Web week

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@ thelawyer. com.

A nice little learner
Web Week’s most fantastic discovery this week is BabyBarista (babybarista.blogspot. com/index.html), the story of a “pupil barrister making coffee for the rich and famous”.

We are assured by BabyBarista: “This is a fictional account of a pupil barrister undergoing the trials of pupillage at the English Bar. It is not based on fact.”

If this is a fictional account it is genius and Web Week apologises to you for not bringing it to your attention sooner. Here’s a snippet from this week’s post: “Worrier came to see me today and asked if I was interested in earning a little money on the side, ‘devilling’… It’s a bar tradition. What it apparently refers to is the practice of barristers employing junior barristers to do the work for them.

“But I thought we were obliged to be self-employed as barristers? Not able to employ other lawyers, unlike solicitors? Well, Worrier explained. Technically, that’s true. However, it seems there’s a loophole for ‘devilling’. It seems to get by on the basis that it’s an informal fee for ‘research’.

“However, Worrier went on to explain that there’s a barrister in Gray’s Inn who I shall call TidySum who has taken this to a completely new level. He currently has around thirty little devils around the bar and pays them up front one third of what he bills out for the work. This basically gives them £50 per hour which is a lot more than they’d be getting in alternative part-time work.

“Solicitors love him as he’s turning his papers around within 48 hours (although they might be surprised to hear that the work is being done by pupils).”

And if that gets your juices flowing, then scroll back to October for some real fireworks. Web Week thinks BabyBarista may be making more regular appearances in this column.

Home truths
The UK is starting to get to grips with this blawging lark, and here’s one that is exclusively devoted to employment law. employmentlawatwork.typepad. com reported on a rather blunt judgment against the Home Office last week: “The Times reports a case today involving the Home Office and a sex and race discrimination claim brought by two of its employees. The employees won. The chairman in the case was, ahem, fairly frank in the decision. He said: ‘What happens when one of Britain’s least impressive managements, by its sole consistent attitude of procrastination, drives two long-service Asian women to become uncooperative and dismissive? The answer is systemic race and sex discrimination against them and dismissals unfair according to every tenet in the canon.’

“Well, that’s pretty clear.”

TV firm is back in business
Most pleasing for Web Week was this news on blogs.wsj. com/law: “When attorney Sam Seaborn left Gage Whitney to work on Jed Bartlet’s presidential campaign, the firm might have folded. Okay, the firm might have folded because we’re talking about a firm on The West Wing.

“But unlike so many characters and entities that go to TV heaven, Gage Whitney is still in business! The firm has been reincarnated for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, producer Aaron Sorkin’s latest vehicle. And it appears that Gage Whitney has expanded its legal portfolio. When Seaborn (Rob Lowe) was an associate there, he worked on environmental corporate defense cases. In the most recent episode of Studio 60, Gage Whitney’s taken on a sexual harassment suit.”

Unfortunately WSJ could not confirm whether Sam will be making a spectacular return to the firm, but Bartlett’s deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman (aka Bradley Whitford) will be appearing in the show. And while everyone’s favourite CJ Craig is thought not to be making an appearance, her beau, White House reporter Danny Concannon (aka Timothy Busfield), will (hurray!).

Yes, it’s a tangential link to the law, but we couldn’t resist.