Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lawmen in Popular Culture

I recently constituted a Citizens' Assembly, with the aim of reaching a community consensus as to whether the Spectrum Plus approach to the characterisation of fixed charges over book debts ought to be persuasive in Australian courts.

It was, understandably and like most Citizens’ assemblies held to solve incredibly technical problems, a free-ranging and jovial affair, that touched on many areas of community concern about this pressing issue. In one of the many, many moments of levity that punctuated the discussion, Geert van der Staiij, my Dutch neighbour and a possible future 'non est factum' test case, remarked "Mr Bullstrode, why do lawyers think that people like to hear them speak?"

It was a good question and one to which I spoke at length. While my response largely centred around the growing acceptance of my controversial theory that those in our society of higher moral and intellectual capability (lawyers) are under a natural law fiduciary duty to impart their wisdom on those around them*, minutes 22-24 were dedicated to the prevalence of lawyers in pop culture. The highlights were:

(a) Few people know that David E. Kelly was inspired to write ‘The Practice’ after witnessing footage of me in chambers quietly reading a brief, sipping port and consulting the CLRs. Ultimately, studio heads had their way and the pilot episode ‘Bobby Donnell reads Perre v Apand Pty Ltd 198 CLR 180’ was replaced with something boring about criminal law, sex and a law firm in Boston. Nevertheless, many neutral observers are still struck today by the many similarities between myself and Mr Robert Donnell.

I am struck today by the many similarities between myself and Mr Robert Donnell.

(b) The runaway success of an episode of “20 to 1” that I co-chaired with my dear friend Bertrand Newton entitled “20 to 1 most outrageous uses of the rule in Foss v Harbottle”. Apparently Channel 9’s switchboard lit up when the famous incident of the Rolling Stones ratifying an alleged wrong by simple majority on their 1973 tour of North America was listed as Number 1!

(c) An account of the statistically proven fact that lawyers are deeply hilarious individuals. Consider successful comedians such as Tom Gleisner, James O’Loughlin, Sean Micalleff, Judge Joe Brown and Neville Wran who all obtained their comedic grounding via the time-honoured route of a bachelor of laws degree. The relationship between legal learning and hilarity is, of course, not a recent development. Indeed the Third Protectorate Parliament under the speakership of noted legal humourist Chaloner Chute was considered the “Packed to the Rafters” of the 1600s.

*While this may seem pure vanity, it is, in reality, an incredibly heavy burden to bear. It regularly takes me more than 4 hours to traverse the 80 odd metres from my Phillip Street Chambers to the Supreme Court, as I am obliged to lecture every single non-lawyer I come across on:

(a) my many lifetime achievements;

(b) their many failings (based on my reasonably formed initial perceptions), both remediable and irremediable; and

(c) the means by which any such remediable failings may be rectified.

1 comment:

  1. Lawmen is a very respectful person because they ordered justice. Their work is very risky because they have to make justice in the light of witnesses and proof. Lawyers also played a great role in any case because lawyers fight from the side of his client and give him justice and compensation.Thanks,

    Birth Defects Lawyer


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