The Lawyer Inquiry: Susan Burnell was born in Witney, Oxfordshire in 1947. She is senior partner at Charles Lucas & Marshall, Thames Valley.

What subject(s) did you fail at school?


What was your first job?

Helping in my father's grocery shop.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

u1 a week as an articled clerk plus whatever expenses I could persuade the accounts clerk to give me.

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

Been a travel writer.

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Raising u85,000 at a concert in aid of the Hungerford tragedy fund.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

Going to court in a red dress, being told by the judge that he couldn't hear me properly and assuming he was deaf when he was actually referring to my improper dress code.

What do you least like about being a lawyer?

Chasing clients to pay bills.

And the best thing about being a lawyer?

Being told I did a good job.

What annoys you most about clients?

When they ring me on Monday to discuss advice they received over the dinner table on the weekend.

Who do you most admire, and why?

My dad. He taught me my values. You must put something back into a community, as the community gives you a living.

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

Richard Branson – he would generate enough fees not to need any others.

What is your most annoying habit?

Never being able to say no.

What's your biggest fear?

I have been sponsored to lose 3 stone in weight for Macmillan nurses. What if I don't do it?

How do you relax?

By involving myself in charitable fund raising.

What is your most precious possession?

My family.

Where would you most like to be right now?

Sanibel Island, Gulf of Mexico.

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

Retired, at Oxford taking a degree.