There is a growing tendency for the current generation of lawyers to cast a somewhat jaundiced eye on those of us of an earlier time. They may well have a point. The past is indeed a different country; we did things very differently there.

How did we ever justify the ridiculous waste of time and costs (before land registration) examining abstracts of title deeds which had been examined umpteen times before? To justify the scale fee (long abolished)?

From the 1970s onwards, as divorce flourished were we a tad cavalier in our attitude to marriage? Confrontation, not mediation, was the name of the game. In that merry free-for-all, it was the survival of the fittest.

Legal aid, civil and criminal, was taken for granted, the Green Form for legal advice the panacea for almost all ills. Criminal bills large or small largely went unchallenged. The litigators had never had it so good. It was routine for firms to send unlicensed and unqualified staff to police stations and prisons.

These are examples from a less regulated, more relaxed age – and, of course, come the nineties it all had to change. Apart from the decimation of legal aid, the Woolf reforms, mediation, the Children Act (et al) have been changes for the good.

So the present generation may miss some of the fun we had, but they can content themselves that a lawyer’s integrity and a client’s protection are paramount in this vastly changed legal world.

John Greenwood, Chippenham, Wilts