Poets and law / Recht und Gedichte

Vor ein paar Jahren hat die Kanzlei Mischcon de Reya, in der Londoner City, eine Dichterin eingestellt, um die Mitarbeiter (ob Anwälte oder Sekretärinnen) zum Dichten anzuregen. Es gibt es sogar eine deutsche Website mit der Übersetzung eines Gedichts von Lavinia Greenlaw. Die City of London hat (hatte?) auch ihren erste offiziellen Dichter, John Mole.

Following the comment under the entry on Burtlaw, I recall there was a poet in residence at a London law firm a few years ago. The firm was Mishcon de Reya (who represented the Princess of Wales in her divorce – they have a weird website, incidentally with some documents and transcripts from the David Irving/Penguin trial) and the poet Lavinia Greenlaw. She held seminars to encourage people in the firm who wanted to write poetry. Here is a poem of hers in English and German.There has also been, perhaps still is, a Poet for the City of London, John Mole. From an article by him at the Poetry Society website:

bq. Some years ago I was giving a poetry reading at a West Country public school, and at the small drinks party which preceded it I was approached by the Bursar. ‘I never know quite what to talk about with you poet chaps’, he declared, as an opener, perhaps expecting it to be simultaneously terminal. ‘Well. let’s talk about what you do,’ I suggested. ‘My father was a Chartered Accountant, and my grandfather founded the family firm, so I do know a little about the world of finance.’ For a moment, the Bursar seemed as much at a loss as he was evidently delighted. ‘Good Lord,’ he exclaimed, ‘a poet chappie with his feet on the ground!’

According to an article by Rebecca Towers in the December 1999 Law Society Gazette, most of the firms behind the Poet in the City initiative are also law firms:

bq. Lawyers come to the ‘drop-in’ events to read their own poetry or share their favourite poems, says Frances Hughes, family law and charity law specialist at Bates Wells & Braithwaite. Ms Hughes, who is on the project’s steering committee, explains the appeal of the scheme: ‘If you have a very stressful life, reading poetry is a manageable art form to fit around a job.’
Poetry and lawyers are not such strange bedfellows, she says. ‘One of the reasons lawyers enjoy poetry readings is that they tend to be exhibitionists,’ she adds.
‘Lawyers are quite happy to stand up and recite poetry – also our livelihoods depend upon our skill with words.’

The article has some interesting remarks by lawyers about writing poetry and holding poetry readings.

I looked at the website of Bates Wells & Braithwaite but found nothing on the subject. Anyway, a year or two has passed. They do have a lovely map of the City under ‘Contact Us’ – is it watercolour?

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