8 March 2009

KickStart or KickOut

Apologies to the good people of Bradford but I am moving my pro bono IP and technology clinics to Leeds with immediate effect.

I have just received an impertinent letter from KickStart threatening not to renew my contract for the dubious privilege of providing professional services to Bradford KickStart clients at a fraction of the market rate when it expires at the end of March unless I lodge two years detailed accounts and produce evidence that I practise in Bradford.

A barrister's accounts are a secret between the barrister, the Revenue and her accountant. What possible interest Bradford KickStart, the Chamber of Commerce or the borough council that funds the scheme can have in my affairs I do not know. It's pure nosiness and nothing more. Never in the 800 year history of the English bar has a client demanded such a thing. Can you imagine a prisoner in the shadow of the noose or electric chair asking Marshall Hall or Clarence Darrow for his accounts? 

As for evidence of practice in Bradford, if the monthly pro bono clinics that I have conducted from Velocity and Gumption aren't evidence enough -  not to mention all the business club workshops, exhibitions, seminars and conferences many of which were arranged by the Chamber itself - I don't know what is.

Leeds NTI has very kindly offered to host the clinic every third Wednesday between 15:00 and 17:00 where I shall share the list with Sara Ludlam. Appointments can be made through my clerk on 0970 990 5081. Folk from Bradford will be very welcome.   Leeds has an abundance of specialist solicitors, patent and trade mark agents whereas poor old Bradford has none.   For a metropolitan area of just under 500,000 that's quite a lacuna.