Law Review: Satanic mechanics?… you can’t get better than a Kwik-Brief getter?

The difficulties of the Criminal Bar are considered by Frances Gibb, legal editor at The Times.  It would appear that mechanics are not being paid £60 gross per hour (£40 net).  As ever, the comments in the Times continue to reveal the pulse of the nation…

Keith Welton wrote:

1/ virtually all car mechanics take home pay is less than £10 per hour.
2/ The work a car mechanic does is useful to society unlike much that is performed by a Barrister.

I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies and that we don’t face the problem in the industrial and construction world where immigrants from Europe can undercut British workforce fees and, some say, do a better job.

Blawg Review #257

Blawg Review this week comes from Lance Godard (who helps law firms grow and prosper) and is ‘innovative’.  In Lance’s own words…” To celebrate the first anniversary of 22 Tweets, our Twitter interviews of practicing lawyers, we’ve put together a special version of Blawg Review. What does that mean? First and foremost, it means that we’ve selected 22 posts from this week’s legal blogs: 22 authors, 22 blawgs, 22 posts.”

It also means no free ride and, indeed, I have to respond to a question lance posed to me…on Twitter.  I am thinking about my 140 character response. Lance asked me…as if I would know…. (and if I did, I would probably wish to charge a fee for my ‘view’ .”)

@charonqc What would you say is the most significant issue facing the legal profession today? Can it be resolved? How?”

Any ideas? Good Blawg Review – it will be interesting to read the responses of the other 22 bloggers asked.

MPs told they can keep employing family members

The Times reports: MPs will be allowed to continue employing spouses despite overwhelming public hostility, the head of the new expenses watchdog said yesterday. Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, risked the wrath of the Speaker and the Committee on Standards in Public Life by allowing one family member to be employed per MP.

It seems to me, not unreasonable for those MPs who did not abuse the system (and there are a fair few), to be allowed to continue to employ a spouse or other family member to work with them.  I would have thought that we get better value for our taxpayer buck from a wife / husband or husband / wife working together?  Sir Ian Kennedy, a former Dean at King’s College Law School, is no fool and he will have examined the matter most carefully.  The tabloids, naturally, are awash with talk of climbdowns etc etc.  Fun though it is to read the random ranting of journalists in newspapers who one minute are gung-ho for Labour then turn overnight into a ravening horde for the Tories.. I would prefer to see the future governed by people who actually know what they are talking about than hacks appealing to ‘single Mum (35)’ or ‘Joe the builder’ to give us their thoughts on the matter. Perhaps I am being unreasonable?

The Lawyer has picked up on the BNP barrister story: BNP barrister sparks debate on workplace ethics.

A noble effort on the part of the The Lawyer (at least they tried) – but on reading the story, which was rather thin, it appears the debate is not that ‘fierce’ or, indeed sparky…or spark plugs, come to that, given the ‘satanic mechanic’ stories raging about barristers being paid less than car mechanics. In fact there appears to be only one comment on the story at the time of writing this post but they did manage to dredge up a couple of quotes…

Wragge & Co senior ­partner Quentin Poole said: “It’s possible to imagine a situation where an individual apple would taint the whole barrel, but it’s unlikely. We instruct St Philips and I’m quite sure our litigation partners will talk about this and decide what their view is.”

That said, an instructing partner at another Birmingham firm said that if ­Grierson had remained at the set its business would probably have suffered.

“I think [the set was] worried that in Birmingham there are a number of solicitors from ethnic minorities that instruct the chambers. What it boils down to is money,” he emphasised.

I think that rather sums it up. Perhaps it is, after all, a matter of money and busy lawyers are far too busy making the stuff to concern themselves about ‘sparking a debate’?

But… it is not all bad news… The Times reports:

Accounting firms facing rise in negligence claims amid credit crunch fallout

The Times notes: “Although the number of claims last year was far lower than the 61 that reached the High Court in the wake of the dot-com collapse — when auditors were criticised for their their role in corporate scandals such as those involving Enron and WorldCom — lawyers predict that this is the beginning of a wave of cases that will emerge from the financial crisis.

“The sudden jump in professional negligence claims suggests that cases relating to the credit crunch have started to reach the courts,” Jane Howard, a partner of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, said.”

