Law: Briefs

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The Independent Culture
ROBERT SAYER, president of the Law Society, and his friends were prepared to play along with everything laid on in the name of Walt Disney at the weekend's festival of law in Disneyland Paris.

Everything except the food. Despite assurances that Disney had a "working- class" charm and would cater for all the ordinary needs of solicitors and their families, the president's sumptuous dinner was held 20 miles away, at a chateau formerly owned by the Baron de Rothschild.

KENNETH CLARKE QC, a former Tory chancellor, was the first barrister to confront the unsettling feeling of being a guest at a law conference that had been hijacked to call for the abolition of his branch of the legal profession.

Mr Clarke chaired a panel discussion on the euro minutes after the Law Society's president, Robert Sayer, had made his clarion call for all lawyers to form a single profession and unite under the banner of the solicitors.

Mr Clarke made no secret of his difficulty in introducing himself to the audience:

"I have to tell you that I am a barrister - although I don't know if that's allowed any more."

HOW DO you confuse a Law Society president? Tell him that there is a party in the evening, and that the dress code is casual. The current office- holder, Robert Sayer, and his predecessor, Michael Matthews, both attended an informal welcome reception in Paris wearing their very best bib and tucker despite orders to "dress down".

"The trouble with solicitors is that they have only two suits - one for working in the office and one for working at the party," observed one very casually dressed barrister.

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