everyone in court had a good laugh.

What do you least like about being a lawyer?

Administration, and the increasing expectation that everything should be done yesterday.

And the best thing about being a lawyer?

The feeling that sometimes one can ease the burden for someone with a problem.

Who do you admire most, and why?

Martin Luther King (Jr) – a superb orator and someone who gave up his life for what he believed in.

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

Lee Harvey Oswald – his case seems like a lost cause, but he deserved the chance to show he was a "patsy".

Which Web site do you visit the most?

Chelsea FC:

What is your all-time favourite record?

Anything by Ry Cooder: Bop Til You Drop.

What is your all-time favourite book?

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

What food or drink can't you live without?

Malt whisky.

What's your favourite restaurant?

Le Suquet – a French fish restaurant.

And your favourite watering hole?

The Hollywood – ten minutes walk from Chelsea Football Club.

How do you relax?

With my wife and son, or at a Chelsea home game.

What is your most precious possession?

My wedding ring.

Where would you most like to be right now?

On top of Bebab – a beautiful mountain in Scotland.

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

Hopefully doing what I do now – and on top of that mountain.