Vidocq presents Tim Kevan

Tim Kevan

Photo Jay Stirzaker

Tim Kevan is the author of Law and Disorder (Bloomsbury) which is available at The sequel Law and Peace will be published next May. The books are based on the BabyBarista Blog which he writes in association with The Guardian. He is also the co-author of Why Lawyers Should Surf (with Dr Michelle Tempest).

He practised as a barrister in London for ten years and now lives by the sea in Braunton in North Devon and enjoys surfing.

For DCC, he answered the following questions:

1: What is your favourite part of the day?

Early evening with the sun setting. Preferably I’d be in the sea surfing or jogging on the beach with my dog in North Devon which looks west and provides spectacular sunsets.

2: If you have a blog, how did you get started? Who or what inspired you to blog?

I have two blogs. I started The Barrister Blog as my own personal blog back in 2006. Then in 2007, I started writing a blog about a fictional young trainee barrister who I called BabyBarista,  a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have. One of the most satisfying things I found about blogging was the immediacy of the publishing process. You think it up, type it out on your keyboard and then publish. It also allows the writer in many ways to busk or play around with ideas and see how they work.

It’s a strange thing to say but I discovered that this bold, irreverent and mischievous voice along with a collection of colourful characters had simply jumped into my head and the words started pouring on to the page. I was hopeful it might raise a few smiles, but in my wildest dreams I hadn’t imagined quite the extraordinary set of circumstances which then unfolded. First it received a glowing comment in a legal magazine and off the back of that I emailed a few publishers and started getting interest as well as taking on a literary agent who had approached me direct. In the meantime, The Times kindly offered to host the blog and finally, I was offered a book deal with Harry Potter’s publisher Bloomsbury – all within the space of less than three months.

The book itself is called Law and Disorder (having been originally called BabyBarista and the Art of War). It centers around BabyBarista’s first year in chambers where he is fighting his fellow pupils for the coveted prize of a permanent tenancy. It’s a fictional caricature of life at the Bar and includes characters that probably exist in most workplaces such as UpTights, OldRuin, BusyBody, Worrier and even JudgeJewellery and her penchant for stealing cheap jewelry.

Alongside the pupilage race is an altogether different battle with BabyB’s corrupt pupil master TheBoss who’s dishonest fiddling of chambers’ records to avoid a negligence action all starts to unravel and threatens to embroil BabyB’s entire career. Thankfully, it does seem to have been well-received with broadcaster Jeremy Vine describing it as “a wonderful, racing read – well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud” and The Times calling it “a cross between The Talented Mr. Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones’s Diary”. The sequel is entitled Law and Peace and will be published next May. The blog now has its own site as well as partnering with The Guardian.

3: Did you end up in the profession of your childhood dreams?

No, since that would be playing for my football team Manchester City and preferably scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final! But to be fair now that I am living near the sea and writing novels and with the possibility of returning to practise part-time as a barrister from down here, I am very much living the life that I had dreamed.

4: Have you ever dozed off during a lecture or meeting?

Not that I can think of although there have probably been quite a few times where I’d have liked to. I do remember hearing a story of a barrister who had a coroner fall asleep on him as he was making submissions which must have been pretty disheartening.

5: Something you always wanted to learn but never did?

There’s always something new to be learning. Since moving back to the countryside I’ve been able to do a few of those things which had piqued my curiosity such as making elderflower wine or home brew, growing my own vegetables and even having a brief stint playing the penny whistle in The East Street Maritime Folk Collective!

6: If you could trade places with a cartoon character for one day…who would that be?

The Silver Surfer since he gets to surf around the whole universe!


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