Consumers, it seems, still don’t trust lawyers. In fact, depressingly, while consumer satisfaction with the value for money of legal services has risen over the past year, trust in the profession has actually fallen. The 47% it started at wasn’t exactly remarkable, but it’s now only 43%. That may be more than for some professions, notably journalists, politicians and bankers, but it’s way behind doctors (80%) and teachers (68%).
This week, it appears, I am regulator bashing. It’s not much of a sport as it’s so easy to do, but hey, we all have to get our kicks somewhere. Yesterday I was rather disparaging about the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) website for consumers. Today I am taking them to task over their ‘consultation’ on whether to scrap the minimum salary for trainee solicitors.
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?
When I was at school I very distinctly remember being told that ‘the world was my oyster’ and I could be whatever and whoever I wanted to be. I imagine that similar messages intended to inspire young women are given out today – I will certainly be encouraging my daughter to reach for the stars (not necessarily literally). What they didn’t tell me, as possibilities raced through my mind, was that I could do whatever I wanted, but I shouldn’t expect to get paid as much as a man.