Sunday, 18 January 2015
In the county gaol
17 December 2014
My fourth East Midlands meeting gets off to a good start. I have accidentally dressed in the corporate colours of the firm I am visiting. This brings instant approval, and softens the blow about CIPA being rubbish on client accounts.
After the meeting, they show me round the corporate colour scheme. I am so well camouflaged that they almost lose me. Eventually they are able to steer me back in the right direction – ie away from their offices – and they hand me a mince pie to keep me going on the journey, which I think is incredibly kind.
My mince pie and I set off for our final meeting. It is being held in what used to be the Derbyshire county gaol. When the county gaol closed, the Mayor of Derby went looking for some slightly more up-market tenants but in the end he had to settle for patent agents and they have been there ever since. Apparently there is some graffiti in the basement, scratched into the door frames by the very first patent agents who moved in. The graffiti is, of course, impeccably punctuated. Or perhaps I am mis-remembering that bit of the story.
Anyway I have a very nice picnic lunch and I talk to some attorneys about the benefits of being involved with CIPA and we all have a good laugh about that. People have expressed concern that if they join a committee then their competitors will learn all their secrets, shock horror, but I can reassure you, dear reader, that no-one listens to anyone else in CIPA committee meetings so really you have nothing to fear.
In between mouthfuls of crisps, I ask the attorneys whether they value the status accorded by the CPA brand. They remove the crisp crumbs from their eyes and reply that they value it very highly and are extremely proud to be Chartered Pompous Attorneys. Their parents are proud of them too. But possibly their parents do not realise they work in the county gaol.