People who know me know that I am not afraid to cry. Sometimes it doesn’t take much: watching my daughter skipping in the garden, burning the dinner, stubbing my toe, kittens playing (ok, that’s probably an exaggeration). But on the whole I don’t get emotional about adverts, unless they are for John Lewis, which, I believe, are designed to induce sobs from even the hardest of hearts.
Over the last few days I’ve been following a discussion on Twitter between a couple of lawyers and a professional lay legal adviser (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms). I resisted the temptation to get stuck in because I have mixed views about the need for those working in the law to be regulated and I thought it would be easier to explain why here.
So this morning when I woke up, still in the fog of sleep, I thought I must have stepped back in time. Coming from my radio, without, it seemed, a hint of irony, was a discussion about whether lawyers should be allowed to operate for profit . Actually, it was more of a parallel-universe feeling than a going-back-in-time one because I’m pretty sure lawyers have been parting people from their cash since advocates in ancient Rome realised there was money in winning arguments.
Lawyers don’t always get the best press, but every so often even I have to concede they deserve some good PR. This week the Law Society launched a national pro bono helpline for victims of the recent riots. To those of you who aren’t lawyers (and I’m not, but I spend an awful lot of time around them) that means free help and advice. This is undeniably a good deed and a far more useful response to the riots than anything the government has so far come up with.
I've spent quite a lot of time being not very nice about solicitors. Over the years I've been working in the legal sector, first at Which?, then at a national law firm and for the Law Society, I've branded them arrogant, patronising, out-of-touch and overpriced. However, despite this general antipathy towards the profession, I have never been a fan of the Solicitors from Hell website. Not surprisingly, neither is the Law Society. So at least that's one thing we agree on.