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Northern delights | Of legal fees and calories

Should law firms charge clients a service tip to help top up 
the income of law students and impoverished trainees? 
muses Kevin Poulter over his ice cream sundae

1 June 2012

I’m writing from America, where solicitors are attorneys, lawyers are litigators and murder is homicide. It is the capital of consumerism. It is also home to some strange laws: it is illegal for a witness to cry on the witness stand in Los Angeles, which might explain why Gwyneth Paltrow now lives in the UK. In Alaska it is against the law to feed alcohol to a moose, and in New York City it is disorderly conduct for one man to greet another on the street by placing the end of his thumb against the tip of his nose, at the same time extending and wiggling the fingers of his hand. So no wonder the courts are busy making stars of Judge Judy and Calista Flockhart.

My experience over the past few weeks has also highlighted some strange practices that, I fear, are only months away from being adopted in the UK. Take this example: everything on a restaurant menu has the number of calories for the meal in bold numbers next to it,...

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