On Monday night, just after midnight, the police and bailiffs moved in to evict the anti-capitalist protestors from the Occupy London camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral. The protestors stressed their action wasn’t over but most did not resist the arm of the law. And so, the steps of the cathedral are once again the province of tourists, lunching city workers and the occasional worshipper. It may look a bit tidier, but have we lost something in insisting our landmarks are protest free?
It has long been apparent to anyone with an ounce of business sense that, by and large, partnerships are not the best way to run a company. There are, naturally, exceptions and I am not going to take issue with the profitability of the ‘magic circle’ firms that would be eligible for inclusion in the FTSE100 were they to have publicly traded shares. They have all said, however, they would not seek to float. There are probably many reasons for this, most of which I couldn’t hope to understand. But I bet one of them is because the partners of those firms rather like being partners in those firms.
I could have been a lawyer. I don’t mean in the way that anyone could, in theory, become a lawyer if they wanted to. I mean because I went to Oxbridge and I came from a family who could afford to support me through some unpaid internships or work experience to help me get a foot in the door. In fact, I did attend one milk-round event to find out how to become a human rights lawyer. Who knows what would have happened if it hadn’t been Linklaters?
Hard as it may be for anyone under the age of 30 to believe, when I started work there was no such thing as social media. In fact, there was barely even email. I remember trying to send my first email, via a modem that kept dropping the connection. It took so long I ended up phoning the person who sent it and we chatted while I waited for the message to come through.
I doubt there was much of ‘that lovin’ feeling’ at the Law Society on Valentine’s Day. Despite all its efforts to woo the prime minister and his henchmen from the Ministry of Justice, it was defiantly excluded from the much-publicised whiplash love-in at Downing Street on Tuesday. Only very special chosen ones, all insurers, were invited to gaze misty eyed at ministers as they played footsie under the table and pledged to join together to make their world a lovelier place.
It looks as if the assault on freedom of information is underway. According to Ministry of Justice research, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has not improved decision-making, has failed to increase understanding of government and may even have reduced trust. Civil servants have also called for higher fees for those making requests under the act because the current costs do ‘not adequately reflect the total amount of time spent…in compiling the information’.
Many many years ago, a friend at university said I was a Luddite for refusing to use a computer (that's right kids, I am of the old world). I wasn't too far into writing my 15,000 word dissertation by hand before I realised he was probably right. Even so, my fear of accidentally deleting everything I'd written kept me from embracing technology for at least another year. I like to think when I gave in to the inevitable I did it gracefully. I am not sure the same cannot be said for those lawyers attempting to prevent alternative business structures (ABS) or those who think the legal revolution is nothing more than a very small storm in quite a large teacup.
I’ve never received a bonus payment from my employer, unless you count the gift vouchers that were handed out periodically at the law firm where I used to work. I have always accepted jobs on the basis that I get paid exactly what it says in my contract and no more, no less. Naturally, ever year I prayed for at least a 10 per cent pay increase and usually received about 3 per cent, although my last pay increase as an employee was a big fat 0 per cent, along with most of the rest of the working population.