Richard Findlay. He's no thespian, but the Edinburgh lawyer is happy with his role, says Annette McCann

He takes a confident sip of his cafe latte before quipping ''made in heaven''. For a moment, I think he is referring to the beverage-making skills of the bistro staff until I realise he is describing his job. He is sincere. Well, as sincere as a man can be when he finds it hard to maintain the grin of a Cheshire cat, mainly because it tends to break into infectious laughter of the fatal variety.

Dressed in all the designer trappings of a Glasgow nightclub owner, Richard Findlay jokes about ''charm and personality'' being the secrets of his success, before going on to describe himself as a fortysomething lawyer living in Edinburgh's New Town.

It's not that he revels in contradiction but, as Scotland's only full-time ''entertainment lawyer'', it inevitably comes with the territory.

Findlay, 48, happily chats about ''wall-to-wall'' meetings with Hollywood producers while summing up his work as ''the provision of legal services to a particular sector''. As if to demonstrate he is not one of the gloomy gown brigade, he suddenly hands me a photocopied overhead. It starts with a quote from the legendary Hollywood writer-director Billy Wilder in which he sums up the film industry with the observation: ''Today we spend 80% of the time making deals and 20% making pictures.''

As Findlay remarks over the intrusive hissing of the espresso machine in the cafe of the Royal Lyceum Theatre, his job description begins to percolate in the mind of this laywoman. This is the man who protects the finely-honed prose of starving writers in the first flush of film success. The same man who shields producers from the contractual demands of equally demanding starlets. And the very man who understands the basic needs of his fellow men - Findlay once came across a Richard Gere contract in LA which specified everything from the size of the actor's trailer to space for his personal trainer.

''People have said 'you are not like a usual sort of lawyer' and this is where you get onto the idea of lawyers being boring. They are not boring, but I wouldn't pick up a bit of commercial business from a surveyor because I do not have anything in common with the surveyor, you know, I don't play golf,'' explains Findlay. ''My interests are the arts, theatre, and cinema and that's how I meet my clients.''

His interests have produced an enviable list of 300 clients, including Scotland's largest independent television production company, Wark Clements, owned by presenter Kirsty Wark. Also in his stable are Elaine C Smith's new BBC Scotland series and a 10-part television drama for the BBC, entitled Tinsel Town.

At school in Huntly, Findlay knew his heart was torn between the arts and the law. He recalls his parents taking him to the Capitol Cinema in Aberdeen where he marvelled at the ''2000-seat 1930s art deco cinema which not only had its own organ, but a lighting device which lit the auditorium and curtains in a different colour on every day of the year''.

A degree at Aberdeen University was followed by commercial conveyancing stints and a partnership in a small Edinburgh firm in the late 1970s. Struggling to pay the mortgage on his flat in Royal Crescent he decided to advertise for lodgers and, in a bid to avoid the student brigade, approached the Lyceum with a view to taking in travelling actors. One of the first was Campbell Morrison, perhaps not best remembered for his part in the sangria soap, Eldorado.

Findlay's fate was destined to be brighter. He started with small theatre contracts and one deal led to another. Today, he heads up Tods Murray's entertainment and media law team and, in his spare time, he sits on the board of the Lyceum. He has worked on films such as Trainspotting, waded through the logistical legal nightmares of organising the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and negotiated the more delicate matters of obscenity. On the latter point, Findlay admits life was once simple. ''It used to be the case that as long as it was the same as the Mull of Kintyre, so to speak, all was well with the world, but with certain relaxations on male nudity we can no longer rely on that old adage,'' explains Findlay.

His sense of pride in his work is informed by gut patriotism. Surprisingly, organisations such as the Scottish Arts Council continue to use an English-based lawyer for all film work and Findlay gets frustrated at London's attempts to dominate the film and television industry in Scotland. ''I feel it is a matter of principle. If it's a Scottish production, with a Scottish writer and a Scottish producer, filmed in Scotland, then I don't see why the hell we should be contracting under English law.

''The reason English law has come into place in entertainment is because of London domination, London centricity, and London arrogance. It's getting better but it still creeps in. I am dealing with a producer now who is suggesting English law is the recognised law of film which is ridiculous.''

When asked about the most difficult period in his outwardly charmed life, Findlay reveals his career was cruelly stalled earlier this year when he was diagnosed as having skin cancer.

With two operations behind him, he is able to chuckle about an unfortunate profile in a local newspaper at the time alluding to his theatre connections with the headline ''It's curtains for Richard''.

''What I felt strongly about during that time was that I was full of regrets and my main concern was that I had not really achieved what I wanted in life to make this area of the law truly viable,'' explains Findlay with a beaming smile.

You get the feeling this lawyer's dream is not so far away.