Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top American Law Blog 'Above The Law' reviews 'Law and Peace'

Very many thanks to top American law blog Above the Law for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

Certainly, the pompous, jargon-laden speech of the Freeman in the video clip is reminiscent of the lawyers in Law & Peace: The BabyBarista Files, a recently-released satirical novel about the British legal profession by former barrister Tim Kevan. And the Freeman movement as a whole — essentially anarchy dressed up with ritual and long-winded rhetoric — bears more than a passing resemblance to Kevan’s picture of a ceremony-obsessed legal world where, behind the scenes, anything goes.

A recurrent theme in Law & Peace is the cynicism displayed by lawyers in private. At one point, the members of Kevan’s fictional chambers of barristers break off from a session of recruitment interviews to reflect on the sycophantic responses of the applicants to their questions. Later on, over a couple of pints in the local pub, they compile a set of truthful answers.

Why Law?

“Because I just love twisting the truth and taking technical points.”

Why personal injury?

“Because it’s easy and well, I like money.”

Why employment law?

“Because litigants in person are always easier to beat.”

Why landlaw and tenant [aka real estate]?

“Because I’ll enjoy doing-over impoverished tenants and hey, it’s one better even than being a bailiff. Why, it’s living the dream.”

When they’re not partaking in these chats, Kevan’s characters are padding their bills to private clients, screwing the publicly funded litigation system for all it’s worth, and generating as much confusion about the workings of law as they can. At one point, a lawyer named Slippery reflects: “It’s simple. The harder we work at complicating everything the more essential we become to being able to fix it. A wonderful, money-making virtuous circle.”

It may be fiction, but the grain of truth found in this witty distillation of Kevan’s ten years practising as a barrister in London gives an insight into why the U.K. public have become sick not just of politicians and bankers, but increasingly of lawyers, too.

In his rebuttal of the Freeman movement, Gardner argues, not a little pompously himself, that “law is the friend of political progress, not its enemy.” Given the legal profession’s failure to live up to this lofty billing during the boom years, perhaps it’s time lawyers shouldered some of the blame for the rise of the Freeman movement, rather than simply telling everyone how stupid it is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Legal Aware review of 'Law and Disorder'

Many Thanks to Legal Aware for their review of my book Law and Disorder. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk
‘In ever-more wicked and devilishly-funny ways, from hacking into someone’s Facebook page to committing identity fraud, BabyB tumbles down the slippery slope from eager competitiveness to underhand racketeering faster than you can say “Objection your honour”’ Big Issue

‘For all those aspiring advocates who believe they are entering a glamorous or even principled profession, this book is essential reading.’ Independent

Funnily enough, my audiobook experience of ‘Law and Disorder’ by Tim Kevan was virtually identical to my experience of the #iPad2 #kindle version. Tim Kevan is the author of ‘Law and Peace’ and ‘Law and Disorder,’ which are both published by Bloomsbury and available on Amazon. For further information, visithttp://www.timkevan.com and http://timkevan.blogspot.com.

Tim has a very dry, but hilarious, sense of humour, and his characterisations are extremely clear. I recognised every single one of the character types in ‘Law and Disorder’, can visualise graphically some of the places in London referred to, and even though I am extremely unlikely to go anywhere near an Inn, apart from to attend an academic lecture on a topic which interests me, like human rights, I now have a handy picture of life as a barrister.

It doesn’t matter to me that my graphical representation of life as a junior barrister is probably as accurate as life as a Cambridge undergraduate, graduate or Master, after reading or watching Tom Sharpe’s brilliant ‘Porterhouse Blue’. I could recite, if necessary, certain passages from the book word-by-word; the ‘am I bovvered?’ scene is classic. Some lines are pearls of writing: for example, “Not even Barbara Windsor could have delivered the line better”.

The book is undeniably fictional, as one hopes that a real life BabyBarista does not exist, but the account s frighteningly realistic. It’s impossible to enjoy ‘Law and Disorder’ without wondering what makes Tim Kevan tick, and that is of course part of the success as Tim is a barrister-by-training. Which is why, having completed ‘Law and Disorder’ (several times), I am looking forward enormously to ‘Law and Peace’. Tim’s motivation, in part, unless I have completely misread him, is to try to understand what being a very junior barrister is all about. An unfortunate side-effect of this book is that you can’t help feeling an enormous amount of pity and/or admiration for those people who have somehow survived this process, if it is depicted reasonably faithfully. You indeed wonder how on earth a select few will make it to QC, suffice-to-say that it must help to be very thick-skinned!

Tim writes,
“I guess the thing about legal life is that it doesn’t necessarily need to end up being over-worked and stressful. But in a profession that bills itself out by the hour, there’s an inherent risk of it producing a tendency to commoditise what might be our most precious possession, that of time itself. As BabyBarista discovers, it certainly doesn’t have to be like that and during the course of the book he slowly starts to return to the things that really matter.”

(see here)

I wished to write this review, without having read other people’s thoughts on it. 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. Law and Disorder was described by The Times as “a cross between The Talented Mr Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones’s Diary” and Law and Peace has been described by the Daily Mail as a “funny, sharp account of backstabbing Bar life…highly recommended” and by broadcaster Jeremy Vine as “a novel bursting with invention”. They are based on the BabyBarista Blog which Tim has written for The Guardian. He is also the co-author of Why Lawyers Should Surf (with Dr Michelle Tempest).

