Legend has it that lawyering stands two steps higher than nobility and one lower than sainthood. The dignity of our profession was therefore preserved by a disdain for ‘earthly’ things such as money and all things plebeian. Even our barrister’s robe was carefully sewn so that the pocket was placed literarily behind the barrister. Everyone recognised that money was a mere distraction which kept the minister’s mind from his duty to stand at the temple of justice, poised to do good to all and sundry.
Smart clients however caught on to the fact that the barrister’s goodness and kindness did little to pay for food, clothing and other necessities of life. They would therefore gently place gold in the lawyer’s pockets as he saved the world. Naturally, the increased weight in the barrister’s pocket was sure to be quickly noticed by a slight ache on the shoulder, leading to energised advocacy and defence of rights.
Most of the legend still holds. The proper lawyer, despite being a solicitor, does not ‘solicit’ or bother his scholarly mind about money and other mundane matters. He uses prim and sober stamp sized labels to differentiate his office from the next. His fees are ‘reasonable’ and proper. He is excited at thoughts of being rich but quickly curbs his enthusiasm with the right amount of sobriety. In legends, the proper lawyer would be knighted and fitted with a halo.
In the real world where it makes better sense to sack football coaches and ignore the fact that the available players are never properly trained, cheap lawyers are perceived to be inferior. The higher the fees, the better.
The ‘smart’ lawyer is well, smarter. We see the law as a business in the dog-eat-dog and maul the other dog if it tries to even steal a look at your bone (client). While we refrain from using bill boards to advertise our services, we ensure that we provide legal opinions on the state of the nation with all the pomp and pageantry of Keyamo in front of a camera.
Economic issues aside, real lawyers don’t charge cheaply. Of course, we may have ‘structure’ our fees a little to accommodate kobo pinching, but we remain true to the course - stalking clients, hold on to them and ensure they pay for everything.
We never lose.