Tuesday, 27 August 2013

On bullshit jobs

"I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit," says a professor at the LSE in a provocatively interesting article. That has the ring of truth to it. What about this?

"For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic."

This seems to be true within the law. The best-paid barristers are thought to be the top tax and commercial silks. The worst-paid? Criminal and family lawyers. Even within criminal law, the best-paid almost certainly include that chap who got Harry Redknapp off. (Always treat with the greatest suspicion any media report of lawyers' earnings that does not include a link to the primary source: the money made on the Leveson Enquiry, for example, was made public and you can tell more from that than from random estimates in the papers.)

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