David Parkin enjoys some legal entertainment and books a date with Jordan

LAST night I enjoyed the hospitality of the Leeds Law Society at its historic dinner.

Well it was actually the law firm Ward Hadaway whose table I was on for the black tie do at the Aspire venue in Leeds.

My invitation came from past president Philip Jordan, a partner at Ward Hadaway, who had read my comments earlier this year about dull black tie business dinners.

I’d said an invitation to such an event was a little like being asked to walk the plank by Blackbeard – you don’t want to go but you know you have to.

My fears stemmed from an experience a few years ago, the last time I attended the Leeds Law Society Annual Legal Dinner when the guest speaker, who had been described as a witty writer-poet, got to his feet and told his audience from the legal community that he had only had two previous experiences of lawyers: first over his late father’s will and secondly during a rather bitter and protracted divorce from his ex-wife.

I sat back and waited for the punchline.

But it never came.

His speech actually went downhill from there.

Twenty minutes later when he sat down, the audience looked like they needed some kind of collective counselling.

So I’m pleased to report that these days the society has done away with long speeches and gets the formalities out of the way before dinner is served.

There was a good turnout of 350 people who certainly spanned the age ranges from legal firms both large and small.

The vice president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Robert Bourns, gave a short address which focused on some of the challenges facing the profession.

It almost made me feel sorry for the lot of lawyers.

I asked one of Philip Jordan’s colleagues if he was due to give a speech.

“No, but we get several every day at the office,” he replied.

By that point, the Leeds Law Society president, Colin Gilbert, was speaking.

I liked his wry observation that “our profession is a fabulous springboard for other ventures, like a UEFA registered football agent”.

He finished his short speech with the rousing rallying cry: “We are relevant!”

Everyone looked relieved: not that he had finished his speech, but that they could count themselves as relevant.

He had thanked the event sponsors, among whom was a company called Purple Frog.

“Did he say Purple Door?” said someone on our table.

For those who haven’t heard of Purple Door, it is a long-established venue in Leeds where hard working lawyers go to unwind and discuss the issues of the day.

I haven’t been for some time, but I haven’t had any issues worth discussing for a while.

After the meal on the way back from the toilets, I bumped into Mark Burns, who has recently started his own law firm in Leeds and, like me, is a season ticket holder at Derby County.

We discussed the rumours around the dismissal of our manager last month and when I returned to our table, part of the audience were taking part in a conga around the hall led by several singers dressed as waiters belting out The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles.

It turns out that while I was away talking football, a “waiter” had dropped a tray of cutlery, stunning the room, and then he and two colleagues burst into song.

Their exhortations to the audience to join the conga got two conga lines going, but the guest of honour, the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, didn’t join in.

The singers ended by taking to the stage to close with “I’ve Had The Time of My Life”.

I don’t know whether I could go that far, but it was certainly an improvement on my last Leeds Law Society dinner.


FORGET Halloween and first days at school, you can now add another date to your diary when enthusiastic parents post photographs of their dressed up children on Facebook.

World Book Day.

It seems now the “new tradition” is for school kids to dress up as their favourite character from a book.

I’d got an inkling that it was starting to take off last year when a mother I know was going crazy trying to sort out an outfit for her son the night before, having forgotten to mark the big day in her diary.

This year it has really taken off.

I thought there was a Harry Potter convention taking place in my street yesterday morning.

I should have grown a beard and bought some stilts and gone along as Hagrid.

I suppose we should be pleased that children are being encouraged to read books and dress up – rather than don costumes and take part in legalised vagrancy, like many do on Halloween.

The cynic in me (I never have to look too far for it, given I’m a former journalist) wonders if World Book Day is purely a commercial stunt.

But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.

And so in the spirit of World Book Day, I went to work yesterday dressed as a character from one of my favourite books.

Being Jordan by Katie Price.

Well at least it got me noticed.

But those stiletto heels don’t half murder your ankles.

And pouting all day is hard work too.

Have a great weekend.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top