Exploitation at law

Poor old PanicStricken. She was visiting chambers today and BusyBody called her into chambers tea and started asking her about how she is getting on at SlipperySlope’s solicitors’s firm.

“Not getting on, since you ask,” she replied. “I’m now working fifteen hours a day and he’s reduced my wages to er, nothing.”

“What?” said BusyBody. “That’s terrible. How can he do that?”

“After a law degree followed by law school and two years at his firm waiting for a training contract, I’ve now been demoted from a minimum wage legal assistant to an intern. He says that’s the only way he can afford to keep me on and eventually award me with a training contract.”

“Not that old trick again,” said OldSmoothie.

“But he can’t do that, surely?” said BusyBody. “He’s completely exploiting you. Don’t you have a contract?”


“Didn’t you demand one?”


“Oh, come on. Our chambers currently has fifteen mini-pupils a week doing unpaid dogsbody work around chambers. How does that differ from internships?” said OldSmoothie.

“Because it’s a privilege to be offered a mini-pupillage here,” said HeadofChambers.

“Yeh, right,” said TheVamp. “Some privilege. I noticed that OldSmoothie had four of them standing to attention in his room for most of the morning yesterday.”

“Quite so,” said OldSmoothie. “One for biscuits, one for coffee, one for photocopying and one for er, timekeeping. It can be such a bore having to calculate how much to bill on each case.”

“Naturally,” said HeadofChambers with a smile.

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.

June 3, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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