There are a lot of similarities, you know.

Well, let's be totally fair about this. Lawyers versus independent escorts, there's a lot of similarities there. I'm not saying that lawyers versus corner-walkers is really a fair test, on account of various factors I'm sure we're all familiar with. Abusive pimps, drugs, etc., that's certainly not a fair test.

So lawyers versus independent escorts. There are a lot of similarities you know, and in a way this is par for the course, because whereas a prostitute sells her (or his) body, a lawyer sells his or her mind. Both are commonly looked down on. Both also commonly have contempt for their clients. And so forth.

That being said, though, when recovering from my pilonidal sinus in March 2010 and watching an edition of Jeremy Kyle they had a segment about some soap star's sister's secret and sordid sex industry past. Apparently she was a £1,000/hr high class hooker.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT! I exploded. She wasn't particularly nice looking, even - how did she command such high rates?!?!

Bugger Me, I thought, not even Alexander Russell (not his real name - a barrister I've instructed a number of times who's fairly senior and pretty good at what he does) gets that. Not even Richard Drabble QC (a senior QC who's one of the top three housing/property/public law silks currently extant) gets that, and he wrote the book on his field!

It was then that this writeup was conceived.

So what are the similarities and differences between lawyers, who sell their minds and are sneered at for their mercenary attitude to life, and prostitutes, who sell their bodies and are sneered at for their mercenary attitude to life?

1. They both cost too much

Lawyers and hookers both charge by the hour. The hourly rate depends on the lawyer's experience and geographical area. For instance, a 20 years qualified plus London litigator is going to charge a lot more than some provincial n00b, now, aren't they. How much an independent escort gets paid also depends on their location and experience. However, I'm going to say that the independent escort wins. Of the lawyer's £250.00 per hour, there's business overheads, paying staff, getting places, and similar - and when it comes to the assessment of costs a costs judge is well within their rights to slash it right down, and then the taxman takes a slice. But the independent escort's £250.00 per hour is all hers, once the agency's taken their cut, AND they usually get paid in advance, AND their bills generally go unchallenged, AND since a lot of such transaction are done in cash they're plausibly deniable to the Revenue.

There was actually a tax case that got to the Court of Appeal over that actually, I think it was Inland Revenue v. Aitken, in which the Defendant argued she was not liable for income tax because if she paid tax, the Crown would be living off immoral earningsand thus should she pay tax she would be aiding and abetting HM Government in the commission of a criminal act. Needless to say, it didn't impress their Lordships and the tax bill was ordered to be paid forthwith, plus costs.

Ahem. Anyhow.

2. Both have contempt for their clients

Oh, you have no idea - I was at a schmooze at a barrister's chambers in July and spoke to someone else in my field and asked him what sort of clients he was getting the most of right now, and he leant in confidentially and said, in a broad Mancunian accent, "nutters." I also have several clients on my hands right now who I want to throttle. One for being a bloody idiot, one for thinking that she can get me to sue anyone who looks at her the wrong way - there's only so many times you can say, "Mrs Smith, that's not a valid course of action!" - and one who's determined to personally get my arse in a sling because I wouldn't push a clearly awful case and who I didn't respond to the e-mails of within five minutes.

Similarly, given the sorts of folks who tend to pay for sex, wouldn't YOU have contempt for them? Would anyone voluntarily have Wayne Rooney's beef stroganoff of a face leering and thrashing above them without some sort of recompense for same?!

3. Both are held in contempt by their clients

"Ah, she was only a whore! It's not like it meant anything!"

"Don't flabble about that clause there, the lawyers insisted on it, what do they know."

"When she said I turned her on it was all just to get repeat business!"

"You're my lawyer, you're supposed to actually fight my corner not give in to the opposition! (Even though my case is sucky beyond Dysonhood)"

"Goodness, something twice the size of the Royal Barge has just hoved into view between the bedsheets!"

"Yes, yes, of course you may be entitled to compensation, just sign this conditional fee agreement and it'll all sort itself out!"

4. Both are needlessly mercenary and amoral

Isn't this self explanatory also? They're both in it for the money, principles be damned. This is the free market in action.

5. BUT... you need more qualifications to be a lawyer than a prostitute

So you want to be a solicitor, of the Supreme Court? Can you sling a writ like a dagger? Acumen can't be bought.


To be a lawyer, you need a degree, then you need to go to law college, then you need to get yourself on a training contact or pupillage, then hope you get kept on after this is all over. However, you cannot study for breast implants, thigh high boots and short skirts, or for a symmetrical face. The barrier to entry for independent escorting is, all things considered, rather lower.

As for the tart with a heart who does it to put herself through college, she might just end up on a more lucrative career than her mates who slave away to get the crucial 2.1 and all that. Which annoys me intensely because I'm too ugly to be a hooker.

6. BUT... prostitutes are recession proof

It's called the world's oldest profession for a reason. Whoring has been around ever since bartering, whereas lawyering has only been around since it became necessary to resolve disputes. Not much older, though, but still older. In these straitened times, law firms are laying off all over the place, however, people will still have carnal needs despite the economic state.

7. BUT... lawyering is legal and regulated and thus safer

Can't argue with every Lynda La Plante crime drama ever written, where the victim's always a streetwalker, or so it seems. Maisons closes notwithstanding, this is true.

So... let's conclude.

Lawyers have lower net profits, are subject to economic vagaries, and are limited in what they can charge to clients, but they aren't likely to get lust-murdered, but it's harder to get into the profession. Whereas prostitutes can charge as much as they want and get away with it, probably earn more in net terms because of their general tax deniability, and require no formal qualifications for it. However they might just get killed by a psychotic client.

Sorry, but the world's oldest profession wins again. As I said at the start, not even Richard Drabble QC gets £1,000/hr. Gah.

Therefore, I propose:

  • The English Collective of Prostitutes be remodelled on the lines of the Law Society.
  • Reinstitution of the maisons closes.
  • Some sort of fee regulation, I dunno, the Shaggers' Club's Costs Office, to regulate what fees people can charge for what, and the right to challenge a working girl's bill of costs. ("Sorry, Lulu, but outside the EC postcode area you can't charge more than £253.57/hour for anal.")

I would write more but I've already covered the regulation of prostitution (sort of) in my node about the maisons closes.

(Node 13 of 30 IRON NODES).

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