Headlines in English newspapers could be tricky. Can you guess what this one means? No? No problem, we will break it down to individual elements and then try to make sense of the story.
Barristers are lawyers who have the right to argue cases in the higher courts of law.
TO SPURN SOMETHING
When you spurn something you reject it, especially in a proud way. For example, you can spurn somebody’s invitation to a party.
TO TAKE SILK
To take a silk is to become the highest ranking lawyer in the British legal system - a King’s Counsel, who can represent the government.
Rich pickings is something, often money, that you can get very easily.
A MOOT POINT
A moot point is a statement that people are not sure is true, and often disagree about.
So, what do we learn from the headline?
We learn that lawyers in the UK don't want to apply to become King’s Counsels because they are not sure that the title will allow them to earn more money.
Apparently, senior lawyers who are not King's Counsels (KC) don't earn much less than the ones with the prestigious title. What's more, the process of becoming a KC is lengthy, complicated and expensive, so the prestige is no longer worthy the extra effort. Only 95 have received the title this year, down 20 per cent since 2020. You can read more about the story in this article from the Times.