The Lawyer Inquiry: James Barnes

James Barnes is a property partner at the City firm Herbert Smith. He was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1955 and now lives in Blackheath, London.

What was your first job?

Window cleaner.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

£94.76 a month (after tax and deductions) as an articled clerk.

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

Run the marathon in 2 hrs 30 mins. I would have time to train.

Which law could you live without?

Section 60(1)(a) Licensing Act 1964.

What car do you drive?

A 14-year-old BMW called "Winston" and a Honda 750 VFR.

Who inspires you?

I'm not actually feeling very inspired at the moment.

What's the best thing on TV?

Live sport.

Which movie do you wish you'd appeared in?


What makes you seethe?

Anyone who is obsessive or fanatical about anything.

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

A pair of Timberland deck shoes.

What is the worst piece of architecture?

The DoE building in Marsham Street.

What book are you reading at the moment?

'Complicity' by Iain Banks.

What is your all-time favourite record?

'Paradise by the Dashboard Light', Meat Loaf.

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

Cheer up. It could be worse – you could have decided to be an accountant.

Where would you most like to be right now?

On a chartered yacht in the Caribbean.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

On my own yacht in the Caribbean.