Social media is giving individual solicitors and barristers a voice and helping them to develop their careers in new directions. In doing so, it’s stripping away some of the power of big law firms and chambers. But rigid trainee and pupil recruitment procedures make it much harder for law students to benefit directly from blogging and tweeting.
As such, there was broad agreement from the panel of star lawyers (pictured in action below) at last night’s Google Campus debate that legal rookies are best advised to learn their trade through the traditional routes – then use the knowledge they’ve gleaned to build their profiles online and launch entrepreneurial ventures. Expect a new wave of 'Indie Lawyers' in their late 20s and 30s emerging to shake up the profession over the next few years...
This is the central question that the panel will be discussing at Legal Cheek's Google Campus event this evening.
The boom era narratives that attracted students to the law are fading. City law salaries are no longer spiralling; instead they're stagnant, with trainee numbers falling and many corporate firms desperately scouring the horizon for merger candidates.
Meanwhile, the Inns of Court-related glamour that has traditionally drawn students to the publicly-funded Bar is giving way to a sense that the hardship involved just isn't worth it.
Amid the gloom, however, there are some interesting new legal career options developing...
Surreal scenes yesterday evening at the Criminal Bar Association’s (CBA) annual 'Kalisher lecture', which was delivered by Judge John Deed actor Martin Shaw. The gist of Shaw’s weird speech was: I don’t know much about law, but I love the glamour of the Inns of Court and I'm worried deregulation might spoil it.
On the evening of Wednesday 5 December Legal Cheek is hosting a star-studded panel debate at the Google Campus in Shoreditch.
Speakers include New Statesman legal correspondent David Allen Green, UK Human Rights Blog editor and practising barrister Adam Wagner, magic circle lawyer-turned-Queen Mary University of London academic Jill Marshall, Accutrainee founder Susan Cooper, Seed Academy organiser and trainee solicitor Mark Needham, Artesian Law co-founder Jonathan Rose, and social media journalist Emily Jupp of The Independent.
They will be discussing how a combination of post-Google business models, the emerging start-up scene and the blurring between legal practice and journalism/academia will change the shape of the legal profession for today's law students and junior lawyers. How will it look in 5-10 years time? And how can those starting out in law best position themselves to take advantage of the changes?
The event is free to get in, plus there’ll be free drinks and nibbles provided by our sponsor, Kaplan Law School, but places are limited...
At last night’s Life With Law talk on 'finding your path and making things happen', one of the speakers instructed the hundred or so audience members – most of whom were City solicitors – to list seven high points in their life.
Then he asked them to put their hands up if none of their high points had anything to do with work...
There was excited talk of "profound change", "broken business models" and "the end of Law 1.0" at a debate hosted this morning in Middle Temple Hall by Riverview Law, the new firm-chambers hybrid that refuses to charge its clients by the hour.
As the assembled legal futurists' speeches crossed the hour mark, audience members were showing symptoms of having been hypnotised by the charms of life "at the forefront of Law 3.0 going forward" when Legal Futures editor Neil Rose went and spoiled everything...
Legal Cheek roving reporter Cat Pond reviews yesterday's Weber Shandwick 'Social Media & the Law' event, where Twitter Joke Trial silk John Cooper QC and several other high-profile guests spent an interesting morning
Armed with cups of coffee, the assembled attendees at yesterday’s 'Social media and the Law' breakfast seminar took their seats. The panelists had a mere 15 minutes each to impart their wisdom – a timeframe that was rued by the opening speaker, 25 Bedford Row's John Cooper QC, who is used to getting rather more time on his feet in court.
Nevertheless, Cooper – of Twitter Joke Trial fame – still managed to draw a fairly comprehensive outline of the state of the law in relation to social media and how its rise has impacted on the work of media lawyers. Cooper also considered the developing employment law in relation to social media, explaining – in what came as a shock to me and other attendees – that the intended audience of an online post often has no bearing on whether the writer can be dismissed from their job or not. Food for thought for lawyers using Facebook.
Sitting in the Barley Mow pub in east London one Friday night, the conversation wandered towards the idea of establishing a networking group for the start-up community, writes trainee solicitor Mark Needham...
"Ooh, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC will be speaking," I thought as I read the flyer for Wednesday evening’s launch of the new higher apprenticeship for legal services.
So, keen to hear what the fiery Glaswegian had to say about the school-leaver route into law, I went along. But upon arrival, I was handed a grease-stained piece of paper telling me this:
The food (pictured below) was cold, the award presentations seemed to go on forever and event host Jason Manford looked like he’d rather have been anywhere else but the Grosvenor Hotel. Still, last night’s The Lawyer Awards provided some interesting insights into the legal profession’s soul.
I know it’s great to raise money for worthy causes – and I’m personally very proud of the £1,000 that I raised yesterday for my favourite charity, the College of Law – but even so, I feel it necessary to point out the elephant in the delightful Thames-side room that is the London Legal Walk.
It’s only 10 kilometres. For those unfamiliar with the metric system, that's 6.21 miles.
6.21 miles is less than the distance that thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of British people walk to work and back every day.
Certainly, it’s not the sort of distance that requires you to don sportswear...
For the first time in English legal history, newly qualified lawyers have sworn their version of a Hippocratic Oath.
It happened yesterday at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives’ (CILEX) graduation ceremony (pictured below) – the first to take place since the body got its Royal Charter – and sounded to the untrained ear not unlike a lawyers’ version of the Lord’s Prayer.
But what does the oath say?
Last night, with just 99 days to go to the London Olympics, Anglo-German law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer held a glitzy party featuring trapeze artists and BMXers to celebrate its £10 million sponsorship of the 2012 games.
The hitch with the biggest law firm sponsorship deal in history?
Freshfields lawyers form a "magic circle" around their in-house trapeze artist