Introducing yourself as a lawyer

When you tell other people what you do for a living, how often do they ask "How can you defend someone you know is guilty?" or do you head this off at the pass by telling them your practice area like the chap in the small town solicitor thread  who introduced themselves as a "City lawyer" at parties.

Whenever I said I was a Barrister to a new acquaintance that question would be moments away.


They usually ask me what kind of law I do once I mention I'm a solicitor so then make it clear I know nothing about speeding offences before they mention their mate Dave who got done by a camera.

Maybe it's more of a bazza thing as people automatically assume that means crime.

All the time I get this question. Allllllll the time. That and then random queries they want me to solve that have bog all to do with my practice area. 

The other response is “you don’t look like a barrister”. I take that as a compliment!

I don't meet a lot of people who are worried about you defending someone you know is guilty, I think they usually take it for granted that you will defend anything if they pay you enough

I used to get "you don't seem like a barrister" Bailey, which I similarly took as a compliment, but might be because they thought I was a thicko.

I usually don't say I am a lawyer unless absolutely necessary. Steer away from that conversation.

Don't steer away, steer into. You can tell them that guilty clients pay better and there are handsome bonuses for defending against rape allegations. Then ask them what they think of your new timepiece. Stress that it is a limited edition.

What do you do?

I’m a lawyer

Ooooo my neighbour’s azaleas are hanging over my driveway, any advice?

Nope.  Cut them?

everyone has always assumed I don' touch criminal law

a friend did once ask me about some detail on his conveyancing. I told him to ask his solicitor in an email :)

the follow-up question is usually "what kind of law", when I answer (projects / construction btw), the topic tends to either turn to something less dry, or they end the conversation there and then. 

“I know who to call if i get arrested!” (Cue vague guffaws)

“Who’s that, then?”


Dice I'm similar with friends and their conveyancing issues.  Ask your solicitor and if you still don't understand then I might think about it.

but how can you defend someone you know is guilty?  Answer that one.

I would often answer it technically Periclean and watch their eyes glaze over as its a technical ethical question not the moral one they think it is. 

If I ever get a technical question about someone’s personal circumstances I say ‘ I am not sure I am up-to-date with the law on this but when I last looked the minimum sentence was 10 years hard labour‘ which shuts them up, usually. 

Pugnose I'm suprised people don't follow up with questions about home extensions when you mention construction.

This is commonly noted on this board, however this does not reflect my lived experience.

- “wow, that’s really impressive! That’s so interesting”

even when I explain it is sometimes tedious and involves PE shops etc. they are generally keen

- particular with dating, it adds a point to your attractiveness if you are already attractive

the people I liaise with are Asians who have it embedded into their brains that lawyers are hotshots, other City professionals, including friends from school and university and their mates.

- demonstrates you have money in a word

- ultimately everyone who does PR in Holborn is poor and depressed at their sad life choices and wishes to hook up with someone earning so much more than them

however most of you sound very high street, dress for the part and hang out in Essex hairdressers.

TB that was sort of a joke.  However i like your approach to replying.  I usually get po-faced and answer the moral point.  I won't bother in future. 


(NB i am not a criminal lawyer so it's totally academic for me anyway)

To the guilty question, I would say I wouldn’t defend anyone because I’m not a litigator and litigators are stupid, I agree. I do big boy work with funds.

“Oh gosh you sound so clever”

”no, you’re being too charitable…anyone could do my job I am sure”

*now they think I’m smart AND modest

Topdawg I assume you're biggie. I thought you were a litigator in dubai?

Except in knowledgable professional circumstances, I always introduce myself as a lawyer.  I have done that since passing through LAX, where there were numerous notices in the departure lounges saying "Solicitors will be prosecuted". 

Talk of being a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs...

Who are you talking to that actually says "Oh gosh you sound so clever?" Did you lift that from a pron script?

A solicitor and a doctor were at a cocktail party. The doctor said to the solicitor “Don’t you just hate these functions? People are forever coming up and asking you to look at their scar or advise about their aches and pains or whatever.” What do you do?

The solicitor said “why not say you’ll look and listen to their ailments but will be sending a bill. That should stop them”. Great idea said the doctor. 
The next day, the doctor received a bill for advice from the solicitor. 

What I actually do would probably bore the pants of them but everyone has heard of 99% of my clients at least so that gets me through. 

In my job they always ask about the “worst” murder I have seen. I’m always tempted to talk about a shaken and battered baby but that seems rather impolite. 

Either that or something about their aunt Ethyl who died in 1990 and had an autopsy that didn’t find anything.