Year 2, week 36: liar, liar

SlipperySlope was in chambers to see OldSmoothie on Friday and since he arrived early ended up spending about twenty minutes sitting in my room having coffee with me whilst he waited for OldSmoothie to arrive. To make polite conversation I mentioned that OldSmoothie had been worrying that too many litigants these days are being forced by judges to settle.  Slippery was having none of it.
“BabyBarista, let’s get one thing straight. Never, ever trust what a lawyer has to say.  Ever. They simply don’t open their mouths unless there’s an agenda behind it. It’s what they’re trained to do. So if they’re worried about cases settling, you can bet on one thing for sure. It’s not out of some philanthropic concern for the good of the poor litigants. It’s all about costs, BabyBarista. Settlements mean less brief fees. Plain and simple.”
“Oh.” I think I probably looked a little shocked at his outburst.
“Don’t get taken in, BabyBarista. Get involved, make hay and you’ll be alright.  But you know what the biggest risk if for lawyers?”
“The very best of them are not just people you hire to tell your lies better than you could. They’re people who actually start to believe those lies. You see, they live in the land of make believe and they sometimes become so good at arguing that they can’t help convincing even themselves. Liars with the utmost sincerity. Deadly in court BabyBarista but it’ll send you mad if you’re not careful. So please don’t start believing your own lies. If you don’t want claims to settle because you want more brief fees, then in a quiet moment when no-one is listening, admit it quietly to yourself.  Keep that alive or you’ll be lost to the system for ever.”


June 2, 2008 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

2 Responses

  1. long in the tooth - June 4, 2008

    Oh Babybarista how very true! Better still don’t sell your soul at all – even if you know you are lying and don’t fall into the trap SlipperySlope warns of, the price you’ll pay for commercial success at the Bar is very high indeed.
    Go in-house and move to a more business orientated role and you’ll keep some of your integrity. Otherwise you will have to prostitute yourself with every solicitor and client you encounter.

  2. Slightly less long in the tooth - June 12, 2008

    I would have thought settlements would mean “fewer brief fees” (rather than “less brief fees”). Is SlipperySlope a family barrister by any chance?