And finally…. with a due Hat-tip to The Sun headline writing team… I did watch (but was rather bored by)…

The Clash of The Tight ‘uns

The Times report is rather more sane… “Alistair Darling and Vincent Cable ganged up on George Osborne last night to heap derision on the Conservatives’ proposed tax cut.”

Inevitably, on Twitter, Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home  was on twitter immediately to pronounce 7/10 for Osborne – placing him in clear ‘Blue’ water between his rivals Darling and Cable.  @ToryBear told a grateful nation ‘Well done, George’ – the lefty twitters derided Osbore… but a poll did seem to place Vince Cable first, Darling 2nd and Osbore 3rd… hey-ho…who cares what the pundits think?… there is only one poll that matters – fun though it is to see twitterers and political bloggers hyperventilating and wetting themselves online with excitement at every small stage managed activity… therein lies the real fun.

I found the actual ‘debate’ between the Tight ‘Uns rather dull.  I suspect the debates – even more stage managed and controlled between the party leaders – will be even more dull;  but we shall soon see… coming to a television set near you…shortly.

12 thoughts on “Law Review: Satanic mechanics?… you can’t get better than a Kwik-Brief getter?

  1. My view on MPs being allowed to employ a family member is that, in the main, a family member is far more likely to work longer hours, out of loyalty, to ‘get the job done’. However, this pre-supposes that they ARE actually working for the MP, and that it is not a ruse similar to the well-known business accounting practice, where the spouses/family of the business owner are just bunged on the payroll. It’s monitoring this that will be problematic.

  2. Hmm, looking at the time I allegedly posted my comment, it seems someone neglected to tell your blog that the clocks have gone forward ;)

  3. Pam…. WordPress… can’t seem to change it! It is, however… the thought…thanks for commenting. It does need monitoring… but surely no MPs going forward are going to be daft enough to abuse the system…surely?

    :-)

  4. ‘but surely no MPs going forward are going to be daft enough to abuse the system…surely?’

    If I didn’t know you better, I’d despair at your innocence………..but I do! :)

  5. Here’s one to ponder – if a BNP member (as our hypothetical barrister emerges to be) is a full member of a set of chambers, I don’t see that the chambers can properly do anything about it. Being a member of the BNP is not per se a breach of the Bar Code of Conduct and I cannot imagine any chambers constitution – which I think are from a Bar Council template – which could be invoked to chuck our Hitler fancier out. Indeed, a claim for restraint of trade would surely follow any hopstile action.

    Discuss as it says on the exam papers…

  6. i’m with you on this, rabbit – more, i don’t see why chambers should be able to do anything. just because they don’t like his politics. can they chuck me out as a member of the communist party? mccarthy chambers…

    ‘Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home was on twitter immediately to pronounce 7/10 for Osborne – placing him in clear ‘Blue’ water between his rivals Darling and Cable. @ToryBear told a grateful nation ‘Well done, George’ ‘

    goodness gracious, the tories decide that the best performance was by the errr ahem errr … tory, actually. whatever… clearly we need that paragon of impartiality iain dull to tell us the real story.

    and i am so glad the stupid myth that them bloody working classes all earn more than us professional folk (heaven forfend) has been exploded. let’s not hear any more of this crap about plumbers making more than we do, please.

  7. MPs employing familly members …

    I think that the public are being a bit hypocritical. As a consequence of the current housing boom and bust many people are stuck with houses that they’ve stuffed with unemployed familly members so that: a) they can get the mortgage paid by the state via housing benefit and, b) the house isn’t being rented to strangers.

    As yet I’ve got no hard stats on this phenomenon but word of mouth suggests a surprising large amount of people.

  8. ‘Osborne hardly inspired confidence and was saved by the format-with tougher questioning he would have struggled.’

    oh james! clearly you lack ben brogan’s insight into such matters – he judged it a victory for osbore immediately under stats showing that 38% went for cable with 32 each for the others. his reasoning was that osbore didn’t grin or sound squeaky. damn right – that’s what i’m looking for in a chancellor of the exchequer. i presume brogan then went on to hail manchester united’s great 1-2 win over bayern munich on the grounds that while scoring fewer goals they did manage to put their shirts on the right way round and avoid fouling their shorts for 90 minutes. the campaign is underway and truth has packed its bags and taken a flight with one of ba’s competitors to somewhere nice and quiet.

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