Archive for July 12th, 2010

Dear Reader

I am a bit late with my postcard this week.  Got tied up with Lord Shagger (posts below) and the World Cup and taking on plenty of liquids, on doctor’s orders after a 24 hour  bout of recurrent malaria on Friday.  I contracted Malaria (and survived, obviously) many years ago in Africa.  They say that it does not recur – but all I can tell you is that every 6-9 months I spend a day shivering and then sweating.  Not a pleasant activity but I am restored to full strength now.  I was not, as @infobunny suggested, being ‘fashionable’ – a reference to Cheryl Cole’s serious attack.

My attention was caught earlier this evening by an article in The Law Society Gazette.

Barristers seek partnership with solicitors

This would for some of my friends at the Bar either be an irrelevance or an apostasy.

Rachel Rothwell writes : “Some 43% of barristers would like to go into business with solicitors, research commissioned by bar regulator the Bar Standards Board has shown today.A YouGov survey of nearly 2,000 barristers and 141 clerks and practice managers revealed that 43% said they would be interested in becoming a manager alongside a solicitor, while 23% would be interested in management alongside non-lawyers.

The bit I liked I have quoted in my cartoon above.  It does not surprise me that only a third of barristers said they had a good understanding of the LSA.  My own straw poll indicated a very much lower figure – this may, of course, be ascribed to supreme indifference to the whole thing.

Solicitors are certainly punting it out there, hyperventilating about SOCIAL MEDIA. Muttley Dastardly LLP issued a helpful bulletin advising solicitors how they may make best use of social media and twitter a few weeks ago.  The Law Society Gazette is at it again with advice on Social media, linked-In etc etc etc.

Is social networking really appropriate for lawyers?

Clare Rodway writes: “Here are some of the typical comments we hear as we talk to lawyers and their in-house marketing teams: I’m not sure about all this hype around social media. I’m not sure if social networking has any relevance to a law firm. I can see that more and more business people are active on the networks, but are they really appropriate places for lawyers to be seen? LinkedIn is becoming quite popular with lawyers, but I can’t see how Twitter is relevant. Does anyone get any business from any of this networking? What’s the return on investment? Help! My managing partner has asked me to develop a social media strategy for the firm and I don’t know where to start!

~My advice?  Don’t even think about it. I am, naturally, quite happy to charge you a substantial sum of money (double if you wish to consult after 6.00 pm) to tell you why you should be very careful about using Social Media to promote your law business!  I’ll give you a hint.  If you don’t *get* twitter you could make a monumental pig’s ear of it.  But… hey… who am I to  stop lawyers making a pig’s ear of things?

Sterilise claimants urges racist H M Treasury website!

Oh Dear.  Osbore & Beaker  don’t really *do* social media. The latest gaffe is not to moderate the website they set up asking for people to suggest ways of cutting the deficit.  Moderating comments is sometimes a good idea.  There are professional agitators and professional nutters out there who enjoy undermining everything.  Unfortunately, I suspect, many of the comments come from real nutters.

I quote from a newsletter… “This is a single issue newsletter asking for your urgent help in getting a government website closed down. The site, set up by the treasury to allow people to suggest ways to cut government spending, is full of hate-filled racist and disablist suggestions, including the sterilisation of benefits claimants, the return of the workhouse and the forced repatriation of asylum seekers and migrants.  Some of the site’s content is so extreme it may even constitute a criminal offence.

The Spending Challenge website was set up on Friday by the coalition government and features an introduction and video on its home page by chancellor George Osborne.

I really liked this.  Good on him and his family….

Holocaust Survivor Dances to ‘I Will Survive’ at Concentration Camp

A Holocaust survivor — along with his children and grandchildren — danced to Gloria Gaynor at concentration camps throughout Europe. Says the video’s uploader, “This dance is a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit and a celebration of life.”  Watch the film.  Excellent.

And finally…. Twitter can be very enjoyable and amusing. @Nipclaw is a very serious barrister who enjoys and uses twitter well.  I have known her for many years.  The trouble is… I may have seen too many “Carry On” films in my ‘childhood’ and, therefore, just cannot resist her latest tweet this evening – pregnant with several meanings for people like me with too much time on my hands tonight. I may burn in the fires of hell. There are drawbacks to only 140 characters on twitter.

A short postcard… much to do.

Best, as always


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Lawyer and blogger Jack of Kent is in the midst of a very important case of concern to all bloggers. I shall leave him to take up the story – for he is doing the work pro bono, for which he is to be commended.  I certainly, have no problem at all in raising a glass to him.  In the interests of fairness it is only right that I draw your attention to a blog post by Ms Kaschke about the same proceedings.  You will, no doubt, draw your own conclusions.

An interesting article from Afua Hirsch of The Guardian….

Iceland aims to become a legal safe haven for journalists

Icelandic Modern Media Initiative would offer protection against litigation

Plans to reform defamation law announced

Ministry of Justice: Plans to review the law on defamation to protect free speech and freedom of expression were outlined today by Justice Minister Lord McNally.

The Ministry of Justice will publish a draft Defamation Bill for consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny in the new year, with a view to introducing a Bill as soon after that as parliamentary time allows.

Proposals for reform will be the subject of consultation with interested parties to ensure that a wide range of views are taken into account and that a fully informed assessment of reform is reached. The Government recognises the impact that the current law may be having on freedom of expression, particularly in relation to academic and scientific debate, the work of non-governmental organisations and investigative journalism and will be looking at options for addressing concerns around “libel tourism”.

Lord McNally said:

‘Freedom of speech is the foundation of democracy. We need investigative journalism and scientific research to be able to flourish without the fear of unfounded, lengthy and costly defamation and libel cases being brought against them.

‘We are committed to reforming the law on defamation and want to focus on ensuring that a right and a fair balance is struck between freedom of expression and the protection of reputation.

‘The debate today in the House of Lords and Lord Lester’s Private Members Bill has greatly assisted our thinking on the matter. We will now move ahead with a draft Government Bill with all due urgency.’

Probation watchdog: serious crimes may be price to pay for cutting cost of justice

Telegraph: Murders and other serious crimes committed by prisoners released early from jail may have to be “accepted” by the public as part of attempts to keep down the cost of the criminal justice system, the probation watchdog suggested.

I fear, a sign of the times ahead – with all government departments keen to slash the deficit.  This will, inevitably, impact on legal aid as well…and, indeed, it has….

Fury as ‘superb’ training scheme for legal aid lawyers faces axe

• Former minister attacks £2.6m-a-year saving as short-sighted
• Poorest in society will be hardest hit, critics warn

Government plans to scrap a scheme for supporting the training of future legal aid lawyers has provoked a furious response, as critics say the move will hit the prospects of the poorest in society joining the profession. The plans would end the £2.6m-a-year training contract grant scheme, which helps pay for more than 750 young lawyers across England to qualify and give legal advice on issues such as housing, welfare benefits, immigration and crime.
This is a quick update. I am rather pre-occupied with a project.  I plan to write later in the day – it may be serious analysis but I suspect, given some of the above, it will involve Muttley Dastardly LLP and, therfore, be parodic.

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