Advice

Are all barristers as rude as the ones I work with?

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One junior clerk hopes there are nicer lawyers out there

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one junior clerk can’t hold his tongue on what he thinks about his colleagues.

“I am currently a junior clerk in London and have lately been helping one of my members with a long trial. The case involves numerous opposing counsel and they’re just so unbelievably rude. When I see them, they either stand there huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf or will sometimes just force their way past me in the corridor. They seem to have not heard of thanks or please — or anything else polite for that matter! Are all barristers this rude?”

If you have a career conundrum, email us with it to careers@legalcheek.com.

73 Comments

'Lord Harley of Counsel'

Slow news day today

(30)(5)

Jenny

Unfortunately rude barristers grow up to be rude judges. I won’t forget Judge Gerald in a hurry. One of the rudest men I’ve ever met.

(9)(2)

Judge Gerald

How dare you!

(18)(3)

Da Big J

HHJ Gerald and the CLCC Gang$taz innit – Thomas More is ma territory bitchez
Geraldz here to chew bubblegum and kick cost budgets, and he’s all out of bubblegum #RCJlyfe #RcJbItChEZ

(1)(0)

Da Big G

HHJ Gerald and the CLCC Gang$taz innit – Thomas More is ma territory bitchez
Geraldz here to chew bubblegum and kick cost budgets, and he’s all out of bubblegum #RCJlyfe #RcJbItChEZ

(2)(0)

Anonymous

My milkshake brings all the boys to bear garden and they’re like it’s betta than yours, damn right it’s betta than yours I can teach you but I have to (refuse to your application for relief from r3.14)

Jeez are you SEERIUS it’s been around for like 10 years lolz

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I was a barrister for 10 years until I got sick to death of being surrounded by cretinous arseholes.

(15)(2)

Oppidan

Not as rude as bptc students on their first day at bar skool

(81)(1)

Jacko

During a mini-pupillage I witnessed a barrister explain what he’d like do to another barrister’s mother in the robing room.

(32)(1)

Bob

Was he explaining it in the robing room or did he want to do it in the robing room, or both?

(2)(0)

Mr Charles

It’s a mix. Some are genuinely lovely. Others are entitled jerks whose manners are simply terrible. Like all walks all of life, it’s a mixed bag. Don’t let dickish behaviour and poor manners get to you. Rise above it.

(47)(0)

Anonymous

Sweeping generalisation

(4)(4)

Anonymous

All sweeping generalisations are fine

(26)(1)

Anonymous

Sadly clerks can be treated like second class citizens. My advice is to avoid being a court facing clerk and focus more on the business development side of chambers. While you are junior and it may be hard try to align yourself with a mentor in chambers that deals with BD and tag along to events. The trick is to evolve your job role over time so it no longer reflects your job contract.

(35)(2)

Anonymous

You obviously don’t know much about the clerking career pyramid; hauling bundles to court is the entry level, working up to contact with solicitors, fixing diaries, negotiating fees and (at the top) business development (or, as it used to be known, boozing and taking sols to lap dancing clubs). Your advice is like suggesting to a new tenant that in order to avoid his income being eroded by travel costs, he sticks to cases in the Royal Courts of Justice.

(32)(9)

Anonymous

No, the suggestion is to make an early connection and try to convert the role gradually and avoid the traditional route.

(9)(3)

Anonymous

They are rude and force past you because they can see they can get away with it.

Why don’t you grab your nuts and stand up to the plebs?

(9)(10)

Anonymous

Most lawyers are rude. It’s a combination of stress, misplaced feelings of self-importance and most commonly (I have found), insecurity.

(56)(7)

Optional

Nail. Head.

(14)(2)

Anon

It’s just an inbuilt superiority complex. You must be one of the few clerks without an inbuilt subservient streak. You’ll go far. Probably not as a clerk though.

(8)(6)

Anonymous

Are *all* barristers as rude as the ones I work with?

Yes every single barrister is as rude, if not ruder, than the ones you work with.

(17)(2)

Anonymous

I have met some lovely down to earth barristers, including very senior QCs. I have also met exceptionally arrogant pupils. It’s a mixed bag really.

(20)(1)

A barrister

I think this is all probably due to a conflict between the professions. Clerks will sweet talk you and be overly nice when they’re being a shit to you. Barristers just say it how it is.

(18)(7)

Anonymous

Don’t worry about it. They are just a bunch of cunts playing dress up.

(20)(11)

Larry

Mate just swipe left and move on

(7)(2)

Anonymous

Can’t wait for the next career conundrum:

“I’m a bear and been told that I ought to defecate in a wooded area. I’m not sure if I should. Any advice?”

(26)(0)

Optional

Does the Pope shit in his hat?

(10)(1)

Eddie

Or in the woods?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Or in the woods, in his hat?

