Or does it.
Turns out that a trucking company, Eddie Stobart, is bidding for contracts to provide legal aid services, much to the chagrin of traditional law firms that typically provide such services.
Read all about here.
Just to be clear, though, we're not talking about truck drivers offering legal services. From what I can gather, we're talking about a law firm that is a subsidiary of Eddie Stobart, Stobart Barristers, which has very little to do with Eddie Stobart.
But to hear the complaints from the traditional lawyers who are trying to protect their high fees, you'd think that Stobart Barristers was proposing that the poor should be represented in court by truckers who are known by "CB handles" like "Slippery Jim" and "Madcat", and who would replace the horsehair wigs with those trucker hats that your grandfather wears sometimes.
"That's a big 10-4, judge".
Here's some quotes from the article, and there's plenty more articles out there on this matter too:
The row within the legal profession over the plans is intensifying. The head of Stobart Barristers has described traditional law firms who rely on legal aid as "'wounded animals waiting to die" and accused rival lawyers of sending his firm messages urging it to "Truck Off".He's right. Traditional law firms are wasteful, slow, and expensive. Where legal aid money is concerned, economy should be the number one priority; providing the most people with adequate services, rather than providing a select few with premium services. It's the same over here. Traditional law firms are wasteful and serve not for the benefit of clients, but partners' wallets. And little anonymous attacks from those trying to protect their incomes? Sounds like law professor tactics.
[Said Trevor Howarth, legal director at Stobart,] "We at Stobart are well known for taking out the waste and the waste here is the duplication of solicitors going to the courtroom. At the moment there are 1,600 legal aid firms; in future there will be 400. At Stobart, we wouldn't use 10 trucks to deliver one product."
Again, correct. Law firms are just so damn inefficient. Hourly billing, overstaffed, making problems where none exist. It's a broken system, both here in the US and over there in the UK by the sound of things.
On removing a defendant's right to choose their solicitor, Howarth said: "I don't think the lack of choice is damaging. [People are not] entitled to access justice with an open cheque. No one is stopping them paying for their own choice of solicitor."Common sense, and to be clear, he's talking about a defendant who is generally in the lowest court and charged with a minor offense, and whose legal fees are being footed by the taxpayer. Nobody is talking about removing anyone's choice of legal representation if they can afford to pay for it themselves. But don't expect lawyers to agree. In fact, expect them to tell lies to protect their business (remind you of law professors perhaps?):
Paul Harris, president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association, warned that the quality of legal representation would decline. "How is anyone facing serious criminal allegations going to feel being represented by a haulage company?" he asked.Ah, there we go. The deliberate misrepresentation, the lie, designed to align the stupid or lazy with his cause. Circulate the myth that this change will mean your lawyer will have dirt under his fingernails and an STD from a truckstop hooker, and of course nobody wants this. His income will be saved, and who gives a damn about all the defendants who get no representation because there's no money left. Of course, in reality Stobart Barristers is staffed by real lawyers, with real training, just like every other law firm.
While this interesting little story has lots of relevance to us over in the US, it's also useful for drawing parallels with our system of legal education. Our 200 schools, all offering a three year program, ultimately paid for by the taxpayers in many cases, are a prime example of using ten trucks to deliver one product.
We need 100 schools, each offering a two year program, at a quarter of the current cost. And that's being generous. But try to make such common sense changes, and you're met with attacks and lies from the legal education establishment. Untruths about how the public will suffer, how standards will drop, how the entire legal system as we know it will crumble into a world where truck drivers are representing people in court and prestigious lawyers are forced to dirty their eyes by even looking at such vile creatures. Of course nobody wants reform when law professors circulate such lies. We need to have our voices heard a little more.
I hope Stobart wins. It's good for everyone except those who live high on the hog by overcharging for legal services. Or law degrees.
And I hope we can all learn some valuable lessons over here about stripping the waste from the legal system. Because if they can do it in England, where legal tradition was born, then we can damn well do it over here to those law schools that were created in the past two decades for the sole purpose of milking the system.