Archive for March, 2007

Saturday review…and a few bits…

No-one I know in the obituaries today… so I turn my mind to other matters.


A quick round up of the blogs… to start: BabyBarista worries about his identity being revealed and dares the anonymous emailer to ‘name that blogger’. Geeklawyer is off the juice and is doing some running. Ruthie will, no doubt, welcome the appearance  of a bit of Law and sensible analysis – although there is some classic stuff from him in the comments. I am doing my best, in his comments section, to provide a counterpoint to this ‘renaissense’ (sic) – although, as you will discover, he is f*****g pissed off. Dan Hull over at What about clients? asks why lawyers are so shy about punting for work and reminds us that monarchy did not suit America. Justin Patten, Human Law keeps his focus on mediation and alternative dispute resolution – interesting. Nearly Legal has been running an intersting review of the Unified Contract. Corporate Blawg begins a journey of self improvement. Zen can wait. He starts with his teeth and goes to the dentist. Clearly, he is sensible and does not practise self-dentistry. (I saw an item in my search terms area: Crowns superglue discuss’ – and there was my blawg… up there with a whole lot of dentists! There was also an article on ‘NOT using superglue’ which I read with interest.)

Legal Scribbles makes a case for why students should study Conflict of Laws. I agree – an important and useful subject. I am planning a podcast with Legal Scribbles which we hope will be of use to students facing the examiners this summer. Family Lore considers the transparency of the Family Courts. Exlex of Outside The Law writes that the establishment of a Ministry of Justice is long overdue – but does not go far enough. Useful analysis. Barrister Blog runs a story about the Da Vinci Code judgment.

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, has said that active case management is the best way to avoid expensive, drawn-out disputes such as the BCCI collapse. Just the thing you need to hear on a sunny Sunday morning if you happen to be reading this entry. . Legal Week story.

RollonFriday has a classic story this week…quoted directly from RoF

Solicitor shamed by own press release: “David Corker, one of the country’s leading criminal solicitors, sent the following biography to the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association.

“David Corker is a solicitor at Corker Binning and a regular lecturer for the LCCSA. The 2004 Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession described him having a “pedigree which stands out by itself”. The 2005 edition as “tremendously bright”, the 2006 edition as “a business crime legend” and the 2007 edition as “having made a massive academic contribution due to his involvement on the lecture circuit”. Colleagues have described him as ‘a complete wanker’.”

The LCCSA included this gem in a pamphlet that was sent to 1,000 lawyers to publicise a seminar, and it was on its website for two days. Clearly Corker’s planet sized brain can’t be bothered with anything as mundane as proof reading…” Story

And finally…. How Napoleon lost his penis. The Independent today revealed that Abbott Ange Vignali, who administered extreme unction and officiated at Napoleon’s funeral, took a number of souvenirs – forks, knives a silver cup and a small part of the body. The Vignali collection and the part fell into private hands after a sale in 1977. There is some doubt as to what the “shrivelled object” about an inch long and looking like a shrivelled eel, is. “Not tonight, Josephine” was the headline of one red top when Christie’s failed to make a sale in 1969.

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I happened to find myself at the Bollo tonight – to meet a friend. We departed early to talk of many things. I returned to my Staterooms in West London at 10.00 hours… without straying into Iranian waters… to find that one of my posts (Hard core) had attracted an extraordinary number of hits and 10 comments – the post with the pic of the US litigator whose picture appears to have disappeared from the US law firm’s website in the last 24 hours. (I am pretty sure that his pic was picked up by other non-law mega blogs)

I read the comments… replied… and then went ‘on a foray of my own’ to Geeklawyer’s blog where I like to hang out if I find myself inspired on a Friday night. Geeklawyer was posting about Equity…. I quote, first, his post… and then… my less than helpful reply…

Geeklawyer’s request for information about Equity and Charity Law

“Geeklawyer was wondering if anyone knew of charity or trust law blogs? His first stop, naturally, was Binary law who has found nothing.

I suppose a decent news site would do but most of those seem to be sales pitches: “We at Muttley Dastardly LLP know most of what there is to know about trust law, we can help you with …”. Fine and good, but I want gossip baby, or at least interesting commentary.”

My less than helpful response…

“Good evening… Geeklawyer. I have returned from a money laundering trip to The Bollo….

As it happens… I taught Equity & Trusts for many years…. Snell was my inspiration (The P. V. Baker QC version, naturally) I think of Vandervell No 2 and Re Gulbenkian on a regular basis…. I even did a conference on them some years ago… until I started to get excited about ‘Romalpa’ clauses… Christ… I was unstoppable then. …

Romalpa…Andrabell… Clough Mill v Martin [1984] CA… etc etc… Agency evasions…. Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) drafting structures to avoid the problem… I had to get therapy eventually… Checked into a ‘lawyering out’ clinic in Chancery Lane…. the wine helped… I was cured. Stopped worrying about whether s.49 SOGA 1979 (Action for the price – see also: s17, 18 SOGA 1979) could apply if a valid Romalpa clause was in place… and then I became a big game hunter on the Isle of Wight… the rest is history.

Thank you for your kind words about Muttley Dastardly LLP….

I have been to my own blog this evening. The curious picture of Dr Lecter has… disappeared…. Area 51? As it happens… I had liver and mash tonight… with some Chianti. (Villa Antinori) .. and it was…… delicious.

I am now going to have a good look around and see what is happening.

I was going to be brief… but I am over refreshed… Salute!”

