Under the Wig, William Clegg QC: Book Review

An interesting telling of the legal world, injected with wit and stories to keep you engaged – you must read Under the Wig by William Clegg QC.

The plot:

In this memoir, murder-case lawyer William Clegg QC revisits his most intriguing and high-profile trials – from the acquittal of Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando.

Along the way he lays bare the secrets of his profession: the rivalry among barristers, the moral dilemmas and the unbearable tension whilst waiting for a verdict.

Having defended the accused for almost 50 years, William Clegg QC is perfectly positioned to give the inside story for anyone who wants to know the reality of a murder trial.

You’re guaranteed to have a smirk on your face at the end of most chapters

There’s been quite a few law memoirs coming out recently and I’m here for it. I studied a part-Law degree and work in the legal services, so I was excited to read Clegg’s book, which focuses on criminal law.

I really thought this would be a book which I read a chapter at a time and put down for another day, but it’s highly intriguing and as each story is different, it’s easy to just carry on. It’s also relatively short, but is an important read for anyone interested in the legal system.

I’m glad Under the Wig doesn’t just focus on the QC’s trials, but also focuses on the law as a whole. He makes cutting-edge points and analyses the industry, whilst providing statistical data and not being dry. You’re guaranteed to have a smirk on your face at the end of most chapters.

There is some legal jargon, but the author explains areas very well, so you’re not left in the dark if you have no understanding.

There are some interesting stories and they vary in content to suit different readers; Clegg has offered something which covers most of the criminal law spectrum. For me, one chapter wasn’t particularly interesting, but for other readers, this might be their cup of tea.

As a memoir, it is written in first person, which for me felt like Clegg and I were just buddies, and he was telling me little anecdotes. Personally, I think the formatting could have been split better, perhaps a part with the cases, and another with the stories of a barrister and the Chambers.

It adds a humane side to the industry which is often seen as ‘behind closed doors’, so I’d highly recommend Under the Wig for this alone.

A must-read for those interested in the legal system, and you’ll be left with a warm heart by the end.

If you liked In Your Defence, then you’ll enjoy Under the Wig.

Under the Wig, William Clegg QC, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository 

Pages: 275

Publisher: Quercus

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir

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