Barristers opening B&Bs, duty of care debates over 'motorway pubs' and Trip Advisor-style comparison sites launching for lawyers. Is 2014 set to be the legal services sector's weirdest year ever?
Far be it from PremExtra to emulate those kings of gossip
at Roll on Friday, but we do from time to time like to review the
more unusual stories from around our industry, so here goes…
First up is news that a Trip-Advisor style comparison web site has launched so that consumers can rate and review their legal advisors. Described as the UK's most comprehensive legal recommendations website, Ratedsolicitors.com allows the public to score their legal advisors and for law firms to purchase advertising space, in order to achieve a kind of premium listing status. It's early days at the moment and we hope for the industry's sake that this venture doesn't leave firms with egg on their faces as has been the case with angry holiday makers on the aforementioned hotel review site.
As 2014 began, many of you will have noticed the dramatic scenes around Fleet Street, the Strand and Lincolns Inn as barristers set up picket lines for their half day strike on 6th January in protest at Legal Aid cuts. Never one from letting the fact it has almost single-handedly championed the slashing of said financial support system, our dear old Daily Mail, opted for a little human interest this time with a fascinating sob story of a barrister who couldn't make ends meet and opted to open a B&B instead. Anyone who knows that particular part of the hospitality industry will be aware that the hours are not dissimilar to presiding at the Bar; early mornings and late nights are characteristic of both, but 54 year old Judith King thought better of the former and switched to Yorkshire to avoid the axe of Chris Grayling.
Striking barristers is a new one for most of us and the media had a field day as the Silks took to militancy. The Law Society Gazette's gossip spies emerged with this little yarn alleging that RMT boss Bob Crow had provided tips to Michael Turner QC on how to get the best from one's protestations. We loved the quote from Bob about his strike pupil Turner: "he's a bit extreme"…
And finally, back in the world of work, we spotted an interesting debate prompted by the bizarre news that Wetherspoons would be opening the UK's very first Motorway pub. As the news broke that alcohol would be made freely available to travellers and that all drinkers would face more than the usual number of 'Think, don't drink and drive' posters, legal experts including well known QC Mike Rawlinson and Kennedys partner Mark Burton took to twitter to get to the bottom of this tricky duty of care question.