Monday, November 8, 2010

Review of 'The Wave' by Andy Martin

Very entertaining (and damning) review of 'The Wave' by Susan Casey in The Independent by my good friend Andy Martin, the author of Stealing the Wave which is my favourite non-fiction book ever written. Having pointed out that the author paid Laird Hamilton for his 'collaboration' the review concludes:


Laird has a feudalistic tendency to assume some kind of droit de seigneur over "Jaws" in Maui, Hawaii, one of the few waves on the planet to which the word "awesome" can reasonably be applied. So be it. But it looks stupid or besotted for a writer to jog along with this mentality and confine herself to saying, in summary, "Oh, Laird, you are sooooo wonderful, you great, gorgeous, rippling, sublime hunk of a guy!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review of 'Law and Disorder' at DefrostingColdCases.Com

Nice review of Law and Disorder at DefrostingColdCases.Com. He says in particular:

"British humour, subtle power play, plots and intrigue…Vidocq was sold! I cannot wait to read more about this barrister."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Legal Week reviews the Law Blogs

Nice article by Alex Aldridge in Legal Week in which he reviews the UK's law blogs. You can read the full text here. He says the following about the BabyBarista Blog:

"Individual blogs like BabyBarista, Charon QC, Head of Legal and Geeklawyer led the way...
BabyBarista - Fictional insider account of life at the Bar, running since 2006 and made into a book, Law and Disorder, last year. In adapting a Bridget Jones-style comical account to the law, author Tim Kevan arguably invented a new sub-genre that has sparked a number of imitators. The blog is now hosted by The Guardian website."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of BabyBarista by Charles Courtley

Nice review of Law and Disorder by Charles Courtley, the pen-name for the author of the excellent Wig Begone. You can read the article here or below.

LAUGHING AT THE LAW

I’m delighted to state that my book now appears on the 
Lovereading website and so I  join a pantheon of other legal humorists – a bunch of writers all dedicated to treating the Law as a bit of a joke.
So, if you’re tired of serious coutroom novels, lighten up a little with a toddle through our pretend world.
Henry Cecil’s ” Brothers in Law” series will take you right back to the career of a rather prim barrister of the 1950s, whilst John Mortimer’s immortal “Rumpole of the Bailey” books examine the legal scene from the other side of the age spectrum.
Tim Kevan will bring you bang up to date with his witty book “Law and Disorder”  – a  brilliant parody of the modern profession and I trust that my own, more traditional tale, “Wig Begone by Charles Courtley” , the nostalgic story of a young barrister’s shenanigans in the 1970s will raise a laugh too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

'Law and Disorder' book-signing at Hammicks Legal Bookshop on 25 October

I will be doing a book signing for my book Law and Disorder from 6-8.30pm on 25 October at Hammicks Legal Bookshop at 191-192 Fleet Street (corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street). It is open to anyone although so that they can get a good idea of numbers, please RSVP if you or your friends can attend to events@hammicks.com.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Law and Disorder reviewed in The Solicitors Journal

Great review of Law and Disorder in The Solicitors Journal by Martha Swann. You can read it here or see below.

Law and Disorder - Confessions of a Pupil
26 September 2010 Tim Kevan Bloomsbury

When I landed my training contract I was so enthused that I went through a stage of purchasing a library of legal books off the internet, as you do.
One of the books was BabyBarista and the Art of War. This has now been republished under the title Law and Disorder – The BabyBarista Files with a funky new cover to appeal to the masses ahead of a second book set to be published next year.
It was definitely one of my better purchases – as a trainee solicitor I quite like getting a glimpse of what life might be like in chambers as it seems much more… how shall I say this… exciting than my life behind a desk building forts out of files. I therefore cannot vouch for the book’s accuracy, but I can vouch for its humour, wit and brilliant plot.
If you’ve ever read the BabyBarista blog, formerly in The Times and now featured in The Guardian, you’ll know that it has sharply drawn characters with appropriate monikers. BusyBody and OldRuin are two examples – guess what those characters are like. They all work together (or at odds with each other) in a London chambers.
The book focuses on BabyBarista’s pupillage year and the fiercely competitive nature of the pupils as they try and learn their trade while simultaneously battling it out against each other to try and get tenancy.
This brings me to the rather obvious book review question of whether or not I would recommend this book to my friends, my colleagues and to you, dear Young Lawyer readers. I would.
I suspect I am biased as I love the blog (I even am sad enough to follow BabyBarista on Twitter) and I found the book hilarious.
When I enjoy a book I tend to read it in one fell swoop, as I did with this one. So, go and buy it. Even if you’re not familiar with the blog this is a brilliant introduction to it. I just hope you’ve got a spare moment to read it in between job applications and all that photocopying you’ve been asked to do...

