Thursday, September 21, 2006

(Formal) Dress ( Not) Required

There was a time when lawyers were respected, even revered members of the community. A trip to the solicitor's office was an occasion to be suited and booted, and perhaps a little dreaded.

Those days have gone, along with the quill pens, large telex machines, piles of dusty, mouldering files, lack of customer care and an unspoken agreement to meet in the pub at twelve noon every Friday and call it an end to the working week. It's no loss.

Many clients never even set foot in a solicitor's office, corresponding solely by email, telephone and post and of those that do prefer to deal in person, very few see the need to make a special effort with their appearance any more so than if they were visiting the post office or the dentist ( although I bet they'd be prompter for their appointments at the latter).

I often get people wanting to pop in on their way home from work. I'm still usually there so it's not a problem, although I have taken to asking in a roundabout way where they work - trying to explain the complexities of a flying freehold with a sheep farmer fresh from lambing or a fish filleter not-so-fresh from the cold store does tend to focus your mind on the salient points and quickly manage a talkative client out of the door.

Home visits were much more common when my specialism included Will-drafting. I could judge a Residential Home on a scale of 1-10 within 2 sniffs of the threshold. Many housebound clients relished the opportunity for social interaction with someone other than their Home Help, bath nurse or ( perceived) resentful off-spring and I soon learned to be wary of a proffered biscuit, particularly ones on a pre-prepared tray. It was about the time that I had to arrange the clearance of a property where the frail occupant, recently taken into geriatric psychiatric care, had lived exclusively on tinned salmon and Mars Bars and been doubly-incontinent that I understood why it was often better not to accept refreshments of any description and maybe even to remain standing, with nothing between you and the door.

I didn't think twice about making a house call on my way home the other night. I knew the son ( Moustache Mark may be familiar to some) and it was only 5 minutes from home. I'd never met his parents but had a pretty good idea of the sort of people they'd be - salt of the earth, hard-working, not prone to standing on ceremony, spades-a-shovel types. They were expecting me although I was a bit earlier than I had planned and worried that they might still be having their tea.

I was greeted by a slightly smaller, older sans-Moustache Mark who answered the door, bare-chested, the original MM standing at his shoulder, equally bare-chested. The large expanse of flesh took me by surprise and I was momentarily caught off balance.

I don't usually introduce myself with the words, " Excuse me, I hope I'm not interrupting your wrestling?"


Blogger andrea said...


As a former teacher, the teaching profession has hit the dregs of respectability, too, just like law. Whatever happened to healthy reverence?

9:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm more worried in that i know who those wrestlers are - the shame

9:55 pm  
Blogger Eagleseagles said...

And I have no idea who they are!!

I like the music btw!!


10:44 pm  
Blogger Mise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:56 am  
Blogger Mise said...

lol....Well?...go on then? Was it a tag match? And were you allowed to use your leather bag?

My solicitor, who's a conveyancing whiz and about the same age as me, still has those desks full of files, wouldn't know a computer from a powdered wig, and has a mobile phone which his wife has to call the office to tell him to switch on. Thank God for his Legal Sec!

2:59 am  
Blogger ziggi said...

I often find answering the door bare chested momentarily puts off lawyers.

3:42 pm  
Anonymous Mike Da Hat said...

I'm still waiting for the high class call girl living next door to answer bare chested but no such luck. She always dresses very smartly like a legal secretary. I can dream.

5:01 pm  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

Are they 'together'?

6:08 am  

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