‘Law has become a massive gravy train’: Tabloid newspaper kicks off 2017 with a scathing anti-lawyer article

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Seems the Daily Mail hasn’t made a ‘be nicer to the legal profession’ resolution


Right-wing news site the Daily Mail has kicked off the new year with a pretty brutal article about how greedy the legal profession is.

The piece, ‘Lawyers raked in £32.2bn in just ONE year: Figure goes up by a quarter in just five years’, seemingly questioned why lawyers have been striking over their earnings when the profession has been “booming”.

According to an unnamed reporter — the piece notably lacks a byline — last year “lawyers across Britain achieved a turnover of £32.2 billion, almost 24% more than the £26.0 billion they earned in 2011”. This happened “despite strikes by barristers over their pay levels and protests from senior lawyers who demand greater taxpayer subsidies”. Quoting director of the Civitas think tank Dr David Green, the article then says:

The law has become a massive gravy train, and disputes are now regarded by lawyers not as an occasion for the application of justice but as an opportunity to make money. The legal profession has lost its way morally.

Below the line in the infamous Daily Mail comments section, some spectators were quick to join the anti-legal profession brigade. Among the top-rated was a comment describing lawyers as “professional liars”; another went with “legalised pick pockets”.

Of course, there are two sides to every story, and here to provide an official, pro-profession line was Bar Council chairman Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC. She eloquently made clear that readers should not tar all lawyers with the same fat-cat brush, stating:

It is important to recognise that whereas the overall income of the legal profession has risen, largely due to increasing demand for international legal services, there are sectors of the profession that are suffering, notably those that are committed to providing services to the economically weakest in our society. As a result of successive governments making substantial cuts to legal aid for criminal cases, and the complete removal of legal aid in many social welfare and family areas, many citizens have been deprived of legal representation, and of meaningful access to justice.

Interestingly, an unusually pro-lawyer swathe of commenters were on hand to side with Doerries. One said:

The lawyers that went on strike do legal aid work for peanuts, the £32b lawyers made in total is not from legal and most certainly not from no win no fee, but don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story!!

A fellow disgruntled commenter added:

A typically misleading article DM — those striking are legal aid lawyers who are certainly not the ones earning those sums.

Some legal bloggers became so irate by the piece, they put pen to paper and wrote their own responses to it. In particular, criminal barrister Jaime Hamilton’s and anonymous advocate the Secret Barrister both had some strong words for the unknown Daily Mail reporter.

We’re calling this one as a victory for the lawyers, but we doubt it’ll be the last time the Daily Mail directs its fury at the legal profession. It’s certainly not the first: in 2016 the tabloid did its best to dig its claws into solicitors and barristers alike.

Back in May, outspoken columnist Jan Moir aimed fire at Doughty Street barrister Amal Clooney. She described the human rights specialist as “Kim Kardashian with a law degree”. Poor Clooney was also called a “knicker-flasher” with “flamingo legs” in Moir’s nasty opinion piece, which featured this gem of a line:

[Clooney] works for the right-on, Left-wing Doughty Chambers in London, a set of self-regarding high-achievers who like to call themselves human rights lawyers, but surely all law is human rights?

Oh dear, but that wasn’t the last of it. Throughout the year, the newspaper was quick to call out human rights law firms which sue the Ministry of Defence, and who could possibly forget that Brexit legal challenge headline?


Here’s to another year of the Daily Mail’s lawyer bashing.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.






Why was this deleted?!?



Probably because I called Daily Mail readers the ‘R’ word.

I’ll repeat in kinder terms. This is a grossly misleading article by the Daily Mail to pander to their hard of thinking readership. Nothing surprising.



Throwing their toys out of the pram over the Brexit challenges.



P.S. Who the hell isnt doing better since 2011?

(Doctors and legal aid lawyers aside)



Nurses. Public Sector workers (those who have jobs left following mass redundancies), steel workers, Sports Direct and (now) redundant BHS staff (where were the lawyers protecting the public interest when it sold for £1, then?). Hellllloooo!!!!! The gravy train has changed points onto a new track. It’s called representing Big Corporate Interests rights in big enquiries such as Leveson, Hillsborough, sexual abuse enquiry, plus offshore tax havens. The ordinary citizen’s rights have been pulled. No money there.



You’ve totally ignored the point I’m making. The FTSE 100 is up about 28% since 2011, making law firms’ alleged improvement in performance of about 25% in that time less than staggering.


Under £45k at 5PQE

What station does this gravy train depart from? Asking for myself and my friends.



Depending on where you are in the UK, that’s a very fine salary!


Irwin Mitchell Newcastle

That’s more than the senior partner in our office earns!



They haven’t heard of Irwin Mitchell then, obvs.



I hear they are merging with Thomas Cook, they have so many departures!


Trumpenkrieg the Drinker of Salty Liberal Tears

But I thought you people liked to give deference to “experts” like the think tank bod quited in the article?



Drinker of salty yoghurt more like…




Doesn’t seeking to insult me by alleging that I engage in homosexual acts make you a “homophobe”?



Nope, I contend that it doesn’t. Why ? Looking to recruit into your band of tits and think I might make the cut ?

Not interested ! Now FO (again)



Deference shouldn’t be necessary if his words stand up for themselves.



The legal industry as a whole is doing well.

The lawyers protesting and striking are the legal aid lawyers who have become significantly poorer.

The ones making all the money are us in the City where salaries are ludicrous.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



DWF’s NQ salaries are ludicrous indeed. Ludicrously shyte, that is.



In fairness, the cost for the general public of consulting a solicitor is relatively high, to get a service that’s often very poor. And of course a big slice of the figures is the astonishing cost to business of using large firms of solicitors who gouge with their fees like there’s no tomorrow.

But the bar does offer excellent value in all areas, which the Mail really ought to recognise.


Not Amused

Well this is a rather poisonous and hate filled narrative. If you actually arrange the DM comments by most popular you see a perfectly reasoned counter narrative to the article from the DM readers themselves.

This pretence that only one side has virtue is ultimately pathetic. We’ve seen it before. Those who hate their fellow man are bad whichever side they are on.



DM at its worst. As someone says why let truth get in way of a good story.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



NQ’s on £26k-£36k generally in the regions after building up almost the same amount in student debt. Not sure it’s a gravy train like a quango or Regional Development Agency.






I wonder when and how those currently in their 20s and early 30s will stand up and shaft older generations in the way they have shafted those in their 20s and early 30s for the last 10-15 years. It’s a backshaft in the waiting.

Something I genuinely wonder about quite frequently. I’m not advocating it. But I think it will happen. Unless that generation continue to be as voiceless as they generally have been to date.



When the wartime generation have died off completely and it’s the baby-boomers who are the “very old”, you will see a nosedive in deference for the elderly. Mark my words.


Scep Tick

On the same page as CC partners earning more than ever before while cutting trainee numbers, it’s apparent that the business model of the law is similar to that of drug-dealing as set out in Freakanomics. The vast, vast majority are working for a pittance at the bottom, with a one in a thousand chance of clambering up the pyramid towards the apex.

Only to get to the apex it helps to have a mate who’s there already. Hence lawyers begetting lawyers. Heaven forfend a proletarian oik storm the equity castle.


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