“If you had someone trained as a barrister, you wouldn’t have them running round making coffee all day – it’s demeaning,” Apprentice winner (and former banker) Stella English told the Daily Mail on Monday, having quit her new role because she wasn’t given enough responsibility.
Au contraire, Stella. Rookie barristers make lots of coffee – and they read the Daily Mail, too...
‘Pupils contribute nothing to chambers during their pupillage’, writes Simon Myerson QC, so paying them more than the £12K minimum makes no sense
I like Legal Cheek and I like Alex Aldridge who runs it. Nonetheless, it has recently gone all tabloid on the issue of funding for pupillages, and I have told Alex so.
Last week, a tenant at 5 Pump Court, writing on Legal Cheek, argued that barristers should be taxed £3 per day – or the price of “less than two cups of coffee a day” – to fund pupilages, with all sets of chambers compelled to take one pupil per 25 tenants. Under the proposal, pupils would be paid £25,000 per year.
The idea has been taken up by the anonymous paralegal whose idea was to occupy the Inns of Court because he hadn't got a pupillage. He is confident that the proposal would “also have extremely positive repercussions for the outrageous situation with regard to lack of pupillages at the Bar.” He adds: “Force barristers to pay a contribution towards pupils’ training and more pupillages would undoubtedly flow from the wider availability of funding."
To which I can only respond: Stone. Cold. Wrong.
As English law students worry about the possible scrapping of the minimum trainee solicitor salary, and groan about the miserly £12K minimum award paid to pupil barristers, spare a thought for rookie lawyers in Euro-crisis hit Italy.
The other day, 25 year-old trainee lawyer Michela Moretti told the Guardian:
Like the popular astrologist Shelley von Strunckel, legal futurologist Richard Susskind OBE makes his living from relaying information about the future to ordinary people.
However, while von Strunckel’s forecasts are famously upbeat, Susskind’s (pictured) predictions frequently contain apparitions of doom. In his recent book, ‘The End of Lawyers?’, the decorated legal guru foresees "a future in which conventional legal advisers will be much less prominent in society than today, and, in some walks of life, will have no visibility at all."
From time to time, Susskind also issues informal prophesies to members of his inner circle. In 2007 he revealed that, “Over the last two years or so, I have been informally asked to advise the friends of my teenage sons about possible careers in the law. I cannot pretend to these enthusiastic youngsters that what they have seen in movies or read in novels or even experienced through work placements will bear any relation to the legal world a generation hence. Can any responsible lawyer sensibly state with confidence that legal work in 2030 will be much the same as today?”
Fundamentals behind recent improved trainee retention rates and pay rises are questionable, says Alex Aldridge
One of the pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned from five years as a journalist covering the legal market is that no one - not even the senior partners of international law firms - really understands what makes the economy go up or down.
They pretend to do so in public, of course, pontificating to conference audiences on likely economic scenarios “going forward”, and putting their names to five year action plans based on carefully-calculated projections. But it’s all for show.
When you get these people speaking off-the-record after a few beers, the scary reality of their cluelessness starts to emerge. If there’s a common belief among them, it’s that, at the end of the day, the economy is all about confidence.