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BabyBarista and the Art of War [Paperback]

Tim Kevan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Aug 2009
Litigation is like war, BabyBarista. Read this and learn. It's BabyBarista's first day as a pupil barrister in chambers. Never mind his legal qualifications; it's his summer working in Starbucks that's going to stand him in good stead, since coffee-making seems to be his chief responsibility (with the odd bout of photocopying to relieve the tedium). He's got one year to make his mark and prove by foul means or fair that, out of the four pupil barristers, he's the one who deserves to stay on and win the sought-after prize of a tenancy in chambers. It's sort of like Big Brother, but with little horsehair wigs. Once assigned to a pupilmaster, an oily character he calls TheBoss, BabyB retreats to his tiny desk in a dusty corner to consider the competition: TopFirst, a Cambridge graduate with a prizewinning CV and an ego to match; BusyBody, a human whirlwind on a husband hunt; and finally wide-eyed Worrier, who carries the world on her anxious shoulders. 'If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,' says Sun Tzu, whose book The Art of War is becoming BabyB's bible. Quietly, he smiles to himself, and begins to make some plans Part Rumpole, part Flashman, crafty and naive by turns both in and out of court, BabyBarista opens a window onto the fascinating and secretive (and frequently absurd) ways of the legal profession through his secret blog. Puncturing pomposity and exposing injustice with subversive wit, this diary of a nobody is an hilarious tour around the modern bar.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747594643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747594642
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 417,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Kevan is the author of The BabyBarista Files, a series of novels published by Bloomsbury. Law and Disorder (2009) was described by The Times as "a cross between The Talented Mr Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones's Diary" and Law and Peace (2011) was described by the Daily Mail as a "funny, sharp account of backstabbing Bar life...highly recommended" and by broadcaster Jeremy Vine as "a novel bursting with invention". They are based on the BabyBarista Blog which previously appeared on The Guardian website for two years and The Times website for three years. He practised as a barrister in London for ten years and co-founded two legal businesses, one of which has since been sold to Thomson Reuters. He lives by the sea in Braunton in North Devon with his wife Louise and daughter Grace and enjoys surfing and walking his dog Jack.

Product Description


`If you wanted reassurance that the gentlemen and ladies of the Bar were exactly that ... then prepare for a highly entertaining disappointment. Tim Kevan's BabyBarista is hardly a hero ... but he's very clever, very funny, and his double dealing antics had me gripped. They also made me sincerely hope I never need the services of a junior barrister.' -- Katie Derham, newsreader and broadcaster

`BabyBarista is a classic British comedy set in a world of vanity, egos and cut-throat ambition that puts even the acting profession into the shade. It's sassy, sexy and hilariously funny.' -- Denise Welch, Loose Women

`BabyBarista provides an entertaining and highly amusing insight into the mysterious world of wigs and gowns. Right from the start the gloves are off and the fight for tenancy is no less dramatic than a top class boxing match. It's a terrific read which makes you both laugh and keep the pages turning. It also confirms what I've always suspected - that the courtroom is not so different from the boxing ring.' -- Barry McGuigan MBE, former World Featherweight Boxing Champion

`With every turn of the page, my eyebrows moved slightly further up my forehead. There was I, assuming the junior bar was crammed with the serious and the high-minded, where the only trace of ambition is the politest nudge ... BabyBarista shows the eagles and eaglets with their talons out and their feathers up. It is a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud - and we all just have to pray that none of it is true. You'll never look at a young lawyer in the same way again.' -- Jeremy Vine, broadcaster and journalist


`BabyBarista is a classic British comedy set in a world of vanity, egos and cut-throat ambition that puts even the acting profession into the shade. It's sassy, sexy and hilariously funny.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, fast-paced and original 11 Aug 2009
An absolute joy of a book - very cleverly structured, beautifully written, and finding a neat balance between the entirely plausible and jaw-dropping absurd. BabyBarista will ring all too familiar bells for those who've been there and done all that, and gives the rest of us a fascinating glimpse inside the archaic (and astonishing) world of the English Bar. A classic page-turner that you really don't want to end, with an above-average quota of LOL moments.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first-rate read 13 Sep 2009
Machiavelli didn't write about trainee barristers, but if he had done so he may well have come up with BabyBarista - the narrator of this excellent book, and one of four pupils fighting for a single tenancy at a legal chambers. Seeking to impress the established tenants whilst attempting to facilitate the downfall of his competitors, BabyB resorts to increasingly underhand tactics to secure the place; usually with unexpected and hilarious results.

As with all good books the action revolves around some carefully crafted (and crafty) characters, most of whom are referred to by their `blog' titles throughout - a modern and very pleasing touch. Tim Kevan has drawn on his own experience as a barrister to bring us into a rarefied legal world in a style that is both entertaining and illuminating. If we believe that barristers are the very epitome of probity, then we evidently do so at our peril.

