Friday, July 31, 2009

BabyBarista in EX33 Magazine

Article in EX33 Magazine. To read it, click the picture on the left or see the text below.

Braunton resident gets book deal with Harry Potter’s publisher

In August, Harry Potter’s very own Bloomsbury Publishing will be releasing a novel by Braunton resident Tim Kevan entitled BabyBarista and the Art of War. It’s a legal comedy set around a fictional set of barristers’ chambers in London and is based upon a blog or online diary which Tim continues to write for The Times (at www.timesonline.co.uk/babybarista).

He started writing the blog a couple of years ago, having at that stage been practising as a barrister in London for some nine years. As Tim says: “As I posted it online I was hopeful it might raise a few smiles but in my wildest dreams I hadn’t imagined quite the extraordinary set of circumstances which then unfolded.” First the legal press started praising it and then he started getting interest from a few publishers. In the meantime, he was contacted by The Times who offered to host the blog and finally, he got a book deal with Bloomsbury - all within the space of less than three months. Since that hectic start, it’s been a long haul.

He’s taken a break from the Bar and moved to Braunton where as well as writing he’s been surfing and running an online legal training company which he co-founded. He hopes the novel will appeal well beyond the legal world: “It’s a fictional caricature of life at the Bar and includes characters that probably exist in most workplaces such as UpTights, OldRuin, BusyBody, Worrier and even JudgeJewellery and her penchant for stealing cheap jewellery.”

It’s already had some great reviews with broadcaster Jeremy Vine describing it as “a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud”, author Boris Starling saying that it is "sharp, acerbic, and almost illegally funny" and ex-world champion boxer Barry McGuigan MBE saying that “It’s a terrific read which makes you both laugh and keep the pages turning. It also confirms what I've always suspected - that the courtroom is not so different from the boxing ring.” Having been brought up in Minehead in Somerset, Tim is now back in the West Country to stay. He is currently writing a second BabyBarista novel and is also the co-author (with Dr Michelle Tempest) of a motivational book entitled Why Lawyers Should Surf.

As well as the London launch on the 5th there will be a local launch at the White Lion on the 7th from 6pm until midnight.

BabyBarista and The Art of War will be published by Bloomsbury in August 2009 and is available at www.amazon.co.uk. For more information visit www.timkevan.com.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Article in the North Devon Journal

Article today in the North Devon Journal. To read it, click the picture on the left or click here or see the text below.

Barrister's book based on a blog

A NOVEL written by a Braunton man has been snapped up by the publishers of the Harry Potter novels.
BabyBarista and The Art of War is due to be released on Monday by Bloomsbury.
Author Tim Kevan is a 38-year-old former barrister now living in Braunton.
His book tells the story of a junior barrister who has one year to make his mark and win a coveted tenancy in a legal chambers.
The story is based on a blog that Tim wrote for the Times newspaper.
He said: "It has been a dream come true. I didn't really expect to get a book deal with such a fantastic publisher."
Tim spent 10 years working as a civil lawyer but now he is more at home surfing the waves of North Devon than in the courtroom.
He said: "I just feel so happy to be back here in the West Country, being able to go out each day to the beach or with my dog in the countryside or on Exmoor."
Tim always had a burning ambition to write. He co-wrote 10 law books and was the co-author of Why Lawyers Should Surf.
He began a blog on the Times website in 2007 detailing in the style of Bridget Jones the outrageous behaviour of BabyBarista. It became one of the most popular on the site.
BabyBarista is a shameless character, says Tim.
"He is a sneaky character who gets up to all sorts of shenanigans in order to succeed. You wouldn't like his behaviour at all, were it not for the fact that BabyBarista's opponents are even worse."
Tim added: "I love writing. The characters just come alive in my mind."
Tim grew up in Minehead and gained a degree in economics and law from Cambridge University.
He qualified as a barrister at the chambers Temple Gardens in London.
He said: "I really loved working as a barrister, it is a wonderful profession."
Tim says he will return to work as a barrister part time and be based in Devon. He has also begun writing a column for Devon Life magazine and plans to write a second chapter of BabyBarista.
But his priorities are clear: at the merest hint of a swell he is out to surf.
Tim said: "I struggled to make time for surfing when in London but in the last couple of years I have been able to do it so much more, which is just fantastic."
● Tim will be present at a launch party for the book at the White Lion Inn in Braunton next Friday from 6pm till midnight.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

BabyBarista wins a Law Minx Blog Award!