I am also extremely mindful of giving away the story – but it’s a gem. The book commences with BabyBarista’s first day as a pupil barrister. He has just one year to win through whatever means he sees fit the sought-after prize of a tenancy in chambers. Competition is fierce: there’s “TopFirst”, who has a prize-winning CV but unfortunately a huge ego to match; “BusyBody” on a husband hunt but whose life seems to be predictably unpredictable; and “Wide-Eyed Worrier”, buckling under the burgeoning dimensions of the legal world.

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 discover 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 in the furious ‘race for pupillage’. 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 appears to give as good as he gets. Part of you wishes to disapprove of BabyBarista’s behaviour, in the same way the Bar Standards Board most definitely would, but part of you may have some residual affection for the muddling along which epitomises Baby Barista’s rudimentary political survival techniques.

In summary, I strongly recommend this book, even if you have no interest in life at the Bar, young people, or London. It’s a marvellous piece of comedy scripting, and will engender a lot of emotions in your wish to support BabyBarista’s career and personal success. It would make a great Christmas present for any student currently doing the BPTC, for example, hint hint ….!

In a weird way, this book I feel would be incredibly inspiring for anybody about to start their long journey with an Inn of Court here in London. Bring on, ‘Law and peace”!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Infamy or Praise review of 'Law and Peace'

Very many thanks to Infamy or Praise for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

A couple of years ago, I reviewed and recommended Tim Kevan's first BabyBarista novel,BabyBarista and the Art of War:
This is a book worth reading; it's entertaining and insightful, building upon the best aspects of the much-praised BabyBarista blog and providing greater depth and color (or should that be colour?) to its characters and stories. It's not a flawless novel, but it's well worth your time.

In the second volume of "The BabyBarista Files", entitled Law & Peace: The BabyBarista Files, Kevan demonstrates his growth as a novelist. Law & Peace is as engaging as Art of War and its crisper plotting will likely make it more enjoyable for those who are less familiar with the idiosyncracies of the English bar's pupillage and tenancy system.

While readers of his earlier work will already be acquainted with the motley crew of supporting characters around protagonist BabyBarista, those who haven't read BabyBarista and the Art of War (or as it was retitled later, Law and DisOrder) and don't follow BabyB's adventures online at either The Guardian or Kevan's own BabyBarista site shouldn't be deterred. His convention of referring to all but a few characters by nicknames allows us to follow the story without referring back to the character descriptions preceding the first chapter.

As before, BabyB is an earnest figure who often does the wrong things for the right reasons. Struggling with the debts accumulated in putting him through his schooling and pupillage, this time out he becomes entangled in the unscrupulous schemes of a greedy solicitor, SlipperySlope, and of OldSmoothie, a barrister in his own chambers. As he finds himself out of his depth in their self-dealing and cynical plotting and targeted by TopFirst, a rival whom he bested in Art of War, BabyB relies on his wits to see him through. Ultimately, however, it's his at times discounted, if never entirely discarded moral character which both enables his success and makes it worth cheering.

As was the case with the first novel, Law & Peace is, in essence, a morality play. Various figures embody ideals whereas others are evils who tempt or persecute BabyB in this allegorical story. That and the novel's point-of-view narration allow BabyB to always remain the focus of this story, but it necessarily shortchanges characterization for many of the supporting players. We learn more about some of the characters from the earlier novel and learn enough about those introduced in this one, but none of them are especially deep. They represent types, characteristics, and challenges, but they have little existence beyond acting upon BabyB for good or ill. The continuing adventures of BabyBarista are a Pilgrim's Progress for the legal set; unlike that famous work, thankfully, BabyB's progress is never a humorless slog.

In reviewing Art of War, I wrote that its ending was "a bit too abrupt and convenient". Law & Peace builds to a sudden, sweeping resolution of its various plotlines, but the result is much more in keeping with the narrative to that point and thus is more satisfying. As before, Kevan was kind enough to send me a copy of his novel for review and, as before, I'm glad to send another copy on my own dime to a friend, an expat Geordie lawyer, rather than part with my own.

I'm looking forward to BabyB's next novel-length adventure, though I think Kevan will be hard-pressed to come up with a fiction to rival some real shenanigans involving the English bar. Anyone who reads BabyB's stories of his own and others' misfeasance and malfeasance and thinks that these are simply unbelievable need look no further than today's newspapers. If, as is alleged, a prominent lawyer for the now-defunct News of the World had a hand in the hiring of investigators to gather dirt on the private lives of lawyers representing phone hacking victims, can BabyB's next adventure possibly be outrageous enough to rival reality?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bristol and the West Country Food Blog

There's a great food blog which covers Bristol and the West Country called South West Foodie. It's written by someone with both a passion for food and an ability to pass that on to others in a clear and enjoyable way. It's informative, funny and also a very good guide to what's hot. Restaurants covered include the following in Bristol: The Pump House, The Lido, Flinty Red, Three Coqs Brasserie, The Gastro Bar and Grill. There are also reviews of restaurants in North Devon such as The Corner Bistro, the Riverside and of course Braunton's famous Squire's Fish and Chips. You can find it at www.southwestfoodie.com.

