I woke up this morning and realised that it was the first time in 4 weeks that I was not going to spend the day racing around like a maniac. More particularly, last night was the first time since last Saturday night that I had gone to bed earlier than 3am. And I wasn’t out clubbing. My case over-ran with the Jury out for a long time and I had an Opening due in the next. Since the next case (due to start Monday) was contained in 42 lever-arch files, the Opening was a long document. I got it down to 42 pages – one per file – which I thought was good going.
Of course, no sooner was it delivered than the case settled. So that’s 5 weeks’ work down the pan and no money. Of course all those late nights were worth it. Now I have nothing for next week and not much for the week after. My family will be allowed to talk to me about non-urgent matters – this has been banned for the last 4 weeks or so – and walking the dog will not be the opportunity to talk to the junior in the London case. I would like to think he will miss his nightly call, but suspect that he will also be glad to get back to his wife and family.
This is what it can be like. Frantic activity which turns out to be for nothing. Weeks of real pressure and anxiety. And then a complete gap. I do actually have work to do, but I’m not going to do anything until Tuesday. On Monday the dog and I are going to walk to Harewood House, have lunch (me) and come back. We will both have covered 13 odd miles and the dog will have chased things and barked at other things. We will both be knackered but feel much better. I hope my clerk isn’t reading this.
Monday was going to be an allegation of a civil conspiracy by state bodies. I am sorry in some ways that it settled, although the client walks away with some money. I had got right into it by the time the Opening was finished and there is now a slight feeling of anti-climax. That’s part of the job too, but I never much like it. I console myself with the belief that we would have won, and the knowledge that I can’t be proved wrong about that.
As part of the settlement I took no fee for the work done in preparation during the last month or so. I blame Conditional Fee Arrangements myself. They have always been unsatisfactory and in this case my junior and I were in a position of conflict: on the basis of the proposed settlement, the client got what we believed was an acceptable amount and we got nothing. If it fought and we won, we could both have taken most of the rest of the year off. We did the right thing and we know it, but it is uncomfortable nonetheless. Whilst the Government seems content to defame the Bar, I bet no civil-servant ever cites this sort of thing.
A fairly typical month all-in-all. As you read the posts below, please ask yourself if this is what you want. As for me, I love it.