Archive for September 30th, 2009

Rebel yell….

I am, as you know, a fan of US blogs and I have met many amusing and interesting US lawyers (and non-lawyers) through blogging, my podcasts  and Twitter.  I am delighted to say that I have been invited by Molly McDonough, Assistant Managing Editor/Online for the ABA Journal, to write a piece for the ABA Journal Legal Rebels project which is due to run shortly….

US lawyers are, of course, familiar with the legal concept Volenti non fit injuria (“to a willing person, no injury is done” for post-Woolfians) and Molly is fully aware of the nonsense I write…. so may, safely, be taken to be Volens on the matter.  The word limit is 300-500.  Monsieur Prolix is my alter ego so I have obtained special dispensation to ignore the word limit.  I have, however, promised that it will not be 48 feet long like one of the Blawg Reviews I wrote earlier in the year.

I plan to contribute a stirring (as in stirring up) piece on legal education – because one of the things that is wrong with the profession and which will help the future of the profession is legal education. I shall explain my views, cover themes in Uk and US legal education, light the blue touch paper and then I shall deport myself. I am looking forward to writing it and I shall, of course, let you know when it goes out.  I am in distinguished company. All the other contributors have a photograph.  As I am a figment of my own imagination (and I am writing qua Charon QC) I shall provide a cartoon image.

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Let me introduce you to @Little_Lawyer…

@Little_lawyer is an enthusiastic user of twitter.  I am always keen to encourage new UK bloggers to get blogging so it is my pleasure to have Little_Lawyer as a guest blogger today!

Here is the first post on Little_Lawyer’s blog (Do have a look at the blog as well and put it on your blogroll?)


Have I introduced you to….?
By Little_Lawyer

So here I am, newly unemployed.  Times are tough out there, and when I finished my training contract (just like in firms up and down the country) there wasn’t any room at the inn.  There was however, room for my fellow trainee, in the department I always anchored my preference for and in which fellow trainee hadn’t contemplated before it became obvious that if there was to be any vacancy, it would be there.

The best trainee won?  Maybe.  But I don’t think its entirely irrelevant that fellow trainee’s father is also a partner at my training firm.  Bitter?  Maybe a little, even if it is understandable in the current economic climate.

But is it?  Is it ok for nepotism to exist in a larger than high street law firm when faced with two, equally qualified and competent candidates?  Part of me thinks it is even if it is contrary to my personal interests.

Hugely successful businesses have been built on familial connections and I think clients like it.  In fact, one can even extend the definition (if I may be so bold as to rewrite the dictionary), to giving a leg up to friends, or family of friends.  Isn’t it what we all do?  Isn’t it the point of networking?  Most of us wouldn’t think twice using personal contacts, or shmoosing about a common interest to open doors – and it is what networking sites like LinkedIn are all about.

Research by Transparancy International (discussed in an article in the FT found here suggests it is one of the reasons for corporate corruption.  I wouldn’t go that far.  I mean, wouldn’t a person with a familial tie want the family business to be a success?  Wouldn’t a person who got his/her job at a friend of his father’s accountancy firm want to prove that he/she deserved the role, by working harder than may be necessary?  Although the latter suggests that someone else would not be so hardworking.  If such an accusation was to be pointed in my direction, I would be mightily offended, since I’m annoyingly conscientious and need to know that I have earned every penny I am (or rather was) paid.

The fashionable and wider issue, is the effect nepotism has on the diversity of the legal profession.  I was going to quote some wonderfully wise words from the Master of the Rolls, but came across a rather entertaining examination of the class ceiling which appears to exist in the legal field, written by student Aryan Sharahi and edited and produced by ThePurpleRobot found here

Times are tough out there, so whatever gives us the edge is fair play, and I value loyalty to family and friends.  Would I have an issue with nepotism if my uncle Bob was the owner of Uncle Bob LLP, or my father golfed with the Chief Exec of Commercial Ltd?  I’m not sure.  What I
can be certain of, is that from the moment I began my (self funded) studies, to getting and completing my training contract, it was achieved with my personal charm (yep, even the checkout job at Tesco) and qualifications (ditto the Tesco job).  Granted, this gives me an enormous sense of self satisfaction, but there is a problem.  One can’t live (financially, emotionally and professionally) on self satisfaction alone.

Little_Lawyer’s blog: Fill My Days in Legal London

@Little_Lawyer on Twitter

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