Waxing Lyrical

April 28, 2007

Damn, I’ve been trying to remember the lyrics of an Ian Dury song. While I try to recall them, I thought I’d review some recent legal developments:

– The implementation of HIPs draws ever closer and will, we are assured, solve all the problems of the conveyancing process. Bollocks.

– The CLS has forced through the new legal aid contract, which in turn will force more firms out of business.

– This week the profession received more good publicity when an MP complained on the BBC about greedy lawyers, referring to the miners compensation claims.

– The third money laundering directive is on it’s way, and will mean that solicitors will basically be liable for any criminal activity committed by their clients.

Oh yes, I’ve remembered those lyrics: “arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks…”


Who are the fat cats?

April 3, 2007

Just received a completion statement in the post today. Sale price £240,000. Estate agents fees £3,600 plus VAT. Solicitors fees (not my firm) £500 plus VAT. Nothing unusual about that you might say, and you’d be right. Hold on a minute… the estate agents, who cursorily inspected the property, wrote up some particulars and advertised it charged THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED POUNDS more than the solicitors, who did all the conveyancing work. Why the fuck do most sellers accept this?  Christ, if the solicitors tried to charge that much they’d be complaining from the tree tops. And don’t give me any of that crap about advertising fees and the two things not being comparable – when I started out in this profession some twenty seven years ago solicitors and estate agents charged about the same. Since then, whilst we’ve capitulated to pressures to keep our fees down (with the result that we’re barely making any profit on the work), estate agents have been allowed to quietly increase their fees so that the type of figures mentioned above have become acceptable.

As there is little prospect of property sellers waking up to the fact that they’re being screwed, my advice to any aspiring ‘fat cat’ is to forget about becoming a lawyer with all that training and outside interference by regulators, and become an estate agent instead.

Job satisfaction

March 20, 2007

When I started this blog the intention was to use it as a place to rant about things about this job that get up my nose. As I said at the outset, I only intended to post occasionally. Recently, however, I’ve had fewer and fewer things to rant about. Don’t get me wrong – I still get bothered about the usual things: legal aid, the Law Society, estate agents and pointless ‘quality marks’. However, even those haven’t been concerning me so much of late. Shit – what’s happening to me? God forbid I’m becoming satisfied. Next thing you know I’ll be going to local law society meetings and putting myself forward for some bloody committee. Christ, this is getting serious…

Country bumpkin solicitors

March 4, 2007

Love this post, by Geeklawyer. Whilst I have every sympathy for him, he doesn’t have to deal all the time with jumped-up nobodies with delusions of grandeur. As a solicitor in an insignificant backwater that is, unfortunately, my fate.

Of course, I long-since got over the fact that I’m “an insignificant nothing & a nobody” myself.

Insulting Human Rights

February 22, 2007

I read today with dismay but no surprise the BBC report that an Egyptian blogger has been jailed for “insulting Islam and the president”. Christ, if you could be jailed for insulting President Blair then you’d need to double the number of prisons to solve the overcrowding crisis.

Expensive fancy dress

February 4, 2007

I enjoyed this post by Ruthie on geeklawyer. The whole system of “taking silk” is typical of our  legal system – elitist and archaic. What other job application requires payment of a £3000 fee? Come to that, what other application requires the payment of any fee? Not that I feel sorry for the applicants – they obviously have money to burn, and know that if they’re successful they’ll have the privilege of charging an enormous premium for doing the same work. However, the real reason for applying is not the money, but the chance to look extremely silly in public – their ‘ceremonial dress’ including black breeches and black stockings instead of trousers, patent leather Court shoes with buckles, the same black frock coat and waistcoat seen when in Court but with added lace trimmings, white cotton gloves, a wig with a black rosette and, of course, a silk gown.

More aggravation

January 19, 2007

I really ought to stop reading the Gazette, it’s bad for my blood pressure. In a front-page article this week, it reports that the chief executive of the ‘Legal Complaints Service’ claims that an increase in the number of complaints against solicitors will be a sign of ‘success’, saying that “better public awareness of the service will bring in more complaints”. Bloody great.

[Blimey, three posts in two days. I’d better take a rest…]