• Emily Prescott

The Londoner: To QC or not to QC on Twitter


Pompous barristers on Twitter risk turning the bar into a pariah profession with their “clever dick” tone, a leading lawyer has warned.

Lucy Reed, who works as a family barrister, denounced her self-important colleagues who unnecessarily voice their opinions on Twitter and insist on putting “QC” in their profiles.


On her Pink Tape blog she writes: “We are too often pompous, tone deaf, macho, always bloody right, sanctimonious, pedantic, holier than thou — and we have a specialness complex. And we just seem incapable of saying nothing.” She adds: “Do we think people will listen more because we put QC after our name?” Lawyers on social media have acquired particular prominence after the Brexit referendum as many high-profile legal cases followed. Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project has fought the Government on numerous occasions but found himself on newspaper front pages last month after tweeting about bludgeoning a fox to death with a baseball bat while wearing his wife’s kimono on Boxing Day. Reed writes of the fox incident: “I was struck by the need of almost all of my colleagues to tweet about it from one position or another — whether for, against or a humorous non-position.”


The Secret Barrister told The Londoner: “Many barristers — myself definitely included — would do well to pause and reflect as to whether they are actually communicating in the most effective way.”


A criminal barrister and prolific tweeter who did not want to be named agreed his colleagues must adhere to the rule “everything they say or do they have to be happy to read out in the Court of Appeal”, adding: “I’m not going to be saying anything about killing foxes for instance.” Indeed, the Bar Council’s guidance warns: “You should always take care to consider the content and tone of what you are posting or sharing.”

But Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council claimed: “Social media is largely a force for good in the barristers’ profession.”


Disagreement among lawyers, who’d have guessed it...

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© 2019 Emily Prescott.