The Washington Post reports that Pakistani "police officials, judges, litigants and witnesses say they have become increasingly fearful of marauding lawyers in their trademark black pants, coats and ties."
Most of the 79 members of the judiciary disciplined for misconduct last year were magistrates, although some senior judges found themselves in hot water, too – the freshly-released Office for Judicial Complaints annual report reveals. Here are the highlights.
District Judge Michael Wood – “inappropriate” touching and comments
Deputy High Court Judge James Allen QC – assault (or, as the Mail put it, “battering his wife because she hadn't cooked his dinner”)
Natacha Pociana, a qualified lawyer from Brazil, has been jailed for two months after admitting that she co-managed a brothel at a Belfast block of flats.
Belfast Magistrates' Court was also told that Pociana, 32, had admitted during police questioning that she was working as a prostitute herself.
The news follows the arrest last year of US lawyer Reema Bajaj (pictured) on charges of prostitution. Bajaj denies the charges.
Meanwhile, in London several lawyers I know have told me of a "notorious coke head" criminal barrister who apparently funds his habit by working part-time as a gigolo...
Now that the dust has settled on the Daniel England affair, and the ‘spit roast’ email trainee’s employer Shearman & Sterling has apparently dealt with the matter, it’s worth taking a step back to see if the incident teaches us any lessons about City law.
In my view the most important question raised by the affair is whether this sort of behaviour is rife, and whether it is deemed acceptable, in City law firms. After all, it was pretty reprehensible stuff. I personally would have every sympathy with students previously contemplating a career in this area who are now reconsidering, in light of this debacle, whether the City law environment is really one of which they would want to be part.
Having worked in City law for some years now, I can confirm that this sort of culture is indeed pretty commonplace. However, there is a vital caveat to this general statement – namely that its existence varies enormously from firm to firm. I worked at a very large City firm where, pleasingly, the culture was not at all posh lad; the firm was genuinely welcoming and diverse. But I always got the feeling that at a number of other City firms it was much more normal. In fact, when I was at law school it seemed that some firms had pretty much exclusively recruited the sort of people with whom Mr. England would probably get on very well.
From what I know of City boys, this goes without saying. So why spell it out explicitly? Perhaps it was simply over-exuberant drafting from the lawyers in the group, Shearman & Sterling's England and Rory Jones, a former intern at Justice, the human rights organisation.
(ii) No anti-lad behavior allowed (i.e. calling girlfriends, being nice to random expats);
*Yawn* The standard tribal mentality you’d expect from those who travel the boarding school-university-City institution route.
(iii) Everyone has each others backs;
As crucial a rule in battle-ravaged Dubai as it is in Afghanistan. But hey, it’s fun to pretend you're in a war movie, then perhaps get all misty-eyed and sentimental about it later over a few drinks.
When I saw a picture the other day of Mexican vampire woman Maria Jose Cristerna (below), I was shocked to find out that she is a lawyer.
Cristerna’s body art, which includes metal implants in her skull, is of a level of extremity that might deter even the most open-minded of clients. Then again, the attention to detail she has showed in covering every last inch of her skin in ink hints at a fine legal brain nestling beneath those metal implants.
The closest the UK gets to Cristerna is solicitor Paul Beckett of Old Court Chambers on the Isle of Man. Oxford University-educated Beckett holds the unofficial title of the most tattooed lawyer in the British Isles. But as you can see from the portrait below, beefy Beckett hasn't gone to the extremes of his Mexican counterpart.
Today in the House of Commons, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland will call for the closing of a “ridiculous loophole” - exclusively revealed by Legal Cheek on Friday - that allowed a barrister who is awaiting sentencing for theft to represent a client in court
Avid Legal Cheek reader Mulholland told his local paper: “I was astonished when I found that a barrister had been allowed to carry on defending people having been convicted of a serious criminal offence. This is a ridiculous loophole that must be closed.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Bar Standards Board (BSB) chair Baroness Ruth Deech also loves to wile away her free time reading Legal Cheek.