Law Society’s Gazette, June 1981

Letter to the editor – Putting ‘Sits. Vac.’ in their Place…

As a recently admitted solicitor searching for a job I write to deplore the widespread practice among firms advertising vacancies of giving only the most vague indication of their whereabouts.

I, and many others, are limited geographically in looking for work; and it is therefore no help at all to read that the ‘Thames Valley’ in fact equals Slough.

One has the distinct feeling that these firms have something to hide, that something being the fact that they are situated in darkest Luton (‘Chiltern area’ in double-speak perhaps).

But surely there are people whose heart’s desire is to work in Ormskirk (‘Northern firm’) or Swindon (‘West country’) and they may very well be dissuaded by such wishy-washy notions of place.

One becomes very cynical as one flips through the Gazette’s back pages; it seems that the innocent sounding ‘South Coast’ must hide a multitude of sins.

Andrew Larman, Salisbury, Wilts

Law Society’s Gazette, June 1991

Letter to the editor – Painful lessons

A duty solicitor describes an experience that persuaded him never again to see clients in locked cells

It was in a small market town in Lancashire where I had to advise a client who was subsequently convicted of the murder of his father by stabbing him 32 times with a knife.

The detective chief inspector in charge of the case advised caution because he said that the defendant had ‘mood swings’ which were unpredictable.

When being ushered to the cell, the sergeant told me not to press the panic button because it was not working, and when I knocked on the cell door to be released I was told by a constable that the sergeant had gone to breakfast and taken the keys with him!

It took a number of very deep breaths and continued talking to the client until the sergeant eventually reappeared.

It was not a nice experience.

Lest anybody should seek to argue that no solicitor has actually been injured, I can provide evidence to the contrary.

One court duty solicitor in Liverpool had a cup of boiling tea poured over his head which he had very kindly obtained for a suspect who was supposed to be unwell.

A second unfortunate duty solicitor had his head banged against a cell wall by a prisoner because he declined a round trip of some 30 miles to collect the defendant’s wife and infant children and bring them to court.

Brian D. Woodhams, chairman, regional duty solicitor committee No.15 area