So this will (probably) be my last blog post of 2011, just over a year since I wrote my first one on the Legal Futures website (which you should read if you don’t, the website that is, not my post). I was inspired to write because I was fed up with just sighing loudly and shaking my head at the absurd reporting of a survey suggesting most, if not all, high street law firms would come out of the ABS mangle alive. One year on, sadly, not much has changed with the way many lawyers think about the changes taking place in the legal market. Lots else has though.
One of the great things about working for yourself from home is that you don’t have to buy presents for any colleagues. This more than offsets the downside of not having a Christmas party to go to. However, in the true spirit of Christmas, I thought I would selflessly hunt down some ideal gifts for lawyers. I am not entirely sure how I would feel if I were given any of these, but then I am not a lawyer. I hope my suggestions are helpful.
You know when something is seriously wrong with the world when you are on the same side of an argument as Lord Tebbit. Not exactly known for his compassion, he famously urged the unemployed to get on their bikes and look for work, he’s not a politician you would think of as a supporter of any sort of state funding for, well anything. However, this week he has rather surprised everyone and come out fighting to preserve legal aid for children in medical negligence cases.
We are not, on the whole, particularly child-centric in this country. Anyone with young children who has attempted to eat in a restaurant after 6pm knows this. It is often preferable to beat a hasty retreat rather than face the glares of fellow diners as your toddler runs around the table legs and your six-year old whizzes toy cars across the table. I’ve even been in a National Trust café where we were told off for ‘letting’ my friend’s son get cake crumbs on the floor.
My favourite blog post of the week was in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), not normally somewhere I hang out but worth it on this occasion. The author admitted that in about half of his business conversations he had ‘almost no idea what other people are saying’. He goes on to say that when he was younger, if he didn’t understand what people were saying, he assumed he was stupid. He now realises it’s the other people who are stupid for not ensuring he can understand them.
I know not all lawyers are bad and I apologise for going on about it. I do realise that most of you do a great job for your clients and, on the whole, the world would be significantly more unjust without you. For a start, I’d be out of a job. But I thought this week I might give you a couple of examples where lawyers have got it spectacularly wrong, just so you know I’m not making it all up. I am not intending to descend into Solicitors from Hell territory, so I won’t be naming any names.