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Tough Times?

For solicitors in Ireland income from conveyancing has “fallen off a cliff”. Solicitors practicing in that area were very likely to have taken an investment share in some development or other. (There is a marketing opportunity here for tee-shirts; “the devil made me …..” (insert suitable words)).

For some, the black hole of bankruptcy may loom. (A bankrupt may not practice as a solicitor in Ireland). That aside, these entrepreneurs can hold their heads high; after all, Ireland itself has too much debt.

They cannot, however, flee to New York to practice law. They appear very strict on debt levels for lawyers there.

Mr. Robert Bowman was assessed by a committee of New York lawyers on his application for admission to the New York bar. He passed with flying colours.

His creditor, it seems, was not so happy. Mr. Bowman had a heavy student loan outstanding. In the way of creditors (some) they did the counter-intuitive thing; they appealed the committee’s decision, successfully.

Five judges thought he was unworthy to practice law. As George V. Higgins has remarked; “ … a judge is a guy who used to be a lawyer”.

So, the former lawyers may just possibly have done Mr. Bowman a favour. He has now become a plaintiff, with his creditor as his defendant, and has challenged the judges’ decision.

It appears that he does not, in law or otherwise, owe all the sums claimed by the creditor. The creditor has, it appears, “churned” the debt, doubling it in size over just two years.

Mr. Bowman has appeared, photographed, in “the New York Times” with a complimentary CV attached.

Lucky breaks arrive in strange circumstances.