The Gazette often runs articles about solicitors looking to change their working practices or environment, but nothing ever comes close to the tales we hear from time to time of those who volunteer for legal jobs in far-off Pacific islands.
In recent years, we have reported on English solicitors Philip Ells and Nick Barnes taking on the role of People's Lawyer of Tuvalu (known locally as the People's Liar in a depressing example of the poor reputation of the legal profession worldwide, regardless of the present incumbents). Mr Ells even wrote a book on his experiences - where a fresh severe intestinal problem took hold on virtually every other page - while Mr Barnes recalled being chased by a pig on one island 'which evidently thought I was lunch or that I should have at least brought it for him'.
The latest is New Zealand solicitor Jennifer Troup, who is halfway through her two-year stint as the People's Lawyer in Kiribati. It is a tiny republic of 90,000 people whose main claims to fame are coconuts and, thanks to fortuitous positioning by the international dateline, being the first place in the world to celebrate the millennium. Ms Troup had worked for a corporate law firm in Auckland, and writing in the Gazette's Kiwi equivalent, Law Talk, she explains how she now often contacts clients by putting a message out on the country's radio station for them to call in (privacy isn't really an issue on Kiribati, apparently), reports being paid with drinking coconuts and fresh crabs, and says full English court regalia is complemented by the advocate's bare feet (not one we'd advise trying down at the Royal Courts of Justice).
She has also found that while her colleagues work hard, work does not have the same importance it does in western culture. 'It is acceptable not to come to the office if there is some kind of family or community event taking place,' she says. 'It is also acceptable for children and other family members to come and spend time in the office. The work culture is very egalitarian. When we have work celebrations, the cleaner's husband is often invited to give the first speech as he is the oldest and therefore most respected male.'
One to think about for the Clifford Chance Christmas party, perhaps.