HeadClerkWhen I got up this morning I thought I was destined for a day trawling through papers in chambers.  All very relaxing.  No worries at all.  Until that was, I arrived in chambers to be confronted by HeadClerk looking particularly serious.

‘Mr BabyBarista.  I need you to get over to court 6 over the road in twenty minutes.  Million pound business dispute.  Just need you to hold the fort for RackItUp.’

Hold the fort?  Oh, the art of the understatement.  I got to court six at ten in the morning with no instructions or any particular idea what the case may even be about.  I rang HeadClerk and asked where I might find RackItUp.

‘Well, that’s a good question Mr BabyBarista.’  He paused.  ‘You see, he has a case in court 92 and another in court 20.  Oh, and then let’s see.  There’s another in court 56.’  He paused again.  ‘That’s in addition to yours.’

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’d already heard about RackItUp’s notorious money-making scheme whereby he gets juniors to do all the work and he just turns up for an hour each day on each of his cases, shows his faces, makes a point of looking deep in consultation with his junior and then dashing off to his next case.  It all tends to work quite smoothly on the whole.  Unless, that is, one of the juniors is ill.  That’s when the QC should be there to step in.  Unless that is you’re RackItUp and you’re already juggling too many cases.  That’s precisely what happened this morning when his junior in one case called in ill and left a huge gaping hole in his scheme to be filled by a BabyBarista who was completely out of his depth.

When I finally got hold of RackItUp, rushing between two of his courts, all he said was,
‘Don’t worry BabyB.  All you’ll have to do today is to sit tight whilst the other side cross-examine our witness.  Just keep a good note.  You’ll be alright.’

Which would have been okay were it not for the fact that my opponent stopped his cross-examination mid-morning.  The judge knew exactly what was going on and was clearly not amused. I asked for an adjournment in order that I might consult with RackItUp.
‘Mr BabyBarista.  Either you are prepared for this case which would mean that such an adjournment would be unnecessary.’  He peered at me over his glasses and then continued, ‘Or you are not sufficiently prepared in which case you would have been in breach of the Code of Conduct by accepting the instructions.’  He looked at me and smiled, a cruel, smug kind of smile which said everything.  I was skewered.

I stood up and tried to buy some time before my career came crashing to a premature end.
‘Er, My Lord. Er, if it pleases the court.  Er.’
‘Yes, Mr BabyBarista.  What is it to be.’

I stumbled on a little more before my solicitor tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned around and he handed me a note which said, ‘No further questions.  Call the next witness Mr James.’
‘Er, My Lord, I have no further questions from this witness.  Unless you have any questions My Lord, I would like to call the next witness Mr James.’

Given that I knew absolutely nothing about the case whatsoever, I don’t know how I even managed to get through to lunch given that my opponent was capitalising on my difficulties by keeping his own questions to a minimum.  To make matters worse, all that I got from RackItUp at lunchtime when I told him precisely where he could stick his case as far as the afternoon was concerned was,
‘There’s the spirit BabyB.  I knew I could rely on you.  I’ll take it from here.  Tally ho!’

My fee for the day:  £100.  RackItUp’s combined fees for the day with £3,000 refreshers on each case:  £12,000.

May 31, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

3 Responses

  1. Martin - December 11, 2007

    … which is proof there’s a crap solicitor on the scene. I’d be straight to the QC and refusing to pay his refresher for the day (and a lot less on the others, too).
    And threaten to shop him to the Bar Council if he quibbled.

  2. Abigail - December 12, 2007

    All goes to show that you do not get paid for the level of misery, but for the value you can add to the case. And young barristers have to cope with miserific or difficult situations.
    Why did the instructing solicitor tolerate his client paying £3000 for a barrister who was not there?

  3. Sarah - December 12, 2007

    I can just imagine the scene…. great story BabyB.