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Guaranteed to make you feel clever. Comparatively.

Even dodos are more likely to get a job, according to research
April 14

FLIP! Law students are RUNNING OUT?

You lot are like pandas and bees and stuff now, according to the College of Law's chief exec (who, of course, has absolutely no interest in suggesting that getting a legal career will soon be easier than graduating from Jamie’s Dweam School).

Nigel Savage, not that he is, has crunched some numbers into his spreadsheet of doom and found that by 2016 there will be so few LPC graduates that anyone who accidently did get a law qualification will have to do at least 1.2 traineeships each just to keep justice rolling.

“It is vital that we encourage the brightest and best students into law and ensure that we don’t lose talent to other professions,” panted Nigel, forgetting that he was basically suggesting the quality of his own college intake was not good enough to make sure the law will be ok. “It is worrying,” he worried.

By looking at a fairly epic data range (2008–10) and keeping the massively representative pattern going via their crystal ball calculator, CoL’s in-house brainiacs have discovered that in five years’ time there will be 800 more traineeships than trainee-ables. It is not predicted what will happen to these excess desk spaces - presumably they will be given to the previous year’s rejects, or sold off at a Conservative party raffle or something – but either way the message is clear: SAVE THE LAW STUDENT!

Indeed, YL is so concerned about the plight of the LPCer that it has hired its own in-house brainiacs (unemployed LPC grads, obvs) to continue this crucial research. By putting a few add signs into the CoL's charts and rubbing out a few bits of our working, YL can frighteningly reveal that, by 2031, there will be NO LPC grads AT ALL. In fact, ever again. And if you continue the calculations a bit more you will find that by 2062 the figures are so akimbo that the industry will actually have to GIVE the CoL 3,900 lawyers every year, just to keep the statistics tallying. A bleak picture, I’m sure you will agree.

So, next time you find your tears smearing the sit-vacs, wipe your selfish little eyes and remember the plight of the law student of the future. You might not be able to get a job, but at least you flipping exist, right?

....Then again, maybe the message is just 'cool your boots everybody'. Thanks Nigel.

Sick bags at the ready

April 5

What is the point of this Linda Lee fella? Apart from making those delicious frozen gatteaux, all she seems to do as the public face of the Law Society is put her name to icky Newsround-esque press releases announcing that she is "delighted" the sky is blue and is "committed" to improving the temperature of the summer.

Here's the latest stop-press missive from el presidente:

"The 'special relationship' between the UK and the US extends to the legal services market, says the Law Society, which is leading a delegation of UK firms in Washington DC next week.

"Law Society president Linda Lee is heading the delegation to the ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting in the US capital to foster links between UK and US lawyers ahead of inward visits to London later in the year.

"Linda Lee said that efforts from solicitors in the UK and US lawyers to strengthen ties were gaining momentum and that the Washington delegation was part of the ongoing nature of closer working.

"'The Law Society's International Division works closely with the ABA Section of International Law and last year we signed a three year cooperating agreement to bring our organisations closer together through joint events and initiatives.

"'There is a good deal of interest in the US in regulatory changes in England & Wales so we will use this opportunity to update our counterparts on the latest developments in that field. The US is a major market for English legal services and a number of UK firms have offices in the capital, a trend we are also seeing here in the UK with US firms.'

"The society is working with UK Trade & Investment at the British Embassy to organise a market briefing for its members while in Washington DC and a networking reception has been organised.

"There are a number of events coming up in London for US lawyers and solicitors interested in developing their US contacts, including an event with the State Bar of California in May and the ABA Section of International Law in December."

So, basically, "we're all going on holiday to see Obama's house, woohoo!"

I get that she is triple filitered Smirnoff-style to within an inch of her public life by the media-shy media office, but come on. She's not the flipping Queen. As the closest thing lawyers have to a trade union leader, her beliefs, howver dull, deserve to be pimped up a little by the handsomely renumerated press team that solicitors are forced to pay for.

If she's really that keen on showing her international division off, why not give a thumbs up to somewhere that really needs it? America does make that very nice money stuff but maybe those judges who are risking their lives out on the streets in the Middle East could do with some peppy "special relationships" press puff.

RMT's Bob Crow might cause sort of annoying strikes and get kind of nowty on panel shows and wear pretty embarrasing caps all the time, but at least his PR team also makes sure he wears his workers' hearts on his sleeve.

Once more with feeling Lindy.

 

Express yourself

By the time you read this, YL will be lying low in deepest lawland, sporting a raggedy Rambo bandana and gingerly awaiting a face off with the fuzz.

