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The road to freedom

30 Jun 2022

You always need to be careful when you start quoting a series of novels by a French existentialist but recent events have prompted this.

One of the things I really enjoy about my job is interviewing people who are looking to become trainees or paralegals with the firm.  I enjoy listening to their excitement about what has led them to want to choose a career in Law and what motivates them to pursue it.

I am always interested in asking the question: “why have you chosen law?”. Whilst some people struggle to get beyond an answer that says that it was expected of them, the majority cite a sense of it being about what is right or wrong or a desire to protect the notion of freedom. Whilst I challenge people about whether or not this is a naïve view, and this may or may not be the case, I am always left with a sense that such naivety – or, perhaps more accurately, such honest and genuine belief in doing what is right – is a good thing.

In the US, the Supreme Court overturning of its own decision on Roe-v-Wade is an astonishing assault on the freedom of women. The decision is such a step backwards in the fight for equality for all that it is unbelievable to think that it would happen in 2022.  In the UK, the murmurings of a decision to operate a selective approach to human rights is an attempt to adopt a Woolworth’s pick and mix counter approach to hard thought-out principles of human rights, that provide a standard against which decent societies should be judged. The Law Society has been vocal in calling the proposals ‘a disregard for the checks and balances that underpin the rule of law, and which will cause significant disadvantage‘.

It is important that we too are vocal about these proposals, and any proposal, that seeks to restrict hard won freedoms. I hope that the voices of the young people that I interview, as they aspire to pursue a career in law, resonate loudly with everyone and are remembered by us all as we challenge to fight back against the creeping erosion of law being, most intrinsically, about the fundamental principles of right and wrong and supporting individuals’ freedom

James Clewlow

Partner and Head of Horsham
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