Friday, October 21, 2011

RebeccasReads review of 'Law and Peace'

Very many thanks to RebeccasReads for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

The title of this book is a misnomer? With law and lawyers how can peace ever prevail…and more importantly how can lawyers live in a world of peace. I am reminded of the work “Utopia” wherein it is remarked that there are no lawyers in Utopia…for lawyers are persons who take advantage of misfortune- and Utopia is the perfect society, the only society were law and peace prevails.

Having read “Law and Disorder” a couple of years back, I knew that the author Tim Kevan has the stuff in him to give you a punch…but what “Law and Peace” provides is not merely a punch, but a real kick that will knock you over.

BabyBarista the protagonist whom we first met in “Law and Disorder” has learned the hard tricks of the trade…lying, cheating and all other underhand dealings to become a good lawyer. But BabyB is deep in financial trouble. He has to get out quick- come clean and save his neck…otherwise everything would be downhill. So does BabyB deal with it? Like a good lawyer he engages in shifty deals, blackmail and some share dealing techniques the types of which one might not even have heard in Wall Street.

What follows is a hilariously funny read which satires the legal profession to its maximum. Not since the days of A. P. Herbert and Laurance Polak has the humorous side of law been so much explored. The demise of John Mortimer a couple of years back left a void in pure legal fiction….and now that vacuum has been filled. Welcome Tim Kevan, the John Mortimer of the 21st century.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Charon QC review of ‘Law and Peace’

Very many thanks to Charon QC for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

Law and Peace is a very good read and builds upon the amusement of Tim Kevan’s regular BabyBarista column in The Guardian and the first book BabyBarista and The Art of War.(now renamed Law and Disorder)

BabyBarista is populated with wonderful characters – few a credit to the legal profession, it has to be said – each with their own perspective on the changing legal landscape.

I enjoy the regular column and I have enjoyed both of the BabyBarista books published so far. I leave you with this extract from a recent BabyBarista post… to give you a flavour of the parodic content…
Have you heard that UpTights, OldSmoothie and HeadofChambers have all applied to be judges?” said TheCreep.

“Why on earth would anyone want to be a judge?” said BusyBody. “I can’t think of anything worse than having to sit around listening to barristers self-indulgently wittering on all day.”

“Not forgetting the nervous meanderings of witnesses,” said Teflon.

“And then there’s the laborious litigants-in-person with their fifty-page long arguments and reams of irrelevant evidence,” said TheCreep.

“Which is a little rich coming from a barrister who sometimes resembles a litigant-in-person,” said TheVamp.

“So why on earth do they want to do it?” asked BusyBody.

“Pensions, of course,” said OldSmoothie. “What little pension I had left after two divorces has now been destroyed in the financial crisis and I hardly think things are going to improve. I mean, it’s not as if there are even any quangos left to sit out one’s days in some degree of comfort.”

And.. if you wish to keep up to speed with BabyBarista or order the book…. no better place than BabyBarista’s own website.

While Abraham Lincoln once said…“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” This would not be an aphorism acceptable to BabyBarista. I hope you enjoy reading…..

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roll on Friday review of 'Law and Disorder'

Very many overdue thanks to VultureCulture at Roll on Friday for reviewing my book Law and Disorder. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

Tim Kevan has numbered the ranks of the legal bloggers for over three years now. The former barrister pens the musings of a fictional junior barrister, BabyBarrista, who discovers that the bar is stuffed to the brim with incompetent, arrogant and out of touch individuals playing the system for all it’s worth.

And the blog has been popular. It was serialised in The Times, before Kevan switched allegiances to The Guardian once the paywall was installed. And from the blog a book was born. Law and Disorder, Kevan’s debut novel, is the first instalment of BabyB’s career path. It tells the tale of the young pupil barrister navigating his way through a year of pupillage, competing against a motley crew of fellow pupils to score the prize of tenancy.

BabyB's journey starts off with the (non-shocking) realisation that he is little more than a glorified coffee maker And it gets worse as he realises that his chambers are populated by unscrupulous characters.

Early indications that BabyB must get tenancy in order to support his poor, indebted, single mother who has sacrificed herself financially at the altar of his legal dreams - sound like the beginnings of a cliché and made VultureCulture groan inside a little.

However, it turns out that BabyB is not a self-righteous twerp who just wants to make a better life for his poor old ma. He is far from immune to a bit (in fact a lot) of backstabbing in order to grab the tenancy trophy from his thrusting fellow pupils. He plots their respective downfalls with relish - stooping to impersonation, identity theft, Facebook hacking, fraud and some kinky business along the way.

A deft study in the nuances of characterisation this book isn’t. The novel’s cast is colourful, brash and largely 2D - few of them very appealing. Only one person is given a name, BabyB’s confidante and best pal Claire. The rest are bestowed with helpful monikers. TopFirst is the main competition – bright, arrogant but led by his pants. TheBoss is BabyB’s very dodgy pupil master and TheVamp is a tenant in chambers and carry on character with whom BabyB enjoys a brief dalliance. You get the idea.