BabyBarista and the Art of War is a well-written, well-paced, very funny page-turner and one of the most enjoyable books I have read for a long time. I look forward to following more adventures of this fascinating character.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Delight 10 Sep 2009
This is a wonderful, pacy, read: the characters are perfectly drawn, fabulously funny and Kevan sheds light on a world that no television drama would or could ever dare to expose. Written with obvious authority, this is a laugh-out-loud legal comedy that exposes the idiosyncrasies of the modern Bar. In particular I loved BabyBarista's attempts to find a one-size-fits-all winning formula for success in court - blindly interpreting the styles of other more senior advocates - so true!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth or Fiction? 1 Sep 2009
As a lawyer it is always dangerous reading books from fellow lawyers-for fear of disappointment. However on this occassion there was not even a semblance of disappointment. From start to finish you find yourself wondering if you are reading a Biography or a fiction novel. Anyone who has any involvement with the Law, and indeed many who haven't, will be able to identify with some of the main protagonists,and indeed may even be able to recognise themselves depicted in the prose-notwithstanding the Author's disclaimer at the outset!! No doubt Mr Kevan fears the potential law-suits that could follow. The twist in the final chapter is the icing on the cake in what is a thoroughly entertaining read, at all levels, from start to finish. I defy anyone not to enjoy this extremely well written, intelligent novel. It has left me two things to do:
1. Purchase Mr Kevan's other tome-"Why Lawyers Should Surf" and
2. Use the book as a stocking filler for all of my other friends.

NOTE TO SELF; Order half a dozen copies of BabyB before December 25th!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely smashing and absorbing read.... 31 Aug 2009
Its rare a book exceeds the "hype" of the reviews upon its cover. This one in my opinion does by a mile.

In style its a cross between "Rumploe" infused I thought with shades of "it should not happen to a vet". The book takes you into the murky machievellian world of the pupil barrister and is set in the context of the "dog eat dog" world of unnatural selection to the holy grail of a full time place in a set of barristers chambers.

The author is a well regarded Barrister in his own right and his skill in writing is very evident. The characters are sharply defined , the plot swift and precise . Where the book to my mind really excelled was in depicting the relationships between Solicitors and Barristers and had some smashing laugh out loud moments where the exchange between the Barristers and Judges was depicted.

The book was addictive. Once started I did not want to put it down and that for me is rare. I can see this story as a television series and I hope the author reads this post and gets another book out soon because Rumpoles author is so sadly no longer with us but Rumpoles successor has I think secured his place in Chambers and I predict a good career ahead.....

Buy this book its worth EVERY penny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious diary of a young barrister 31 Aug 2009
This book makes you laugh out loud and then worry that life in chambers and the courts may really be like this.
Given a copy of " The Art of War" on g
his first day BabyBarista takes its lessons to heart trying to outwit his rivals for a place in chambers.
A great cast of characters and wonderful descrptions of the legal world. The worrying thing is it rings very true!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What are lawyers really like? 25 Aug 2009
Now, if this doesn't provoke a whole heap of comments, no doubt mainly derogatory, nothing will. This being the silly season it seems like an ideal time to ask the question. And I'm not going to tell you the answer. Instead I suggest you read Tim Kevan's new book "Baby Barista and the Art of War", just published by Bloomsbury and which is based on his blog in The Times. Tim is also a barrister, albeit he is currently taking a break from practising in favour of surfing in Devon and walking his dog.

It's a thoroughly amusing read and should be required reading for anyone contemplating a career at the Bar (or as a solicitor, we don't come out too well either). It's the story of a "Pupil" (newly-qualified) barrister training in Chambers trying to outwit and outmanoeuvre the three other pupils in the hunt for the holy grail at the Bar; a tenancy in Chambers. The characters are all vividly drawn and credible; the situations the characters find themselves in all give a real flavour of litigation from the side of the practitioner. There's plenty to amuse both lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

It's not just a comedy though. He also touches on big issues such as the independence of the Bar which will become much more of a live issue now that solicitors and barristers can go into partnership together since the introduction of Legal Disciplinary Partnerships last April.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every page as I could not wait to finish ...
Absolutely impressed... I enjoyed every page as I could not wait to finish it... Absolutely hilarious.
Published 14 days ago by Enobong Ekot
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for young wannabe lawyers
It is entertaining and I could not stop reading it. However the ugly character Kevan describes is so prevalent in the City and English lawyers that it is unfortunately also a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Writer
5.0 out of 5 stars please write more
Funny engaging fast paced witty smart just wish tim kevan wrote more a modern rumpole for lovers of legal life and intrigue
Published 5 months ago by louise
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Brilliant insight into the murky world of Barristers & Pupils - the sequel is worth a read too. Would reccomend
Published 10 months ago by Sofia
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book!
What a fantastic book, really funny, a great story, easy reading. It's inexpensive and is worth buying; you wouldn't regret it!
Published 16 months ago by Katie
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining
I'm about half way through and have only been reading since yesterday. A fantastic book that is difficult to put down. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Andrew1237
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Bought as gift for a friend who was delighted...
Item arrived on time and was as described. Good purchase Recommended.
Published 19 months ago by MeMeMe
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuckoo in chambers
This is a lively, amusing, funny, cynical, compelling fiction about the life of a pupil barrister - Babybarista - in a set of chambers in London. Read more
Published 21 months ago by T. Vicary
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good book, let down a bit by the audio book naration
I enjoyed this book. Written in blog form this book charts a year in the life of a pupil barrister as he attempts to get taken on in chambers. Read more
Published on 16 April 2012 by Steven
5.0 out of 5 stars First class
This is an extremely funny and very well written fictional account of the rites of passage of a pupil barrister as he tries to get a place in chambers - by fair means or foul... Read more
Published on 11 April 2012 by Didier Sept
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