It’s not that uncommon for lawyers to have an exotic sideline. Readers of this column will know that solicitors can also be Elvis impersonators, belly dancers or, indeed, flamenco enthusiasts. But on (somewhat morbidly) perusing the Times’ obituaries section last week, Obiter was surprised to read of a solicitor who was also a human cannonball. Italian Rene Zacchini, human cannonball and lawyer, died last month aged 80. He was, Obiter learned, one of the last surviving members of a famous Italian family of circus performers. The brave Zacchini had perfected an act in which he flew 100 feet into the air to land in a safety net, which he performed at circuses around the world. But, being something of a ‘loose cannon’, he chose to leave the family business in 1956 to set up a law practice in Tampa. In 1968, he was appointed assistant city attorney, and in 1972 became a circuit judge. In this he resembles our erstwhile prime minister John Major, though he ran away from the circus to become an accountant, not a lawyer.