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Posts Tagged ‘barrister’

I despair sometimes at ever being properly addressed by my given and chosen name. It’s only short but it causes oh so much trouble.

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Every time I attend an unfamiliar court I go through the motions when I sign in: I enunciate ‘Ms…Lucy…Reed…no it’s double E D…I’m counsel for the Respondent / Applicant…’ (it’s only four letters but 99% of people want to spell it Reid – my husband’s utterly unspellable name fortifies me against abandonment of both my principles and my surname for the sake of an easy life) and then I sigh as they write down ‘Miss Reed’. Even when the court staff don’t ignore what I say the judge inevitably does. As do most colleagues at the bar. I don’t even bother in my local court any more. Diversity training in the court service evidently covers the range of religious books upon which one might swear an oath, but not the respect for gender neutral nomenclature that one might wish to see from the machinery of justice.

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And I am steeling myself for the inevitable day when I realise I look too old to be a Miss anymore, and will be forcibly promoted to a Mrs. Depressing, but at least then it will accurately reflect my marital status, even though it’s nobody’s business but mine (and my other half’s).

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Family Law Newswatch reports:

The NSPCC is supporting the Bar Council and the Family Law Bar Association’s campaign to stop the Ministry of Justice’s proposals to cut family legal aid.

NSPCC lawyer Barbara Esam said: “The proposed, repeated cuts in legal support in family law cases comes at the worse possible time, as the pressure to improve child protection work is rightly higher than ever.

“These are precisely the specialists society needs if the courts are to be able to make the right decisions about when a child needs protection.

“The NSPCC’s work to protect vulnerable children and families relies on the ability to access a pool of specialist advocates at the family Bar.

“The NSPCC urges the Ministry of Justice to reconsider its plans to cut funding in these cases.”

In December the government unexpectedly revealed proposals to cut family legal aid in some cases by as much as 55%, having previously indicated that the cuts would be 13% to 14%.

As a result, in the event of the proposed legal aid cuts going ahead, over 80% of family barristers said they intend to change practices.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately (something I hate to do when it’s not billable, but – sigh – needs must) about what I would do with my life if I was forced to abandon the bar as a result of the legal aid cuts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not there yet – it cost me £30k, three years and a nearly nervous breakdown to get here after all – and I love it to bits – but I think many of us are wondering if we will still be doing this in 5 years time – so what else can we poor misfits turn our hands to?

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They tell you at bar school not to worry if you don’t make it to practise at the bar, that being a qualified barrister will equip you with numerous ‘key transferable skills’ useful in some ‘other’ life. Leaving aside for one moment the obvious self-serving nature of such a remark coming from an industry which charges outrageously over-inflated fees to far more students than can ever hope to succeed, what are my key skills and to where do they transfer on civvy street?

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For one thing I’m a terrible people manager. I tried it once and oscillated from nice-but-ignored-by-cheerful-subordinates to shouty-and-ignored-by-sullen-subordinates. Far better to manage oneself, to be a self sufficient unit of one. Delegate nothing: control everything. So team work and staff management is out then.

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No time to comment now, but follow link here for breaking reports following FLBA Press Conference yesterday, regarding the publication of the Family Bar report.

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Hmm – this post seems to have been waylaid in my ‘drafts’ folder for reasons of PEBCAK.

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In Short – see my comments on episode 1, episode 2 and episode 3: more of the same. The final episode can be summarised thus: more shots of people being called to the bar in oak panelled rooms, plus (just incase you’d missed the point being delicately made in episodes 1, 2 and 3) the addition of gratuitous shots of  tourists looking impressed at Temple Church in order to demonstrate how ancient yet interesting we barristers are (shamelessly borrowing pop-kudos from the be-corduroyed Da Vinci Code). Some interesting footage of criminal practice (very interesting actually but there are a few of us that do other things). Oh, and a demonstration of how needlessly unpleasant tenancy application processes can be – poor Kakoly Pande. Glad she got in – clearly a determined and plucky individual which are important attributes at the bar – but I think I’d have almost felt like telling them where to stick their tenancy after that sadistic experience.

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I don’t laugh out loud when reading very often. I’ve just read about half a dozen of the most recent articles on this blog which I have just discovered and I have laughed hysterically all the way through (probably even through the bits that aren’t meant to be amusing). Its a bit like looking into my own future (only far more eloquent). I especially liked the chicken poo and the items up the nose.

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‘Oooh I’m not too sure I can draw one of those’ was my response to having been set up as aunty in charge of drawing activities for the evening by my godson Ethan’s mum. His response was ‘aren’t you an artist then? Mummy said you were’. I suppose to a 7 year old my cartoon cat scribbles probably do qualify me as a professional artist but it set me to thinking how would I explain to him what I really do for a job? What does a 7 year old understand of lawyers and courts unless they have had the misfortune to be at the centre of a contact dispute or caught in the crossfire of matrimonial proceedings? So this is what I think I would say if asked:

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