Every young barrister spends their year of pupillage, following older barristers and learning the essentials of how to do the job. Advocacy can't be studied in books - the only way to learn is by experience. Harry Mount's legal memoir of his year as a pupil barrister is hilarious - every unbearable minute of it. As pupil to a succession of snobbish and patronising middle-aged barristers, he learns the many riduculous conventions of the bar like not shaking hands with other barristers, not talking during tea and wearing turned-up trousers and cuff-links in every shirt.
It's not serious of course - very little to do with the law at all in fact. But Mount is not trying to offer a genuine critique. He's in the entertainment business. This is a risible read and at times, really funny. Many lawyers dislike it because it presents a bad image of the bar and all its pompous history and etiquette. They fail to see the humour. Mount is not saying that all barristers are patronising, self centred, rude, arrogant and intolerant. He's just saying that most of them are!
As a profession that has yet to drag itself into the 20th century let alone the 21st century, there is much to be learned for all lawyers from this very entertaining volume. Its essential humour lies in its proximity to the truth, not its distance from it. My Brief Career is a great way to spend a few hours laughing out loud.