Postscript:
Martha Swann is a trainee at Stone Rowe Brewer

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Independent on Sunday gives 'Law and Disorder' four stars!

The Independent on Sunday today gave Law and Disorder four stars in a book review by Inbali Iserles. To read it click here or see below:

"Litigation is like war." So BabyBarista is told on being presented with a copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War during his first day in chambers. BabyB is about to find out that the battle lines are drawn not only in the courtroom but between the barristers who will be his neighbours for the next year of continual assessment. It is a lesson he is quick to learn – if fraud, philandering and a string of transgressions are to dictate which of the aspiring pupils make tenancy, BabyB plans to give as good as he gets.

Law and Disorder started life as an anonymous blog and its appeal as a novel is obvious. Tim Kevan, a former barrister himself, has a sharp eye for detail. While his cast tends toward caricature, one suspects that there is more than a kernel of truth to the pompous, sexist HeadofChambers, BabyB's conceited peer TopFirst and SlipperySlope, a solicitor "skilled in the creative art of billing".

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of Law and Disorder


Thanks to the blogger from North Devon who writes the NoClue Blog for a lovely review of Law and Disorder. In particular they say:

"...it’s very funny to read and you don't need to come from a legal family or be in law to appreciate the wry humour and enjoy the anecdotes and the devilishly funny stories...It’s a book that will appeal to anyone with a sense of humour and one which I simply could not put down until I had read it from cover to cover laughing out loud with every page. It’s nice to know that what happens in every office of any business in this land happens in exactly the same way within the legal profession - but done with a helluva lot more style and panache."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Article at Online Journalism Blog

Thanks to Paul Bradshaw for allowing me to do a guest post at the Online Journalism Blog entitled 'Why I escaped The Times' paywall'.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

BabyBarista says that the paywall will be a disaster for The Times

In his most recent post, BabyBarista says that the paywall will be a disaster for the Law Section of The Times in particular and suggests that The Guardian's Law Section might be about to trump it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Press release: BabyBarista resigns from The Times over their decision to charge

For immediate release

Barrister and writer Tim Kevan has withdrawn the BabyBarista Blog from The Times in reaction to their plans to hide it away behind a subscription-based paywall. He commented: “I didn’t start this blog for it to be the exclusive preserve of a limited few subscribers. I wrote it to entertain whosoever wishes to read it.” In a further post he said, "I think the decision will prove to be a disaster. There are so many innovative ways of making cash online and the decision to plump for an across-the-board blanket subscription over the whole of their content makes them look like a big lumbering giant...Canute-like in their determination to stop the tide of free content and using a top down strategy which makes even the Post Office look dynamic."

The re-launched site is at www.babybarista.com and includes numerous cartoons of the blog’s characters by Times cartoonist Alex Williams. By way of background, BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister at the English Bar. The stories he tells appeared on The Times for over three years and they also led to him getting two book deals with Harry Potter's publisher Bloomsbury. BabyBarista and the Art of War was published as a trade paperback last year and was described by broadcaster Jeremy Vine as “a wonderful racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud” and by The Times as “a cross between the talented Mr Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones's Diary”. A mass market edition with the new title Law and Disorder is due out in August. Book Two of the BabyBarista Files will also be published by Bloomsbury. The provisional title is Law and Peace and although a date hasn't been finalised it is likely to be published in 2011.

