The English profession

Update, 12 February 2008: Apparently there’s a lawyers’ phones bugging scandal over in England.  Sounds like a fairly substantial problem to me.  I’ll keep you posted, if I ever find the time.

Original post: Here’s a pithy little article in The Times about 3 English lawyers’ liability cases. Well worth the small effort to read it, though the promise ‘How to Avoid a Professional Negligence Claim’ is, with respect, overarching.

Legal Blog Watch has an article on the increasing power of American firms in the London market. 3,900 lawyers in London are working for US firms, they say.

Here’s The Guardian on the difficulties of eradicating the scourge of the white upper class privately educated former barrister from the judiciary over there. Deputy Premier Hulls should take a sabbatical, and a room at Australia House, and engage in some high powered consultancy.

The Times has an article about the new Chairman of the English Bar, Tim Dutton QC, a professional negligence specialist. The whole article is worth reading. He is thinking about to what extent to market direct access retainers between clients and barristers leaving out the middlemen solicitors on the basis that the junior bar represents the best value in the legal market, and to what extent to keep the main source of work, solicitors, content by preserving the status quo. He is thinking about the discussions about allowing barristers to form partnerships in England. He points out that though the top barristers are amongst the best paid in society, 30% of barristers’ under 3 years’ call earn less than £10,000 ($22,500) on publicly funded work. The article concludes with some key facts about the Bar, which numbers 15,000 barristers:

* Profession dates from 13th century
* Outnumbered 9:1 by solicitors — 11,500 barristers in private practice (5,000 in 1979)
* 3,500 barristers employed in commerce, industry or government
* Regulated by the Bar Standards Board and the four Inns of Court
* All barristers must be called to the Bar by an Inn of Court
* Queen’s Counsel total 1,200 (two thirds of whom are men)
* Called to the Bar 2005-06: 794 men and 722 women (of whom 444 from overseas)

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