Sick of work

“Ms UpTights, if you don’t mind my saying so, you look terrible,” said HeadClerk today.

“How very gallant, kind sir,” said UpTights. “Just what I need to hear to pick me up.”

“But seriously, you don’t look well at all,” he persisted.

“I’m not. In fact I think I’ve probably got flu.”

“Well, you shouldn’t be anywhere near chambers and certainly not going off to court and breathing your germs all over your client this afternoon.”

“And how much have you agreed for my brief?”

“Five thousand for half a day,” came the reply with a hint of pride in his voice.

“That’s one very good reason why I struggled out of bed this morning. So who would get the return if I handed it back at this late stage?”

“OldSmoothie would, Ms UpTights.”

“So I’d be handing my lazy fat friend not only a free gift of five grand but access to a solicitor who I’ve been carefully nurturing for years?”

“Er, yes.”

“Two more reasons for keeping hold of the case, wouldn’t you say? But even if I didn’t loathe him, do you think with two hours’ notice that he’d be able to take it on?”

“I’m sure that he wouldn’t say no, let’s put it like that.”

“But do you think he’d do the case justice with such a short amount of prep.”
“Er, no,” came the reply with complete certainty.

“All of which goes to explain why I’m prepared to risk infecting my client with flu by doing the case myself.”

“You know, it’s funny with you barristers,” said HeadClerk. “For all the money you earn you’d think that you’d take advantage of being self-employed and take a few more days off. But it seems to be completely the opposite. You end up seeing holidays as costing you thousands of pounds and worrying that in your absence solicitors will defect elsewhere. For such highly qualified professionals, it does exhibit a startling lack of both self confidence and if you’ll forgive me for saying it, common sense.”

“I hope you’re not counting me in that description?” said TheBusker. “I’ve always prided myself on never working Fridays and trying to avoid Mondays if at all possible.”

“It’s very true that there are honourable exceptions, sir. Mr OldRuin’s another who seems to enjoy life as well as work.”

“Yet the irony is,” said TheBusker, “that if everyone starting taking too many holidays the clerks would be crying blue murder.”

“Naturally, sir,” said HeadClerk. “Though I think there’s little chance of that, particularly with all the extra paranoia of Jackson and the like flying around at the moment.”

“Yes,” said TheBusker. “I guess when the whole business plan of chambers based upon barrister paranoia, extreme competitiveness and workaholism in the extreme, changes which threaten the status quo can only raise the work level further.”

“Quite so,” smiled HeadClerk.

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 babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

April 11, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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