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Doomsday for lawyers

“My son’s just got a place at university to read law,” said HeadofChambers proudly today.

“Some future he’ll have,” said BusyBody.

“I agree,” said TheVamp. “The law’s finished. At least in the way we know it.”

“What on earth are you talking about,” said OldSmoothie. “I’ve heard this kind of doomsday talk time and again and it never comes true.”

“This time it’s different,” said BusyBody. “Legal aid is being decimated and civil law is about to be hit by an almighty tornado in the next few months.”

“What do you mean tornado?” said HeadofChambers. “The world will alway needs high quality advocates and that’s why we’ll continue to be okay.”

“Not when half your high street solicitor clients may end up going bust after they’re banned from paying referral fees for cases next April,” said TheVamp.

“It’s true,” said BusyBody. “SlipperySlope is pulling his hair out waiting for guidance on the best way to try and structure his business from next year on.”

“It’ll just end up being a redistribution of wealth between the forward thinking firms and those stuck in the past,” said OldSmoothie. “Natural wastage”.

“That may well be so,” said BusyBody. “But with more and more fixed cost cases and the personal injury small claims limit potentially increasing, there could be very few cases indeed for the Bar, particularly at the junior end.”

“And even for those cases, the newly formed mega-sized alternative business structure solicitors may well just decide to use in-house barristers and keep the money for themselves,” said TheVamp.

“In which case you’ll also become natural wastage if you’re not careful,” said BusyBody looking at OldSmoothie.

“It’s all true,” said HeadClerk, “and what’s more, the few cases we will be getting are likely to be on massively cheaper block contracts.”

“Block contracts?” said OldSmoothie. “You’ve got to be kidding?”

“So do you suggest that I turn down a guaranteed income of say half a million a year whilst you sit on your own desert island touting for business?” said HeadClerk.

“But we’ve all got mortgages to pay,” said UpTights.

“Not to mention school fees,” said OldSmoothie. “How on earth do they expect us to survive.”

“Welcome to the brave new world,” said HeadClerk. “Haven’t you noticed that everyone else has been getting poorer for years now? Time to start getting real and accepting commercial realities.”

With which there was silence.

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.

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