Online response to this story

This story has caused an enormous response from newspapers, bloggers and tweeters and the following are links to around seventy of them: Vanity FairThe Guardian, New Statesman, Media WeekThe Bar CouncilThe New Lawyer, American Bar Association Journal, Michael Wolff @ NewserEstates GazetteProf George BrockCharon QCGeeklawyer, PhanceeBusiness InsiderInfamy or PraiseEditors Weblogle monde, LawDentFamily Lore, Android's Reminiscences, Delia Venables, f/k/a, Jobsworth, Binary Law, slaw, Broadcast Journalism, Tech DirtThe WallJournalism.co.ukPragmatist, Criminal Law and Evidence, Memex 1.1Practice Source, Felix Salmon at Reuters, Media Gazer, White Rabbit, Trainee Lawyer, Exile On Moan Street, Malice in Wonderland, The Latest on PPC, Media BistroLegal NewsMartin Stabe, CyclothymicMusings, You Get The Info, Cyber CulturalistAlexandre Gamela, Whyte Wolf, It's Digital PR News, J Source, A-Z of Global Warming Of Interest to Lawyers Medie Varlden (Swedish)De Jaap (Dutch)Ger Timmer (Dutch)Media Facts (Dutch), I Love Media (Dutch), Media Ned (Dutch), ABC Spain (Spanish)233 Grados (Spanish)Lola Como Mola (Spanish), The Protocol Droid (Spanish)LaInformacion (Spanish)FayerWayer (Spanish), Direnet (Spanish), Golpedegato (Spanish)elarea.com (Spanish), El Otro Juan (Spanish)Dziennik Internautów (Polish), Alternative Blog (Japanese) and finally tweets.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review of BabyBarista at The Planet Harris Book Blog


"Expanded from his BabyBarista Times blog, this first novel from Tim Kevan is an uproarious diary of intrigue, backstabbing and dubious moral attitudes, set in the allegedly morally upstanding world of law courts and Chambers. BabyBarista himself is a Machiavellian young pupil barrister whose early claims of naivety are quickly rubbished when it becomes clear that he will stop at nothing to ensure he, and not one of the other four pupils in his chambers, is granted tenancy at the end of the year.

BabyBarista’s first pupilmaster, known simply as TheBoss, hands him a copy of ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu on his first day but it is clear from the off that nobody is going to put Baby in a corner anyway. Without the ancient strategic text, Kevan’s narrator would have been a formidable enough proposition; armed with it he acts out ever-darker and underhand schemes to achieve his ends. Nonetheless, BabyBarista remains charming and entertaining enough throughout to guarantee we’re still rooting for him come the denouement. This is, in part, due to his wry observations on the pomp and circumstance which lays like a veil over British legal proceedings. Why wear 200 year out of date wigs and gowns in court, he wonders, when modern defendants might have more faith in somebody wearing a superhero outfit? Why should prosecution and defence counsels spend hours arguing to and fro to reach an out-of-court settlement when they can decide the matter with a quick game of Battleships and spend the rest of the day drinking champagne?

There are shades of Francis Urquhart, echoes of Yes Minister’s Sir Humphrey and a degree of Iago to this would-be-Rumpole, but many of the external cultural references are actually drawn from television comedy. One of the most entertaining scenes consists of BabyBarista’s pre-courtroom war of words with a more experienced counsel he refers to as TheCreep. TheCreep attempts to undermine Baby’s confidence by haranguing him on the train heading for their court appearance, but is rebuffed at every turn by the Catherine Tate catchphrase ‘Bothered.’ Worryingly, this episode and many others are told so convincingly that I began to pray I never need defending by a junior, or even senior barrister. Some of Kevan’s counsels do not appear to come armed to the battle of wits that is crosscourt debate.

As the novel rattles towards deadline day pretty much every character either falls apart, usually as a result of BabyBarista’s machinations, or reveals themselves to be even more loathsome than they first appeared. With one notable exception. OldRuin is unmistakably the conscience of the piece, full of avuncular advice and driven by an awareness that life is not about avoiding mistakes or behaving perfectly, it is about what we learn from our errors of judgement, morally as well as practically. Without this virtually lone advocate of human decency the novel would be less effective and our sympathies for BabyBarista himself might falter, the more he becomes embroiled in smearing his rivals. What OldRuin allows the reader to understand, however, is that Baby might not need throwing out with the bath water; he just might realise that skulduggery can only get him so far. Is he redeemable? Quite possibly, but then, a rehabilitated BabyBarista would rule out any possibility of a sequel, wouldn’t he?

