Roll with Laughter

LawSocI was walking down Chancery Lane in London a few days ago, past the Law Society. A good opportunity to check that my name is no longer on the English Solicitors’ Roll now I am at the South Australian bar, so I popped in. Did they have someone who could help me? No, not in person, but there would be someone who could help me available on the hotline telephone in the corner. The word “help” turned out to be less than entirely accurate. The conversation went something like this:

ME:                 I just want to check on the status of my name on the Roll.

VOICE:           Yes, sir. Can I have your full name?

ME:                 [full name]

VOICE:           And your date of birth?

ME:                 [date of birth]

VOICE:           I’m sorry, sir, that’s not your correct date of birth, and so I am unable to provide you with any information.

ME:                 I can assure you that it is my date of birth. I know. In fact, I was there.

VOICE:           I’m not saying you’re wrong, sir. But I am unable to provide you with any information without your correct date of birth.

ME:                 I have just told you that. It’s [date of birth].

VOICE:           No, sir, that’s not your correct date of birth, so I cannot provide you with the information.

ME:                 Look, you plainly have my date of birth wrong. I have no idea why, or what wrong date you have. Let’s make a correction now. Can we do that?

VOICE:           Yes, sir. For that I will need your correct date of birth.

ME:                 I have just told you that. It’s [date of birth].

VOICE:           No, sir, that’s not your correct date of birth, so I cannot process that amendment to our records.

ME:                 This is getting silly. I think I might ring back on another day.

VOICE:           Yes, sir. That will be fine. But we will need your correct date of birth to take your enquiry any further.

It could have gone on for quite some time, but I had other things to do.

In fairness, I should say that this is not typical of the Law Society. I acted for them some years ago in a construction matter (it was so long ago that I am sure they will forgive the lapse of confidentiality). There was a fairly significant amount of money at stake. They were model clients, listening to and following advice, careful to preserve members’ funds whilst at the same time pragmatic and fair in their dealings with others.

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