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Or in the woods, in his hat, with a bear for company and mutual reassurance?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Ive asked you not to say that Hank

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Are all clerks going to fuck you over on a regular basis with half truths about work and fees?

(33)(1)

Anonymous

And then when the aged debt creeps in, fob you off and tell you that they ‘don’t want to rock the boat with these sols, sir, they give a lot of work to chambers’….

(29)(0)

Anonymous

I’d like to see a proper LC article on this aspect of the Bar – especially at the junior end. Anonymous interviews with junior barristers across all fields of practice (commercial, chancery, family, public, criminal etc) about aged debt/getting paid/how often sols delay badly. I know that it affects all areas of practice, but obviously some much more than others (notably, criminal).

Now, a proper investigative article on junior barristers’ cash flow problems – LC I’ve given you the idea, run with it please! 🙂

(26)(0)

Anonymous

I’m a junior barrister. 5 years call. Chancery. I’ve billed around £1m since I was taken on. I’ve never had a debt owed for more than 6 months. Most pay comfortably within 3 months.

(16)(11)

silvercircler

That’s much better than I would have imagined. I’m thinking of ‘trying’ to switch over myself. If you don’t mind me asking is that typical? or are you at one of the best Chancery sets (e.g. Serle, Maitland, Erskine, Wilberforce, South Square)?

(6)(1)

Anonymous

I’m from a chancery set and that is not average.

(4)(4)

partner87

So not one of the better sets the op mentioned then.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

His/her total at 5y.c. would be more than £1m at those sets…

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Not at all. 5 years call = 4 years of practice post-pupillage. An average of £250k pa is perfectly respectable (plenty of people at the sets mentioned will bill less than this over their first 4 years).

Henry

Notably criminal? That’s mainly the LAA not Solicitors

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Nope. Since the system went digital in October last year, the LAA pays within 2 weeks of submission. Cases have to finish first though (which tends to be the delay). Also clerks do not always submit claims when cases finish.

(1)(0)

Rumpole Stilt Skin

I’m owed around 15k from the LAA for a Family matter that concluded 6 years ago. Left the Bar 4 years ago. Cash flow was always a massive problem.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Why havent you sued them? Having left the bar it is not as if you have a working relationship to maintain?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Well if you think that barristers are bad, wait until you read my story…

I am a 10 year PQE solicitor who is on her notice period.
The current trainee ask for my advice, I provided my opinion on the matter. I got told by a trainee solicitor, yes you read that right, a trainee, that she was the ‘lawyer’ on this particular matter and my advice was incorrect on a complex tax matter, which she has had for about 4 seconds and no training on!!!
The next day she asks to speak with me. I entertain.
She asks for help. My answer… NO

(17)(22)

Anonymous

Yowza. You know, it’s perfectly possible for a more experienced lawyer to make the wrong call, and for a less experienced lawyer to spot this. And if the trainee asked you for your advice on how to deal with a matter, that doesn’t make it your matter and not hers – she was quite correct that if she has carriage of the matter she needs to make her own call on what the right decision is.

Rather than being blown away by the audacity of a junior lawyer expressing a different view to you, you should have explained to her why she was incorrect. Refusing her help because she had disagreed with her on a question of law is super-unprofessional.

Sounds like your firm will be better off without you.

(49)(9)

Just a bloody NQ

I am a 0 year PQE solicitor who is on her period.

(24)(3)

Anonymous

Tampons, pads or nappies?

(1)(3)

Charlotte Proudperson

Typical cis-gender patriarchal oppressive comment. You wait, I shall slate you in The Guardian.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

None, of course. I go completely natural.

(3)(0)

Dr Frankenstein

Do you work for Legal Cheek?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Every commercial litigation solicitor has a story about an unbelievably rude barrister. It’s not uncommon for associates to be made to cry by a particularly pompous silk, often when no mistake has been made but the barrister just wants to exert some authority.

Problem is they tend to be good at their jobs and butter up the partners, so a lot of them get away with appalling behaviour.

(7)(4)

Burgers

He is rude Mr immigration Barrister, he’s been kicked out from office, for Multi Million Pound fraudster, owes money to tax man. If anyone knows where he lives pls join the conversation on this blob there will be a reward.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Criminal barristers, whatever you think of their role, actually do listen to their clients, respect what they have to say and act on it. I’m quite proud of what we do.
Once a lawyer is motivated only by money, ego becomes an issue that the client needs to keep in check.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

Nonsense all you counsel think about are page counts, length of trial & complexity. I’ve been a solicitor 21 years and listened to counsel on too many occasions talking about the money. During your strike I was attending plea hearings and assisted The Court unpaid . Then you’ve all come back to pick up the fees anyway. Very self serving bunch.

