Greed is good

Chambers tea was fizzing today following an announcement by HeadofChambers in which he proposed that chambers should follow the Bar Council chairman’s shiny new model for running chambers.

“It’ll mean that we can steal on in there and get block contracts from insurers and accident managers,” said HeadClerk, who clearly had a lot more idea what it meant than HeadofChambers. “Then it’ll be us doling the work out to solicitors rather than the other way around,” he added with a smile.

“What? Us employing solicitors? I like the sound of that,” said OldSmoothie. “I can certainly think of a few that I’d take great pleasure in phoning up late in the evening and telling them the work had to be done by the next morning.”

“It’d certainly put the shoe on the other foot,” said HeadClerk.

“And they call this model ProcureCo?” asked OldSmoothie raising his eyebrows as he continued, “Sounds to me more like something a co-operative of prostitutes might set up.”

“What, people who’ll do anything for money?” asked BusyBody. “Sounds particularly apt to me.”

“Oldest professions and all that,” added TheBusker.

“And what’s this they’re saying about employing junior barristers?” asked OldSmoothie directing his attention back to HeadClerk. “I’ve always thought it a great shame that we can’t exploit the labour of our junior members and divide the spoils between the rest of us. I mean, solicitors have been at it since time began.”

HeadClerk looked a little uneasy at mention of this, since he well knows that the junior members of chambers are the ones who do by far the greater number of cases and therefore do most to keep solicitors happy. “Er, well…” he stumbled. “That would of course be one option.”

“Damn fine one if you ask me,” said OldSmoothie. “They’re all earning far too much at the junior end these days for my liking.”

“I have to say that I agree with the principle that OldSmoothie raises, albeit that I wouldn’t quite put it in such vulgar terms,” said HeadofChambers a little more diplomatically.

“What? When? How?” BusyBody looked shocked, as I think we all did at the junior end.

“But you couldn’t,” said TheCreep. “You’d never get it voted through.”

“That’d be easy,” said OldSmoothie suddenly smiling as if he’d suddenly seen the light. “We just start it off with the pupils. Then we’d all benefit. We’ll simply employ them for three years on minimum wage and the off-chance that we might make them a tenant and then we’ll all be shopping.”

“Sounds a little like what it’s already like at the criminal bar,” said LibertyBelle.

“Why stop with three years?” said HeadofChambers. “No reason why we don’t make it the same as becoming a partner and leave it five or ten years for good measure.”

“But, but…” you could see BusyBody’s mind ticking over. “It just wouldn’t be fair…”

Yet, fair or not, it had just dawned on a roomful of greedy lawyers that they might just be about to get just a little bit richer.

July 5, 2010 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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