The reader is catapulted head first into BabyB's Machiavellian scheming. There are certainly elements of cliché and farce throughout - but the book is richer for it. Kevan manages to swiftly draw the reader into BabyB's duplicitous journey. The book is full of humour and sharp observations about the legal system and those who play it to their advantage. It quickly grabs the reader's attention and turns out to be really quite hard to put down.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WardblawG review of 'Law and Peace'

Very many thanks to Gavin Ward at WardblawG for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

With BabyBarista having won the battle for tenancy, one may have thought that he would take things a little easier without resorting to his wayward moral compass, perhaps with fewer dirty tactics capable of destroying careers and, potentially in TopFirst’s case, lives.

Laugh-out-loud from front to back, the book is a racing read, as with the first. When I read the first BabyBarista book I was under the impression that it was a real account of a pupil in chambers. Nevertheless, despite knowing that the second book was still a fictional account, I couldn’t help but questioning on every page if those events had actually taken place in one form or another. As The Lawyer Magazine commented several years ago, “If this is a fictional account it is genius”. Well, the same applies for Law & Peace.

From tales of playing drinking games in court (and I should point out that there is planking in court to come in a future book) to seriously corrupt litigation tactics and indeed crooked lawyers and barristers, Law & Peace covers themes which most legal writers have never approached.

Just as BabyBarista’s first experiences as a pupil were largely influenced by the principles set out in Sun Tzu’s Art of War, so are his actions in Law & Peace. Almost at every possible opportunity where the reasonable person would ask “what should I do next?”, BabyBarista seems to have a clear idea of the possible options and often chooses the most devious, although sometimes he doesn’t really have a choice because of certain characters e.g. SlipperySlope, BigMouth, TheBoss & co.

But it’s not all corrupt litigation: characters such as Old Ruin, “BabyB’s redemption”, demonstrate that there is plenty of good left in the practice of law, which is in stark contrast to SlipperySlope’s idea that barristers and lawyers all end up becoming the same crooked characters.

The description of the novel as a “Machiavellian romp through the legal world” is spot-on, with so many injections of innuendo, you’ll probably have to read the book a second time to get them all. With Tim Kevan also being very tech-savvy there are some amusing passages of barristers getting used to new technologies such as Twitter and smartphones, with a particularly hilarious take on the “sent from my iPhone/Blackberry wireless device” message on smartphones.

Also clearly moving in parts with a developing romance, the novel contains various references to leaving the law and going surfing. Maybe it’s just because I’ve left the long hours of legal practice myself that I liked these references in particular.

Mirroring other comments, perhaps one of the only minor criticisms I’d have is that a lot of the same themes from Law & Disorder are covered in Law & Peace. But I think that’s a good thing and is to be welcomed – if you’ve read one book, you’ll have to read the other. Indeed, as I still do, you’ll enjoy continuing to follow the blogging of BabyBarista, both on his blog itself and on Twitter.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Speaking at Taunton Literary Festival

For anyone who might be interested, I'll be reading from my two BabyBarista novels and talking about how they came about at the Taunton Literary Festival on 29 September at 11.30am at Queen's College in Taunton. Further details are here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Speaking at Appledore Book festival

For anyone who might be interested, I'll be reading from my two BabyBarista novels and talking about how they came about at the Appledore Book Festival on 29 September from 2-3pm at St Mary's Hall in Appledore. Further details are here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Article on TotallyLegal.com

Very many thanks to TotallyLegal for letting me talk about my new book Law and Peace. You can read it here or below, and you can buy the book on Amazon.

Having written my first BabyBarista novel Law and Disorder a little while back, last year I was faced with the task of writing book two. This came as more of a challenge than the first given that I couldn’t simply use the stresses and strains of pupillage to drive the plot along and instead had to look to other themes and stories. In the end, I did just what I’d done in book one and let the characters loose to tell their own stories.

What eventually came out was Law and Peace, published by Bloomsbury this May and which thankfully has garnered some decent reviews with The Daily Maildescribing it as “highly recommended” and a “funny, sharp account of backstabbing Bar life” and broadcaster Jeremy Vine calling it “a novel bursting with invention”.

The book follows BabyBarista’s second year in chambers in which as the newest tenant in chambers, he must face down old enemies, try to win compensation for a group of ASBO-attracting pensioners and unravel the complicated knots of his love life, not to mention his mother's finances.

Under the wise and watchful eye of OldRuin, he tries to keep his nose (and his wig) clean, but when SlipperySlope, an unscrupulous solicitor offers him a quick way out of his financial difficulties he soon becomes embroiled in blackmail, dodgy share-dealing and the dark arts of litigation.

With his old adversary TopFirst out for revenge and the chance to be awarded a coveted ‘red bag’ at stake, BabyB has to use all the tricks of his trade to extricate himself from his legal quagmire, win the case for his mad old clients, and somehow convince his best friend to fall in love with him.

One of the themes that comes out of the book is BabyBarista’s preoccupation with work and his failing to give enough time to his friends, family and other things which make him happy. In the end, it’s the example of others who show him the way with the old people taking him skateboarding and a friend of theirs introducing him to surfing as well as OldRuin, Claire and his mother emphasising the importance of love and friendship.

It’s something which I’ve had time to reflect on myself having spent ten years at the Bar in London before taking what has become a prolonged break to move down to the sea in North Devon. This has allowed me to return to the much simpler country way of life that I had known as a child with time to get out into the surf and the countryside as well as to settle into the local community.