(4)(11)

Anonymous

You are a liar. During the strike you pocketed the LGF. If you attended Court you also claimed the AGF. You were not unpaid.

(9)(1)

Anonymous

Not only that, you enabled the MoJ to continue to take advantage of the friction between the Bar and Solicitors which has stopped any effective action being taken since the Carter review.

(6)(0)

Random passer-by

It is quite common for people to be rude to other people in life, particularly if they feel that you will be of no use to them professionally. You can count the percentage of people who are genuinely polite by nature on one hand. So I would just ignore it and carry on working.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

What are you on about moron? It’s not common. Piss off.

(2)(2)

In Shia LaBeouf Style - im not a lawyer anymore

A memorable day in my life was when an LPC student said to me – a BVC student – ‘how do you tolerate the BVC kids, they are all so obnoxious, you’re so nice, I actually thought you were on the LPC‘.

That was perhaps the only memorable thing in the BVC year. The rest I gladly forget.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

The secret about the bar, comrade clerk, is that the barristers have had a lot of specialist knowledge and employment prospects laid out in front of them.

They are similar to top politicians Hillary Clinton and Gordon Brown, in that regard.

The trouble is that with a specialism it does not matter if they are not that bright or mature.

Here, while you have a purpose with your job they are stood around idling when they see you.

Their specialism counts for nothing at that moment , while you are busy.

There is a tendency to overbid the specialism and utility barristers have and to adopt a shitty personality to emphasise falsely that they are brighter and more mature than you, as well as more specialised, when they are not.

Gordon and Hillary did this with civil servants, not just clerks.

You may be surprised how they would stop if you bullied them back by joking that they need to lose some weight and other such needle when they push past you. They will not be expecting that and the model of behaviour will accordingly malfunction.

See if you can stick with it. If you studied law at night school you would have an advantage over many others. I had a secretary once who became a solicitor.

It would be wise to needle barristers from other chambers until your reputation for having teeth and a backbone is established. Your own barristers will not want it implied that they are fat and they will move to disarm your needle.

Hasta la Victoria siempre.

(6)(7)

Anonymous

Ah yes, you can see all the solicitors are busy on a Friday then…

(4)(0)

Anonymous

For the past 25 years I have worked with Criminal Senior QCs and Barristers and have very seldom worked with a rude or arrogant QC or Barrister. They seem more down to earth and live in the real world.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Maybe the issue is that ego is found in commercial, not criminal sets?

(6)(1)

Anonymous

rude? they are rude?
is that really all?
the fact that barristers are ‘chosen’ to be called to the bar by a closed shop system like a private members club or a mafia mob isnt a problem then?

(5)(9)

Anonymous

Haha finally somebody gets it.

(0)(2)

Real (bored) barrister

If you’re going to generalise, do it properly: all (insert race, gender, or religion) are …..

If you try some examples you realise how stupid the original question was. Barristers are men, women, black, white and of every political and religious and sexual persuasion between them. Some are nice, some aren’t. Like the general population . . . Or clerks

(4)(1)

Annie Onimouse

1. Barristers in a big trial are usually under stress. Even the nicest kindest people may be abrupt on occassion.
2. Some people are unpleasant and rude all the time.
3. Some barristers are unpleasant and rude all the time.
4. Most barristers are not unpleasant and rude at all let alone all the time.
4. As a class of people, being used to being abused verbally by all comers – clients, solicitors, judges, opponents -barristers have to become hardened in order to survive emotionally. This means they have a distorted sense of what is rude or not rude in the wider world.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

That is a valiant effort to be a peacemaker apart from the fact that some people and so some barristers have been bred to be rude to the lower orders. I voted it down for that reason.

Some clerks learn to be rude.

Treat yourself to Motorhead unplugged – I ain’t no nice guy – for the sentiment 😉

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This is the most entertaining banter, put a smile on my face lol
I do not even work in law or chambers just come across this by accident.

Thanks to you all for making me laugh x

(2)(4)

Not a law student

The Bar Pro Bono ( God bless em ) arranged a conference for me at 1 Pump Court, the QC was very keen to help me, very respectful and I will be forever grateful for his help. It was because of him I was able to present my own case… some barristers are nice, just like people… it’s politicians we need to avoid.

Then, on the day of my hearing as I waiting outside, I heard another barrister ( who was there for another case, nothing to do with pump court ). He was shouting at the court clerk ( 5 full minutes) … refused to give his name and simply shouted over and over again saying ” oh don’t be ridiculous you know my name I’m always here” I really felt sorry for the clerk 🙁

(5)(2)

Anonymous

LOVE TO YOU ALWAYS
LOVE TO ALL ALWAYS

(2)(0)

Judge Gerald (the one who hates that whinging bitch Jenny)

Fuck off!

(0)(0)

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