Sunday, 4 December 2011

Solicitors' Dinner

Last Tuesday I was at the Livery Dinner of the Worshipful Company of Solicitors held in Carpenters Hall. And a very fine dinner it was with exquisite wines. I discovered from the Past Master next to whom I was sitting that the Company buys its wine en primeur, keeps it until mature and then drinks it at dinners years later. As an en primeur buyer myself I was full of admiration at this policy.
The after dinner speaker was Lady Justice Hallet, Vice President, High Court, Queen's Bench Division. She was, unsurprisingly, eloquent and spoke of the potential hazards facing the profession from the lowering of standards, due to three emerging factors : firstly the rise of conditional fees where fees are related to outcome (ambulance chasing as us non-lawyers describe it); secondly education and the watering down of qualifications (very serious if true); and lastly Regulation, where lay regulators are applying a 'light touch'. As she herself made clear at the beginning of her speech this was not an after dinner speech full of jokes but even for non-lawyers it was very interesting.However talking defensively to her own kind one was reminded of Mandy Rice Davis's famous comment ''well he would say that wouldn't he''.

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