Archive for December, 2010

I am grateful to Brian Inkster of Inksters [ @BrianIkster ] for drawing my attention to this tweet AFTER I did my Muttley Dastardly nonsense .  Real life is stranger than fiction!

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While some like honours and awards, I do not care for them. I like even less, organisations riding off the back of the work of others with their idiotic ranking systems. I came across Wikio tonight.    I despise ranking systems for blogs and I will have no part of it.  I will, however, do all I can to encourage blog writing… but not blog *anking.  (Many excellent serious Law blogs are NOT on Wikio…thankfully)  I do not include fun awards from fellow bloggers in my criticism….

I value those who take time to read and comment, whether they agree with my thoughts  and views or not.  I have learned much from reader comments and from other bloggers. The only award I have on my blog is one I gave to myself – and even then, modestly, only awarded myself second place…. The Totally Pissed Blog award – a homage to Total Politics!

There we are….this blog is and always will be… a Wikio free zone…..

I am looking forward to seeing Vince Cable’s *Command* performance on Strictly Come Dancing on iPlayer. @Loveandgarbage on twitter tells me that he jumped out of a box in a tuxedo and observed… “A curious thing for a Minister of The Crown to do”.  Can’t argue with that.

Not to be outdone… Gordon Brown came into my mind….

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I sat in my Staterooms at midday alone, listening to Church bells.  I had to my right, a glass of Rioja. The Archbishop of Canterbury was calling for the rich to help;  a speech which I am sure was followed closely by HMRC and The Treasury,  and he was suggesting that the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton would bind the very fabric of Britain together again.  I have no idea what planet he is on, but it seems a harmless enough activity in these dark days to wander about in medieval robes with a shepherds staff and try to communicate with what is largely a ‘mammonic’ heathen state.  His ‘oppo’ in Rome,  Papa Ratzi, called for an end to conflicts – ironic, given history,  since Popes of old seemed to start most of them or sanction them.

Unfortunately, because I was rather busy qua Chef Charon preparing an exquisite haute cuisine lunch for one – a creazione of roast lamb slices built into an absurd display, complete with smeared nonsense, on the plate and a Claridge’s Chicken pie a la Ramsay, complete with Marsala wine…….I missed HM The Queen auditioning for a spot on BBC Sport at 3.00.  I shall pick it up on MonarchyTube later.

I enjoyed looking at tweeted pictures of burnt potatoes and ‘unusual’ christmas lunches on Flickr for a few minutes and had a most enjoyable Skype call with a fellow blawger and friend, Cathy Gellis, a US lawyer in California.  It was 8.00 am her time, so she was not drinking.  This would not, of course, have stopped me on a holiday day, but I was well into the vino rosso and continued as we talked about a pleasingly wide  range of interesting issues.  Skype video is a remarkable invention.  And talking of inventions – it is the 20th anniversary of the founding of WWW by Tim Berners-Lee

Wikipedia notes: Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA (born 8 June 1955,[1] also known as “TimBL“), is a British engineer and computer scientist and MIT professor credited with inventing the World Wide Web, making the first proposal for it in March 1989.[2] On 25 December 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student at CERN, he implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet.

I decided that I would not watch any TV today – so, thankfully, I missed the One Ronnie and a host of programmes dug from the mists of telly time.  This decision improved my life and mood.

For a picture of Vince Cable, Business Secretary, dressed up as Santaplease click here.

As I only had one Christmas present to open this year – opened early (naturally) – I had plenty of time to do other things.  My Christmas present was from a good friend (and former user of twitter as @infobunny):   Home made Damson GINS, excellent chocolate truffles and two packets of dried insects, which I am particularly partial to.  These weren’t any old dried insects…. one pack contained *Dried BBQ Flavour Worm Crisps*  and the other *Thai Green Curry Crickets*.  Both delicious as a pre-prandial snack.  I am quite relaxed about eating locusts, ants and other creepy crawlies after my time in Africa.  Locusts are but flying King Prawns.

I have also started several paintings. This year, rather than do all the F**kArt paintings in 20-30 minutes, I am taking a bit longer.  Whether this will result in any improvement remains to be seen.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day… and the caff is open… so the *Seige of The Staterooms* is over…thankfully…for another year…. and I can get back to enjoying the 364 days of the year I actually do enjoy.  I may even shoehorn a bit of law in to my blog on the morrow.  Hope you enjoyed your day.

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Happy Christmas from Charon

Tomorrow… or Today, depending on when you read this, will be the last Christmas of 2010. I shall enjoy it..and I hope you do..

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I have enjoyed doing Charon’s Advent calendar – a  suggestion from a friend.  I appear to have cocked up the days… so this may or may not be Day 25..not that it matters.  I wish all readers a Happy Christmas, An Excellent Isaac Newton Day and a Good New Year.  I shall be at my post, blogging, tweeting and, ineluctably, with two days of sybaritic pleasure ahead, I shall be taking of the wine of the gods.  Thanks for coming to the blog this year – it does make blogging a bit more fun when people read and…. thank you also to the many who comment.  One of the problems with twitter is that there are, now,  fewer blog comments as debate and  comment now tends to happen more on twitter.  Unfortunately, not everyone who reads the blog is on twitter…so some excellent observations and comments from readers who post on twitter are missed by some  blog readers… but we can’t have everything.

I plan to do many more podcasts and up the Law Review content in 2011.  On January 3rd I shall be hosting Blawg Review (My sixth) and it will be UK centric…..

