Re: Spring 2013 - Page 6

Life law after Not all lawyers want to be lawyers their entire working life. Even those that remain in the law sometimes venture into other, dare I say, more exciting opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, legal work can be exciting. No, really. Television has long been fond of a courtroom drama; from the days of Rumpole and Crown Court to Kavanagh QC and Suits. Yet most fictional depictions concentrate on American law firms and English barristers chambers. We solicitors only get a look in when there’s a police interview. In reality that’s one of the least attractive parts of the job, particularly when dealing with intoxicated clients at three in the morning. If it’s not always cliff-edge exciting, working as a solicitor can be rewarding. Seeing your legal arguments prevail makes the drudgery of sifting through seemingly endless documents for facts worthwhile. More than that, winning compensation for a client that enables them to retain a quality of life that may otherwise have been impossible, perhaps because of a disabling injury, can feel like scoring the winning goal at Wembley. Yet, if the joy of legal practice does wear off, what do lawyers do? A great many not-so-local politicians were once lawyers, including Jack Straw, Tony Blair, and further afield, the current US President. In endorsing Mitt Romney’s 2012 run for the Presidency at the Republican Convention Clint Eastwood said “We don’t need lawyers in the White House”. Something of a problem given Romney is also a law graduate of Harvard Law School. In fact 22 of the 44 Presidents in America’s history were once lawyers. Mary Robinson, former President of the Republic of Ireland and her successor Mary McAleese are both former barristers. The former went on to become UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In terms of political campaigning Shami Chakrabarti CBE worked as a human rights barrister before becoming director of human rights campaigning group Liberty and Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. Paul Simon Oscar Hammerstein Thomas Campion Julie Iglesias Dave Rowntree Film, TV and radio Many in the entertainment business once ventured down a legal path. John Cleese has a law degree. Otto Preminger, film and theatre director whose credits include Anatomy of a Murder studied law at the University of Vienna. Ex-Radio One DJ Judge Jules is currently training to be a lawyer. Raul Julia, who played the Defence attorney in Presumed Innocent and Gomez Addams in The Addams Family films started as a lawyer. Hollywood star Gerard Butler had his legal career cut short after getting sacked when drunk as a trainee solicitor. John Whaite, the 2012 winner of Great British Bake Off has a law degree and won a placement at a national law firm before entering the competition. He now plans to study patisserie at the Cordon Bleu and Max Clifford claims the young baker could earn £500k from book and TV deals alone. Comedian Bob Mortimer was once a solicitor with Southwark Council. Writers Lawyers like writing. A fact confirmed by anyone who has received one of those long incomprehensible letters that lawyers are famed for (however if you ever receive a letter from Mayo Wynne Baxter in anything other than plain English, please let me know, as that shouldn’t happen). These writing abilities can be used in other ways, to varying effect. Those who manage to get published follow in some great footsteps of lawyers turned writers: Sir Walter Scott Federico Garcia Lorca Scott Turow John Grisham John Mortimer Wilkie Collins Henry Fielding John Buchan John Galsworthy Charles Dickens (legal clerk) Of the most recent authors, Turow and Grisham feature legally-based plots in almost all of their novels and Mortimer created the unforgettable character of Rumpole. Barack Obama was a civil rights attorney and editor of the Harvard Law Review Music The significantly shorter list of lawyers who went into music includes tenor Andrea Bocelli and Francis Scott Key who composed the US national anthem. I contemplated the move when singing with a band a couple of years ago, but the usual problems arose; not enough time to rehearse, musical differences, lack of talent, audience hostility, and the band literally disbanding. All of which left me still looking for my Subo moment. The legal world lost out when these gifted musicians dropped out of law school: Tchaikovsky Handel Sibelius So, as I sit here looking out at the Lewes skyline, contemplating the adequacy of the next line in this article, I can take comfort from the fact that I may be paving the way for a future change of career. If I can fit it round the singing opportunities of course. Ripley became a solicitor specialising in sports law. While Brian Moore, former England Rugby star, succumbed to the charms of legal practice between the late 1990s and 2003, after which he became a sports commentator for the BBC. All in all, there is much to commend legal training, even if you don’t want to be a lawyer for life. It teaches you to respect facts, make a good case, pay attention to detail and think fast when you need a new line of argument. Some would no doubt argue there are already too many lawyers. Others will think a fair legal system is a hallmark of a civilised society and that to serve everyone equally we need expert advisors that can interpret the law. Either way, I find myself hoping smart, passionate individuals continue to choose law, for at least a part of their working lives. For me, it’s the most interesting, exciting and satisfying way to make a living. Until I get that call from Simon Cowell. By Chris Randall Politics Drawn by the promise of a good argument and the chance to let their red pen loose on legislation, some of our most well-known local politicians started out as lawyers. Airey Neave, MP for Eastbourne until he was killed by a car bomb in 1979, was a qualified barrister. Nigel Waterson, MP for Eastbourne between 1992 and 2010 started out as a barrister and then a solicitor specialising in shipping law. Michael Foster, MP for Hastings and Rye between 1997 and 2010 is a solicitor working in employment law. Sport The law is full of young bright people devoted to their work and inspired by a sense of justice. However, the overall demographic is ageing. The average age of a partner in a regional law firm is now 56. The figure is distorted to some extent by practitioners that simply cannot afford to retire, because they cannot pay the expensive insurance premiums that fall due if the practice closes because they cannot find a successor. As a consequence, it is perhaps not surprising that lawyers very rarely move on to sporting prowess. However some sporting heroes have gone on to become lawyers. After hanging up his boots in 2002 Blackburn and England footballer Stuart 4 5