The life of a baby barrister is a rich tapestry, so rich it necessitated the editor making the last missive litigation-safe.
A detox of the spleen is therapy for the unnatural calm demeanor that is required when living on the bottom rung.
The chambers saga continues.
This week I was sprung by a solicitor who figured out my chamber’s address was not quite kosher.
Having rung the chamber’s phone number to be told I was not there, he rang my mobile and asked, “Where are you”?
“In chambers,” I lied. Oops.
My lame explanation of a virtual cyber-office didn’t really help.
“I’m on the move a lot,” I offered, leaving him thoroughly unconvinced.
“Watching Days of Our Lives, are we?” he snapped.
My inclination to snap back was kept in check by my desire to be briefed. Would he have said this to a male barrister?
I think not. The pH in my stomach dropped.
Two days later, to my horror, another solicitor announced he wanted to have a meeting with me – in person.
The request alone made my mouth dry up, let alone working out where this meeting was going to happen.
Early on I had been advised one should be on friendly terms with floor clerks as they possess huge repositories of information and can single handedly destroy the careers of fledgling barristers.
So I rang a friendly clerk who said she would do what she could, no promises.
I arrived 15 minutes ahead of the meeting to be greeted with, “Sorry … oh, wait a minute, Fuss-Budget is leaving, you can have his room”.
Knowing the solicitor would be hot on my heals, I shot into the cave to try and make it look as though I belonged there.
The roller coaster of near misses came to an end. The office was littered with half-eaten food and there was underwear stuffed into the corner of an armchair. A stale odor of alcohol and BO hung in the air.
I had walked into a brothel.
Hastily a space in the clutter was cleared moments before my solicitor arrived.
Far from wanting to look like I belonged in the room I now offered a disclaimer. I blurted out, “I am borrowing this room”.
That seemed to cut off further lines of inquiry. How I longed for the boot of my car to be my chambers. I would happily feed a meter all day on Phillip Street.
It has also become quite apparent that solicitors and their money are not easily parted.
As a newbie at the bar I seem to wear a sandwich board saying, “Tire Kickers Welcome”.
This invites solicitors to send briefs along before they have looked at them in order to get free advice ahead of wasting their own time.
These briefs have certain characteristics, which can be spotted immediately.
Nobody has bothered to put them into a ring binder despite being five centimeters thick, the cover letter is on a “with complements” slip and there is no index.
Often the documents look like they have been assembled by someone with a perverse sense of humour.
The cruelty in this profession is unremitting.