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Archive for September, 2006

And…I say unto you…

Cameron weblog.. “Welcome to WebCameron…watch out BBC and ITV…we’re coming after you!”

Good grief… it brought tears to my eyes to watch this videocast. It is certainly novel. Cameron weblog

Scene 1: Cameron is in his kitchen and faces the camera for his opening line. Young child calls out that she wants to wash her hands (It may be a boy – I’m afraid I am not on intimate terms with Cameron Famille.) Leading man bends down and asks her if she can do it later, stands up and tells us all that WebCameron is a great way to communicate. Leading man is ‘terribly keen that we communicate with people properly.’ Camera changes angle to reveal what appears to be Cameron’s underwear on a clothes rack drying in the dining room. Very stylish. One assumes that it is a dining room or family room because the kitchen faces directly onto it. We can see this through a hatch. Leading man waffles on a bit about how there are a few days yet until the conference – time to write a few more speeches, prepare a few policies and perfect the sound bites. He then, somewhat mysteriously says that he has to ‘wash up the porridge.’

Perhaps even more bizarrely… all I could think of when I was looking at the section of the film where the Cameron underpants are shown… was the cartoon character ‘Captain Underpants’. I have no idea how I know about some things… it does worry me occasionally.

Thanks to Miss H of Twenty-Something (See Blogroll) for pointing me in WebCameron’s direction. I shall be watching avidly.

They look like underpants to me… but, I could be wrong

I have returned from my evening out and always mindful of the rules of ‘Evidence’, I thought it best to put the evidence before you.

All you need to consider is a balance of probabilities. Ignore the Policies – he doesn’t have anything to say about ‘policies’ in this film… but are they underpants?

The first film was riveting – a tour de farce. I am pleased to make an award of my ‘Lobster Award’ to this innovative website. I fear that it will not be long before I have to award the most coveted award of Lobster First Class ( For this first attempt – the award is: Lobster Award Second Class)
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Cameron on the Delhi undergound, waffling to a commuter about her future career, and some weird guy…who may be a Shadow Chancellor in waiting… with him. I just can’t be sure. Is this the same person who was Gideon Osborne..now ‘George’ Osborne… or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

I will have another look as The Tory Conference progresses…

Certainly a bit more pacy (but just as ill conceived?) – than the Muttley Dastardley LLP trainee blog.

EDIT at 00.42 Sunday 1st October
Please make the time to watch the ‘Cleaning up politics’ film… In fact, if you have time, watch all the films. Cameron even manages to sound like a tour guide as he gives us a tour of Delhi. I really do think that this series of webcasts will rival ‘The Office’. David Brent… ‘Watch out… we’re after you.’ might be a better catchphrase for the person who calls himself ‘Dave’ who posts to this site. Is this ‘Real?’…is it a wind up?’.

It isn’t a wind up/spoof. Here is the front page of the new Tory website

The Economist takes a sanguine view of Cameron’s intellect – according to the latest Private Eye… perhaps “I am the only fool in the village’ may be a better analogy?

 

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I don’t know … (Reflective… and almost sensible.. with the warmth of Rioja in my heart, as I write) … I get up at 4.30 am every day and work until 6.00 pm…( I call it the ‘Time of the yardarm’) … write/work/administer and produce … in other words, get on with all the things which I have to get on with – do my best to fit in wine tastings at The Swan/ The Bollo and then…when I return to my staterooms, after a hard day of toil, replete (such a good word) with wine, I find a need to comment on the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. Why ? I could do something far more uplifting.

I might take the view… given that John ‘Witchfinder General’ Reid has to sit there smiling thinly at the Labour Party Conference – that he may well be thinking “I might have a chance to be the next PM.”

Can you imagine the pressure of getting into bed at night thinking you are going to be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain? I rarely think of this possibility – a great relief to my relationship manager at my Bank and others who know me well.

Rev G Brown (as I like to think of him) has had to do it for years… and, look what happened. ‘The Minotaur” ( It doesn’t make me a bad person to think of Knossos, Crete, whenever I see Gordon Brown on television does it?) sits there at the Labour Party conference… rather like a ‘wuthering height’ (origin: Sir Winston Churchill about Lord Reith – first DG of the Beeb) and ‘wuthers’.

He didn’t even find Tony’s joke about not having to worry about ‘Cherie running off with the bloke next door’ funny. I did. It was a good joke.. but, there again, I am easily amused after a dash of Rioja. Will he really be able to walk tall on the world stage with a group of bizarre world leaders? I give a few examples: Chirac, Berlusconi, Blair, George Dubya, Kim Il Sung, that guy from Iran who everyone knows but cannot pronounce his name, and the very weird guy from Venezuela. (Regular viewers of The History Channel will be able to quote examples of other world leaders who made an impact. None of them were as sensible as Gordon Brown.)

