After many years of attempting to explain the need for two kinds of lawyer in the United Kingdom to exasperated and confused European colleagues – and even US ones – I have lighted on the following language. Solicitors are a primary market of legal services. They are profit-sharing organisations in which senior lawyers manage teams of junior lawyers to do almost everything their clients want.
The European continent operates a legal system derived from the Napoleonic Code, first enacted in 1804. Napoleon was, I venture to point out, and without meaning to be too critical, a revolutionary dictator. He gathered four eminent jurists together and, as dictators are wont to do, ordered that they produce an all-encompassing system of law for his judges to administer to the nation. .
The retail side of banks’ business culture is of particular political significance; public disapproval of wholesale and shadow banking behaviour flow less readily into voter intentions. It is through the prism of experience of retail banking that politicians and the public believe themselves to be afforded insight into banks’ failure in these more remote areas
After the fall of the Berlin wall and before the collapse of Lehman, the political mood was such that banks were able to persuade the world that high levels of profit and remuneration were justified: the banks told the world that their industry had a key role in wealth-creation.