I guess the thing about legal life is that it doesn’t necessarily need to end up being over-worked and stressful. But in a profession that bills itself out by the hour, there’s an inherent risk of it producing a tendency to commoditise what might be our most precious possession, that of time itself. As BabyBarista discovers, it certainly doesn’t have to be like that and during the course of the book he slowly starts to return to the things that really matter.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review of 'Law and Peace' in Daily Mail

Many thanks to Wendy Holden of the Daily Mail for the following review of my book Law and Peace, which is available from Amazon.co.uk
More slimy clerks crop up in Law & Peace, the second novel to emerge from The Guardian’s BabyBarista blog. Written from the male barrister’s perspective (again by a real-life wig-wearer), this funny, sharp account of backstabbing Bar life makes a great companion volume to Ophelia and comes highly recommended

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review of 'Law and Peace' by Carrefax blog

Very many thanks to Carrefax blog for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read it here or below. You can buy the book on amazon.
Good ol’BabyB is back! Having caught [by every method of subterfuge at his disposal] the golden snitch we know as ‘tenancy’ in chambers (at the conclusion of Kevan’s first instalment of BabyBarista, Law and Disorder: Confessions of a Pupil Barrister), we reunite with BB as he embarks on his career as a fully-fledged junior member of the Bar of England and Wales. However, although the battle for tenancy is over, “the war has just begun”.

Those familar with the BabyB’s journey through pupillage in Law and Disorder will recall how he picked off his competition for the prized place in chambers. He stood by and watched as poor old Worrier brought a trumped claim for sex discrimination which blew up in her face [she has now joined the other side of the legal profession]. There was ThirdSix who ended up in a spot of bother when his papers for court were switched. BabyB also had time to stitch-up his first-six pupil master, The Boss. And, of course, there was TopFirst – BabyB’s sworn arch enemy who fell into the jaws of a honeytrap devised by our cunning little hero. That pompous little snotbag is now out for vengance and he’s pulling no punches.

The battlelines are drawn around BB’s first big case: BabyB, alongside OldSmoothie and TheVamp appears on behalf of group of charming senior citizen (the Moldies) who claim that their brains are being fried waves emitted from a mobile phone mast erected by a cynical telecoms company represented by none other than TopFirst lead by UpTights. Matters turn much darker than they ever did in Law and Disorder as BabyB and TopFirst resort, amongst other things, to insider dealing and witness tampering to advance their cause and land the other in the nasty stuff. There is even plot to brainwash the judge hearing the case to give judgment in favour of Moldies the help of a Derren Brown-like mentalist.

The murkier side of litigation is a major theme in Law & Peace and we see BabyB sailing dangerously close the dark side being caught as he so often is between a rock and a hard place. The massive debt BB’s mum ran up sending him up to Oxford has been bought up by his instructing solicitor in the Moldy case, SlipperSlope, who could foreclose on the sum at the drop of a hat leaving if BB and his mum homeless unless keeps hushed about the web of shady antics in which SlipperySlope and the ruthless ScandalMongerer have entangled him. And, at every step of the way, where evil lurks TopFirst is sure not to be far away.
The question is can BabyB (with the help benevolent mentor OldRuin) keep the dark forces at bay and save the day?

So, what can we all learn from Law & Peace? That all work and no play makes BabyB a dull and broken boy? Perhaps. One thing is for sure: If you loved Law and Disorder you’ll love Law & Peace just as much.
A blindingly decent read and a must for anyone with a thing for Myla underwear and Christian Louboutin heels…

Many thanks to you Mr Kevan for this wonderful book!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review of 'Law and Peace' in Manchester Uni Law Soc Magazine

Very many thanks to Sophie Taylor of the Manchester University Law Society Magazine 'Mandatory' for the following review of my new book Law and Peace. You can buy the book on amazon.

Review of the Baby Barista Files. Book: Baby Barista Files:  ‘Law and Disorder’ and ‘Law and Peace. Author: Tim Kevan. Publisher: Bloomsbury. By Sophie Taylor, 2nd Year LLB

As I’m sure every law student is well aware of: law is NO easy ride. The prospects of being thrust into the legal world are daunting to say the least. No matter how many text books we read, or how much we think we have prepared…the fierce competion that greets us on arrival will undoubtedly be a tremendous shock to the system!

No longer pacified by university comforts, the high stakes and intense nature of crawling up the ladder of the legal profession, may leave some students throwing their toys out of their pram! This is certainly the case in Tim Kevan’s hilarious ‘Baby Barista files’, which follows the journey of ‘Baby Barista’ from his first day as a pupil to his subsequent year of tenancy. Both books provide a riotous account of the backhanded tricks; unscrupulous efforts; and down right outrageous strategies employed by pupils. The frantic attempts of those trying to embark from the nest of academia, into the role of a high flying legal eagle prove to be highly amusing! In Baby Barista’s case it is evidently not a smooth transition. For all those students considering a career at the Bar I would suggest these books to be an essential summer read!

