Contradiction between public perception of barristers and efforts to present a classless image
This cultural divide is also illustrated by obituaries of barristers, for example:
“The affetato misto in the Jager-Stubli in the Bernese Oberland was transformed by his description from a decent, if ordinary, platter of charcuterie to the most mouth-watering fare in the world.”
“Away from court, no dressing down for him. One might occasionally see a flash of red braces but on the whole he saw himself as keeping up standards of sartorial elegance in an increasingly shabby world.”
There have also been reports of “a popular and eminent QC” who, while working on a case in Croydon, could not find anywhere which served a decent lunch. He was photographed holding a cigar in one hand and a bag of fish and chips in the other. His instructing solicitor commented that this was how he liked his QCs: extravagant on the one hand, down to earth on the other.
Language used in legal practice includes sporting metaphors, for example a successful prosecution is described as “potting” the accused, and a trial can be described as a “fight”. Cases are “won” or “lost”. This use of language illustrates the highly competitive and adversarial nature of current mainstream legal practice.
During a barristers’ conference some years ago, where the matters being discussed included the possibility of direct access to the public without the intervention of a solicitor, one barrister hissed loudly every time the word “solicitor” was mentioned.
These types of comment illustrate a cultural context which is very far removed from a profession which is strenuously trying to rebrand itself as modern, caring and in touch.