Weber Shandwick Head Of Public Affairs Alex Deane: ‘Why I Don’t Miss The Genteel Poverty Of The Criminal Bar’

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By Alex Aldridge on

Criminal barrister-turned-PR-guru Alex Deane loved the camaraderie and courtroom thrills of the Bar. But after quitting three years ago to help set up civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, from where he has gone on to land a plum job at top PR outfit Weber Shandwick, Deane has found that there are plenty of things he doesn’t miss about his old life as a criminal barrister, including:

*”Taking months and months to get paid”

*”Schlepping around the country” to “grotty” courts and train stations

*Feeling like “a social worker with a wig on”

*The money (these days earnings for 4-7 year qualified criminal barristers often hover at not much more than the £20,000 mark).

Deane (pictured right), who was David Cameron’s chief-of-staff before he joined the Bar, reckons the fact that many law students still aspire to become criminal barristers is down to a “romantic idea that you’ll live in genteel poverty”. But while he accepts that there is a “nobility” in that during a certain phase of life, Deane impresses that “not being able to pay your mortgage” or even “take money out of a cash machine” means that “nobility has an end point”.

Listen to Deane’s advice to wannabe criminal barristers and predictions for the future of the criminal Bar in the podcast below.

The podcast is also available on iTunes.