Humour · Oxbridge

Integrity and a Suitable Place For It

Big hat tip to Vader 101 who sent me the photo of OTC’s ‘Headquarters’. It is here:

otcAccording to Google this is 91 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia (important sounding address) London W1.

I think the man in the bottom right is completing someone’s OLPAS application form. He will be given a sandwich for free. The good news, for him, is that Jehona says:

If you are a fan of italian football or fancy a hearty italian welcome with a sandwich to match – Italia Uno will not dissapoint. This small and friendly cafe has had the same owner since I have known about it (about 8 years now). Althought the cafe does not do any warm meals to order, it does some of the best breakfast and sandwiches in town. There is not much else to it really – just simple, excellent italian nosh.

And you will have somewhere to sit when you pop in to see them as well.

It is satisfying that a business which attempts to make people appear as they are not seems to be run from a sandwich joint.

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13 thoughts on “Integrity and a Suitable Place For It

  1. Dear Simon,

    Such is the scandal surrounding OTC that I have had to peel Minx Mater off the Familial CEILING and am now forced to wear ear defenders in perpetuity. The association of good food with shady practices is only to be borne by the Maffia.

  2. I can confirm that that particular café sells some very nice Panetone.

    Response to the OTC’s methods seems to be on two grounds – that it smacks of unfairness to pay to get the type of advantage OTC claims to offer, and that they’re simply ripping people off doing it: their particular way with the English language has been commented on here and elsewhere.

    I wonder if we’d respond differently if they seemed much more legit? I think Saatchi & Saatchi are just up on the road on Charlotte St. If OTC had similarly offices, and could string a sentence together that did not offend against grammar, spelling, or idiomatic usage perhaps?

    There are companies that will prep you for Oxbridge interviews of course, and for other such interviews and that’s to say nothing of private schools and universities. Would it be so different?

    I suppose the real sticking point though is this: that future lawyers are supposed to work according to the principle that justice should not be bought, and justice must not be denied because of impecuniousity. We may not achieve this, but it is an ideal. Entrants willing to buy their way into the system are showing very early on that they have little regard for this.

  3. This is very funny*. However, this outfit would not exist if the legal profession were able to recruit trainees in a sensible fashion.

    *I reserve my rights if this an April fool.

  4. I immediately had an issue with this photo and the way it portrays OTC – it has taken me a while to realise why.

    I see the funny side; however in a debate about Integrity and what I would call professional standards, portraying this company in this way drops below the standards I would expect from aspirants to the Bar and the Bar.

    The Bar Council has the same address as a bank and a pub with all the demeaning comments that could be written about that.

    Of greatest concern to me is that this posting actually undermines the high professional standards of the Bar. In my opinion you have not only dropped to the levels you are critising of OTC but actually below it. I am particularly uncomfortable about the ‘ban it, ban it, ban it and shoot anyone using it’ selection above.

    If OTC are doing something wrong then do something about it but keep the debate on a professional level. You cannot have it both ways, if you take the moral high ground and then throw mud your position is compromised.

  5. I’m not portraying the company in any way. On its website it talks about visits to its offices. I posted a photo of the address. I really don’t see the problem – I agree it is funny, but the humour derives from the contrast between OTC as it portrays itself and OTC as it truly is.

    That is why your comparison with the Bar Council isn’t on point. The pub is actually next door – but if the profession was a load of drunks then a photo plus comment along the lines of ‘BAR Council!’ would be perfectly ok. It is the difference between actuality and pretence that is amusing.

    The wording on the poll is intended to be light hearted. I’m sorry if it offends you, but if you are really suggesting that I am actually advocating something unlawful then you need to get out more.

    In this instance the moral high ground is simply irrelevant. What OTC do – what the people who work for it do and what those using it do – is wrong. This debate is not a professional one. The Bar depends on integrity, acts up to that and despises the (remarkably few) members of the profession who fall below those standards. OTC help people cheat.

    Consequently I have no problem saying ‘look at these people. They pose with a swank address – and here it is’. If people who have paid them, or are thinking of paying them, look at that photo and feel stupid then that’s good. This is not having it both ways. I despise what they do and this is another way of expressing my opinion that they are untrustworthy.

    If you have an issue with that then can I suggest you rethink? I agree that sneering at your opponent is not a good idea, but that is because it is no way to defeat a legitimate argument. OTC don’t have one. They are not an opponent with an equally valid view. What they stand for is inimical to the standards of the profession – so I’m saying so.

  6. I also think this is not in keeping with the high standards usually displayed by the blog author, and to which the riff raff, such as myself, apsire. An uploading of the photo, but with no further comment, might have been more telling in its effect.

  7. I am told on good authority that the sandwich shop is not their offices and they occupy the 4 floors above it. The same way that the Bar Council’s address 289 High Holborn is the Nationwide Building Society. The Bar Council operates in the offices above it – although, as you know the sandwich shop 2 doors down is very nice.

    You are depicting OTC as operating from a sandwich shop which I am told is not true – I think this is ethically wrong and also inimical to the profession, but may be this is legally acceptable (I am no lawyer).

    I personally do not agree with some of the services offered by OTC, but most are fine – and I reaffirm that this market is created by the Bar itself.

    Perhaps working with these people rather than treating them as adversaries is an alternative that would actually help them remove the offending services – I suspect they need help and guidance.

    You say they help people to cheat – I am still not aware of any proof of this?

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put my view. I respect and hear yours.

  8. Manage:

    Perhaps Simon was April fooled.

    As you have said, these people exist only because the legal profession have a stupid recruitment system.

    This is rather difficult for a lawyer to admit, though.

  9. Managechange, no one really cares where your offices are. The photo was a joke – let it go! If you want respect for your company, maybe you should start by re-writing the statements on your website and consulting the Bar Council and the Solicitors Regulation Authority regarding your services.

  10. but in all seriousness, simon’s photo makes it look like the cafe sign is all bendy and can’t spell’ italia’.
    this raises extremely important legal issues:
    1) who’s gonna sue him first?
    2) will the geekster take a fee from both?
    3) is he the only silk with a sense of humour?
    4) why isn’t bpp above a decent sandwich bar?

  11. 1. No one
    2. Geeklawyer only does pro bono work.
    3. No. But the others are really funny.
    4. Because their deal with a coffee shop underwrites the fees (that is a joke – I hope).

  12. 1) shame! surely at the very least the cafe’s ability to spell is impugned, if not the truth of any claim they have made to be italian
    2) pro bono geekio
    3) unintentionally?
    4) i think you’ll find it’s the fees themselves that are the joke – and the people like me who are stupid enough to pay them!

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