Although the files are purely fictional, the author Tim Kevan has experienced his fair share of law and disorder in his previous career as an ex-barrister. He initially wrote the first book as a humorous blog which was later snapped up by Bloomsbury publishers, and released in 2009. Since its publication it has gained mass support. The Times praised the works referring to them as: ‘ A cross between the talented Mr Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones diary’. Such a review draws attention to the side splitting nature of the books as they take an alternative and refreshing outlook on the journey many of us students will soon embark on.

With an array of fantastic self-explanatory characters such as ‘Busy Body’ and ‘Old Smoothie’ the interactions that ensue could be accorded to that of a school playground. The Chambers are symptomatically laced with the scandal and gossip of ‘who has been caught sneaking behind the bike shed’, and the calculated manipulation of classroom bullies! Faced with financial pressures, Baby Barista plunges right into the heart of such school boy tricks, and will not let anything get in his way. The ensuing chaos of juggling mischievous tactics whilst gleaning a squeaky clean façade stimulates much enjoyment. The innocent professional failings in court are also highly engaging and humorous. Highlights include an overzealous sneeze causing his wig not only to fall off but to fly into the judge’s lap, not to mention a brief brush with the law himself! These are merely a snippet of the droll situations this pupil finds himself in. Although fiction - such pandemonium seems out of this world! Pure comic genius!

Moreover the follow on book which is to be published on the 3rd May follows ‘Baby Barista’ into his professional career of first tenancy. It is packed with comical situations including corruption in litigation, revenge from previous competition and the quest for a prestigious red bag!  The web of lies and tricks have certainly not been locked away and are once again causing conflict. As well as career desires Baby Barista also tries to win over the affections of a fellow pupil, but his immersement in work might be set to jeopardise his chances. With tales of ‘Batman boxer shorts, liquid lunches, drunken court hearings, and brushes with the ‘Bar Standards Board’ it is clear that Law and Peace provides an equally entertaining tale.

Both books are captivating and hard to put down. This is mainly due to Tim Kevan’s fantastically contemporary writing style which serves to keep you on your toes and literally laugh out loud. With legal speeches parodying that of Catherine Tate ‘Bovvered’, references to Little Britain, and various unconventional parodies, there is certainly never a dull moment. Such a sense of humour is much needed in the legal world. I would certainly recommend this book as a light-hearted, post exams cathartic wind down, and perhaps even preparation for commencing your pupillages!

Summary Judgement:

After reviewing all the evidence I am pleased to conclude that the Baby Barista files are to be found guilty of being an extremely entertaining, inspiring, and creative account of the legal profession. It shows lawyers at their best and most importantly their worst. I think law students will truly be able to appreciate the humour of these books and so my verdict here would be:


No objections here your honour!

'Law and Peace' covered in EX33 and EX34 Magazines

Very many thanks EX33 and EX34 Magazines for mentioning my new book Law and Peace in the following article (below is the EX33 version) which you can also read here. You can buy the book on amazon.

Local writer publishes his second novel

Braunton resident Tim Kevan will have his second novel published by Harry Potter’s publisher Bloomsbury in May. It’s called Law and Peace and is a sequel to his first book, Law and Disorder, which 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’. That book was a comedy about life as a barrister and centred around BabyBarista’s first year in chambers. It included characters that probably exist in most workplaces such as UpTights, OldRuin, BusyBody and Worrier. Alongside the pupillage race was an altogether different battle with BabyB’s corrupt pupilmaster TheBoss whose dishonest fiddling of chambers’ records to avoid a negligence action all started to unravel and threatened to embroil BabyB’s entire career.

The second book carries on where the first left off and BabyBarista must face down old enemies, try to win compensation for a group of ASBO-attracting pensioners and unravel the complicated knots of his love life - not to mention his mother's finances. Under the wise and watchful eye of OldRuin, he tries to keep his nose (and his wig) clean, but when SlipperySlope, an unscrupulous solicitor, offers him a quick way out of his financial difficulties he soon becomes embroiled in blackmail, dodgy share-dealing and the dark arts of litigation. With his old adversary TopFirst out for revenge and the chance to be awarded a coveted ‘red bag’ at stake, BabyB has to use all the tricks of his trade to extricate himself from his legal quagmire, win the case for his mad old clients, and somehow convince his best friend Claire to fall in love with him. There’s Machiavellian plotting galore but tempered with a real sense of pathos for the characters and their plight. What’s more, the fictional BabyBarista even takes a trip to North Devon and finds that surfing helps him to discover what’s really important in life.

Brought up in Minehead, Tim moved to Braunton a few years ago after a career as a barrister in London. These days, aside from writing his novels and a blog for The Guardian, he can otherwise be found surfing or jogging on the beach with his border terrier Jack as well as occasionally supping the odd pint of Doom Bar in the Black Horse pub in Braunton.

Broadcaster Jeremy Vine praises 'Law and Peace'

Thanks to broadcaster Jeremy Vine for the following comment on my new book Law and Peace which is available on amazon.

"The legal world is laid bare in a novel bursting with invention. What a cast of characters Tim Kevan has assembled -drawn so acutely that I almost worry they might be real"
Jeremy Vine, Broadcaster

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

'Law and Peace' recommended by Delia Venables

Very many thanks to Delia Venables at the Legal Resources in the UK & Ireland for recommending my new book Law and Peace. You can read the piece here or below. You can buy the book on amazon.