Sorry Gordon – you are just too normal, just too good at your job as Chancellor, just too sensible – to be PM.

Thankfully it doesn’t really matter what Charon thinks… all I can say…“is that you, the people of Britain, are the future($)”… England expects.

Buona notte. Absum (Thank you – to coin a phrase much used at the Labour Conference – Geeklawyer, for reminding me of the latin word ‘Absum’)

$ – (Copyright: William Jefferson Clinton III, former President of The United States of America – Cameo appearance at The Labour Party Conference September 28 2006)

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The twenty-something blogspot…yes….liked it…

I like this blog – the style and Miss H’s use of photography and Photoshop is excellent. Amused by her tales from her mini-pupillage. I can’t see her joining Muttley Dastardly LLP however!  Not quite her style.
Definitely worth a good look around…

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Wednesday 27th September: Cocktail Party

Continuing the reports by trainees on life at ‘MD’… James writes… (His offering was not actually published on the firm’s website, but he did keep his write up on his PC for his own record of life at MD.

The trainees were gathered together in the main conference room shortly after 5.30 by Matt Muttley’s PA, Eva Brown. We were to be briefed on etiquette and behaviour at firm cocktail parties. Eva Brown picked up a house telephone and spoke briefly. A moment later, two waiters came in with a large tray, on which were plates of canapes and two with glasses full of water.

With a cheerful smile, Eva asked us if any of us had experience of working in cafes or restaurants. No-one put up their hand. “Pity” she said sharply. It was a bit puzzling at first when one of the waiters stepped forward and told us “You holda the plate like this, you walk slowly so as not to spilla the drink and you hold the tray forward. It is not difficult. I think you must all practice this?”

And practice we did, for about twenty minutes. Eva explained that while the catering staff would handle the serving of guests, it was important to keep an eye on any clients who were looking around for a drink and, if no waiter was available to respond, to step in and keep the client happy. Her final words of briefing were “If the client wishes to get hammered, as many of them do, that is his or her prerogative and it is only good manners to ensure they are kept supplied. Drink by all means, but don’t overdo it. Engage with the clients when you speak to them. Ask them about themselves – most people like nothing better than talking about themselves, as you will discover when you finally meet the senior partners.” With a smile, she wished us ‘Good Luck’.

And so, I attended my first firm client party. As it happens, none of us had to hand around food or drinks. The staff were amazing. We didn’t get to meet the senior partners – they were in a roped off area of the main dining room, closeted in conversation with American bankers – “The Triple ‘A’s” – so called for their ‘ability, acumen and anonymity’. They were also extremely important clients of the firm.

It was very different from the parties I had attended on my LPC course. I suppose the partners and clients were real, as opposed to law lecturers pretending to be clients and law firm partners. But it was not just that. This was ‘for real’. These clients mattered to the firm. It was quite difficult at first, but as I felt the warm glow of champagne coursing through my veins I felt at home. This was a world I could cope with. I had read about ‘working the room’; I grabbed another glass from a passing waiter and then another and sauntered over to an elderly gentleman in a black jacket and pinstripe trousers, who was standing alone, surveying the room keenly. It was a bit embarrassing in retrospect.

“Good event you have organised here for our clients. Extremely efficient.”

“Good event I have organised?…what are you talking about?.” replied Jeeves, as I had named him in my mind.

“This cocktail party…excellent bubbly, fantastic grub… yes, very well organised. Well done.”

Jeeves’s face seem to redden suddenly.
“I’m a High Court Judge…. I don’t organise cocktail parties. I’m giving the keynote speech at the dinner.”

The LPC hadn’t prepared me for this. My pulse raced like it did at those dodgy parties in Notting Hill. I felt almost sick. There was nothing in the course manual about coping with embarrassing situations. I was, mercifully, ushered away by one of the junior partners who whispered in my ear. “Brilliant start to your career with us. I’d advise you to go and drink a lot water.”

As I scurried from the room, I heard the junior partner say, suavely “Sorry about that Judge. One of the newboys I’m afraid. Nerves. Happens to us all. Now… how many people have you been able to put away for The Home secretary this week?”

I heard the Judge roar with laughter.

*****

James is still with the firm – but has to attend a ‘Social deportment’ course and is on the warned list for random drug and alcohol testing.

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Clarity vs Popularity

Consilio, the free online magazine for law students which publishes my blog, (A Practitioner version is available through The Legal Practitioner Newswire) has a thoughtful and interesting article by Peter Rouse on Clarity vs Popularity.

Here is a taste…

“How much easier it is to avoid having to be clear with others such as colleagues and clients, or with yourself.  Why put your cards on the table, set the record straight or do or say anything that might lead to conflict of any sort?  Isn’t it better to leave it to another day, avoid unpleasantness, and be somehow kind by not dealing with the issue now or at all?  Why be risk being unpopular?  Well, I hope to persuade you that clarity beats popularity any day and no mistake.”