Thank you to top blogger Law Minx not only for one of her blog awards but also for a very nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' which you can read here and below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

The(Nervous) Shock of the Year Award - Goes to Mr. Tim Kevan for the truly amazing revelation that he is not ONLY the true architect of the machinations of Mr Baby Barista but also author of a fine book entitled ‘Baby Barista and the Art of War’ which I have had the great good fortune to read before it hits the shelves in August and found to be a fine and ROLLOCKING yarn related to Baby B’s Quest for Tenancy; it is a book which I urge you, Dear BlogWatchers, in the strongest possible terms, to place at the top of your Summer Reading List. Trust me, you won’t be able to put it down once you’ve started!!!

Good review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from Delia Venables

Good review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from Delia Venables the author of the leading internet legal hub www.venables.co.uk which you can read here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

Baby Barista is a book by Tim Kevan, just published by Bloomsbury. Tim Kevan practised as a barrister at Middle Temple for 10 years and has written quite a few serious law books but he has now branched out into a extremely funny exposure of what it is like to be a pupil barrister. His account was published as an anonymous blog on Times Online for a year or more and indeed continues now in the same persona (still referred to in the blog as Baby Barista although now he is a "proper" barrister). The book brings together the main series of blogs, written as a diary, with the young barrister realising that to gain a tenancy requires more than honest hard work. It is very funny and exposes the practices of the bar in a rather scary way (do things really happen like this?). I thoroughly enjoyed it and, judging from the plaudits already received from many well known people, it will be a runaway success. (The subtext "and The Art of War", a Chinese military treatise written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, is a fascinating insight as well but I won't attempt to summarise that.)
If you need a little light reading for the summer, or alternatively a present for your mother or other dear one who is not quite sure what you do, then go for it. For £8.99 plus p & p it's a steal - you can order it online now, as above, or even cheaper here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' by Family Law Week blog

Nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger and barrister Jacqui Gilliatt of the Family Lore blog here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

No doubt a number of pupils were secretly rather relieved when the identity of the author of the Time’s Baby Barista blog was finally revealed in the Times to be Tim Kevan so that the finger of suspicion was no longer pointing at them. I have long been a fan of the blog describing its style elsewhere as Henry Cecil on speed. Every new pupil of mine (Natasha, take note) is lent a copy of Brothers-in-Law by Henry Cecil which, although now a little dated, describes the life of a post-war pupil along with some of the more quaint traditions of the bar. The book was also made into a very fine film starring Ian Carmichael & Terry Thomas (and later a radio & tv programme starring Richard Briers) and was one of a series of legal novels written by Henry Cecil who became a Judge in 1949 & used to sit in Clerkenwell & Shoreditch, I believe. I am also rather fond of the follow up book – Daughters-in-Law for obvious reasons. You can buy the books from Amazon
For more pupil lit I would also thoroughly recommend the appropriately named The Pupil by Caro Fraser (Henry Cecil on Viagra?) the first in her delicious serious about Caper Court Chambers and the gorgeously seductive Leo. Caro’s take on lawyers is that we are all crippled inside as she puts it.
If I had any doubts about how the Baby Barista column might stand up as a book (especially as I have read it already) they are entirely dispelled by Baby Barista & the Art of War (which you can also buy from Amazon . The whole is most definitely greater than the sum of its parts and it’s lovely to have it all in one place so you don’t have that feeling you have missed an episode. It’s just as witty on re-reading. And just as much fun trying to match the characters to real life barristers (& please don’t tell me who I remind you of & I will return the courtesy!). But, of course, none of it could be true could it?
One particular passage made me wince. TheBoss to his pupil:

“..we start off in this job with so much potential. The world is our oyster and we can do anything we choose. We then spend years taking ourselves further and further away from the mainstream until we are so specialised that if we were to jump ship there would not even be a life-raft nearby. We are good only for being barristers. Otherwise it’s straight back down to the bottom of the pile aged forty-four”.

Substitute ‘family lawyer’ for ‘barrister’ and it sums up many of the conversations I have been having with family practitioners in recent months.
And SlipperySlope:

“The law’s not about ivory towers or wigs and gowns. It’s about one thing and that’s costs. Not justice. Not rights. Not defending the innocent or prosecuting the guilty. It’s cold, hard, stinking cash. Your time, literally, is money. You sign away your life, but for a price of which even Faust himself would be proud.”
Fortunately, these are atypically bleak moments in an otherwise hugely enjoyable debunking of the world of the Bar. But is Baby Barista really as Machiavellian as he is made out to be? Most of his victims are odious and richly deserve what they get. He has far too soft a spot for OldRuin whose life he saves, returning a brief to do so & upsetting his HeadClerk (is he mad?). He loves his mother despite her embarrassing appearance at the chambers’ tea party bearing cake. Part of his drive to succeed in the tenancy stakes is the desire to keep her from hookey street. And then there is the fragrant Claire for whom he is clearly destined so long as she doesn’t find out the full extent of his shenanigans. If there is a moral to this amoral story perhaps it is that inside every barrister is a nice person trying to get out?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bar Council publicises 'BabyBarista and The Art of War'

