Any Gazette readers puzzled by a surge in enquiries about agricultural and partnership law disputes should blame Radio 4’s long-running story of country folk, The Archers.
For those not up to date, one of the serial’s intermittent legal plots is brewing. Farmer Brian Aldridge needs to sell land on terms that are bad for his daughter Kate (a partner in the business) and her own venture, therapies outfit ‘Spiritual Home’. Cue the first incidence of legal services cross-selling in the series’ 68 years, as Kate unloads her troubles on solicitor Usha Franks while giving her a head massage (how else does one brief a lawyer?). The dialogue proceeds thus:
Usha: Thanks Kate, that was very thorough.
Kate: Sorry I kept banging on about my problems.
Usha: No, you obviously needed to vent. Actually, from what you’re telling me, I think you’ve got a point.
Kate: How do you mean?
Usha: Well it’s not my area but I can’t help feeling something’s not right about the way you’ve been treated… think it might be an idea to put you in touch with one of my colleagues. She specialises in agricultural and partnership law.
Kate: Are you saying I need a lawyer?
Usha: I certainly think you’d benefit from some legal advice.
Kate: That sounds amazing! Doing everything on my own has been really getting me down… Getting professional help, that could make all the difference…I’m damned if I’m giving up Spiritual Home without a fight… now you’ve given me a chance, there’s no way I’m going to let them destroy me.
There are reasons, Obiter concludes, why Usha has clocked up 28 years of practice in Ambridge.