Archive for June 7th, 2010

I haven’t become a Mason over the weekend – being on T’Square in this instance is a reference to Battersea Square.

At the end of a cold grey day, I went off to sit in the  Square with some paper to make a ‘to do’ list over a cup of coffee and a few Marlboros.  I soon got bored with my ‘to do’ list after solemnly heading it “To Do List” and underlining it in black felt tip. I crumpled it up and stuffed it into my ‘man bag’ – a rough canvas thing which allows me to transport all the essential of my life should I leave my Staterooms.  And then, at a table nearby, I heard a  couple of blokes chatting about football over a beer.  When I say chatting… it was more guttural;  a language and style I enjoy listening to but not wholly familiar with in terms of its finer points. Listening discreetly, and drawing on years of forensic nosiness experience,  I came to the conclusion that both men were suffering from terminal Tourettes.   There was mention of Lampard, Rooney, Ferdinand (this was accompanied by the commentary…“What a f**king wanker… wussy f**king f**ker for getting f**king injured….f**ker and the response… “Yeah… what a f**king f**ker.”) and Fabio… or Eyetieman as one of the blokes was calling him in a spirit of European co-operation and gratitude.

I am, of course used to this language – Chelsea and Chelsea FC being just across the bridge and….  being involved in the law, the nouns and adjectives used are  those I have heard in more august surroundings and Inn dinners and, indeed, in Leith’s at The Law Society.

I got my felt tip pen and biro out and a sheet of A4. The drawing of two blokes talking bollocks is too cruel for publication, so I crumpled that up as well.  I drew a Munch parody instead (with a twist of law … this being a law blog and that) – mustering as much detail as I could remember from my private study of ‘Fine Art’ many years ago – and there’s another racket if ever I saw one.

I’ve been studying minimalism over the weekend – I think I shall turn this into a very large painting… won’t take long. It’s not an original concept, of course – this style is used in fashion art, where I drew the influence from.  It could look quite striking on white canvas about 6ft x 3ft?

I do, however, have to try my idea of making a life size torso and head of a barrister out of wire coat hangers (my earlier post) first.  I suspect that this may prove beyond me… we shall soon find out.  I have to buy some wire clippers and solder.  This will give me an opportunity to buy one of those welding torches…. which could be interesting if I decide that I have to make ‘things’ with it later on in the evening.

Read Full Post »

Coathanger Lawyers, Biro on paper

Thinking of making life size Torso and head of a barrister out of wire coathangers.  I have quite a few wire coathangers.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Inside Track Podcast: Neil Kinsella, Chief Executive and Managing Partner of Russell Jones and Walker

Today I am talking to Neil Kinsella, Chief Executive and Managing Partner of Russell Jones and Walker.  Neil  reflects on the way his firm weathered the recession and discusses whether they are a full service law firm or specialists, before considering the impact of The Legal Services Act.  Neil discusses the importance of outsourcing, the increasing power of big clients and in-house or general counsel.  Neil gives a candid view of the opportunities for young lawyers at his firm. We discuss the impact of the new government and its intention to repeal laws, examine employment law and simplify tax and how this will provide many opportunities for law firms in the short term. He ends by looking at the likely legal landscape in five years time.

Listen to the podcast

Other podcasts in the Inside Track podcasts which I did with The College of Law

Read Full Post »

Michael Mansfield QC awarded outstanding achievement prize

The Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards honour Michael Mansfield QC and other lawyers who show a commitment to publicly-funded work.

“Awards ceremonies can be tedious, but last week’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards proved to be inspiring and surprising, with the winners all demonstrating great commitment to their clients and an instant government response to a legal question.” Thus, started a report in The Guardian today on the award given to Michael Mansfield QC

The profession should pay for legal education and use of laws?  Discuss

I put forward the idea yesterday in my weekend musing that if we are to maintain the very high quality of education at the top of the university league table, we may have to cut costs at the bottom end.  This is, in all likelihood, something being considered by Vince Cable and his team across the university sector in all subjects.

I also out forward the idea that as law firms – especially the larger law firms – do well out of running their law businesses using publicly funded laws they should, perhaps, pay a levy on top of taxation for use of intellectual property in those laws and cases.  That law firms already pay lexis-Nexis / Westlaw et all does not address the benefit to the public, save in taxation.

Out of this came an idea that the legal profession could contribute more than it does already. Students invest heavily in paying for their university degrees in law. Law firms tend not, in the main, to sponsor students at degree level.  Many law firms do at LPC post degree level.   If they are lucky, students may well be able to get generous allowances and their fees for the LPC and Bar course paid by the firm.  I suspect that few, if any Chambers pay for students to do the BVC directly.

The more I think about this idea – the more compelling it becomes.  Significant profits are earned by law firms (I appreciate that the idea can apply to all sectors) and law firms are the recipients of the high quality of education provided by our leading universities.  Would it not be an idea to ‘think the unthinkable’ and get law firms to contribute to the cost of student education when they recruit law students?  It would be a relatively simple matter for them to take over the student debt as Carl Gardner argued in the comments section to my previous post and repay it to the government a responsibility linked to the length of time the law firm employs the student for, rather than the student having to out of earned income?

Only an idea – it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the fairness, practicalities etc. Over to you?

Age of criminal responsibility should be raised, says leading barrister

The Telegraph: The age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 14 to better protect the “truly young”, one of the country’s leading barristers has said.

Paul Mendelle QC, the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said the current limit of ten is “awfully young” and runs the risk of a child being prosecuting for crimes they are too immature to understand. Mr Mendelle said the issue of children in adult courts also needs to be re-examined.

Read Full Post »