During a brief spell working as a paralegal at Clyde & Co in 2006, I routinely billed the firm’s clients for the many hours I spent playing the game 'Snake' on my phone. No one seemed to notice.
Certainly, I never felt any urgency to get my work done quickly. Why would I? I was being billed out to clients at £100 an hour – the standard rate for a paralegal – and the more time I spent doing stuff, the more money the firm made. Looking back, it was easily the most inefficient work environment I’ve ever experienced. I dread to think what law firms are like now that there is Twitter...
Gratuitous individuality threatens to hold chambers back at critical period for the legal market, writes barristers’ clerk Jeremy Hopkins
On Monday the listed Australian law firm Slater & Gordon kicked off the Legal Services Act (LSA) era in earnest when it announced its market-wowing £54m acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker. Amid all the excitement about who could be next, it’s easy to forget that it’s not just law firms considering the potential threats and opportunities arising from the fast evolving landscape, but also barristers’ chambers.
Not that barristers chambers are exactly in the hot seat when it comes to LSA-led change. Being predominantly a referral-driven business, chambers tend to adopt a “wait and see” approach based on any changing requirements arising from what the referring law firms are doing. Of course, there’s risk in this approach as it relies on sets being sufficiently agile to adapt rapidly when required.
Chambers’ ability to move fast is far from a foregone conclusion - in no small part because the set-up of barristers’ chambers is unlike most other commercial organisations. Steeped so deeply in tradition and moulded around the expectations of the barristers within it, the chambers structure is inherently ill-suited to change, particularly of the swift and radical variety.
Joshua Rozenberg, Britain's best-known legal commentator, takes 5 minutes out to share his views on OccupyLondon, media-friendly judges and who he most enjoys following on Twitter
If you were 21 again, and had just graduated into this harsh job market, what would your strategy be?
To take a year off; work abroad; and gain experience of something that would give me greater maturity, additional sills and, above all, make me stand out of the crowd.
How will the Legal Services Act affect law students and junior lawyers? Is a law degree a better bet than the GDL conversion course? What’s it like to be the only person in Doncaster wearing a suit? College of Law LPC student Cat Pond, City lawyer Kevin Poulter and me discuss.
Transcript: Tesco Law/LLB vs GDL Transcribed courtesy of Gary Walters of www.StretLaw.com Your access to Legal Education, 2011