ebarrama282 karma2012-11-06 15:30:47 UTC
There are a few different companies in London that make them and each have their own style. I bought a more traditional one. They cost about £500 ($800) and come in different sizes. The storage case that you can see in the proof photo is my personalised wig tin.
The wigs do tend to flatten and fray over time with use. They also go a bit greyish (or yellow if you're a smoker). The ironic thing is that the older and crappier looking your wig is, the more 'experienced' you are considered. People with brand-new wigs were traditionally mocked. I've heard stories of times gone by when new barristers would put their wigs next to car exhausts to make them look dirtier.
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ebarrama246 karma2012-11-06 18:08:16 UTC
I've tried watching Rumpole of the Bailey. The main thing I take from it is how antiquated the whole thing is. There are far more women and people from ethnic minorities at the Bar than there were at the time Rumpole was written. Sexism and racism at the Bar seems (from my perspective) to have been virtually eliminated. Barristers are also less stuffy and more grounded in reality than they used to be.
Most of my work is civil work. I can do advisory paper work on a number of cases a day but very few run to trial. In terms of criminal work, most matters tend to lead to guilty pleas - trials are few and far between because there are strong incentives for Defendants to plead guilty early.
My typical criminal trial lasts only a day but some take longer. Most personal injury trials also last a day. More complex cases tend to go to more experienced barristers.
If there is a conflict of interest we are told by the Bar's Code of Conduct to excuse ourselves from the case. I've never had to excuse myself from a case for that reason. I know people who have found themselves prosecuting people that they had previously defended; this usually ends with the barrister politely telling the judge what has happened.
I don't have a 'method' as such for cross examination. I tend to pick and choose elements from other barristers that I have seen. If I had a style, I would say that I just tend to bark at people.
The American system seems to be very much based around money and the representation the parties can afford. Also, when it comes to damages the English system is meant to put wronged parties in the position that they would have been in if the wrong had not taken place. The American system seems to have a disconnect between the actual loss and damages. In the end I know very little of American law, so I can't really give a proper answer.
ebarrama177 karma2012-11-06 15:24:54 UTC
I wouldn't say the wigs are universally loved. At best they are seen as a benign and traditional presence, like the monarchy. At worst they are seen as a bit of an annoyance. I think the public like the idea of having a barrister who wears one. Barristers like the idea of wearing them, even if they are not the most practical thing to wear.
They had a government consultation a few years ago and stripped away their use in all but the most serious non-criminal matters. Criminal barristers continue to wear them regularly. I don't think things are going to change soon.
ebarrama167 karma2012-11-06 15:20:33 UTC
In England there are two types of lawyers - solicitors and barristers*. Solicitors make up 95% of all lawyers and traditionally are the people who do the advisory work and deal with the clients. Barristers are the minority and specialise in court work and litigation.
To be honest, I do not wear the getup that often. It is impractical to lug around from place to place and so the courts only make us wear it when there is a particular large or important civil trial. Family barristers seem to never wear them. Criminal barristers wear them nearly all the time, though. I've never heard anyone complaining about the getup - people tend to like the perceived authority it gives them.
EDIT: *There are also Legal Executives who are usually people who have taken the non-university route to working as a lawyer. Apologies for leaving them out.
ebarrama124 karma2012-11-06 18:10:35 UTC
I agree with AHoddy.
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