As a retired criminal lawyer, I was cheered to read that there are still upbeat trainee solicitors and barristers committed to criminal law.

They face an almost impossible uphill struggle to survive amid the drastic cuts to legal aid and the ever-increasing cost of maintaining a legal practice.

The variety of work and the unique satisfaction of winning a difficult case or obtaining the desired result from a difficult plea is a strong motivating factor in their pursuing this work. Yet, as the Law Society is keen to point out, this may not be enough.

Is it not then time to consider (as I see is being discussed) a career path for criminal lawyers undertaking both prosecution and defence work? I recall that this worked quite satisfactorily in my own practice before the Crown Prosecution Service, where the police accepted that our partners would be prosecuting for them but defending in other cases in the same court on the same day.

It was not suggested that this produced a conflict of interest; indeed, the skills developed in prosecuting were valuable in defending and vice versa.

Having two strings to your bow and two sources of income would alleviate the financial struggles of the criminal lawyer.

John Greenwood, retired criminal lawyer, Chippenham, Wilts