Age of austerity

Despite the fact that it is supposed to be the Christmas holidays, chambers was absolutely packed today. Maybe it’s worries about recession or maybe they’re simply a bunch of workaholics who don’t know what to do when spare time presents itself. Whatever it is, it meant that chambers tea was as full as a mid-week in October.

Which set the stage for the modernising QC Slick to make a particularly festive announcement. “I’ve been going through chambers’ book-keeping and accounts over Christmas,” [yes, I kid you not and without even a hint of irony] “and I’ve discovered that there are items of expenditure which really are unnecessary.”

“Oh, here we go,” whispered TheVamp. “Time for him to take a first crack at getting HeadClerk sacked.”

“Or maybe the marketing budget he uses to get solicitors drunk in return for work,” said BusyBody.

We all braced ourselves as the chill wind of cutbacks and recession swept through the picture-lined room.

“First of all, we need to examine the stationery budget which increased last year by sixty per cent. I really do wonder whether someone is in fact siphoning off large amounts and selling them on ebay or something,” he chuckled to himself.

At this one of the pupils looked noticeably shifty.

“This is all the more so when I see that the postage has also gone up by a similar amount,” continued Slick.

“But none of this is of any significance compared to what I consider the biggest waste in all of chambers’ expenditure.” He paused for effect. “Yes, I’m talking about the chocolate biscuit budget for clients and chambers tea. This really should be thrown out in its entirety.”

There was a collective intake of breath as chambers took in the enormity of what he was saying. Eventually it was OldSmoothie who managed to articulate what we were all thinking.

“Slick, it’s true to say that we’ve had our differences on many things in the past and I imagine that we’ll have a few more in the years to come. That’s something I can live with as part of the creative tension between the so-called modernisers such as yourself and those of us who think we’re all doing quite nicely just as we are thank you very much. For what it’s worth, I’m prepared to debate about alternative business structures and marketing managers. I’ve even prepared to talk websites and social media if it really helps keep the peace. But let me tell you now that however many new-fangled ideas you come up with, there is one thing that will never, and when I say never, I mean never ever happen whilst I am in this chambers and that is to take away the unlimited chocolate biscuit privilege which is extended to all full members of chambers.”

His chin was forward and his chest puffed up in some kind of a mock Churchillian stance as he finished with a resounding, “Chocolate biscuits are simply not on the table.”

At which one of the pupils scurried towards the box of biscuits which were in fact sitting on the table in front of him and took them away as if this somehow offended his figure of speech. There were general nods of approval towards OldSmoothie and the spirit of Scrooge was defeated for another year.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

December 29, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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