A legal challenge

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The Independent Online

Lawyers. There will, of course, be those who greet with a certain churlishness the news that newly qualified solicitors working for American law firms in London can now earn more than £100,000 a year for their way with a whereas and handling of a heretofor. Indeed, some people may well react more strongly, and in terms unfamiliar to your average revocable deed.

Lawyers. There will, of course, be those who greet with a certain churlishness the news that newly qualified solicitors working for American law firms in London can now earn more than £100,000 a year for their way with a whereas and handling of a heretofor. Indeed, some people may well react more strongly, and in terms unfamiliar to your average revocable deed.

What, we ask, is it about lawyers? We - and surely you, too - know some very nice lawyers. Fact and fiction are packed with positive role models: we need mention only Perry Mason and Sir John Mortimer. Here is a group of workers dedicated to the promotion of fairness and certainty, to the anticipation and resolution of threats to the ease and contentment of society. The lawyer may well have a claim to be the first social worker. And yet this same group seems to attract more obloquy even than muggers or chartered accountants. Why?

Sorry? Well, yes, they can be a bit on the pompous side. But no, you're right, it's the money. Somehow the feeling has got abroad that life's transactions could be rather cheaper without such generous legal surcharges. Naïve, we know, but widely held. Oh, and by the way, that £100,000 doesn't include the bonus.

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