Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Spooks as much as the next person, although I lost interest once the characters played by Rupert Penry Jones and Hermione Norris were bumped off. Along with most people, I have no illusions as to how accurate a portrayal it represented of the security services. Most amusing was the idea that there were only about a dozen spies at most, all highly swashbuckling, protecting us.
I spent this weekend on a yoga retreat. It wasn’t terribly successful as on Sunday morning I fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle, rendering any further participation in sun salutations or downward facing dogs nigh on impossible. As you might imagine, the place was full of healing hands and there was plenty of positive energy all directed at my ankle.
Apparently all we need to get our sluggish economy up and running again is the ability to sack people more easily. This according to a man who gets at least some of his wealth lending to the desperate and charging them nearly 4,200% APR. This is definitely someone whose advice I want when I am down on my uppers.
Yesterday I witnessed, and indeed was part of, something of a rare event. Over 6,000 people from organisations as diverse as Doughty Street Chambers, Allen & Overy, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, Buckinghamshire Magistrates, the College of Law, Islington Law Centre, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Unison, KPMG and Network Rail (assuming they managed to get there on time) joined the London Legal Walk to raise money for the London Legal Support Trust.
Apparently it’s quite stressful being a lawyer. This does not come as too much of a surprise because it’s pretty stressful doing any sort of job, although it’s even more stressful not having a job at all. Nonetheless, it would seem that lawyers have particular issues when it comes to dealing with stress at work, which are perhaps peculiar to the legal profession.
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.
Thanks to the typical English bank holiday weather over the weekend I barely ventured out of the house and instead found myself working. Sad but inevitable. It’s also a bit sad that as a ‘consumer champion’ it was only in May 2012 that I came across a report on consumer attitudes towards the purchase of legal services published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in February 2011.
It is a paradox that the rule stating people often rate their personal experience of something much more highly than the something as a whole does not seem to apply to politicians. Thus surveys can show disaffection with the NHS but great relationships with local GPs, or dislike of the legal profession but, amazingly, really good connections with individual lawyers.
And so the legal aid bill has ended its ignominious passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent. It is, without a doubt, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to come out of this most controversial of governments and will, also without a doubt, eviscerate the legal aid system.