Fancy eating like a lawyer? Now you can thanks to this new charity cookbook

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Nigella Lawson has ordered her copy already

Lawyers don’t usually like to be seen cooking the books, but dozens of them have made an exception with a charity legal cookbook that’s already been snapped up by Nigella Lawson herself.

The Billable Hour Cookbook 2019 contains recipes submitted by dozens of top lawyers, with all sales going to charity.

The quirky notion appears to have originated with a suggestion from Irwin Mitchell solicitor Alexander Davenport. In September, the military claim whizz floated the idea of a “Legal Twitter cook book for charity” in an exchange with solicitor Edward Lewis, barrister Gordon Exall and Ishan Kolhatkar.

Kolhatkar, a law lecturer and educational technologist at BPP University, regularly tweets mouth-watering pictures of his culinary exploits. He picked up the project and ran with it — into the grateful arms of Seán Jones QC, whose Billable Hour charity appeal will receive the proceeds of the book.

As Kolhatkar told Legal Cheek: “The response from legal Twitter has been amazing. Over 100 recipes from more than 70 people is far more than I anticipated when Alexander Davenport floated the idea back in September”.

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The 250-page title can be pre-ordered at a discounted rate of £25 plus shipping until 25 November, when the price will rise by a few quid.

Nigella Lawson has got her order in already, sending contributors into a flutter at the idea that the celeb chef might soon be trying out their home recipes.

Jones explained that Billable Hour originated in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, with lawyers donating the equivalent of one billable hour of their time to the Save the Children charity. He told us:

“Colleagues responded with an astonishing generosity, outstripping parallel efforts by accountants! The appeal continues and projects like Ishan’s raise impressive sums for some truly vital work”. This year the focus is on helping victims of the crisis in Yemen.”

Contributors to the recipe book include heavy hitting silks like Nick De Marco of Blackstone Chambers, as well as anonymous legal Twitter royalty Crime Girl and The Secret Barrister (rabbit stew anyone?).

Nick De Marco’s recipie for veal shins with saffron risotto

The contents seem to be as varied as the specialisations of the contributors. Kolhatkar tells us “the book contains a wide variety of recipes from all over the globe. It seems that lawyers have a sweet tooth with a number of particularly delicious cake recipes submitted. There’s something for everyone from quick weeknight meals to recipes taking a couple of days”.

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So unrealistic. No one is at their desk sobbing



FYI this is not a typical lawyer diet. Come back when you’ve got a book on dumpster diving behind Aldi whilst your associate keeps watch for the security guard.



Thanks for the edit LC, as if a certain law firm mentioned gives a crap what is said here.



Yemen is actually a stunningly beautiful country of great geographical diversity. Look up Socotra Island. Will always be glad I took the opportunity to go there.

Any recipes from Yemen in this book? Anyone from Billable Hour bother to speak to anyone from the Yemeni refugee community in the capital to learn about their cooking, culture and traditions?

I’m much keener on Yemen than I am on ‘virtue signallers’ and their social media kudos.


In House

Your experience sounds better than mine – I had a twelve hour “delay” at Aden airport, which I’m fairly sure was a polite description of us being held hostage.



Why are comments being deleted that ask if this book has any recipes from Yemeni or Syrian lawyers showcasing Yemeni and Syrian cuisine?

Educate yourself about Middle Eastern culture. We aren’t ‘terrorists’.



Veal shins with saffron risotto… As if it wasn’t already apparent that these people occupy an entirely different plane of existence.



Veal shins are actually a cheap cut.



Though it does cause some practical problems for the calf in question.



Collecting other people’s recipes and a single hour of other people’s very good earnings.

Sit back and watch the Twitter ‘likes’ roll in.

Meanwhile, aid workers on the ground in Syria and Yemen roll up their sleeves to wash other people’s wounds, carry heavy boxes, comfort crying children, hide underground during shelling and all for earnings far less than their worth in stressful conditions we can’t even begin to imagine. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a few QCs dropping by to lend a hand.

These are the real heroes I respect far more than the lawyers looking to seem like ‘nice guys’.



Still not much we can do unless we decide to take a stand against the evil Saudi empire. Which we won’t. We’ll sell them weapons, buy their oil and watch the sportswashing events that are going to take place there.



The problems currently in Yemen can be traced back to the 90’s.

None of these lawyers gave a fig about anyone from Yemen or Syria back then, even though conditions were as horrific in parts of the country as they are now. Where was this appeal for aid when civil war broke out in 1994?

For people who claim to care so much about Yemen and it’s people, there seems to be total disengagement between Billable Hour and anyone from the London Yemeni community.

Believe me, this community exists and wants nothing more than for their kids to become successful professionals for a better life, perhaps even lawyers too. Where are the barristers from Yemen or Syria as part of organising this appeal???

Have these lawyers bought anything recently from a Yemeni business? Do they know how to say ‘thank you’ in Arabic, know anything about Yemeni culture or bothered to stop navel-gazing?

I looked up one of the lawyers organising the appeal on Twitter and of course, he isn’t even following or re-tweeting the work of some of the major bloggers in Yemen, Twitter being the best way to get news out as there’s still a risk to reporters. No real interest whatsoever in the country.

The Yemeni people and their suffering are not props for social media ‘likes’.


D Wood

Not sure if your comment comes from your envy of the legal profession trying to do some good for others less fortunate than them or because you imagine they are all millionaires. Take your envy and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. I couldn’t care less if the recipes originate from the Yemen or not. Good on these people for trying to make a difference.


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