Cash-Strapped Legal Aid Lawyers Top Up with Part-time Work

Avatar photo

By Alex Aldridge on

Solicitor takes on paper-round, as barrister’s fitness dominatrix sideline flourishes

Recent cuts to legal aid have contributed to a Plymouth solicitor doing an early morning paper-round and working three mornings-a-week in his family’s convenience store.

Stephen Walker, a senior lawyer at criminal firm Walker LaHive, then does a nine-hour day as a solicitor. He also works one night a week and one weekend in four representing clients at the police station.

Walker told the Plymouth Herald that he used to have “10 cases to myself in the late ’80s and early ’90s”, but “now there are three of us in court and we are lucky if we have 10 cases between us.”

He added: “I cannot see the volume of work going up in the foreseeable future. The amount of money we get for that volume of work is going down and down.”

Walker isn’t the first legal aid lawyer to take on alternative work.

In 2006, barrister Hassan Modjiri was jailed for seven years after police uncovered a “cocaine factory” in his flat hours after he had represented a client in court.

While we’re on the topic of cocaine and alternative work, several lawyers I know have told me of a “notorious coke head” London-based criminal barrister who apparently funds his habit by working part-time as an escort.

Moving back to the respectable – well, the semi-respectable – former 4 Breams Buildings criminal barrister Ruth Field has done so well with her fear-inducing diet book, ‘Run Fat Bitch Run’, that she’s been able to quit law altogether.

Field, who tweets at @gritdoctor, recommends “stripping naked in front of a full-length mirror, preferably one with harsh lighting.” Then “looking yourself in the eye and saying aloud, ‘you fat bitch’.”

For a video of the Grit Doctor, click here.