The Lawyer Inquiry: Jackie Hawken

Jackie Hawken was born in Bristol in 1952. She is a senior solicitor and practice manager at Bristol City Council.

What subject(s) did you fail at school?

Quite a few. But it hasn't stopped me.

What was your first job?

Petrol pump attendant.

What was your first salary as a lawyer?


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

I've been a model, secretary, villa girl, ski rep and researcher at the World Health Organisation – I haven't finished yet!

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Winning a case for the council against the Secretary of State for the Environment – easing pollution in the Severn Estuary.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

As a new trainee, attempting to get a mortgage repossession order without knowing what a charge certificate was.

What do you like least about being a lawyer?

The general assumption that all lawyers are Conservative, boring and materialistic.

And the best thing about being a lawyer?

Empowering clients.

Who do you admire most, and why?

The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people for their compassion and amazing courage in the face of oppression.

What annoys you most about clients?

Since I joined the council, not a lot.

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

Any of the witches burned at the stake – I identify with them.

What character do you most resemble in Ally McBeal and why?

According to my daughter, Ally herself.

What is your most annoying habit?

My one-day crises (a la Ally McBeal).

How do you relax?

Salsa, having a good laugh with friends, meditation, reiki, being amongst nature, and other esoteric pursuits.

What is your most precious possession?

My children, Dimitri (16) and Ellie (12) – and our two cats.

Where would you most like to be right now?

At Bill and Gill's organic smallholding in Devon, sitting around a campfire in my wellies.

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

As an astrologer, reiki practitioner and wise old crone.

What is your biggest fear?

Any threat to my children, and the thought that Tibet may never be free.