There are many uses for lawyers, but some may come as a surprise.
Take, for example the war in Iraq and the burgeoning hacking scandal. what do they both have in common ? Well, powerful people who have money often havea 6th sense (or perhaps they know full well) that certain issues may come back to haunt them. They know that when this happens they need a “get out of jail” card (sometimes almost literally), and what is one of the best get out of jail cards…. confirmation from solicitors that they believe there has been no wrongdoing.
Most of us will be familiar with the numerous facile Iraq enquiries which seem to go nowhere, waste money and simply act to placate continuing protest. Anyone who watched or read about the latest enquiry will have heard ad nauseum, those criticised for going to war on false pretences stating that “we had advice it was legal from the Attorney General” or words to that effect. This is the ultimate in saying “it wasn’t me it was him”. Sounds like the school playground doesn’t it …? (by the way many successful business people learn a lot of skills in the playground).
This game of pass the parcel can continue with solicitors insisting that a barrister’s opinion be obtained and so on and so forth.
In the latest manifestation of this backside covering, those at the top of the News of the World/News International hierarchy are claiming that what looks like cogent evidence of widespread hacking some 4 years ago was not passed on to the police because they had top city lawyers advice that documents didn’t show widespread hacking. Cynics among you might ask why they felt the need to seek lawyers to confirm this… were the lawyers truly independent or were they a firm used regularly by News International which would mean the firm was in an awkward position with clearly a big and important client…. ?
The questions continue… who knows what the answers are at the moment, but one thing seems clear, we are in for the “it’s not me it’s him, her, them, it” merry-go-round !