Archive for August, 2010

Dear Reader,

I write this week with news, that owing to the exigencies of the international betting market, I had to post my weekly *Postcard* on Monday, as opposed to Sunday.  This has resulted in a lot of greedy, venal, f**ks making a great deal of money.  No money changed hands with me, of course, and recent pictures in the News of The World showing me counting a large amount of money are published out of context.  I quite often spend a happy hour or so of an evening   counting my money and on the evening that particular picture was taken, I was, in fact, watching an episode of The Dragon’s Den and I wanted to get in the mood for the programme.  Context and evidence based analysis and reporting is all.

Talking of greedy, venal, peopleJohn Bolch brings news, on a tweet,  of the well deserved bank holiday for bankers.

So… to Twitter…

Law blogger Jack of Kent a serial twitter user as well – writes with passion (and knowledge)  about the law and backs up his views with practical pro bono support for others  where is able to do so. After being hauled over the coals/challenged by the Transgender community for daring to post about practical issues – he has explained why he is a liberal and what this means to him. What is liberalism?

I don’t always agree with Jack of Kent’s analyses but respect the way he puts analysis and comment together. This does not, of course, mean that I am right.  It just means that I don’t always agree.

There are dangers in all blogging, and the use of twitter,  that the blogger or twitterer will get what I choose to call Popeitis – an infallibility complex. This is rather more dangerous than sitting on top of mountains for a while and then descending with tweets of stone to educate the assembled multitude.

The Social Media Maven pronounces (2010)
Oil on Canvas

The third category of danger, and one that Jack of Kent may well be ‘guilty’ of, is what I call Zeusitis – sitting on top of a mountain and hurling a few thunderbolts about to wind up Libertarians and other members of the knee jerking and ranting classes. I may well have done a bit of this myself on occasion.  I say ‘danger’ because tweeters seeing Zeusitis tweets are particularly likely to come scurrying out of their lairs – especially late of an evening when over refreshed – and tweet like a beserker or, indeed, if others join in, tweet en masse like a group of Beserkers on a quick raid down the Northumberland coastline.  This, I think, is fair game – they, the Libertarians and ranters, are more than able to cope.  I do enjoy debating with Jack of Kent and, being that it is a debate and not a hearing before a court of justice, I am more than prepared to use every means at my debating disposal to ‘win’ the point – including obfuscation, dissimulation, treachery, blackops and even a bit of law thrown in to spice it up a bit.  Few, I hope, regard this as attacking Jack of Kent – who needs no help from anyone in defending himself!  Fight the good fight, Jack.  Never surrender!

And talking of knee jerking – here is an amusing parody of Iain Dale’s DiaryIain Fale’s Diary

Twitter may also be used to put the boot in….

Tom Harris MP wrote a well reasoned piece on the Save The NHS campaign being pushed by Prezza – making the not unreasonable point that Labour also planned to cut NHS Direct in favour of another NHS proposition – 111.

Tom replied to Prezza with this: @johnprescott I’m sorry you want to make personal comments about me, John. I’ll stick to the politics (fortunately for you).

I rather like the idea of an experienced MP – here a Labour MP –  taking a point of principle, being honest and open and not knee jerking or responding along *Tribal* lines.

Well… the silly season ends with the end of the bank holiday and I am quite pleased that autumn approaches and I can get back to some semblance of commenting on law and do a spot of work.

Best, as always


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Conservatives ready to repay Asil Nadir’s donations

Guardian / Observer: Tory party officials say they will return £440,000 donated by Asil Nadir, if former Polly Peck boss is found guilty of fraud

Disaffected pupil?  Surely no-one is daft enough to conduct their own defence at the Crown Court?

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Chatting to  a  local who knows a fair bit about cricket this morning while having a coffee at the caff –  He wasn’t surprised about the revelations in the News of The World this morning…saddened for fans, yes… but not surprised.  Tragic.  Hopefully this mess will be cleaned up along with Cricket – truly great game.

Match-fixer pockets £150k as he rigs England Test at Lord’s

News of The World

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Nick Clegg acknowledges Liberal Democrat ‘anxieties’

Guardian: Deputy PM says next month’s Lib Dem party conference could be difficult, but insists ‘debate is not a bad thing’

I did enjoy this quote from The Guardian…..

Clegg has faced criticism from fellow MPs as well as rank-and-file party members. The veteran Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said on Tuesday that Clegg would face a “sticky” party conference, after the Institute for Fiscal Studies concluded that the coalition government’s June budget was regressive.

“We didn’t sign up for a coalition that was going to hurt the poorest people in society, and I certainly didn’t get elected to do that ever,” Hancock said.

Clegg said next month’s conference could be difficult, but “debate and people expressing their views is not a bad thing”.

I agree.. people expressing their views and YouGov/Sun polls indicating Lib-Dem support running at 12% for some weeks now is, probably/possibly/ineluctably, a fair indication of *sentiment*.

