74. If any of you have been wondering what the future of law is in this country, I can tell you it looks pretty good. I’ve spent the day at one of the top law firms in the world, banging up against the CEO, helping find the next generation. Kids in the final year at school deliberately selected to be as diverse as possible. They all come to head office in The City of London for an assessment day. 200 of them. I am one of the assessors. It’s the sort of place where they have people whose job it is to lay out fruit like this:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that my job was to mark and channel these young’uns. I worried about it, considering who I am. But I think it’s right. I know nothing about law. I know next to nothing about working in an office. But I know people. That’s my special skill. Socially awkward or not, I have a pretty well honed perception because that’s been my focus. I’ve pointedly followed my instinct for years in order to run interference on my overactive mind. When my mind drives I crash. When my instinct drives, I fly. And I’ve flown to some interesting places. And right now I’m letting my instinct have the helm in the day to day. Mindface can have the blog-party, and overanalyse things in tranquillity.
So this morning there am I in the City of London wearing my trusty three piece (Which has also been places) and I’m engaging with these awesome young adults. They’re all taken out of context, they’re all working with people they don’t know from totally different backgrounds and perspectives and cultures. It’s interesting and beautiful to see them negotiate the minefield of the unfamiliar. To see them sink or swim. To see some of them rise up within themselves and find out that here, in a different context, they can really be whoever they wish to be. That that’s okay. I’m observing them, marking them on numerous different criteria. It’s hard to put numbers to people, and as I’m doing it I am contemplating what we all know. That a mark is an arbitrary measure, but the accumulation of these arbitrary measures can make or break a person’s future.
Tomorrow I have a meeting on a level that I haven’t had before. I’m trying to work out if I’m nervous about it or not. I think I probably am, on balance, as it could positively affect my future. I’ll be wearing my three piece, which is essentially like being constantly hugged by my own clothes. And this experience today has hugely helped me contextualise things. I’ve been assessing young adults while they forget they’re being observed. I’ve noticed that the people that most interest and engage me every time are the people who are just themselves, and getting stuck in. So I’m going to take the cue from these young adults and get stuck in tomorrow. Take me or leave me.
But I am pleased to report that there were some brilliant, creative and diverse kids who will be the next generation. In the Q&A both groups asked what the panel of lawyers thought about Brexit. The answers were diplomatic, but one person said “Well in the short term it’ll make more work for people in our sector.” What I loved is that, in both the morning and evening sessions, one of the few questions from these young adults was motivated by politics.
So if English law remains the dominant law as we isolate ourselves, if we don’t get nuked as collateral of transatlantic warmongering for profit, and if the UK doesn’t shatter and everyone relocates to Scotland, then the future of English law looks great.