But the solicitor is Asian and so I found it mildly touching. I like the way some other cultures have retained an easy and genuine formality that we have lost.
Some years ago, a Somali junior colleague would routinely address me as "sir". From a Brit, this would have been jocular, mocking, facetious or grovelling. But it wasn't any of those things. It certainly wasn't grovelling; I've never met a Somali who didn't have a quiet assurance and self-confidence that allowed them to deal with almost anyone as an equal.
The westernised sections of Kenyan society broadly follow a British standard in these matters; perhaps favouring a slightly more formal style, for example in the dress code for the business sector.
But in Ghana, I was flummoxed for a while as they seemed to have only two modes - extreme formality and uninhibited, exuberant informality - and the same individual could switch between the two states very easily and quickly.