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Video: Litigation Commercial Awareness Question Time — with Hardwicke and RPC

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By The Careers Team on

Top barristers and solicitors answer students’ questions about legal and finance stories in the news


The buzzword ‘commercial awareness’ is often thought to apply only to transactional law, but it’s actually just as big a deal in disputes — both for solicitors and barristers.

Brexit, a possible coming economic downturn and litigation reform were the hot topics at Legal Cheek Careers‘ latest Commercial Awareness Question Time, held at Hardwicke earlier this month in association with City law firm RPC. The full video is below.

An audience of over 50 students peppered barristers PJ Kirby and David Pliener and solicitors Simon Hart and Amy Gallimore with questions about their take on these themes and other legal and financial news stories. They also took the opportunity to hit the panel up for careers advice — in particular regarding the competing attractions of the solicitors’ profession versus the bar. Pliener summed up the difference memorably, telling the audience:

‘Someone sent me this years ago … A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realises he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below (sorry they are both men in the story!)

He lowers the balloon further and shouts:

“Excuse me, can you help? I promised my friend I’d meet him half an hour ago but I don’t know where I am.”

And the man below says:

“You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees north latitude and 50 and 60 degrees west latitude.”

“You must be a barrister,” says the balloonist

“I am. How did you know?”

“Well,” he says, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost.”

“You must be a solicitor,” says the man below.

“I am,” says the balloonist, “How did you know?”

“Well, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is that you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now it’s somehow my fault.”’

Further reading:

  • Simon Hart: ‘Our job as litigators is to create risk for the other side’ [Legal Cheek Careers]
  • David Pliener: ‘For clients litigation is just another business deal’ [Legal Cheek Careers]