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Trafigura releases report

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers

Carter-Ruck in new move to stop debate in parliament | UK news | The Guardian.

I understand all the concern about injunctions preventing the reporting of Parliament, but why are the lawyers at Carter-Ruck the villains (and partner Adam Tudor in particular?) There have been flash mobs outside their offices and they have been vilified across the British blogosphere.

Why is the headline to the linked article not "Trafigura in new move to stop debate in Parliament?" Lawyers do nothing without instructions. Those instructions come from their clients and whatever actions they take are on their clients' behalf and in their name. If Mr Tudor has been asked to block publication, then that is what he must try to do - whether he personally approves or not. You may say he is liable to criticism for failing to advise his clients that their actions would be counter-productive (as they certainly have been - who had heard of Trafigura before?). However, you don't even know whether the actions were on his advice or against it. He can't tell you without his client's permission, which is hardly likely to be forthcoming.

Perhaps Adam Tudor is the ass or the villain you think he is. A first class degree from Oxford doesn't speak to his morality or his common-sense. You should at least accept that he is the agent of his clients in these matters. If you want to be angry, be angry with them. Except maybe you shouldn't. At least not just yet.

If there is anything to make Adam Tudor smile in the media today, perhaps it's this quote from Prodicus, in the course of roundly criticising him and his partners and calling them asses;

These are the world's smartest legal brains with vast collective experience.

If the partners of Carter-Ruck have a collective sense of humour, they will use that quote on their website, to the irritation of the world's smartest legal brains. After all, they didn't go into defamation work to be loved. As I am sure they are reminding themselves today.

An independent legal profession, free to serve the interests of (popular or unpopular) clients, is a pre-requisite of a free society. You may not like how much some lawyers earn for doing this important work, but if you want the big bucks what's stopping you? There's almost always a shortage of legal talent. Get the qualification, put in 20 years of hard work, and maybe you can nose through the flash mobs in your Porsche too.

Because that's really why the lawyers are the villains here, isn't it? The English Vice: Envy. I can understand "rich bastard" rhetoric from the envious left, but the rest of the blogosphere should really know better.

[I am a partner in a City law firm. I am not, and have never been, a partner or employee of Carter-Ruck]

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