Further to last weeks post about the rejection of the NYAS legal aid tender by the LSC, along with another 70 or so applications: the LSC, no doubt wary of further searingly insightful and devastatingly critical pieces on this blog (or possibly of yet more potential litigation), appear to have backed down and given organisations a second bash. Significantly there is no acknowledgement by the LSC that it may have been responsible for the loss of information, and no indication of any fixes to the system, so it will be interesting to see how many of the 70 reapply and are successful. I'm going to start a book on that one (although my track record so far isn't so great, I was taking bets on the launch of a JR before Valentine's Day on the first round).
I went to a local Resolution dinner recently. It went as these things usually do: the waitresses played "spot the judge", the solicitors gossiped, the bar tried to market themselves whilst pretending not to, and I was too sober to be anything other than my clonky self. Whilst it was fun, the conversation was punctuated with ponderous musings on the changes that have happened in family law, legal aid, and the marketplace generally - relationships between the bar and solicitors, patterns of instructing, coverage of services have all changed and all remain in flux. Nobody knows what the future holds be they solicitor, barrister or judge - except that it is certain to be uncertain. I talked to one female solicitor about how she and her colleagues had created fantasy alternative careers. They are not alone. Whether it is midwife, small business owner or yoga master I think there are many of us who often ponder what other life there could be. Some other idyl, that we tell ourselves we could choose one day when the corrosive effect of never ending family breakdown gets too much. Something with more job satisfaction, shorter hours and more reliable income. I fancy running a chic B&B, making handmade craft items (something for which I have no talent at all) or novelist. But this is pie in the sky, temporary antidote not reality. I can't do much apart from family law.
In fact, life at the legal aid bar is so unstable that I've decided I will begin a sort of legal sector tote, a little hedge against the risky and volatile market in which I find myself. Currently I am conducting user polls to assess the odds of a given item getting past court security or not, with successful items including a jar of honey, and a pointy key, with bicycle repair kits, hair straighteners and forks all suffering from overregulation. I am also conducting research into levels of zipper fatigue at different times of day (zipper fatigue is the behaviour that is observed in security staff whereby the numbers of handbag zippers that are opened reduces as the time since last coffee break increases - if I can model an algorithm to predict this I can create a whole new betting market).
I'm looking for a booky who will take a bet against the LSC paying me the substantial sums they owe me before the end of 2012. That has to be win win, right? Don't suppose I will get great odds though.
Other predictions also worth a punt:
- the Government's mediation as alternative to court hypothesis to be proved wrong within a five year period
- court delays to increase, numbers of appeals to rise, within a 2 year period
- recruitment of family trainees and pupils plummeting