A candid and inspiring autobiography from the barrister who became legal adviser to the king of Jordan.
This is a reflective account of the author’s career as a barrister that developed into several high-profile political roles, including minister of justice in Jordan, acting foreign minister, member of the Jordanian Senate and legal adviser to King Hussein of Jordan.
The book starts in Jerusalem and the author’s views concerning geopolitical issues of the region are referenced throughout.
Key moments of the author’s career are well described, as are interesting anecdotes relating to how Dr Nasir’s deft legal skills were applied in matters as diverse as: the artistic portrayal of prophets; purchasing the freehold of prime Kensington property for a fraction of the market price; and an ‘assignment to thwart a sordid conspiracy that could have changed the face of the Middle East’ (in a chapter entitled ‘On His Majesty’s Service’).
The author’s reflections are candid. Immigration lawyers may identify with Dr Nasir’s suggestion to immigration authorities that they ‘review some of their regulations and appoint more experienced and responsible staff, especially at airports’.
The reader comes across a number of high-profile names, including Lord Denning (‘who complimented my knowledge and experience’), Bill Clinton (‘we had a pleasant journey together’), the Shah of Iran (‘moderation was certainly not part of his lifestyle!’), the late Colonel Gaddafi (‘an aggressive, impulsive man’) and Chairman Mao (noted for his character and alertness).
Lovers of poetry will find works by Dr Nasir woven into the book and ‘Appendix III’ contains a lengthy poem in praise of King Hussein (pictured, with Clinton). The remaining appendices are mostly letters of appreciation and recognition of the sort lawyers often treasure.
The author acknowledges: ‘At least in law one can never become bored, because the variety of cases one deals with is so extraordinary.’ This is unlikely to be the case for every practitioner, but a career in the law need not be confined to practice as a barrister or solicitor.
To this end, the professional trajectory described in Under My Wig may inspire those who wish to live their professional lives in the mould of the lawyer as a statesperson or homme d’affaires – a trusted and wise adviser upon whom reliance can be placed for often urgent and authoritative advice.
Shehzad A Qureshi is a solicitor at Brunel Solicitors