Have a good one… back on the morrow… inevitably.  If you have time and the inclination…. I wrote a Christmas Carol story last night (below).  I am never knowingly under refreshed when I blog at night.

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From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

Date: 25th December 2010


I appreciate that we have scheduled four hours on Christmas Day to attend to matters of family but, as you know, our firm is a 24/7/365 operation and I wish to confirm that we have full cover.  I did, however, last night, have a rather strange experience which I wish to record for the file.

1.  As you know our esteemed co-founding partner, Dastardly, died some time ago.  I use the term ‘died’ in the law firm sense of having retired, but I understand that he has in fact died in real life as well.

2.  I was working late tonight.  It was a dark and cold night.  An associate, Tiny Tim, was working late and he rang me, as instructed, to inform me that snow was falling so that I could hedge our power interests while the US markets were still open.

3. At approximately 10.32, I was visited by the ghost of our former Partner.  The meeting, unfortunately, can’t be billed as the Ghost of Dastardly told me that his Amex card did not work ‘where he now was’. I reminded the Ghost of Dastardly that we are not big on pro bono and as the legal press had closed down for two weeks I couldn’t get any leverage on releasing a story about doing pro bono work on Christmas Eve. He understood this (old habits die hard even for ghosts of former partners)  and briefed me quickly on various episodes from my childhood. Fortunately, I was not that innocent when I was a child and I was not moved by his advocacy and plea that we, as a firm, show more compassion.

4. At approximately 11.04, I was visited for a second time by the Ghost of Dastardly.  I misunderstood what he was saying and thought he had returned to give me a present.  This was not the case.  He told me that he was now a Ghost of Christmas Present. He asked me to accompany him to Waitrose where people were buying food for Christmas Day.  I told him that I had an iPad and we could go onto the Waitrose website instead.  Time is money. Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present then asked me to look at a blog written by one of our former associates who ‘we had to let go’. You may remember him – Rob Cratchit. It would appear that Rob Cratchit was not able to get a job after we fired him and now lives in ‘diminished circumstances’. I asked Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present if he would kindly get to the point. He told me that we needed to develop a sense of responsibility for our fellow man.  I was able to confirm that we do not take a stance on the political issues of the day, our amoral apolitical stance, means that we can stand above David Cameron’s notions of ‘Big Society’ and retain the clinical objectivity so prized by our client base.

5.  At approximately 12.05 am  on Christmas Day, I was visited by the  Ghost of Dastardly again. He had a copy of The Guardian.  He placed it on my desk and pointed to a story about the dire future which lay ahead of us and a rather curious story about an Australian who has developed a ‘Messiah’ complex and is leaking secrets all over the place. To my astonishment, he then placed a picture on my desk of a grave in a  rather badly tended cemetery, and told me that it was my grave.  I was able to re-assure Ghost of Dastardly of Christmas Yet To Come, as he was now calling himself, that it was highly improbable that a Partner of our firm would be buried in such a run down place and that he really should not watch so much Sky TV given that the future owners of that television station are Australian. Keeping to an Australian theme, I did say that I had been placing fairly substantial investments with ‘our friends’ in Pakistan on The Ashes and on the evidence of the Third Test in Perth, when England collapsed in a rather improbable way, that we could look forward to additional tax free revenue early in the New Year when England did not simply retain The Ashes, but win them.  The Ghost of Dastardly did not  seem to be impressed by this statement.

6.  Finally, I am pleased to report, when I woke on Christmas morning, I felt no particular desire to spend any time whatsoever with my nephew’s family and had no side effects of feelings of love or affection for our fellow man.

7.  We have a Partner’s meeting at 3.00 today to discuss our bonuses.  It will, gentlemen, be a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Matt Muttley

Strength & Profits


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I appear to have got up to Day 24 a day early… but strange things happen on this blog, so I’ll have to have another Day 24 tomorrow or be really radical and have a Day 25…

Never let is be said that Charon is not relentless – even on the eve of the eve of Christmas – in bringing to you legal news…..

When filling judges’ benches, we need to solicit more solicitors

Neil Rose in The Guardian: Much can be done to encourage solicitors to apply for posts in the judiciary, a sector historically dominated by barristers.

Neil Rose reports that “1,071 solicitors applied for the 193 deputy district judgeships available in its most recent selection exercise – the biggest the JAC has ever run – and just 9% (94) made it through to appointment. By comparison, 284 barristers applied for this junior judicial role and 28% (80) were successful.”

What I did enjoy was this from Neil’s article…. “The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, recognised this last week when he admitted that he had failed to encourage City lawyers to apply.”

James Dean in The Law Society Gazette noted “Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge told the Lords Constitution Committee yesterday that, if he could persuade City lawyers and their firms that a judicial career is a plausible option, ‘we would have a more diverse judiciary’.”

Lord Judge will, of course, be aware that City lawyers at the top tend to earn truly fantastic sums of money – often going  into seven figures, they say,  at the very top end of the top end. Judges don’t do too badly but it is probably about one tenth the remuneration of the City lawyers at the very top.  The relative modesty of judicial salaries may, of course, be an entirely irrelevant consideration for City lawyers and it may be that they are truly dedicated to their high end corporate clients and feel a sense of public duty to serve beyond the call of duty…. who am I to even think anything else?

Well….there we are… I shall be back on the morrow with Day 25 of my Advent calendar…

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