This is my 48th year of practice. I have seen much and witnessed many remarkable changes in the evolution of our profession some good, others bad. We are frequently subjected to ill-informed criticism and never far from scathing comment in the press. Yet it strikes me that in this world of ever increasing bureaucracy weighed down by excessive regulation, we are perhaps guilty of some own goals.
The principal mistake must be the part that we have played in allowing our own regulation to become – in the eyes of many practitioners – a beast that stalks us. I mean of course the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Emboldened by its investigatory powers and encouraged by government, the public have undoubtedly been well-entertained by the Leigh Day affaire extraordinaire. Doubtless some enterprising individual will now write a script for a Hollywood film. John Hyde rightly says in his blog that many questions will now be asked by lawyers. So when you consider on one hand the enormous and sustained efforts made to bring to book the hapless partners of this firm and the consequential costs bill for the profession, and then we read a report that a divorce lawyer was recently fined for calling a litigant in person a ‘fisherwoman’, I cannot help thinking that we are lurching from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Is all this what I have been paying my practising certificate for? Have we lost our way?
David Kirwan, Senior and managing partner, Kirwans, Merseyside