Civvy street

There was a spirit of rebellion in chambers today after Slick the reforming QC tried to introduce a so-called “civies” or “dress down Friday sort of a day” for all those who weren’t in court.

“We can’t possibly come into chambers without suits,” said HeadofChambers.

“We might bump into clients going to conferences.”

“What, and let them mistake us for normal human beings?” said Slicklet, Slick’s mini-me.

“It would completely undermine what little authority we have over with the clerks,” said OldSmoothie.

“Yeh, right, because woolly jumpers so hinder Richard Branson running a business,” said BusyBody starting to see the potential for farce.

“But it’s the thin end of the wedge,” said HeadofChambers. “You lower the standards and everyone’ll be strolling around in denim jeans before you know it.”

“Perish the thought,” smiled BusyBody.

“The real problem with barristers dressing down is that they don’t know how,” said TheVamp. “Or the male variety, at least. They look like politicians snapped on their holidays or standing outside their garden gate after some affair or other desperately failing in their bid to look like men of the people.”

“You’re right that’s it’s the men,” said BusyBody. “It’s all designer jeans and large-collared stripey shirts for the young ones and brand new cords and jumpers for the oldies. All of which would be perfectly stylish were it not for the fact that they carried it all as if they were playing a part in a pantomime. Like it was some sort of a joke that such clever important people would all dress down in this way. Goodness knows how they’d behave on a beach.”

“I knew one barrister who used to completely fail to acknowledge me if I wasn’t in a suit,” said TheBusker. “He’d walk past me on the stairs without even a nod and yet if I was correctly attired he’d stop and be the most friendly person in the world.”

“A little like the apocryphal judge who claimed not to be able to hear the barrister who wasn’t wearing his wig and gown,” said TheVamp.

“Except in my case he’d obviously decided he couldn’t even see me, never mind hear me, unless I had on the right gear,” said TheBusker. “It once got so bad that even though I was instructed as his junior he completely ignored me throughout a client conference simply because I wasn’t wearing a shirt with double cuffs. In the end I was forced to make a point just to justify the fee I’d be billing.”

“How did he react?” asked TheVamp.

“It made no difference at all. He just carried on talking as if I’d never spoken.”
“So where is he now?”

“He runs the best dressed court in the South of England. Every barrister worth his salt knows that if you want your case to succeed in that particular jurisdiction, it’s clothes which truly maketh the man.”

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.

January 27, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Uncategorized