The Law Society’s Gazette, 6 December 1972The Law Society’s tie

It has now been possible to analyse the results of the enquiry made of members concerning the provisionally approved new design for the Law Society’s tie. As was expected, the ‘other comments or suggestions’ made by members were of a quite extraordinary diversity, ranging from ‘gaudy and vulgar’ through the whole gamut to ‘far too old fashioned and sombre’. The motif [the figure of Justice] was variously described as ‘Coco the Clown’, ‘Julius Caesar in his nightshirt’, ‘a Walt Disney character’, ‘one of Ken Dodd’s Diddymen’, and ‘a barmaid with a pint in each hand’.

There was talk of harlequins, barbers’ poles, Christmas tree decorations and dire suggestions that the figure of Justice had ‘more than the statutorily permitted quantity of alcohol in her blood’.

Many members were less discursive on the subject, with short sharp comments such as the succinct and apposite ‘get knotted’, the cryptic ‘this is 1972’, the uncompromising ‘I dislike association haberdashery’, and the forthright ‘utterly undignified, garish, abominable, dreadful’. There was even one member who found the motif like an advertisement for a ‘brothel’.

Law Society’s Gazette 13 December 1972 Inside the Underworld by Peta Fordham

A fascinating aspect of the book is the question of how an obviously ‘nice’, middle-class, middle-aged lady barrister, married to a silk and living ‘in a bluebell wood in Kent’, came to be drawn to and accepted by the seedy and violent world of which she writes.

Her insight into the criminal mentality and society is of immense value and interest, particularly to those whose work brings them into contact with those on the wrong side of the law. She wrote: ‘Solicitors (with rare exception) are reckoned by the underworld to be "no better than us". The solicitors that are "better than us" are much feared, respected and mostly obeyed.’ To see ourselves as others see us!

Reviewed by N T Whittle