Last stop for the gravy train

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” said OldSmoothie in chambers tea. “Apparently they’re talking about cutting funding for juniors in big criminal prosecutions.”

“What? You mean so that you might have to do a little bit of work for once?” said BusyBody.

“A little harsh,” said OldSmoothie.

“Which more importantly will mean that he can’t be billing out for five cases in one go and simply relying on the juniors to do all the work,” said UpTights.

“Oh, diddums,” said BusyBody. “So you’ll only be able to earn one lot of fat cash in one go.”

“I know, I know,” said OldSmoothie. “It always looks like the QCs are just exploiting you juniors…”

“Looks like?” said BusyBody.

“It’s just that, well, it’s so…unfair,” he said, sounding like a spoilt teenager.

“How on earth do you figure that one?” asked UpTights.

“Well, having spent all those years scratching around as a junior myself, it’s only just that I finally get to see a little payback for those labours.”

“Sounds like some kind of pyramid scheme that’s about to go bust just when you’ve reached the top of the list,” said TheBusker.

“Oh, man up,” said BusyBody, “and for once in your worthless little life, take a little responsibility. You’re lucky the CPS instructs you at all given you know virtually nothing about criminal law these days.”

“Except, of course, for the traffic offences he keeps having to defend himself in,” said UpTights. “He’s somewhat of an expert on the loopholes in that particular area.”

Which was enough to shut up OldSmoothie and give the floor to Slick who handed over to the candidate for commercial director. His short speech included the following: “The issue is binary; an either or. Chambers isn’t fit for purpose and the elephant in the room is the ProcureCo train that we either jump on now or die.”

There was an embarrassed silence as members of chambers tried to compute the number of clichés and mixed metaphors which were being spewed out at them.

Eventually BusyBody piped up: “Actually, I quite like the idea of this ProcureCo thingy. On my reading it means that barristers can start getting the block contracts, deciding which solicitors to employ and then taking the profits afterwards. Power to the people I say. I mean, what’s not to like?”

Which was followed by an even more awkward silence as people strained to avoid catching HeadClerk’s eye. Civil war, I fear, may not be far away.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

April 22, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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