Very grateful to The General Council of the Bar for mention of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' here and also printed below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.
BabyBarista and the Art of War
If you are looking for a light hearted entertaining holiday read, then you may wish to purchase a copy of Tim Kevan's book BabyBarista and the Art of War. Already widely known as a blog on The Times’ website, the book is being published by Bloomsbury in August of this year.
BabyBarista and the Art of War is Tim Kevan's first novel, and was described by broadcaster Jeremy Vine as "a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud" and by author Boris Starling as "sharp, acerbic, and almost illegally funny".
Tim Kevan practised as a barrister for over ten years at 1 Temple Gardens in London. He specialised in particular in sports law, personal injury, civil fraud and credit hire and wrote or co-wrote ten law books. He was also a member of the Bar Council’s Public Affairs Committee.
Tim told the Bar Council: “Having so far had ten very happy years practising at the Bar, it has been a wonderful opportunity in the last couple of years to do something a bit different and to create a book which will hopefully make people smile.”
Tim follows in a tradition of barristers writing legal comedy including Henry Cecil, Clive Coleman and the great John Mortimer and his famous Rumpole of the Bailey series. He is also the co-author (with Dr Michelle Tempest) of Why Lawyers Should Surf’ (xpl Publishing, 2007). For more information visit Tim’s website.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from John Bolch of the Family Lore blog

Nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger John Bolch of the Family Lore blog here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

As someone who has always prided themselves in having a healthy irreverence for the legal profession, and being a regular reader of the BabyBarista blog in The Times, I anticipated that I would enjoy reading BabyBarista and The Art of War...

BabyBarista ('BabyB') is a pupil barrister, vying with three other pupils in his chambers for the lucrative prize of a tenancy. His pupilmaster tells him that "litigation is like war", and hands him a copy of The Art of War, the famous manual on warfare written in the 6th century BC by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The advice is not lost upon BabyB, who proceeds to utilise Sun Tzu's wisdom in his own war against his fellow pupils.

What follows is a non-stop romp through BabyB's year of pupillage, in which he (almost) shamelessly uses every underhand tactic available to him to ensure that it is he rather than his rivals who is awarded the coveted tenancy. Along the way we witness blackmail, deception and all manner of dirty tricks being employed by BabyB, yet we never lose affection for his character. Perhaps that is in part because some of the other characters are equally venal, or just plain unpleasant. And this does not just apply to the other pupils. Kevan paints a wonderful picture of not just the modern Bar but the legal profession generally as we meet greedy, vain and self-serving barristers, corrupt solicitors and even a shoplifting judge.

What of justice? Well, it hardly gets a look-in throughout, with the interests of the lawyers (including the judges) taking precedence, and cases being settled for their benefit (pecuniary or otherwise), rather than the benefit of the parties involved. "Like a croupier in a big casino, all they were doing was administering other people's bets" comments BabyB of claims lawyers. When we do get into a courtroom, we find that "for all its airs and graces" it "is just as much of a low-down, dirty free-for-all as pupillage", with decisions hinging upon the skills of the barristers, rather than on the merits of their cases. BabyB himself soon comes to this realisation: "you get the result you pay for”, he says, "as for justice, I think it's time we're honest and simply stick it on eBay and see what it fetches."

But the book is not just a one-dimensional tirade about the excesses of the legal profession. There are characters who really do care about what they are doing, and we are regularly treated to brief interludes that have little or nothing to do with the main story, but are amongst the most amusing parts of the book. I hesitate to use the cliché, but some of these are genuinely laugh-out-loud.

So, what is one to make of BabyBarista and The Art of War? It is obviously well thought-out and cleverly written, but was it Kevan's intention to 'blow the lid' on the profession? I think not. True, many of the plot lines and anecdotes contain a grain of truth, but this is not serious stuff, much as those with an axe to grind against the profession may wish it to be. The aim is unabashed amusement, the main players are intentionally caricatures and the plot lines are unashamedly exaggerated. The result is pure comedy: no more, no less.

Did I enjoy reading the book? You bet I did, and any lawyer who doesn’t is taking themselves too seriously. But this book is not just for lawyers – I would recommend it to anyone seeking an entertaining read this summer.