IN another life, Jonathan Moreland would be opening the batting with Geoffrey Boycott.

He chuckles at the thought, however, knowing full well he would probably spend more time leaning on his bat than playing cover drives, what with Boycs farming the strike at the other end.

But we can all dream.

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“He was my absolute boyhood hero,” says Mr Moreland.

“There were three that I put on a pedestal; Boycott, David Gower and Sir Ian Botham.

“But I was a big Yorkshire fan, so Boycott was my hero.

“It was the era when Yorkshire had players like David Bairstow and Chris Old, so I grew up following a great team.”

However, Mr Moreland, a partner at law firm Swinburne Maddison, is also a keen player, latterly turning out for Durham City’s third team.

A wicketkeeper-batsman, he speaks fondly of his time in the local cricket scene, but admits he might be close to hanging up his boots.

That’s not to say he won’t be kept busy.

Mr Moreland, who heads up the firm’s employment and dispute resolution departments, has been at Swinburne Maddison since the early 1990s, well before it took on its current guise.

Born in Willington, County Durham, he studied at Ampleforth College, in North Yorkshire, with his journey into law starting in earnest thereafter.

He studied the subject at Cardiff University, and, after a year at law school, joined what was then known as Swinburne Jackson.

He cites the business’ merger with Wilson Maddison in the late 1990s as a real growth catalyst, adding a later office switch to Aykley Heads, on the outskirts of Durham City, has had an equal effect.

He said: “I had been made a partner just before the merger.

“It went fantastically and moving offices had a really positive effect too; people started to perceive us in a very different way.

“The old offices were right by the cathedral, but our new space was modern and sleek.”

That new base is now undergoing a makeover, with a sizeable sum being spent to create open plan office space, meeting rooms and a staff and client lounge.

“We work across a wide range of businesses, from PLCs to owner-managed small and medium-sized companies nationally and internationally, so our office space has to be suitable for all those that visit us,” said Mr Moreland.

But the business’ future will be based on more than just cosmetics.

The firm, reveals Mr Moreland, has a reputation for retaining its workforce, and he says that ethos won’t be changing.

“Succession is a big thing, both in terms of the partnership and the staff,” he added.

“A lot of people have trained with the firm and stayed with the firm, and some now have really senior positions.

“Loyalty is such an important thing.

“You want your staff to be loyal and committed to you, but it has to work the other way too.

“That is why our turnover of staff is so low; we really do make a considerable effort.

“The aim with the business now is to take it to the next level; we want to be the firm to be reckoned with.

“We are really proud to be based in Durham.

“People think you need to go to the big city to get good lawyers, but we are proof you don’t.”

Favourite North-East building and why? Dunstanburgh Castle. Backdrop to so many family holidays, both as a child and parent.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? I worked on a kibbutz in Israel in my gap year, mainly in their banana plantation, and was paid in kind – food and accommodation.

What is the worst job you've had? Porter in the ear, nose and throat hospital in London.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? Jamie Oliver’s Classic Mince and Onion Pie, with veg from the garden. A family favourite.

What would your superpower be? Teleporting. Being able to travel from one spot to another in an instant would be extremely useful.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Sir Ian Botham, Jack Whitehall, Sir Winston Churchill and my mother, who is just the best conversationalist.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? It feels like last summer’s family holiday to the US. I really haven’t wanted to check. However, it was worth every penny.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? The former England rugby player and lawyer, Brian Moore. Intelligent and so opinionated.

Favourite book? I’m an avid reader, but it is impossible to name one book. I’m currently reading Shrapnel, which is William Wharton’s war memoir.

When did you last cry? At supper, with laughter, running through these questions with my wife and two boys, and hearing some of their views of me.

What is your greatest achievement? On a personal level, it is my family. Professionally, seeing Swinburne Maddison grow, and thrive year-on-year, gives me great satisfaction.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? From my father – you only sell your good name once.

Favourite animal and why? This is the easiest question – our pet Schnauzer, Rosie. The loveliest and most loving dog.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? None.

What was the last band you saw live? Jazz pianist Ehud Asherie, in Greenwich Village.

Describe your perfect night in: Supper with my family, a couple of glasses of wine, fire lit, dog on my lap and a good chat.

In another life I would be... Opening the batting for England with Geoff Boycott.

Who would play you in a film of your life? My wife would say Steve McQueen(!), but my boys would say either David Mitchell or Simon Pegg.

What irritates you? The way some parents criticise and shout at their children while they are playing sport, rather than encouraging them. Also, how they sometimes speak to the volunteer coaches.

What's your secret talent? A demon backgammon player. A result of many mis-spent hours at school.