I shall be tuning in to the Lib-Dem conference this year.  Perhaps we shall see a new political party being born? Who knows.  Not even Nostracharondamus predicted that we would have a Lib-Dem DPM running the country while Cameron is on leave. All empires die eventually… but the unusual factor about the Lib-Dem *empire* is that they managed to lose it without actually having an empire in the first place.  But there we are…..

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A week or so ago I wrote, reasonably seriously, about a half baked plan to have Magistrates Courts set up in shopping malls – an idea that The Magistrates Association appears to have retreated from.

Law Review: Magistrates call for courts in shopping centres – a parody?

Unfortunately, another even less baked idea has been put forward by a magistrate… as reported in The Guardian today.  I am grateful to @BristolRed for the tip off to The Guardian report.

The Guardian reports: “Any takers for the justice bus? This unlikely sounding proposition, a mobile court travelling far-flung parts of the country dispensing justice, was floated recently, along with the idea of “pop-up” courts in supermarkets.

Both were suggested as ways of preserving local justice in the face of the huge court closure plan. Ministers want to save £15.3m by redrawing the justice map and closing 157 magistrates and county courts.

…. “As for the justice bus, a Norwich JP, Diana Reid, has in mind a decommissioned double-decker to take justice to remote communities. In a recent article for the Magistrates Association magazine, she describes the Tardis-like properties of the vehicle: “Upstairs are the supporting admin staff, and a separated area for the lawyers. On the lower level the space is divided into a very small waiting area; the ‘court room area’ and a very small ‘retiring area’.” Quite; there’s not much room for dignity, let alone anything else.”

It might be a good idea for Ken Clarke, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice to have a look at some of the people who are magistrates as part of his review of criminal justice – if these ideas are popping into the minds of those who are dispensing justice on the cheap?

Twitter often comes up with a pithy comment and I think @djhanks has hit the nail on the head with this one worder  tweet….

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Dear Charon,

“I’m an NQ lawyer suffering a minor spiritual crisis. I am quite enjoying the work so far, but my problem is that I look around the office at the partners, all of whom are perfectly pleasant, but rather dull and grey, and think: ‘That’s me in 15-20 years’.

No, I have not set up in business as an ‘Agony Uncle’.  This came from a wonderful article in Legal Week where the writer asked the perfectly reasonable question:

Do big personalities exist at law firms?

The comments are marvellous as well… here is a taster…well worth a read.

The drive to institutionalise clients has also contributed to this, which is why a lot of partners are really just senior account managers. It’s only odd that lawyers then scratch their heads and ask why clients struggle to differentiate them. But the upside is that there are less loony, racist, bullying, sexual harassing, alcoholics kicking around the Square Mile, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.

Your post reminds me of my in-house colleagues’ horror story about a boozy dinner with her husband’s (big, corporate) firm. She was sat between one partner who kept saying “see, what you’ve got to understand about me is, I’m really, REALLY clever!” while the partner on the other side slurred “you know, when I draft a perfect clause in a contract, it’s just the most beautiful feeling in the world!”

I am sure there are some very amusing lawyers out there – but I suspect they can be forgiven, in their daily lives at the coal face, for not exhibiting their more ‘eccentric’ side.  There are, of course, crashingly dull ones as well. But have you ever attended a conference of greedy business people? Now… therein lies boredom.  There are still some ‘unusual’ characters at the Bar though.

My online magazine doesn’t write itself and I am always grateful to those who (a) sponsor the free student materials and (b) who contribute. Kevin Beare & Co are doing both and hopefully lawyers and other will find their articles linked on Insite Law from their own blog useful to their work and lives. Kevin Beare & Co are Chartered Accountants to overseas companies operating in the UK. They focus their marketing activities solely on companies wishing to enter the UK, or who are already here with overseas parents.  Kevin Beare has operated as Finance Director/CFO for subsidiaries of multinationals, and in 1992 started his own practice. For over 20 years Kevin’s aim has been to provide cost-effective CFO resources to overseas companies operating in the UK.

What particularly interested me, talking to Paul Beare, Kevin’s son, is that  Kevin’s business model  is structured around local, qualified part-time employees working child friendly hours. Indeed written into the contracts of the team are child friendly clauses including specifically allowing time off to attend Nativity shows.  This must be a sensible option for some smaller law firms?  I don’t know – I don’t practice,  but I do know that when I was running a law school I was very much the beneficiary of very bright women solicitors and barristers who were able to teach part-time and bring up their children with hours which were convenient to them.

Here are a few links to give you a taste. Insite Law will be covering information provided through Kevin Beare & Co’s blog where it  will be of value to lawyers and others who read my blog.

Kevin Beare & Co – Chartered Accountants to overseas companies operating in the UK

Doing business online

July Investment news

VAT Schemes for Small Businesses

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