Tightly written, interspersed with enough out-of-chambers action to keep the layman riveted, peppered with keenly-observed, if rarely likeable characters, and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny in places, Tim Kevan’s debut is an absolute delight."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review of BabyBarista in 'Pit Pilot Surf Magazine'

"Tim Kevan is a testimony to the importance of surfing in life. He gave up a lucrative job as a barrister to move to the coast, surf and write this novel. Babybarista is a scandalous story of a trainee at the Bar. It’s full of naughty storylines and rips the law trade to pieces. You can fully see why you would want to jack it all in for a few waves, and it’s great fun reading such a damning indictment of the class-riddled world of the Bar. Hilarious and addictive."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'Why Lawyers Should Surf' mentioned at SolicitR.com

Nice plug for Why Lawyers Should Surf which I co-authored with Dr Michelle Tempest at SolicitR.com which says among other things the following:

Fortunately for young lawyers they can adapt rather more quickly than evolution normally caters for. And the improving (lets be optimistic here) economy will provide plenty of new opportunities. Whether those will be in a new area of law or something else altogether is up to the individual.
No going back – here’s some inspiration:
1. Tim Kevan, author of Why Lawyers Should Surf.
2. Brian Moore, rugby player, manicurist and commentator/columnist.
3. Bob Mortimer, comedian.
4. Barack Obama, American President.
5. Alex Wade, beach bum. Formerly a lawyer with Carter-Ruck. He authored Wrecking Machine, which he followed with another book, called Surf Nation.
6. Oona O’Connell, Playboy Model. (pictured)
7. Tony Blair. Former lawyer, Prime Minister and band member. Now jet-setting statesman. Loaded. With great prospects for becoming really loaded.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BabyBarista recommended by Dr Michelle Tempest at The Psychiatrist Blog

Thanks to Dr Michelle Tempest for recommending BabyBarista and the Art of War on her excellent Psychiatrist Blog. Michelle was the editor od the ground-breaking book The Future of the NHS and is also the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in the North West Durham constituency at the General Election. You can follow her progress here. She writes about Babybarista:

"If you are looking for a great read then look no further than confessions of a pupil barrister. It can be bought here. If you thought that legal eagles spent their time studying behind antique desks, think again! This book lifts the lid on legal chambers and offers readers a unique insight into the dirty tricks barristers use to battle each other, in and out of court. It left me asking the question, do these characters think they are above the law?"

BabyBarista covered at TotallyLegal.com

There's an article at TotallyLegal.com about the making of BabyBarista and the Art of War which you can read here or below.

Writing for Harry Potter’s Publisher

Tim Kevan is barrister-turned-novelist and creator of the infamous BabyBarista. Totallylegal editor Natalie Harris asks him about how he came to write a novel for Harry Potter’s publisher, Bloomsbury.

Back in early 2007 I had been practising as a barrister at 1 Temple Gardens for some nine years and was enjoying the life of a common law practitioner based in London. But I’d always dreamt of living by the sea and the surf and maybe even writing a novel. I just couldn’t quite see how it could be done. At that time I’d just finished co-writing a motivational book entitled ‘Why Lawyers Should Surf’ with Dr Michelle Tempest, a book which encourages people to look for inspiration outside of law and used surfing and the power of the ocean as metaphors for living the day to day. Next I wanted to sit down and write a legal thriller. But instead what popped out was a legal comedy about a fictional young barrister doing pupillage. I called him BabyBarista which was a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have. It’s a strange thing to say but I discovered that this bold, irreverent and mischievous voice along with a collection of colourful characters had simply jumped into my head and the words started pouring onto the page.

I wrote it as a
blog and 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 Lawyer Magazine commented “If this is a fictional account it is genius”. I then emailed a few publishers and started getting interest as well as taking on a literary agent who had approached me direct. In the meantime, I was contacted by Alex Spence of The Times and he very kindly offered to host the blog and finally, I got a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing of Harry Potter fame - all within the space of less than three months.

Since that hectic start, it’s been a long haul. I’ve finally taken a break from the Bar and moved to North Devon where not only have I been able to go surfing a little more frequently but I also finished the first book in the BabyBarista series as well as continuing to write the blog. The book finally came out last August and does seem to have been well-received with broadcaster Jeremy Vine describing it as “a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud” and The Times Law Section calling it as “a gallop of a read” and their Books Section mentioning its “relentlessly racy, rumbustiously Rumpolean humour”.

The book is called BabyBarista and the Art of War and centres around BabyB’s first year in chambers where he is fighting his fellow pupils for the coveted prize of a permanent tenancy. 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. Alongside the pupillage race is an altogether different battle with BabyB’s corrupt pupilmaster TheBoss whose dishonest fiddling of chambers’ records to avoid a negligence action all starts to unravel and threatens to embroil BabyB’s entire career.

With the first book finished, I’m continuing to write the blog as well as working on book two in the series. Ultimately I intend to return to the Bar part-time and based in Devon but hopefully through my chambers in London. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy life down here by the sea.

