Queen's Counsel - Live at Lincoln's Inn

by Alex Williams

Queen's Counsel - Live at Lincoln's Inn

On Tuesday night I was invited to address the annual dinner of the law department of the London School of Economics, a gala shindig featuring a host of international students in their national costume - lounge suits and loafers.

I myself dined at Lincoln's Inn many times as a pupil barrister, slowly notching enough dinners to fulfill the requirements for being called to The Bar. This was 20 years ago, so it was something of a treat to be standing at High Table addressing 300 students, shiny-faced and eager to figure out who exactly was this middle-aged geezer who had come to talk to them.

Things got off to a bad start when the student who introduced me started off by saying "I would like to introduce our speaker Alex Williams, who is very famous for....." - at this point there was a long pause, followed by gales of laughter, as he scanned his notes trying and failing to remember what exactly the speaker is in fact - if anything - famous for.

Fortunately things did improve after that - Lincoln's Inn has always been generous with the drink and I was glad to see that little has changed. Almost anything is funny after six or seven glasses of Chateau Thames Embankment and I soon had them falling off their chairs with exhaustion.

Luckily enough the audience loved my talk - some of them had even heard of Queen's Counsel, many stayed awake for all or part of the speech and more than a few stayed for the end. A triumph.

Actually most of the evening seemed to be taken up with the students taking photographs of one another - endless variations of boys and girls, boys only, girls only, two-shots, 3-shots - you get the picture. It all reminded me of going to Tokyo Disneyland many years ago, but without the rides.

Actually Lincoln's Inn probably could open as a theme park. The Hall itself could easily pass as Hogwarts dining hall; they could sell tickets and get barristers to dress up as wizards. Now that would be worth paying to go and see.



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