Wolfe’s PR troubles began on 2 March, just after the QC awards were made, when Ashurst partner Piers Warburton posted onto his website a story about the Matrix man calling for the abolition of the QC system nine years ago.
Any decent PR professional would have advised Wolfe (pictured) to let the matter go. But the QC couldn’t help himself, wading into the website’s comments section to defend himself – in the process further fanning the flames of negative publicity.
By Sunday 4 March, those flames had reached the Independent, where diary writer Matthew Bell wasn’t very nice about Wolfe, writing:
Well, waddya know? A top barrister who once called for the QC system to be scrapped has just become a QC himself. David Wolfe, a colleague of Cherie Blair at the Matrix Chambers, has obviously thought again since signing an open letter to the Lord Chancellor in 2003, in which he and 10 others declared that "the QC system is against the public interest". This nearly persuaded the government to scrap it. Now, with echoes of John Prescott's ascension to the Lords, Wolfe is one of 88 lawyers to be awarded the prestigious title, which usually gives barristers an excuse to charge more. When the legal blogger Roll of Honour pointed out Wolfe's volte face, he responded with weasely lawyer-speak to explain that it wasn't a U-turn, and insisted he wouldn't put up his fees. Clients should ask for that in writing, and feel free to let us know if he does.
Had Wolfe (pictured) learnt his lesson? You bet he hadn’t!
His response letter (sent from the exclusive WC1 London postcode, Legal Cheek notes) appeared in this Sunday's Independent:
Matthew Bell claims that my becoming a QC means I have changed by mind about the QC system (Diary, 4 March). But I remain of the view that the QC system is against the public interest and should be scrapped. It does not include mandatory periodic re-accreditation and is not tied to areas of specialism. I am continuing to press for the introduction of proper quality assurance systems for advocates, now as a QC myself.
Concerned about the Independent's limited reach, Wolfe is believed to be looking at other media opportunities, including the Olympics Opening Ceremony, as a way to conclusively drive home to a global audience his views on the QC system.