If any simple soul thought the popular media would resolve to stop lawyer-bashing in the New Year, they were swiftly disabused.
In fact, the Daily Mail started 2017 with a humdinger, revealing that the gravy-train legal profession ‘raked in’ (presumably not literally) £32bn over the past year. For some reason this figure was contrasted with the £27bn cost of running the navy, army and air force.
Even by tabloid standards, the story by ‘Daily Mail reporter’ (who they? Ed.) was tendentious stuff. The £32bn figure had apparently been ‘revealed yesterday’, but on closer inspection seems to stem from a newsletter published by the Legal Services Board in October.
Putting aside why a thriving UK business sector is something to be denigrated, Obiter is perplexed at the link between the income of the entire profession with protest action over legal aid cuts.
The article states that money made by lawyers has shot up ‘despite strikes by barristers over their pay levels and protests from senior lawyers who demand greater taxpayer subsidies’. The implication is that the 171,198 people working in the legal sector all rely on the public purse – a surreal distortion of the truth, as the Law Society frequently points out.
Undaunted, the Mail’s assault continued last week with the front-page headline ‘Kick out hospital blood suckers’ – followed by a scurrilous cartoon, featuring a scythe-bearing grim reaper offering a card advertising the services of ‘Snipcock, Snatch and Scarper’, whose bald-headed representative lurks behind a curtain. In Daily Mail land personal injury solicitors wear morning coats and spongebags while touting for business.