How frequently do fans in the football stands applaud a House of Lords member?
The response is, not often. But this weekend, Manchester City supporters did just that when they unfurled a banner that read, "Pannick on the Streets of London.".
That play on a Smiths song title was a nod to Lord David Pannick, the renowned attorney who is presently defending the team in its legal battle with the Premier League.
Their conflict is just the most recent in a long line of prominent cases the attorney has taken on.
His clients over the course of his career have included former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, and Shamima Begum, the adolescent who fled to join Islamic State.
He was a young boy when he got the legal bug. He participated in debate at school and frequently visited the Old Bailey when he was 16 to observe court proceedings.
He entered the legal profession after graduating from Hertford College at Oxford University, and one of his first cases involved defending a man in Hong Kong who was facing the death penalty.
On the Talking Law Podcast, he admitted, "We lost.". "Our client died by hanging.
"That's not a good way to begin your practice; after a start like that, you can only improve. When I tell my clients that, some of them feel more at ease than others. ".
Despite the challenging start, he has had a lengthy and varied career.
He defended gay service members who had been discharged from the army due to their sexual orientation in the 1990s.
Additionally, he stood up for BBC director-general Mark Thompson when a Christian organization tried to bring charges against him for showing Jerry Springer the Opera in 2005.
2019 saw one of his most well-known cases when Boris Johnson tried to end the Brexit impasse by shutting down Parliament.
Westminster was riveted for four days as attorneys presented their cases to the Supreme Court.
Seldom has a man been less well named than Lord Pannick, according to Guardian cartoonist John Crace.
"Pannick has the uncanny ability to make you believe you comprehend legal double-speak even when you don't, and he exudes a sense of calm.
"The beauty of a Pannick attack is zen-like. A legal submission in his hands reads more like a comforting bedtime story than a heated argument. ".
Lord Pannick's success, according to Clive Coleman, a senior partner at Maltin PR and former legal correspondent for the BBC, can be attributed to his capacity for simplification.
The attorney's strategy is summed up in the following way: "Never be afraid of stating the obvious, never be afraid of stating the obvious time and time again, never be afraid of stating the obvious time and time again even to the most brilliant judges. ".
Coleman compares Lord Pannick's courtroom demeanor to a person explaining something in a bar.
"Everyone wants clarity, regardless of how knowledgeable a judge they are. ".
Lord Pannick is now representing Boris Johnson in court rather than acting as his adversary.
MPs are looking into whether the former prime minister lied to the legislature about party affiliations during the coronavirus lockdown.
The government had commissioned Lord Pannick to investigate the committee's methodology.
He claimed that the committee's strategy was "fundamentally flawed" and would have a "seriously chilling effect on MPs" in legal advice he wrote in September.
His arguments were rejected by the committee, which also charged the peer with having a "systematic misunderstanding of the parliamentary process.".
Unsurprisingly, opinions on him taking the case have been divided.
He said to Sally Penni, "Those who think Boris Johnson is a martyr and shouldn't have been removed, think I'm a hero; those who are against Boris Johnson think I'm a disgrace.
"I've received a number of emails, the source of which I'm not sure, that advise me to resign.
"I counsel people, I stand in for them; whether they are Boris Johnson or an asylum seeker, they hear my point of view. " .
Lord Pannick was elected as an independent or cross-bench peer to the House of Lords in 2008.
In an interview with Anthony Inglese for Counsel Magazine, he said, "It's the only place where I am still known as Young Pannick.
The idea that my grandparents, who emigrated from Poland and Russia, would be shocked that their grandson would be honored in this manner made me feel humble. ".
His actions in the House of Lords came under fire in 2022 after ministers privately claimed that changes he helped to make to the law in 2018 caused the delay in sanctioning Putin allies in Russia.
Asserting that ministers had not "given sufficient resources" to those in charge of choosing sanctions targets, Lord Pannick claimed he could not see how his amendments "impeded proper government action.".
Additionally, he defended his 2014–15 representation of Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, claiming that the criticism was based on "a fundamental misunderstanding here of the role of a barrister.".
Regardless of who they are or whether I agree with them or find them objectionable, I give legal advice and present their cases in court. " .
In a letter to The Times, he elaborated on the point, writing: "This essential component of a free society, however inconvenient or unpopular it may sometimes be, should not be allowed to be diluted by justified outrage at the conduct of Putin, and those who support him. ".
The UK, EU, and US have all imposed sanctions against Mr. Rotenberg.
What then prompts Lord Pannick to take on a client?
Clive Coleman says, "I'm sure there's a component of liking the spotlight.
"I believe the excitement, buzz, and intellectual challenge combined. " .
That might help to explain why the Manchester City supporter chose to represent Arsenal.
The Premier League reported the club to an impartial commission after accusing it of more than 100 financial rule violations.
City has stated that it is "surprised" by the allegations, but has asserted that it has "a body of irrefutable evidence" to support its position.
The stakes are high for Manchester City supporters because the team could be demoted if it is discovered that they broke the rules. On Sunday, crowds at the Etihad celebrated their club's newest (legal) star signing.
Will there be chants of "There's only one Lord Pannick" or "You're not fit to wear the silk?" when the case is over for Lord Pannick?