Maybe it was seeing Take That get choreographically kettled on the Brit Awards. Or maybe it has something to do with live streaming Al Jazeera’s awesome Arab uprising coverage all day, everyday. But whatever’s to blame, YL has gone and caught that civil disobedience bug that’s been doing the rounds lately.

The best thing about being a lawyer has got to be that you get to stick two fingers up at The System while actually getting paid for it. Students have to resort to dancing about to Lethal Bizzle in a policeman’s hat to get their point across. But swap the bobby’s helmet for a dusty gown and the lyrics of POW for some neatly memorised Latin, and suddenly you’re allowed to use the long arm of the law to give that miscreant copper a good slap from a safe distance.

And if you can combine wagging your civil liberties finger with some good new-fashioned social networking skills so much the better. That’s what our cover stars did, and they wound up with ‘I can’t believe they’re not fictional’ right-on types like Mike Mansfield QC and Noam Chomsky getting their backs.

So this mag goes out to all who brave the riot squad to defend your beliefs (instead of just watching a handsome anchorman do it on AJE) but also to those of you who have been studying the books enough to beat The Man in court.

The law: tedious, inept and needlessly complex*

*Except when it concerns that binge-drinking snail case

For anyone whose revision has left them self-diagnosing dyslexia, ADD or just acute dumbassedness, here’s an ego boost.

That Master of the Rolls has been cussing up his judge buddies again, this time for crafting the law library’s equivalent of Dan Brown dross.

Delivering a 7,000-word, 25-page speech, complete with actual FOOTNOTES, Lord Neuberger told statute drafters they were also to blame for the systematic mind-melt - for writing “over-long” law.

Luckily he also offered some learned comments on how to sex up your statute book, with a little help from HMP Holloway’s own poet laureate, Oscar Wilde.

"As the Romans had it, ignorantia juris haud excusat, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that is true both of our criminal law and our civil law. But if ignorance of the law is ruled out as an excuse, legislators, judges and lawyers owe a concomitant duty to ensure that the law is not so impenetrable or abstruse that even other lawyers and judges are unable to penetrate it.

"It is for this reason that legislation should be drafted clearly; and why, in recent years, there has been such a sustained and justified outcry at the inexorable volume, the tedious length, and the inept drafting of many of the Acts of parliament that have found their way onto the statute book.

"Oscar Wilde said that truth is ‘rarely pure and never simple’, and the same may be said of the law. But that is no excuse for judges producing judgments that are readable by few, and comprehendible by fewer still. Indeed, the increasing complexity of the law imposes a greater obligation than ever on judges to make themselves clear.

"We can, of course, all think of particularly bad judgments: over-long, meandering, thick with digressions, obiter dicta, and needlessly complex. Not all have the precision of Lord Atkin’s judgment in Donoghue v Stevenson. We might all benefit from reminding ourselves of the clarity with which he identified the issue and set out the principle. First, a crisp statement of the issue, then a tightly drafted consideration of the case law, and, finally, an equally crisp and clear statement of the law:

“The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, you must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer's question, who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be - persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.”

"The alleged snail may well have been in a ‘dark opaque glass’ but there was nothing dark or opaque about Lord Atkin’s opinion, nor was it too long or discursive: a very model of a modern major judgment."

Here here, Dave MR. Now then, where's Katie Price's phone number... YL has an Act to draft, STAT.

 

 

Ahoy hoy. We're just putting the finishing touches to the next instalment of YL magazine, but in the meantime thought you might enjoy this missive from the mysterious Mop.

If there are any York alumni out there who recall the longsuffering cleaner, please get in touch. We want to poke and laugh.

Dear editor,

I thought this might bring a smile to the faces of you learned people.

For ten years I worked as a cleaner, although that was a loose term for what I did.

The students called me Mop – that was my nickname, given and taken in fun with no disrespect at all.

They even bought me a number plate which said Mop on it, which still sits proudly on my estate car.

One year we had a batch of law students all attending the college in York. They weren’t bad kids at all, although this was a ten-bedroom ex-B&B so it was hard work keeping them and the house in order.

I explained we should work together, keeping the place in good order for the landlord - as I have a degree in nagging, I felt I could keep them in line.

My husband works in health and safety (I hear you all sigh – and believe me, I know that particular sigh). Years ago, when he was doing his degree he had to learn a lot of law and legislation. Sometimes I felt like I was doing that degree with him – I can remember him talking about torts a lot.

One day, two of the students were sat at the large dining table in the communal sitting room. They said they had some sort of exam about torts, so I said if they wanted I could test them as I polished. This seemed to amuse them intensely and as I carried on they kept sniggering to each other. I joked with them a bit and told one of them to go and make me a coffee. He came back with three mugs, and brought me a biscuit as well - such a nice lad!

