'He's Fucking Marvellous!': The Fall and Rise of Barristers' Clerks

6 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2007

See all articles by John Flood

John Flood

Griffith University - Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research; Queensland University of Technology; Centre for Blockchain Technologies

Date Written: 2007


Barristers typically rely on a type of consigliere called the barrister's clerk who carries out a number of tasks for them. Clerks manage their time through diary management (eg. when they have to be in court); clerks negotiate their fees; and clerks counsel them on how their careers should be structured (eg. what kind of law to specialize in, when to become a Queen's Counsel). At one time clerks would receive a percentage of the barrister's fees for this work.

Nowadays they are mostly salaried. Moreover, the growth of technology has simplified some tasks, such as listing cases in court which can by done through the internet. However, marketing, fixing fees, and counseling careers still endures.

Using Mary Douglas' idea of taboo, I argue that the clerk defines the dividing line between the sacred area of the law and the profane world of money and clients. The class divisions further emphasize this. Clerks are generally working class compared to the middle-class barrister.

Both sides are uneasy about the relationship, but as long as the current structure of the Bar exists, the need for this moral division of labor will persist.

Keywords: barristers, clerks, bar, lawyers, legal profession

Suggested Citation

Flood, John A., 'He's Fucking Marvellous!': The Fall and Rise of Barristers' Clerks (2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1002107 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1002107

John A. Flood (Contact Author)

Griffith University - Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research ( email )

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Queensland University of Technology ( email )

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Brisbane, QLD 4000

Centre for Blockchain Technologies ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://blockchain.cs.ucl.ac.uk/john-flood/

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