April 29, 2013

"When I wear my wig, I know something big is going to happen."

"It makes me feel like I have more responsibility. I think I exude more energy than without it. It's magical."

Lawyers in Hong Kong, and the traditional wigs they love.
"It's a tradition that really dignifies our profession, especially in the context of our commitment to uphold the city's justice," says [Kevin] Tang....

The barristers' prestige emanates not only from the wig, but because they number in the hundreds, compared with the city's thousands of solicitors. Though solicitors have more training, top barristers are typically better paid and because they appear in court, have higher profiles as well. Even the Cantonese translation for barrister is "big lawyer," while the term for solicitor is simply "lawyer."
Solicitors would like to be allowed to wear the wigs.

19 comments:

ampersand said...

It's a slippery slope. First they demand to wear wigs,next pantyhose.

Chip S. said...

Is this where the term "bigwig" comes from?

ricpic said...

Is this going to be another 500 post thread on gay wigs, or the effect of wigs on gays, or wannabe gay bewigged lawyers who wanna get big?

ampersand said...

The article states "The city's lawyers are among the last in the world to wear judicial wigs"

Thats news to me, did the UK give up that practice?

Those wigs always looked dirty and itchy.

Bruce Hayden said...

A classic case of using a guild to restrict access to a profession or trade, in order to maximize income for those already belonging to the guild.

Still, our legal system would be so different if we had maintained this distinction between solicitors and barristers. If barristers were a very limited profession, would we have the litigation explosion that we have seen? Esp. since anyone who has graduated from law school and has been admitted to our unified bar can file and try a case in court. (Including, patent attorneys such as me).

Palladian said...

Oh, I assumed that the quote was from someone else.

EMD said...

You're missing a Rip Taylor tag there, madam.

Freeman Hunt said...

Love the Legal Tailor website.

Ann Althouse said...

"Oh, I assumed that the quote was from someone else."

The picture didn't show up for me, but I know it's Warhol. I thought of Warhol when I was writing this post. I really do wonder why the Warhol approach to men's hair has never been a style trend.

That said, Patricia on "Project Runway" had some crazy horsehair wigs. Those were for female models, but the point up the failure to use wigs. For all the odd things we do... why not wigs?

Now, the barrister wigs are about being extra serious and old-fashioned. I'd like to see more fun and more modernity with wigs.

kentuckyliz said...

I had a beautiful wig during chemo...that I couldn't wear because my skull is freakishly large. It was like a vise grip. I'd have a raging headache within 10 minutes.

I rocked the headscarves.

Palladian said...

The picture didn't show up for me, but I know it's Warhol. I thought of Warhol when I was writing this post. I really do wonder why the Warhol approach to men's hair has never been a style trend.

It was a link to a picture of 80s Warhol. Here's a clip with the same intention.

I agree with you about the wig. I lost my hair when I was 19 so I actually tried to adopt the wig fashion for a while, but i eventually found them too uncomfortable and hot. I think part of the problem is that I couldn't afford the quality of wigs that Warhol could.

What I like about his wig philosophy is that it was never supposed to be mistaken for real hair. It was, and was supposed to be taken for, a wig.

traditionalguy said...

Actually the top hats like Abe Lincoln wore are better. A bowler is fine, but the top hat is where it's at.

edutcher said...

Actually, I think they're speaking a little truth to the boys in the Forbidden City.

Something a lot more gutsy than Jason WhatsHisName will ever do.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Is there a length restriction on those things? Could you get one that reaches all the way down to the floor? Or takes two men and a boy keep from dragging on the ground behind you?

Tibore said...

While I sympathize, my experience is far too American. You say "wig", and I immediately think of those multicolored ludicrousities peppering the bleachers at football games.

Whether that'd be a good thing to wear in a courtroom or not I'll leave to others to determine. ;)

bagoh20 said...

I look at that picture and I just don't get how that look can possibly evoke respect or dignity. If a judge like that was sentencing me to the death penalty, I would still not be able to hold back the laugh.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bruce Hayden:

Still, our legal system would be so different if we had maintained this distinction between solicitors and barristers. If barristers were a very limited profession, would we have the litigation explosion that we have seen? Esp. since anyone who has graduated from law school and has been admitted to our unified bar can file and try a case in court. (Including, patent attorneys such as me).

Probably -- the UK strikes me as a pretty litigious society too. Maybe not out in whacko crazyland like the US, but still, more litigious than most.

Solicitors say they are disappointed by the decision, and that not wearing the cauliflower-style tresses makes them vulnerable to discrimination by jury members who might take them less seriously, says solicitor Dieter Yih, president of the Law Society of Hong Kong, an organization that represents the city's solicitors, which filed the request.

"We're worried that in jury trials there might be a perception that someone wearing a wig is better," says Mr. Yih
.

Well, of course! If he wanted people to take him seriously in court he should have become a barrister.

William said...

Back then people wore wigs because of the prevalence of lice. They shaved their heads so they wouldn't have to be constantly scratching. Over the years we have made great strides in the eradication of lice, but more work needs to be done.

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