Tabloid terror highlights the need for leadership

The LEGAL profession's image suffered yet another body blow last week. The revelation that West End firm Boodle Hatfield presented former prime minister John Major with a hefty £400,000 bill for legal services in his capacity as guardian to Princes William and Harry was guaranteed to generate media hysteria.

The damage to the profession as a whole caused by this and other stories about the level of fees being charged by lawyers in the wake of Princess Diana's death is incalculable. The fact that Boodle was carrying out premium work, had to pay counsel fees and had the bill independently checked by a taxing master is all irrelevant to the tabloids and the public.

Perhaps the time has come for the legal profession to sacrifice itself on the altar of public opinion. Just imagine the positive publicity which would have been generated if the country's top lawyers had got together and offered their services on a pro bono basis on all matters relating to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.