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Archive for September 19th, 2008

Last week some thought the world would end when the CERN boys switched on the Large Hadron Collider.  This week it was the turn of the bankers to see what they could do to bring havoc to the world.  The blood ran on Wall St and through financial markets worldwide.  The masters of the universe, with names like “The Gorilla” who once ruled global markets,  find, five days after the horrors of ‘Black Monday’,  a very different financial landscape.  Lehman – gone.  AIG – effectively nationalised. Merrill Lynch – swallowed by Bank of America, Morgan Stanley contemplating selling 49% off to the Chinese,  HBOS – gobbled up by so-called ‘Black Carthorse’ Lloyds TSB and now… even mighty Goldman Sachs is wondering whether they too will be able to ride the storm.

So what is happening in our sector? There is, some say,  going to be plenty of work for litigators and barristers in scapegoat litigation – and certainly this is the view of one practising barrister who commented on my Calm Assessment? post yesterday.

The Lawyer reports: “Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has axed as many as four associates in its real estate group, becoming the first magic circle firm to make redundancies.”

Legal Week reports: “Lloyds TSB has today (18 September) confirmed that there could be legal job losses as a result of its £12.2bn takeover of stricken lender HBOS.”

EDIT: Lawslot, whose blog I have only just come across, has some interesting views on the future of the legal sector – well worth a bookmark and read.

Legal Week, rather cheerily, has a poll: The question they ask is – “Will a major law firm go the way of Lehman?  Naturally, I had to have a look.  As at midday the result is:

Ripping up the rule book?

Short selling has been outlawed for the time being to stop ruthless bankers taking advantage of falling share prices – or even, as some say,  assisting the drop in values by selling short.

Head of Legal, who knows a thing or two having worked as a government lawyer for ten years, has two interesting blog posts:  Short selling now market abuse | The Lloyds TSB – HBOS merger and Competition Law – both worth a read.

And now for a bit of stupidity…. ?

RollonFriday.com has a piece on a US lawyer: “Gabriel Schwartz may only be 29, but he’s already made a bit of a name for himself. He’s founder of the law firm Sandomire & Schwartz, and was recently selected to be a Colorado delegate to the US Republican National Convention. Here’s an interview with the charming fellow. “Less taxes and more war!” – what an arse.”

This guy demonstrates in one short interview why we should be concerned about the bellicose views of some americans – he also manages to demonstrate that having a legal education does not always bring wisdom, common sense, judgement and balance – but, hey… judge for yourself.  The full RollonFriday story and the film is a classic – definitely worth a few minutes of your time. There is also another aspect to the story which may amuse….he seems to have been relieved of up to $120,000 in jewellery and cash after picking up a woman in a hotel bar after a conference. RollonFriday film and story.

AND FINALLY… I am grateful to Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog, for sending me an email about the Brown Calculator – very definitely worth a go to lighten your budens and raise your spirits.  You just have to use this calculator – very amusing.

So… there we are.  Friday means the weekend is almost upon us.  The sun is shining, the world may look pretty bleak.  I think it may be time for a spot of lunch and a glass of Rioja after two days of abstention from all booze.

Postcard from The Boat will, of course, follow this weekend and I may also publish the next instalment of West London Man – who works in the financial sector and has had a dificult week. .

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You have to hand it to the Americans. In a week when the world is reeling from financial armageddon the New York Times reports on a new fad – walking on a treadmill while you work.

Apparently, TERRI KRIVOSHA, a partner at a Minneapolis law firm, logs three miles each workday on a treadmill without leaving her desk. She finds it easier to exercise while she types than to attend aerobics classes at the crack of dawn.

Frankly – this is not a fad I shall be taking up.  While I am quite happy to wander about the lower deck office on The Boat while talking on the phone, the idea of trying to type, work, concentrate, smoke and drink glasses of Rioja while walking on a treadmill is not one I want to contemplate.  I find that walking is an activity best done without being engaged in too many other activities and I generally do it (a) to get a bit of pleasure wandering around looking at London or (b) to get to a bar or, indeed, a meeting involving the Bar.

Maybe top law firms in The City will pick up on this and set the treadmills to run ‘fast’ ?  Who knows in these times of financial armageddon?

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19 September: Daily Legal News and podcast

Daily Legal News and podcast now up on Insitelaw.

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