Everyone remembers their first day at work, but eminent solicitor judge The Honourable Mr Justice Hickinbottom has better reason to do so than most.

He told an event at the Law Society to celebrate his appointment to the Court of Appeal: ‘I got my first job in a solicitors’ office in West Bromwich High Street. I was paid a pound a day. I remember my first task well: it was to take the paste jewellery of a deceased client, hawk it round jewellers in the high street to get the best price, and then buy a gravestone with the cash. The start to my legal career was not auspicious. I failed to obtain a good enough price for the jewellery to buy a headstone; but my principal, after the gentlest of disapprobation, told me to take the balance out of petty cash. It was a first lesson in public service, which is the hallmark of our profession.’

Obiter would be keen to hear of other memorable first days in the law. Even from solicitors who have not reached the dizzy heights of the bench. Email obiter@lawsociety.org.uk.