This year has seen, seemingly, an influx of books about the law; wether it was The Secret Barrister, or In Your Defence, my local Waterstones at one point had a whole table dedicated just to books about law. Under The Wig, published by Canbury Press, was the one that caught my eye.
It was largely the title that caught my attention; “Under The Wig”. When you think of a QC, what do you immediately think of? Probably the glossy image of a TV drama. In reality, it’s likely very different; you also don’t really see someone like this giving interviews, or revealing much about their life. In that respect, the legal profession isn’t necessarily accessible.
Under The Wig lifts the curtain, slightly; it has a kind of day-in-the-life feel, as well as being a retrospective.
Under The Wig is set into short chapters: they are either named after a case; a notable, colourful character; or a question. (As in, “How to become a QC?”, that sort of thing.
Under The Wig is slimmer than it looks fro the picture; I had expected it to be thicker than it was. From the first page, I was completely engrossed; here is a QC, giving his biographical recount! There’s also a rather colourful cast of characters; there’s involvement in the phone hacking trial, a war criminal, more than one person on trial for an offence they say they did not commit…
What I particularly liked is the sense of time passing in this book; we have Clegg’s personal progression, from starting with a degree, to ‘taking silk’. But we also see how a legal profession develops; one of the chapters covers the cuts to legal aid, and the impact it is having. For that reason alone, this book clearly needs to be read by a wider audience.
At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from Under The Wig; it isn’t like anything that I have read before. I think this contributed to how I became enamoured with the book, reading it from cover to cover, in two days.
What I would have liked to have seen was a little bit more ‘colour’; it’s a very matter-of-fact book. It could have perhaps benefitted from the added detail, rather than merely stating the facts of that particular story. However, do not let that deter you; there are a wealth of stories here. They are not to be missed.