Tim Kevan is the author of ‘BabyBarista and The Art of War’ published by Bloomsbury and available on
amazon. For more information visit The Barrister Blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BabyB reviewed mid-Atlantic!

Award for the most extreme review of BabyBarista and the Art of War goes to adventurer Dr Rob Casserley, five times Everest summiteer and currently on a mission to become the first man to row the Atlantic followed by climbing Everest once more. So, mid-Atlantic, being battered by winds driving him South towards Venezuela, he just sent out the following two tweets (click on left to enlarge): "On brighter note, just finished BabyBarista,a witty hard 2 put down book about the shenanigans going on in a firm of barristers...By some bloke Tim Kevan. Makes me glad 2 b of the fairer profession! Highly recommend it!" To follow Rob's progress, click here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

BabyBarista arrives Down Under

I'm really delighted that BabyBarista and the Art of War has just received a very nice review in the New South Wales Bar Association's Bar News (at page 109) which you can also read by clicking on the picture of the left or reading below. I'm even more pleased by the fact that the review is by Richard Beasley who is not only a practising barrister (and a qualified solicitor) but also the author of one of my very favourite legal novels ever Hell Has Harbour Views which is both extremely funny and also a fantastic page turner of a read which I couldn't recommend more highly. It is available direct from Australian bookshops such as SeekBooks.com.au and also on amazon.co.uk. The review reads as follows.

BabyBarista and The Art of War

There are no heroes here, BabyB. We’re all just shadows. Dim reflections of the real world. Sitting around packaging it all into neat and tidy little issues... I can’t stand it BabyB. The law. The whole thing. It sucks the poetry from our souls. Boils it all down to cynical platitudes. You know, if it wasn’t for the money ....

So laments UpTights, a senior barrister in the fictitious London chambers which is the stage for the action in Tim Kevan’s very funny novel, BabyBarista and the Art of War.

It’s no wonder UpTights is depressed. Her Head of Chambers is pompous and mediocre in equal measure. The most senior junior specialises in professional negligence of his own making, dishonesty and adultery. Another barrister is sleeping with a clerk. The most senior woman is addicted to Botox and to flirting with much younger men when drunk. Another is a Vamp, who drops her wig for every guy in town. Many of the others fret that they will turn out like the older ones when they grow up, while others fear that they are now entrenched in that ugly terrain of not being good enough for top work, but too senior for the bread-and-butter. The readers are all intensely jealous of one another, and backstab at every opportunity. As for the rest of chambers, they are in the main all airs and graces, but no manners.

Tim Kevan has been a barrister for over 10 years, and despite the characters in his book, remarkably none of those was spent on Xth Floor Wentworth-Selborne. Having joined 1 Temple Chambers in London in 1996, and having written a number of legal texts dealing with consumer credit, personal injury and sports law, Kevan first ventured into the literary book world in 2007 with the non-fiction work Why Lawyers Should Surf. Written with Dr Michelle Tempest , it’s a kind of self-help book for lawyers who want to both improve their legal skills and their lives. For a number of years Kevan has also written a legal blog for The Times, and from this BabyBarista and the Art of War has emerged.

The plot revolves around the contest between four baby barristers and their year-long quest for the one available room in chambers at the end of their pupillage. employing tactics from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – ‘kill or be killed; the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself’, etc – BabyBarista is determined to end up with the room no matter what Faustian pact he has to make. For 12 month he puts the better parts of his soul aside, summons the darker parts (and a great deal of creative energy), and gets to work on his competition.

Written in the style of a diary, the novel never loses pace, nor does BabyB run out of inventive means of undermining, tricking, demoralising and defeating his enemy. Phone taps, secret video, identity fraud and Facebook are all part of his arsenal as one by one he sets upon his fellow pupils TopFirst, BusyBody and The Worrier. BabyB may be a novice advocate, but he is a master manipulator.

There a times during his first year at the bar when BabyB meditates on whether the struggle is worthwhile. His pupilmaster, called TheBoss, who could equally be called Mr Spineless-Bastard esq., sums up all he has to teach BabyB with this:

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.

Only those who oppose a Bill of Rights could sum up the profession so succinctly.

Telling a story through the mechanism of daily diary entries, and the use of nicknames as distinct from real names (oldRuin, FanciesHimself, the Vamp, JudgeJewellery, oldSmoothie to mention a few), carries with it the risk that the characters will come across as one dimensional and stereotypes. With great comic timing, and with as much sympathy as contempt for the actors in his novel, Kevan avoids this, and what could have been merely a series of anecdotes becomes a well rounded and sharply observed comedy about a profession the author knows very well.