Read the full article on Consilio or The Legal Practitioner Newswire

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You are the future now…make the most of it

I spent an hour this afternoon listening to The Lord Protector give his final address to the faithful. The BBC and leading newspapers will cover this far better than any non-political blogger will, so I make no comment about the detail of the content.

It was a tour de force, a classic speech, well written, precise, composed and delivered with passion and style. Blair, always good with humour, was able to inspire with his words, was able to stress the positive aspects of ten years of Labour rule, accept that others may disagree with some of his policies and yet avoid falling into controversy about Iraq. He even managed, deftly, to endorse Brown without endorsing him as the next leader.

Whatever your view of Blair, whatever your politics… if you are just about to start reading law, or are part of the way through your studies – may I urge you, without actually advising you, to read his speech, or even better…..watch it on the net. It contains much for the lawyer as a communicator, much for the lawyer as an advocate and persuader. I found the speech impressive.

But… are we seeing, played out before us, in terms of succession and a departing leader… MacBeth, King Lear, Coriolanus or Richard II. ?

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Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche practice, founded by two absurdly good looking, successful, junior partners in a leading City firm who tired of waiting to be elevated to full equity. In the three years since they broke onto to the City landscape in their new offices in Canary Wharf, they have completed a number of very successful lateral hires. By assiduously reading The Lawyer and Legal Week they were able to work out who was doing the big deals with who and then, very subtly, approach the in-house team and poach some very high quality work away; minor work at first which led to much more sophisticated and profitable work later. It helped that Matt ‘Top Gun’ Dastardly had served in the New York office of the firm he had been in. A diet of bagels, 16 hour days and living under the mantra “Bill, bill, bill…roger, roger, roger” he has developed a focus envied by many corporate finance lawyers in the City.

Muttley Dastardly LLP took a high risk strategy by allowing their trainees to write a blog.

Here is one of the first entries…

It is written by ‘Helena’…

My heart pounded as I arrived in the reception of Muttley Dastardly LLP. There were eight of us, six women and two men. I thought it was exciting that there were so many women among the new intake. We were taken to a beautiful room on the fifth floor – the senior partners’ dining room – exquisitely furnished. It is so important to make a good impression with clients. We were given coffee and pastries and business cards, Mont Blanc pens, inscribed with the name of the firm, a beautiful black leather briefase which was also inscribed with the name of the firm, and a book of vouchers for a nearby hotel.

Shortly before 10.00, we were collected by Matt Muttley’s PA who looked more like a super model than a PA and was dressed beautifully in La Croix and very high heeled shoes. My suit looked dowdy by comparison. A short walk down the corridor, we were taken into a conference room with a raised dais at one end. All very hi-tech. We were asked to sit down.

The PA walked to the dais, flicked a switch and a panel in the wall opened to reveal a wide screen HD TV. She pressed another button and the television came to life. It was startling at first. The music was by Queen. ‘We will Rock you’, I think it was. There were images of fast cars, thoroughbred horses, yachts, private aircraft, oil rich arabs, expensive London apartments and villas in Monaco – all very corporate and inspiring. And then we saw Matt Muttley for the first time – his face dominated the entire screen. He didn’t say much – but I will always remember his words.

“You are fortunate indeed”, he said with a smile “to have been selected by my firm. Your first two years here will be hard and demanding. You will work long hours, you will work hard, you won’t have much time for a social life – we provide a canteen for trainees so that you don’t have the inconvenience of having to find somewhere to eat in your lunch break. We don’t have ‘lunch hours’ here – well some of us do – which is why we call them lunch breaks. I welcome all of you. Only three of you will survive to be taken on as associates. That is the way of our world. We have provided you with vouchers to a new japanese style hotel with sleeping capsules, which is nearby, in the same building, in fact, to save you the inconvenience of having to go home if you have to work late – which may well be fairly often . They have laundry facilities.”

Matt Muttley smiled and continued…. ” You will learn how to be an effective lawyer. You will learn to be a focused lawyer and above all, you will learn to be a lawyer who bills. Right from the beginning you will be making a positive contribution to the firm’s wealth which, one day, you will share in. We work in competitive times. Bill hard, bill quickly and pay late. That is our culture, that is our mantra. Be happy in your work. It is still not too late to back-out. My PA has a briefcase with your signed agreement in it. If you wish to leave now – please give her a cheque as you do so to repay us for your LPC tuition fees and expenses. I wish you well. Your first course will start in 10 minutes, in this room. It is a demanding programme which will take approximately 18 minutes to complete, after which you will start making your contribution. It is called “PAGINATION 101, a cliche, maybe, but pagination is very much a part of our work here and it is this work that you will start your own progression to wealth with. Thank you.”

No-one wanted to leave. It was so exciting. Law School was a walk in the park compared to this. I’ve been here two weeks now and I don’t miss by boyfriend at all.

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