If anyone is able to assist Geeklawyer in his search for websites on Equity and Charity Law – please assist by visiting his blog.

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Hard core…

Michael K. Brandow is an experienced trial lawyer with more than 16 years experience in Illinois Workers’ Compensation and employer liability matters.

He sure scares me… Website

UPDATE:  It appears that the photograph has been removed from the website as at 10.00 am BST this morning.

And this is also a bit worrying…

“A Swiss man was jailed for 10 years Thursday for insulting Thailand’s revered king by vandalising his portraits during a drunken spree. Oliver Jufer, 57, had pleaded guilty to five counts of lese majeste – the crime of offending the dignity of a sovereign for defacing several portraits of King Bhumibol Adulyadej with spray paint in the northern city of Chiang Mai. He had faced up to 75 years in prison, but the court sentenced him to 20 years and then halved the term because Jufer had confessed.” Story

Let us be thankful our own Monarch is more tolerant and the family diffuses civil unrest by entertaining their subjects….

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Work until you bleed…

“I’m not interested in where you come from, whether your father is a QC or a senior partner at another law firm…
if, however your parents are connected with a leading PLC or multi-national, we would like to know that. I’m not interested in where you did your LPC because that course is not particularly demanding or intellectually rigorous. You are here today because we have looked at your CV and have checked you out. We have ignored the lavish praise heaped on you by your academic referees and your LPC course directors (the prospect of being sued by a disgruntled former student has to be considered ) so we have made our own decision on the basis of the preliminary interviews and assault course results which 25 candidates completed last week. You have been selected to do a four week interview from hell – to borrow a phrase from Sir Alan and his reality game show. Like ‘The Apprentice’, one of you will get a job as a trainee at the end of it and, if you survive your training contract, you will work directly with me in Commercial. The rest of you will have to pursue your legal careers elsewhere – perhaps even consider a career as a community service officer. All seven of you are here because we think you have the potential to become a trainee at Muttley Dastardly LLP. “

Matt Muttley, Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Well… I did not have Sir Alan Sugar or The Apprentice in mind when I created Muttley Dastardly LLP as a section of my blog. But The Apprentice is back on our screens in full ‘technicolor’ (sic). I find it almost repellently compelling viewing. The Dragon’s Den is tedious – but The Apprentice has drama, perfidy, pathos, venality, and schadenfreude. It also has a cast of ‘wannabees’: The hapless (or hopeless), public school types, a couple of wonderfully shifty ones on the make and, of course, the real stars – “The Board” – Sir Alan, Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer. I am a bit puzzled, however, as to what the other 9984 applicants were like if this is the pick of the bunch.

I’ll be watching. Last night, a charming man called Andy, who called the women ‘sweetheart’, told everyone they should ‘work until they bleed’, had no discernible leadership skills and no real understanding of the task. He f****d up (to use the language of business) and got ‘fired’. It is early days but I have my eye on ‘Tre’ as my pantomime villain. I feel equally sure that Matt Muttley is about to institute a similar style of interview process for his next “Trainee’.

Several years ago, in my other life, I went into a venture with a well known company which proved to be most enjoyable and successful. In the final stages of the negotiations – and it sold it for me – the Chairman of the PLC we were dealing with said: “I’ve got my cock on the table on this one”. It was 8.00 am. Anyone who can be so enthusiastic at that time in the morning is worth doing business with – and so it proved to be.

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Search terms: You have made it when….

You know when you have made it as a blogger when two people in the same day search Google with the following:

“what train shall i get from ealing broadway”


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Are you feeling lucky…punk?

Judge Merrett at a hearing in Jackson, Florida whipped out a handgun in court to protect himself after a fight broke out in his courtroom. (Source: The Mirror 28 March)
Apparently, US judges are allowed to take handguns into court. He handed his gun to court staff after bailiffs contained the fight.

However… it is not just US judges who do unusual things.
The Independent has an interesting article today written by Robert Verkaik : “Racism, drink-driving and improper conduct… the case against judges”

I quote from the opening paragraphs: “There has been a record number of complaints against judges, magistrates and other judicial office holders in the past year.

The Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) said it looked into 1,434 cases in the first 10 months since its creation, including allegations of racism, drink-driving and other improper conduct. Eight judges and magistrates were removed from the Bench and a further 10 reprimanded. Nearly 400 of the original complaints are still being investigated or are yet to be considered.” Full story

Verkaik reminds us of the two Immigration judges and the Brazilian cleaner episode and the case being brought against Richards LJ for alleged flashing

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips is supporting the establishment of a 24 hour helpline to help judges cope with the stress of judicial office.

And something for the drinking classes…

I came across an amusing post entitled ‘Anonymous Alcoholic”  on ” Outside The Law / Legal Outsider” by ExLex.  You will enjoy it – and it is only a click away.  (I do not post it here – simply because I’d like you to have a look at his blog – which is only fair!)

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This afternoon I thought I would try something different. I interviewed Ashley, the manager of The Bollo, an excellent gastropub in Chiswick, West London.

We didn’t talk about Law – we talked about the food and wine served at this pub, moved on to discuss the cricket at the ICC World Cup and I ended by asking if ‘Quiz nite’ would be continuing over the summer.

I wrote about The Ashes tour in the summer of 2005, when England won the Ashes. You may enjoy reading about “Ashley’s Ashes”

The Bollo website – if you care to come across to West London! I may even be at Table 21 – which, I accept, may be a good reason for you not coming!

Podcast No 8: Interview with Ashley, Manager at The Bollo

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