1. More firms to stop paying students' law school fees
Clarke Willmott's November decision to ditch its two-years-in-advance graduate recruitment policy – in favour of hiring trainees exclusively from its paralegal pool – could prove to be a watershed moment.
Already this is how Co-op Legal and top civil liberties firm Bindmans operate, with trainee recruitment agency Accutrainee functioning along similar lines in the sense that it targets LPC graduates rather than current students. But Clarke Willmott is the first big corporate firm to adopt this model – which, of course, sees it no longer pay its future trainees' law school fees. Expect more firms to follow this year.
While the decision to jail Trenton Oldfield has been greeted with shock – the New Statesman went as far as to describe the case as “our Pussy Riot” – there has also been amusement at the anti-elitism protester's rather elite background.
Oldfield attended one of Australia’s most highly-regarded fee-paying schools, before obtaining a masters degree at the London School of Economics and becoming a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
It seems that this taste for establishment excellence may have influenced Oldfield's choice of lawyers...
Yesterday’s debate on free speech vs regulation of social media – held at London's Free Word Centre by the Human Rights Lawyers Association – was remarkable for how little consensus there was among the panel of eminent lawyers who gathered to discuss the subject.
Bindmans media law head Tamsin Allen, who’s not a prolific tweeter herself, argued for rules and more rules to prevent, in particular, cyber-bullying.
In contrast, Twitter joke trial barrister John Cooper QC, the author of 5,726 tweets and counting, reckons people "have a right to be grossly offensive" – and that "common sense" rather than law should be used to determine when they go beyond that.
Another year, another list of the UK’s top 100 lawyers by The Times.
And once again, the list – released today (£) – is dominated by old, white, Oxbridge-educated men.
In the top ten, there is just one woman (Baroness Hale of Richmond) and only one lawyer who is non-Oxbridge (Keir Starmer QC). Nine of the ten are barristers.
Meanwhile, in the City top ten, not a single woman, or non-white person, featured. All but three had been to Oxbridge.
Outside the top slots, the importance of a place in Times law editor Frances Gibb’s contact book was underlined with the selection of rent-a-quotes like Legal Cheek Twitter fave John Cooper QC, College of Law boss Nigel Savage and, of course, Shami Chakrabarti (one of just 15 women in the list).
Token lefty new blood was provided in the form of Bindmans pair Saimo Chahal and Mike Schwarz, and LSE human rights professor Conor Gearty...