Tim Kevan's "Law and Peace" (long awaited by afficionados) has just been published by Bloomsbury and is available from Amazon. This is a legal comedy by barrister Tim which follows on from his first book, "Law & Disorder" (under the overall heading of the "Baby Barista files") which was truly hilarious and fascinating too. Both books appeared in blog form over a considerable period, originally in the Times Law section but (once this went behind a payroll) in the Guardian. There is a launch party for the book on Wednesday 11th May at the Old Bank of England Pub at 194 Fleet Street, London EC4 from 6-10pm. This is open to everyone and there is no need to reply - just come along. (Judging by the last launch, it promises to be a good party). Note to barristers: this is an excellent book to give to parents, children, other loved ones and anyone who is not quite sure what you do all day when you are not standing up in court with a wig on.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Please buy a copy of my new book 'Law and Peace'!

My new novel Law and Peace has just been published by Bloomsbury. It’s a legal comedy based on the blog I write for The Guardian and is the second instalment of the BabyBarista Files, the first being Law and Disorder which 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”. It is available at amazon.co.uk.

There is an official launch party for the book on Wednesday 11th May at the Old Bank of England Pub at 194 Fleet Street, London EC4 from 6-10pm. It’s open to everyone and there’s no need to reply but it’d be great to see you and any friends you’d like to bring along. Judging by the last launch, it promises to be a good party. More details are here. Signed copies of the book will also be available both at the party and then from 12th May at the Fleet Street, High Holborn and Ludgate Circus branches of Waterstones.

A request: please help spread the word and forward this on either by email or by clicking the Twitter or Facebook icons below.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Family Lore Blog review of 'Law and Peace'

Very many thanks to John Bolch at the Family Lore Blog for reviewing my new book Law and Peace. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book on amazon.

'Law and Peace is the sequel to Tim's first BabyBarista novel Law and Disorder, which I reviewed (under its original title BabyBarista and The Art of War), here.

At the end of Law and Disorder our hero had managed, by hook or (more likely) by crook, to secure a precious tenancy. Law and Peace takes up the story as BabyBarista begins his first year practising on his own account. His past is not entirely behind him, however, with the continuing worry of the huge debts that his mother ran up to get him through Oxford, and the continuing threat of dire retribution from his arch-enemy, TopFirst.

A possible solution to the debt problem presents itself when SlipperySlope, that fine example of the other side of the profession, makes BabyB an offer he can't refuse. Needless to say, this involves BabyB getting mixed up in all sorts of skullduggery and shenanigans, as every means at his disposal are used to win an important case involving the 'Moldies', a delightful cast of ASBO-attracting geriatrics.

And who is on the other side of the Moldy litigation? Why, TopFirst of course, and for him it's personal. To add spice to the rivalry, the two of them enter into a wager as to who will be the first to get a coveted 'red bag', awarded to a junior barrister by a leader in their case if they do a particularly good job, with the loser having to act for the winner as a mini-pupil (read: dogsbody), for a week.

As with Law and Disorder, what follows is a romp through the all the dark corners of the legal profession: we have a judge with a fetish for 'ladies in particular attire', barristers who will stop at nothing to further their career and solicitors who employ various dubious persons to obtain the evidence needed to win the case. All of our favourite characters from the first book are there, together with one or two new ones, such as Smutton, a glamorous partner in SlipperySlope's firm whose every word drips with innuendo, much to BabyB's embarrassment.

On the subject of favourite characters, BabyB is once again guided through his adventure by the wise and gentle hand of OldRuin, who provides sage advice and assistance, both in respect of BabyB's professional and his personal life.

But, as with the first book, Law and Peace is not just a story. The narrative is liberally interspersed with amusing anecdotes and interludes, in particular describing the, ahem, camaraderie and friendly banter between fellow members of the Bar. There are even some moments when characters dare to contemplate that there may be more to life than the ruthless struggle up the ladder to the top of the profession.

As you may have gathered, Law and Peace is more of the same, but that is no bad thing at all. It provides the same highly entertaining read for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. If you loved Law and Disorder, you'll love this. If you haven't read either, read Law and Disorder, and I guarantee that you'll then want to read Law and Peace.'

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First review of 'Law and Peace'

The first review of my new book Law and Peace has arrived and it comes from top legal blogger Law Minx to whom I send very many thanks indeed. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book on amazon.

"I do hope, dear blogwatchers, that I have not given you cause to be in any way concerned regarding the general health of our erstwhile hero by dint of the title of this post, for, while it may be entirely the case that he has recently had cause to swallow enough sea water while learning to surf so as to place him in line for the title of honorary president/chief executive/trustee/counsel and  general poster child for  that fine and UPSTANDING organisation,Surfers Against Sewage, I refer  in fact to the forthcoming publication of book two of his adventures at the bar, as dictated to Mr Tim Kevan ( Barrister of the Middle Templeand  latently a tenant of 1 Temple Gardens) entitled 'Law and Peace'.

Following his successful campaign to secure tenancy ( at the expense of every other pupil in his set) Baby B sets out to build himself a practice by as many conventional and, indeed deeply unconventional means as is possible, whilst doing continual battle with his arch enemy, TopFirst, in their intensely competitive quest to be first to attain a coveted Red Bag. The battle lines are drawn, and played out with considerableauteur, in a cause of action lodged by a group of retired persons, affectionately known to Baby B as the Moldies, wherein their eccentric behaviour is attributed to a local mobile phone mast, and for which substantial damages are sought.

