Freddie (The Legal Whippet) and I spent today off our usual Shrewsbury patch, we were seeing clients in North Wales. We drove a long stretch of the A55 admiring the Menai Strait and trying to keep our eyes on the road.
On the way I followed a lorry and noticed the name on the back, a national and international company that Niels acts for, recently dealing with a refinancing for them and some major commercial contracts. I thought ‘Go Mckenzie Law’.
A few miles on I passed a lorry from another large national company. I am seeing one of their directors next week to sign Pension By-Pass Trusts and discuss Wills and LPAs.
A few miles further on and I recognised the number plate of a Shrewsbury hospital consultant coming the other way, I waved (too late). I was starting to think I was not ‘off patch’ at all.
We arrived (Freddie and I) at the country cottage of our clients – thanks largely to the lovely clients who had driven to civilization so that we could follow their car up into the hills. Yes I had Sat Nav, but no I didn’t have the power cable.
The clients apologised profusely to Freddie on arrival for not having any dog biscuits (they produced a large bowl of water), whilst I tucked into my biscuit with a coffee.
The clients are older and have some health problems, as very sadly do some of the younger members of their close family. In these circumstances it can be difficult to talk about anything at all and certainly difficult to discuss Inheritance Tax, Wills and Powers of Attorney. The well behaved whippet really helped to lighten the mood. After an hour or so and a successful meeting, the thatched pub in the village beckoned.
We do not have an office policy (yet) of only acting for clients who like whippets but most of them just do!
I wonder that there aren’t more whippets and dogs generally in the legal profession. I do know of a couple in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Apparently here, taking the dog to work is a mark of success – you need to be at least a QC to even consider it.
In our office, like most others, for us and our clients sometimes things can be mad, sad or bad. The presence of the whippet always helps. He is prepared to sleep, be fussed or go for a walk as the occasion demands.
Clients love the dog and it’s not because he is the only one in the office not on an hourly charge out rate.
A few weeks ago I went to visit an elderly couple at home (my James Herriot tweet referred). The husband was not up when I arrived and only joined our meeting part way through (in his dressing gown to the embarrassment of his long suffering wife). He could be heard saying crossly to her in the hallway: “Who the hell is here?”
She replied: “It’s Vicki”.
He said (crossly again): “Who the hell is Vicki?”
She said patiently: “It’s Vicki your solicitor Darling. I told you she was coming”.
From my seat at the kitchen table I did not think this boded terribly well. He shuffled in (still cross), looked blankly at me, looked down at the dog and said perfectly pleasantly “Oh, good morning Freddie”.
I recently gave a talk to the aspiring students of Concord College about a career in the Law. I went for realistic but upbeat with them. At the end one student asked me “Do you like your job? Do you like your clients?”.
On days like these where the Whippet works his magic I love my job…and yes I do like the clients too!