BEING A SOLICITOR: THE VIDEO GAME


Yesterday I had a go at an online game City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has launched — and scored 4,823. This isn’t a good score; current leader Alex Stoughton from Exeter got 8,502.

According to the firm, the aim of the game is to identify graduates who “are most suited to the legal profession” and possess qualities embodied by a new concept it has invented, the ‘BerwinLeightonPaisnericity factor’.

BLP has some guidance on what this is: “someone that can take complex, pressured commercial situations within their stride, the sort of people our clients want on their side and will ask for by name.”

I came to terms with the fact that I don’t possess the ‘BerwinLeightonPaisnericity’ factor a while ago — documenting the process, perhaps unwisely from a becoming-a-lawyer point of view, through a series of articles I wrote for the Times in 2007 (now hidden away behind the paywall). But they gave me a job — well, some regular paid freelance work — so it all worked out OK.

One of the worst things about that period was working as a paralegal in the City at Clyde & Co. To quote fellow law graduate Android’s Reminiscences (who also had an unhappy spell as a paralegal) in her blog yesterday, “Damn, those were some dark days.”

What I hated most about working in a law firm was having to behave in a really deferential way to lawyers and clients. In all the other jobs I’ve done – factory worker, gardener, TEFL teacher, journalist – I’ve felt much more able to give a bit back and be myself. But law really is extremely hierarchical, and the BLP game illustrates that well; note how the trainee featured in it doesn’t utter a single word.

The game, which is worth a go in spite of the promotional jargon, is accessible til 5pm this Thursday. It’s open to both students and journalists (who need to identify their university as ‘MediaCompetition’). Click here to do it.

Alex Aldridge is the editor of Legal Cheek