RollOnFriday’s story about newly appointed silk David Wolfe QC (pictured) signing a letter in 2003 calling for the QC system to be abolished was a good one. But it didn’t feel quite right.
Having described the system as “elitist” and “an opportunity to add another zero to your brief fee”, RollOnFriday – which is 50% owned by Piers Warburton, an equity partner at City law firm Ashurst – extracted this pledge from Wolfe, who specialises in publicly funded work: “I will not be putting my fees up as a result of it,” the barrister told the site. RollOnFriday’s City boy readers predictably showed no mercy on Wolfe in the comment section of the article.
Is it fair for a corporate law website that is co-owned by man who is on £723,000 a year, and sustained by ad revenue from virtually every top City firm, to go after a lawyer who earns a fraction of the sums most corporate law firm partners pull in?
Of course, it’s common for publications to have wealthy backers, but the relationship between Warburton (pictured) and RollOnFriday seems to extend beyond the provision of benevolent sponsorship. According to members of RollOnFriday’s editorial team when I spoke to them in September, all articles are sent to Warburton every Thursday evening for approval before they are posted online.