Archive for February 21st, 2011

Time for a quick look at some of the law blogs…

Simon Myerson QC, writing in his Pupillage and How to Get it blog considers Diversity…

Counsel Magazine has an interesting article by Andrew Neish QC, dealing with the lack of diversity at the so called ‘magic-circle’ sets. I’d like to link to it but Lexis-Nexis thinks I should pay to do so and, as I get my paper copy anyway, I won’t. If  you or your institution has an account then this is the link to the click-on.

The proposal is not one I like – to choose additional random candidates for interview. It strikes me that this is not so much diversity as tokenism. But at least the problem is being looked at, which is better than ignoring it, and an email address is provided for comments and contributions. However a more focussed, more interesting and more thoughtful examination of the same issue is Lawminx’s letter to a pupillage committee. Minx’s idiosyncratic style isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the Bar ought to read decent points made by non-traditional students. We might learn something.


I considered this issue en passant yesterday in my weekly PostcardThe Legal Services Board has announced a proposal to quiz lawyers on whether their parents went to university in an attempt to monitor the level of social mobility across the profession.  I remain unconvinced as to whether this proposal is anything other than intrusive and, possibly,  patronising.  But I am, of course, happy to be convinced that it is a good idea.

“Building a growing army of enemies”

Neil Rose provides an excellent write up of the Inner Temple legal Education Conference…

Nigel Savage
Though not present at the seminar, the name of the College of Law’s chief executive was frequently bandied around, and not usually in a complimentary way. It is fair to say that the noble Savage has become something of an Aunt Sally.

Why is this? Perhaps it is continued talk of the size of his salary – an issue raised on Friday by Advocacy Training Council chairman Charles Haddon-Cave QC – or just his bluff, uncompromising style.

The College has gone from strength to strength under his leadership, but its aggressive expansion in various directions means the cost has arguably been diminution of the College’s reputation among some lawyers.

I’ve known Nigel Savage for over twenty years.  He is direct and to the point – but I have no hesitation in saying (even though he was a competitor when I was running BPP Law School in the early 1990s) that The College of Law was a bit of a ‘basket case’ before he took over:  They lost the support of the Magic Circle firms in the LPC stakes (I know this – I did the report for the Magic Circle firms on the LPC review at the end of the 90s which led to a few changes) and I believe, whatever Savage’s salary, that he has been instrumental in bringing good people in and building up the College of Law’s reputation and range of courses.  We have a horrible tendency in this country to build people up and then knock them down.  I won’t be part of that thinking. I don’t always agree with Savage’s ideas.  I am more than happy to be critical of his views  when the need arises  – This is what debate is about –  but we need a few rough diamonds and people who think out of the box and who do not toe the line. Savage does not toe the line.

The good news is that Charles Haddon-Cave QC is…”… fabulously good on his feet…” (Chambers UK 2008 Directory)..and…“has the Midas touch; he has almost a supernatural ability to win cases.”(Chambers UK 2007 Directory). I rather suspect that pot and kettle on the matter of remuneration or ‘compensation’ (as we now call earnings) is not an unfair comment to make in the context of comments about Mr Savage’s ‘compensation’ ?

Ben Wheway of Legal Week reviews last week’s Future of Legal Blogging conference at 1 Crown Office Row – an event which I had to miss, sadly, because of injury: Blogging – can it help your legal career?

Nearly Legal on No admittance :

Sharon Horie v the United Kingdom – 31845/10 [2011] ECHR 289. Back at the end of 2009 we reported the Supreme Court case of Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs v Meier and another, which upheld the use of a quia timet injunction – a prospective possession order – against a group of new travellers, preventing them from occupying any land owned by the Forestry Commission in the area. Sharon Horie, one of the new travellers, applied to the European Court of Human Rights. This is the decision on the admissibility of the application.

For those of you in the intellectual property world, IPKat needs no introduction, but the team’s More Monday Miscellany is worth a read to keep you on the money.  “They thought it was a bicycle — but it was just a great ruse for importing Bauhaus chairs across the Italy-Germany border” I liked the graphic.

And… a quick Happy Birthday to Law Actually – 4 yesterday!

Futurology is very much on the minds of many practitioners at the moment, given the times we live in and the impact of The Legal Services Act.  John Bolch of Family Lore asks… Is there a future for family lawyers?

The newspapers have been full of prisoner votes, ‘perverts’ (The Sun, Daily Mail et al)  being allowed to come off the sex offender register and now, to inflame the blazer wearers of middle England, the outrage of leading murderers and rapists using the ‘hated European Human Rights laws’ to get benefits while in prison.  Carl Gardner, author of The Head of Legal blog brings analysis to the fore with his question and blog post… Have lawyers really “cleared” the government to defy Strasbourg over prisoners’ votes?

I enjoyed Lallands Peat Worrier on... Judicial quotation of the week…

Eccentric litigants seem to have been keeping their futile but entertaining petitions from the doors of Scotland’s appeal courts of late. The dearth may now be lifting. Idly fumbling through the electronic annals of Parliament House, the humble case of Daniel Cox v. Procurator Fiscal, Aberdeen caught my eye. The details themselves are perfectly quotidian. Mr Cox was convicted of driving at 49 miles an hour in 30 mile per hour zone by the Aberdeen Justices of the Peace Court. He received three pips on his driving licence and was fined £250. Clearly not a fellow to pinch his nose and swallow his legal medicine, Cox appealed his conviction on the basis that old peculiar of Scottish evidentiary jurisprudence, the corroboration rule.

The Bizzle muses…. “There are days (and I’m sure that every in house lawyer has them) when it seems like nobody is listening to me. When my client nods politely as I advise on the problems with their project, and then goes off and does exactly what they were going to do anyway. Or, even worse, when people don’t want to hear my advice in the first place.  The Bizzle has a solution: Give ‘em the hard word; and other influencing strategies

I enjoy Test Cricket….. and so does Ashley Connick who has managed to find a way of combining his passion for cricket and law within one blog post: Contempt of Caught? How the ICC upheld the Rule of Law

GC Tom Kilroy, who has joined the blogging world, writes: “Imagine yourself back in the Spring of 2007. Everyone was feeling pleased with themselves. The problems with our system of capitalism had been solved. We’d outsmarted all the generations that preceded us, even the brainy ones who thought they understood the dismal science of Economics.”

Tom has a solution… Principles Based Regulation – let’s not do that again


Starting this week there are two series of podcasts which you may like to listen to. I am about to begin a series of 20+ podcasts looking closely at the legal profession in 2011 in the light of the credit crunch, The Legal Services Act and generally through the eyes of sole practitioners, managing partners, barristers, BIG LAW, The Magic Circle and, of course, the regulators. BPP Law School / BPP University College has kindly agreed to sponsor these podcasts to assist with the production and bandwidth costs.  I record the first tomorrow with The Naked Lawyer, Chrissie Lightfoot


“Without Prejudice” – a new fortnightly lawblogpodcast starting this Thursday 24th February 2011

And… a little bit of Charles Fincher to finish…

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