I picked up my mug ready for my well-earned coffee, only to find the cup had a rather large chip out of the brum. "Uh," I thought, "you could cut your mouth on this."

“Well I’m not very impressed with this,” I said. “Where’s your duty of care? Have you learned nothing?” I then quoted Donahue v Stephenson 1932, adding: “Come on boys, get with the programme and practise what you preach!”

The moment was priceless – if you could have seen their faces. They both looked at each other, one turned to his book as if to check the date. At this point I headed out to get the Hoover, shouting back: “Tell me you’re not having to look that up!” When I came back in the room, one asked: “Mop, how did you know that?”

“Well,” I said, “I used to be a solicitor but the money was so bad I decided to change direction, and here I am today.”

With that, I set about hoovering the room. They left to get out of my way (I’m like Terminator when armed with a Hoover) and as he passed, shaking his head, he turned and said: “You are one scary woman Mop, do you know that?”

Carol Johnson is now retired and lives in York with her husband (and her personalised number plate)

 

Cash for honours
November 2010

Well whaddya know. The first YL of the school year calls a revolution and within minutes (months) students are staging sit-ins (riots) on the streets of Londinium. Nice work comrades!

Don’t suppose a front cover calling for immediate super injunctions against all royal wedding nonsense would have similar influence, would it guys? Guys?

Ok, yeah, maybe some of the credit should be saved for messrs Cam, Clegg and Browne, who are certainly doing their bit for “revolution” in the uni stakes. Labour put in the ground work of course and the likes of Prince Div and Princess in the Middleton have been doing all this cash for BA(hons) stuff for years – but we are now officially entering the wheeler dealer age of “market driven” education.

Plenty think it’s a great thing. Plenty think it ain’t. Which makes for a nice excuse to pit teacher against teacher in a YL smackdown special. The first bit of the mag, confusingly called Class of 2011, is dedicated to the future of the LLB – has law school disappeared up its own proverbials in a haze of academic beard teasing? Should all that theory stuff be a replaced by a ‘just add water’ practical apprenticeship? Or is university about more than getting a foot on the greasy professional pole? Is the ability to quote Auden (see page 23 to believe) just as important to YLs as the ability to quote Bingham?

Ultimately pointless debate ensues as people who have already made their mind up explain why they won’t be changing it any time soon. Anyway, there’s plenty other stuff to take your mind off it in the rest of the mag, so give over.

All that’s left now is to make the traditional desperate plea for feedback and future feature fodder. Please, please tweet/poke/emither with all your smut, scandal and scoops. It’s what makes the modern world go round, right?

Brand new launch
September 2010

Gather round baby barristers, little lawyers and people who picked up the mag by mistake. Gather round and welcome to this brave new Young Lawyer world. We’ve pulled out all the redesign stops under the flipping sun to woo you in (just check out how OTT we went on the whole ‘acceptable in the 80s' graphics) and some of you guys even worked for free to help us out, so do please stick around. It’s going be mostly painless, promise.

For those who have escaped my desperate pleas to become your BFFs over the summer, I’m the new editor of the good ship YL, desperately trying to win the hearts and minds of the unwrinkled end of this crazy profession before you too turn into the foaming old cynics we entertain over at our sister publication, Solicitors Journal (no offence).

Right, so the idea is that we give you a heap of free articles every month or so explaining how to make good in this stupidly competitive vocation, without losing your principles, your rag or your soul to The Man etc. We also rope in a rag-tag bunch of real-life YL’s in each edition to dole out the advice they wish they had received when they were in previous shoes. So students get advice from LPCers, LPCers get advice from trainees, trainees get advice from the NQTs and I get advice from the proper experts to make sure I don’t get sued for libel.

Everyone’s welcome to write in with their 50 pence, whether it is a venomous rant about your boss or a thinly-veiled attempt to beef up your CV. Basically, the more you get involved the better the mag will be. So consider yourselves warned: YL knows what you did this summer and will be chasing you down on social networking sites to demand a nice story about it in due course.

14 April 2011

Guaranteed to make you feel clever. Comparatively.

Even dodos are more likely to get a job, according to research
April 14


FLIP! Law students are RUNNING OUT?

You lot are like pandas and bees and stuff now, according to the College of Law's chief exec (who, of course, has absolutely no interest in suggesting that getting a legal career will soon be easier than graduating from Jamie’s Dweam School).

Nigel Savage, not that he is, has crunched some numbers into his spreadsheet of doom and found that by 2016 there will be so few LPC graduates that anyone who accidently did get a law qualification will have to do at least 1.2 traineeships each just to keep justice rolling.

“It is vital that we encourage the brigh...

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