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Under the Wig: A Lawyer's Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence

Narrated by: William Clegg QC
Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

How do you chat to someone accused of a savage murder? Or prepare a court case? Or sway a jury?  

Step into the shoes of criminal barrister William Clegg as he meets clients in prison, works out weaknesses in the other side case, and confronts witnesses at tense trials.  

In a revealing memoir, he revisits 14 of his most intriguing briefs, from the murder charge facing Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando, to the first prosecution under the Nazi war crimes act, and the burglar jailed for life by an earprint.  

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the moments before a verdict comes back and how system of justice risks jailing you wrongly. Under the Wig is for anyone who wants to know the reality of fighting a murder trial. Switch off the TV drama and plunge into the criminal law in action.  

©2018 William Clegg (P)2018 Canbury Press

Critic Reviews

"This is a gripping memoir from one of our country's greatest jury advocates, offering a fascinating, no-holds-barred tour behind the scenes of some of the most famous criminal cases of modern times." (The Secret Barrister)

"Bill Clegg's memoir draws on some of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions to illuminate the career of a defence lawyer at the peak of his success. Unlike many works of this genre, he eschews endless exchanges with long-forgotten judges, lawyers and villains. Like the successful jury advocate that he is, he reduces his story to its essence and speaks without bombast and braggadocio.... an unforgettable legal memoir." (Joshua Rozenberg QC, legal commentator)

"One of England's best barristers provides a fascinating sometimes hilarious combination of a personal odyssey and insider accounts of the most important and famous court cases of recent times." (Bob Marshall-Andrews, QC)

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  • Sonay
  • 12-05-18

Fantastic

Thourghly enjoyed this book, it's really interesting, engaging and informative.
William Clegg comes across as very intellectual, highly intelligent, individual with a great sense of fairness. Highly recommended

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • DEANVEGGY
  • 12-11-18

a class act appreciated on many levels

i enjoyed this book. nice succint phrasing. although understandably serious in places, there's many moments of subtle dry humour.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. K. Leigh
  • 10-30-18

Fascinating insight into professional life of top criminal QC

This book, narrated by the author himself, provides a fascinating insight into some of the high-profile trials in which he appeared. Interspersed with details of the cases and clients, the author weaves a lot of information of life at the Bar. The anecdotes and tidbits reveal a profession that can be rewarding but has become frustrating for many. It’s a sad indictment of the legal system and its lack of funding by successive recent governments that the kind of talent and industry described in the book will be discouraged from ever entering the legal profession and certainly from pursuing a career at the Bar.

The author’s pace is a slow one and perhaps this works well in front of juries, but at times it would be better if the speed of reading increased. But it’s a minor criticism of a short and absorbing tale of life in and out of the courtroom including a fascinating window on the profession itself from someone very respected and well qualified to comment.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Emz
  • 07-25-19

loved it.

the narration was juet lovely and so full of character. I just want to listen to it all over again. :)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-19

Great for a law student!

full of lots of information on becoming a barrister as well as entertaining real life cases. Actually terribly interesting as the law can get really messed up at times!

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  • Sam Jones
  • 06-27-19

A fascinating insight into the struggle to the top

I enjoyed the mix of cases and the inner workings of a career at the bar. A great read and a treat to be read by the author.

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  • TKH
  • 06-26-19

Worth listening to...

But sometimes boring; my personal preference but I wasn’t v interested in the establishment of chambers etc.

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  • Stephen
  • 05-15-19

Gripping and shocking

A thoroughly enjoying read! I still can't believe that one man has been involved in so many famous cases. Would highly recommend.

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  • Tom Prescott
  • 03-28-19

Superb

Loved it highly recommended read by the author so the knowledge comes through when listening

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  • Joe A
  • 02-15-19

Life & work of a criminal defence barrister

Stories of the training and professional insider experiences interspersed with high profile cases of a leading criminal defence barrister. I heard a short interview with the author on radio 4. William Clegg has a brilliant mind able to analyse complex criminal cases but able to simplify and describe the significance points to the reader in an enjoyable way. Working as a healthcare practitioner, I have no previous insight into the upper echelons of the legal profession, but we are all fascinated by the history, status, power, cases, brainpower & wealth of leading barristers. One thing we learn about the author is that in his late 60s he is still working 13 hour days; so the hard work required to achieve the position of a leading barrister is unrelenting.
An enjoyable listen!