Being fortunate enough to have been given a copy to read in advance of publication, I must say that I found it extremely enjoyable. Tim is  highly adept at weaving the main thread of the book - the moldy litigation- in and out of  Baby B's dodgy dealings, court pranks, and relations with his friends and family with a  subtle, underlying premise, to wit, the importance of living life in the  moment, and savouring it,  a premise which speaks to me following last year's Gharstlie Lergification. You simply never know what's around the corner.

Factor into the mix the wonderfully eccentric characters of  B's chambers, who load their conversations with all manner of saucy innuendo and general one upmanship, while now and again giving small insights into the fact that  their lives  never truly reflect the importance of taking pleasure in the present, then you have a book that is fast paced, and punchy  filled with rich characters who's machinations are really easy to follow ( even if you haven't read the first book ' Law and Disorder') whilst reflecting the droll humor that is beloved of many a lawyer without making it an entirely gnostic exercise.

In short, then, dear blogwatchers, I STRONGLY commend this book to you as anessential part of your summer reading -  trust me, once you pick it up, you wont be able to put it down! ( I certainly couldn't - I finished it in a DAY!!!)

As with 'Law and Disorder', 'Law And Peace' is published by the House of Potter, and is presently available for pre order via that fine interweb bookseller, Amazon. Following its publication on the 3rd of May, it will then  be available  in all good bookshops nationwide.There's even a very nice launch party to celebrate the fact on the 11th of the same month, at the Old Bank of England Pub on Fleet Street - go along and say hi!

G'WAN - You know you want to!!!!!"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nice review of 'Law and Disorder' audiobook

Nice review of the audiobook of the audiobook of Law and Disorder at the blog DietJustice. It says:

"I was browsing audible.co.uk yesterday, and came across Law & Disorder, by Tim Kevan, a fictional account of a pupil barrister. I was a bit sceptical...i expected it to be an amateur attempt at putting a comedy twist on a usually very dry topic. I was wrong, and pleasantly was surprised! The author begins by introducing the reader/listener to the cast. None of the cast are addressed by name, but are given a name that described their role or personality. For example; Head of Chambers, Baby Barrister, High Maintenance and Worrier. The characters are developed throughout the book, and get themselves into various degrees of mischief and trouble. Its a really easy listen/read, and i suspect it gives a pretty good insight into the challenges a pupil barrister will face."

The audiobook is available here and the book itself is available at amazon.co.uk.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Interview with Durham University newspaper

The Durham University newspaper Palatinate has just published an interview I did which is written by Vincent McAviney. You can read it here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

BabyBarista gets a mention in The Hollywood Reporter!

Nice to see my BabyBarista Blog getting a mention in The Hollywood Reporter for the post on OldSmoothie’s advice on libel laws. Also, very many thanks to John Bolch over at the Family Lore Blog for awarding me his January Post of the Month award (pictured).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mention in Legal Week article on entrepreneurial lawyers

Here's an extract from Legal Week on lawyers who have become entrepreneurs by Sofia Lind.

From the ground up - ex-lawyers who found success going it alone

They say lawyers aren't the type to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship, but Sofia Lind speaks to four ex-lawyers who found success in going it alone
"Lawyers don't make natural entrepreneurs, with law firm training geared towards risk management and cautiousness." This sentiment from one former lawyer sums up the general feeling about lawyers as businessmen.
While a number of lawyers have successfully cashed in their chips to start afresh with their own businesses, it seems that many of the City's finest believe these ex-lawyer entrepreneurs to be the exception rather than the rule...
The entrepreneurial Bar
Could it be that while solicitors are used to leaning on the security of their partnership that the self-employed barrister has a more natural make-up for entrepreneurship?
Tim Kevan is a barrister turned fiction author who also runs his own successful online webinar business. His first novel, Law and Disorder - Confessions of a Pupil Barrister (also known under working title BabyBarista and the Art of War), was derived from his acclaimed BabyBarista blog, while his second novel Law and Peace will be published by Bloomsbury in May 2011.
Kevan draws on his 10 years practising at 1 Temple Gardens in London. He specialised in credit hire, personal injury, civil fraud and sports law. Unlike many others who have left the law, he strongly intends to return to his practice, albeit in his new home of the West Country rather than the Big Smoke.
Kevan thinks the argument for barristers trumping solicitors as entrepreneurs is two-sided. On the one hand, barristers have the freedom to plan their own time and how much they work, but on the other, any day without work is a day without pay.
However, especially for his own writing career, he thinks being a barrister was helpful in developing his storytelling skills. He says: "Barristers are very much storytellers and communicators. You are constantly presenting the client's side of things in the best light possible." He thinks lawyers make good entrepreneurs: "Lawyers are bright, dynamic people so should translate quite easily into business people. As a barrister you are used to running your own business from day one."
And Kevan does have some advice that might suit the business-minded but risk-averse lawyer entrepreneur, whether they are a solicitor or not. "Go for it, if you want to. But the best advice is to start from the bottom up rather than the top down. Build up a base of customers first rather than just launching around a big idea. Then you are starting something that can grow organically."