Whether you think this book is merely an amusing parody of the legal profession, or a deliciously accurate portrait, all people who enjoy well-written and funny books, and even a large number of barristers, will enjoy BabyBarista and The Art of War. As for those members of the profession that read this book and don’t enjoy it, I’m sure Tim Kevan has a very apt nickname.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mention of BabyBarista on the 'Leaving Law' website

You can read the article here or below.
Tim Kevan
Now in:
Creative Writing, Portfolio Careers, Arts and Media
Went about it:
I practised as a barrister for over ten years at 1 Temple Gardens in London. During this time I wrote or co-wrote a bunch of law books which in many ways helped to develop my practice. These were later followed by a motivational book entitled ‘Why Lawyers Should Surf’ which I co-wrote with Dr Michelle Tempest and which encouraged lawyers to look for inspiration outside of law and used surfing and the power of the ocean as metaphors for living the day to day. But I still had an ambition to write a novel and after the first draft of the surf book was finished I very much wanted to sit down and write a legal thriller. But instead what popped out was a legal comedy about a fictional young barrister doing pupillage. I called him BabyBarista which was a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have. It’s a strange thing to say but I discovered that this bold, irreverent and mischievous voice along with a collection of colourful characters had simply jumped into my head and the words started pouring onto the page. I wrote it in the form of a diary and posted it online as a blog at http://babybarista.blogspot.com. 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 Lawyer commented “If this is a fictional account it is genius”. I then emailed a few publishers and started getting interest. I was also lucky enough to be approached by a couple of literary agents and chose to go with Euan Thorneycroft of AM Heath who has been extremely helpful at all stages of the process from looking at the story itself to negotiating with the publisher. In addition, I was also contacted by The Times which offered to host the blog (at http://timesonline.typepad.com/baby_barista) and finally, I got a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing of Harry Potter fame - all within the space of less than three months. The book came out last August and is called BabyBarista and the Art of War. It’s a fictional caricature of life at the Bar and centres around BabyB’s first year in chambers where he is fighting his fellow pupils for the coveted prize of a permanent tenancy. Thankfully, it appears to have been well-received with broadcaster Jeremy Vine describing it as “a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud” and The Times Law Section calling it as “a gallop of a read” and their Books Section mentioning its “relentlessly racy, rumbustiously Rumpolean humour”. In the meantime I had co-founded a couple of legal businesses and these started to take off. The first provides free legal email newsletters (www.lawbriefupdate.com) as well as a subscription law journal. The content is provided mostly by barristers and solicitors and aims to digest into manageable form what can often be an overload of information for the legal practitioner. The other business provides online CPD training for personal injury and employment lawyers through video seminars or webinars (www.cpdwebinars.com) and this has proven to be particularly popular due to the fact that lawyers are able to gain their CPD hours watching and interacting with top speakers whilst not having to leave the comfort of their own desks or perhaps more importantly not having to lose a day out of the office going off to a conference or the like. With all this going on I was still trying to get down to the coast as much as possible and had bought a house in North Devon which was not far away from where I had been brought up as well as being next to the various surfing beaches in that area. Whilst trying to juggle all of these things I eventually decided to move down there full-time and take a break from the Bar in order that I could finish the novel and work on the businesses as well getting into the sea whenever there was swell.
Comment
It’s certainly been an exhilarating time and wonderful to have some time out to concentrate on other things than law. Being back down by the sea has really made me appreciate how important it is to concentrate on quality of life and to give yourself the time and space to pursue all manner of passions and interests which you might have. For me that meant getting out into the sea and enjoying all that the countryside has to offer. This has not just been through surfing but also through simple pleasures such as taking on a little border terrier puppy and getting him out onto the beach and into the hills, growing stuff in the garden from runner beans to rhubarb and even brewing elderflower wine or making sloe gin. It’s also a real pleasure to be back living in a rural community with all its various traditions and institutions, a place where neighbours look out for each other and friends often live just a short walk away. Ultimately I intend to return to the Bar part-time and based in Devon though hopefully through my chambers in London. But with the perspective of having spent time out it will hopefully help me ensure that I maintain some sort of balance not only between work and play but also between the various different types of work which we as lawyers are able to take on. Photograph: Copyright Jay Stirzaker