A profession shamed

The debate over the fees charged by Mishcon De Reya has undoubtedly not helped the image of the profession, at a time when Lord Irvine is looking for every excuse to highlight fat cat lawyers.

However, I simply cannot understand why the profession did not see the opportunity to volunteer its pro bono services at an earlier stage.

Apart from the fact that the profession would not have had to withstand such a blaze of bad publicity, it would have been an opportunity to make a collective contribution to Diana, Princess of Wales fund.

Why did the much vaunted Solicitor's Pro Bono Group not step in and offer to organise free legal advice for the trust? How is it that such ideas are never suggested until it is far too late?

Coopers & Lybrand gave £750,000 worth of their time free. Once again, the legal profession has been shamed by its failure to act together for a greater good.

Name and address withheld.