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Had the most annoying solicitor in the world on the phone today, a woman whose name can only be CheapSkate.  She’s renowned throughout chambers though her real nickname is somewhat ruder.  Anyway, CheapSkate makes a habit of preying on the baby bar and prides herself on not paying for a single advice.  The only reason she gets away with it is that the rest of her firm gives chambers a fair amount of paid work and no-one wants to upset the apple cart (or perhaps gravy train might be more accurate).  Anyway, today it was my turn,

“Good morning BabyBarista.  You couldn’t just spare a couple of minutes to look something up for me could you?  Quick freebie?”

If she thought I was that naive she had another thing coming.  That same line caused Worrier four hours of work in the library only last week.

“Actually, I’m really busy today but if you want to send the papers in the DX, I’d be happy to look at them in the next couple of days.”

Touché, though she certainly wasn’t going to fall for that little wheeze as she knew full well that once the papers got into the hands of the clerks they’d be on the books and charged appropriately.

“I could email you over the details and then perhaps we could have a chat tomorrow.”

Eventually I relented.  It’s an essential part of being a part of this chambers to have a CheapSkate story or two to share and anyway it might bring in work from the rest of her firm.  Another of the peculiar Bar Council Alice in Wonderland type rules is that whilst we can’t pay a single penny for cases there’s nothing at all to stop us providing say, a thousand pounds worth of free work.  Oh, so long as it’s not explicitly in return for work.  Which of course it isn’t.  We just do it for the love of pleasing CheapSkate.  Course we do.

Not that it’s quite so bad when you’ve got ten mini-pupils beavering away in the library on your behalf.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan. You can buy the latest BabyBarista novel, 'Law and Peace' on Amazon. The cartoons are by Alex Williams, author of The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus.

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