Lawyers vs…. clowns

October 31, 2012

Which are best? Our long-awaited investigation reveals all

Photo: Shutterstock

Inspired by the BBC’s new series Wizards vs Aliens, we’re making an important comparison of our own. Which are better: the figures of fun that make us laugh, make us cry, frighten children and wear hilarious clothes? Or clowns? We put both into the ring to see how the respective careers measured up.

1. Pay

According to eHow, there’s a big difference in earnings between freelance clowns and salaried clowns. In addition, ‘salaried clowns may have paid housing as they travel with their employers, and they also may get other perks like health benefits that freelancers have to cover on their own.’ Generally, though, clowns are estimated to earn between £10K and £35K per annum. Given fresh trainees at Slaughters (say) earn more than this, it’s an easy tick for the legal profession. VERDICT: LAWYERS WIN

2. Benefits

The extras available to lawyers aren’t bad. As reported in these pages, perks have recently perked up, as firms experiment with benefits such as subsidised restaurants, paternity leave and tax-deductible bicycle purchase schemes. On the other hand, which law firm offers company cars that carry an unfeasibly large amount of people, belch smoke hilariously and have doors that fall off to order onto a ringmaster’s foot? Exactly. VERDICT: DRAW

3. Opportunities

Whilst debate rages about whether the profession needs to update the partnership model to accommodate the flexible working ‘norms’ of the twenty-first century, there’s no doubt that law offers a clear opportunity ladder from trainee all the way up to managing partner. But hang on. Apparently, there’s a structure to clowning careers, too. As explained on the web site Cheesecake and Friends, ‘there is a rough hierarchy of clowns: the whiteface is the top of the ladder, the auguste is the middle and the lowly tramp (a type of character) is the bottom rung.’ And arguably right at the top, there’s Mooky at Blackpool Tower Circus, whose success has seen him work with such unsullied luminaries as Paul Daniels and Justin Lee Collins. Too hard to call. VERDICT: DRAW

4. Variety

Clowns get to squirt water out of buttonholes, throw buckets of confetti into audiences and appear in Stephen King movies. They also get to travel round the country in brightly-coloured lorries, sleeping in fields in locations as diverse as Basingstoke, Mansfield and Prestatyn. If you’re (for example) a real estate lawyer, you might be doing a disposal for an offshore trust one day, and the next day working for an offshore trust doing a disposal. Clowns edge it then. VERDICT: CLOWNS WIN

5. Environment

Legal offices, despite some recent improvements, tend to be dour places with vanilla furnishings, open-plan layouts and plumbed toilets. Circus rings are much more fun, with stripy canvas, sawdust, odorous portaloos and the entertaining sight of inbred animals licking their whip wounds. VERDICT: CLOWNS WIN

6. Colleagues

Who would you rather work with? Exotic tightrope walkers, sexy acrobats and elephants that dive through rings of fire carrying bearded ladies on their backs? Or Jason from Litigation, Laura from HR and Susan from Capital Markets? All looking a bit one-sided now, isn’t it? VERDICT: CLOWNS WIN

7. Respect

People don’t respect clowns – hence the word ‘clown’ frequently being used as a term of abuse. Plus, there’s coulrophobia, the ‘official’ name for fear of clowns. Surely lawyers must win this one, mustn’t they? But wait. Whilst there might not be a fear of lawyers as such, there’s certainly one of litigation, called Liticaphobia. And when it comes to levels of public esteem, lawyers feature at position eight in the Daily Telegraph’s list of least trusted professions. Are clowns in the top seven? Nope. VERDICT: CLOWNS WIN

And the winner is…

Sorry, lawyers. It’s a clear victory for clowns, by four rounds to one. But be warned if you’re thinking of swapping professions: clowns have, um, big shoes to fill. AB

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