A living wage from Legal Aid? The tale of Petunia Perfect

Petunia Perfect, the perfect Solicitor, sets up her Legal Aid practice in Scotland in November 2011. She is 5 years qualified now, so able to be a sole practitioner, but she’s going to stick to working 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch, 5 days a week, with 28 days a year holiday.

Since she is only doing Legal Aid work, obviously her fee income is going to be based on SLAB rates. These are quite complicated, but attendance with a client under Advice & Assistance is £51 per hour. Since Petunia Perfect is perfect therefore every single hour of her working week earns this rate; she saves up all her work on correspondence, preparing papers etc. until she has enough that she can bang enough of them out within an hour that she will still get the £51.

She does all her CPD outside office hours, never does pro bono work, and never even sees a client in the office who won’t qualify for Legal Aid. Every minute of every working day is spent earning that £51 per hour.

For, at 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year of perfect work, her accounts to SLAB will be £85,680.00. Pretty good fee income don’t you think.
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So, why exactly am I practising Law again?

After one of those long days after struggling with the Scottish Legal Aid Board to get them to actually pay the pittance due for Legal Aid work done; dealing with a client who is complaining that we did not make them a multimillionaire in the process of their divorce from their unemployed penniless spouse; taking instructions from someone who has just walked in the door with tomorrow being the last date to oppose their home repossession; at the same time trying to sit down with a 40 page commercial lease that needs quick turn around for the business client who has workers and contractors on standby for completion; and all the other similar tasks that makes practice so much fun, you sometimes ask yourself “What on earth am I doing this job for?”
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…And So It Begins

It has been suggested that people who read my nonsense on Twitter might be interested in me pontificating at greater length on the same sort of mixed bag of topics that I tweet about.

So here it is: if you are interested in the law, particularly as to how it applies in Scotland; or the use of IT, particularly but not exclusively in lawyer’s offices; or possibly even in programming; or if you are just hoping for some puns, sarcasm, or other low level intellectual humour, feel free to read on when I can actually find time to post something.

The goal remains “to entertain or inform” – let’s see how I do.