I Should Have Been A Lawyer
I have recently had to spend some considerable time in the London Headquarters of a major legal practise. And now I realise that I should have been a lawyer, a solicitor, or most likely, a barrister. Not just because I value my opinion more than that of anyone else, or because I am always right – although both are true. No, I think that the money, the job and the peripheral distractions are all quite appealing.
Now, I’ve always had a fascination for the law ever since the days I got caught shoplifting as an eleven year old – American war comics from my local newsagent. The police were never called but the threat that they would be hung over my head for a long, long time. It remains one of my major humiliations and was the kind of short, sharp shock that stopped me going to the dark side……or getting caught again. 😉
Lunchtime with Crown Court in the 1970s made boring half terms on a rainy day worthwhile – this was the days before daytime TV, when we were tantalised by a couple of hours of television viewing at lunchtime before the evening viewing kicked off with shows like Magpie and Blue Peter. Usually it was drivel such as Pebble Mill (all you need to know is that it is the kind of programme that Christine Bleakley and Adrian Childs would have hosted back in the day) but occasionally it was the drama of Crown Court.
More recently I have progressed to shows such as Ally McBeal with the foxy Calista Flockhart, before she became anorexic, botoxed and developed the wide-mouthed frog look. And, Damages, being box sets I have been glued to – although the ending of series three was somewhat disappointing……
But, my couple of days in the chrome and polished glass palace of a London legal firm were a real eye-opener. There were glass lifts and leather chairs in abundance and we were treated to overflowing plates of chocolate chip for elevenses, and tuna and egg sandwiches (tuna and egg in combination that is – a mix which shouldn’t go together but, upon tasting, kind of does) and duck spring rolls for lunch. You get the sense that there is money to be made in the legal profession.
I also found the process quite exciting. I was participating as part of a commercial negotiating team trying to land a contract. As such, both parties had their solicitors in the room, jousting and duelling with the specific meaning of terminology and words such as “may” versus “shall” and phrases such as “where relevant” and “in proportion”. Lawyers would whisper advice in the ears of their clients, or pass notes while tapping their fountain pens in a rather irritating fashion, or, order their clients to leave the room for a side bar or cooling down period (in reality, I suspect a weak bladder was to blame here). It was quite exciting to be in the middle of it all.
But, the environs of the office were also quite distracting. While all of the male lawyers looked like accountants, being balding grey men of a certain age, in grey suits and white shirts with ties that may well have been fashionable two years ago on the red sofa of BBC Breakfast News (another reason why Bill Turnbull should be removed from our screens), the women were, certainly, not!
Now, there may well have been the notable exception that passed me by, but, it seemed that these plush, ultra-modern offices were awash with attractive young things, with legs that went all the way from their pert skirted bottoms to the click, click, click of their high-heeled FM Jimmy Choos. Long blonde hair, designer handbags and designer spectacles were everywhere to be seen. Everyone of them looked like my naughty librarian fantasy. Oh come on, we ALL have a naughty librarian fantasy. Don’t we? It was hard to maintain concentration at times.
I should have been a lawyer.