Archive for May 25th, 2011

The press is running riot with stories about Schillings and their ‘reputation management’ skills after the injunction fiasco and the cunning plan to ‘sue twitter’.

The Guardian….

Injunction publicity backfires on celebrity law firm

“After Ryan Giggs’ lawyers tried to sue Twitter for the initial internet leaks, thousands more tweets followed in retaliation”

Predictably… The Daily Mail put the boot in rather more brutally…

The Injunction King, a cabal of grasping lawyers and a £2000 assault on free speech.

I’ll leave you the pleasure of reading this latter piece of journalism.  Quite remarkable.  The usual tin foil hat wearers appear to ridicule law firms, law, lawyers and anything else that they fancy commenting on from their bunkers.   This was not a victory for free speech.  Serious matters, hidden from public gaze by injunctions – Trafigura et al – deserve public scrutiny (and MPs raising the matter in Parliament if injuncted).  Footballers and their dongles?

As the injunction has not been lifted, and I am a fan of the rule of law, I shall join other lawyers in not naming the footballer who everyone now knows through twitter and the antics of  Mr Hemming MP in Parliament the other day.   I have added a ‘black mask’ to the pic circulating widely on the net.

I don’t know much about Schillings, or Mr Schilling.  I admire the way he is reported as having worked his way up from a very modest background to run and head a successful law firm.  Lawyers do what lawyers do.  His reputation as ‘The Silencer’ will not appeal to many – but it clearly did to those who sought privacy.  I am a pragmatist when it comes to the business of law.  If there is a law, lawyers are going to use their skills to evade it or enforce it for the benefit of clients.  Criminal lawyers are used to public opprobium when they defend rapists, killers, paedophiles and other undesirables.  It goes with the territory – but everyone is entitled to be defended in criminal matters and, it must be the case and right, in civil matters as well. If we don’t like a law – we have a long standing tradition of law making in Parliament and we can lobby to change the law.   While Mr Schilling may well be reflecting on the PR disaster that is “CTB” – I doubt very much whether it will trouble him or his firm for long.  Win some, Lose some?  – But always get the fee?.  Nor should it.   Not all law is cuddly and fluffy – and neither are the clients who instruct the law firms.   The Bar has the long tradition of the cab rank principle – where all, no matter how unsavoury, are entitled to good legal representation.   Solicitors can be more choosy about their work and their clients. I have no problem at all with law firms representing those who want particular laws enforced.  We have courts to decide on the interpretation and application of the law – and an appeals mechanism if the first instance decisions are plainly wrong (as they are, inevitably, from time to time). Perhaps, in some cases, clients claim their rights now at their own peril.  Caveat Twitter? 

I add this from…

@Charonqc Can I just politely point out that it was Gideon Benaim (partner at Schillings) on for CTB, NOT Keith http://bit.ly/iEb0eL

There are, of course, many good media law firms out there opposing injunctions and ‘injunctioneers’ and act for the other side.  I suspect they may be laughing.  I know that Dr Erasmus Strangelove of Muttley Dastardly, allowed a flicker of a smile to cross his lips as he devoured the Daily Mail story.

AND talking about Twitter…I marvelled as I read some world class nonsense from a PR in The Guardian – twitter is running riot with this story…rightly.  I read the story in Comment is Free in The Guardian and mused…. had Mr Hillgrove got a tin foil hat on under his hat?

Twitter cannot be allowed to operate outside the law

The Guardian: “The Ryan Giggs case shows social media sites need to grow up and ensure content adheres to the same rules as everyone else.”

Astonishingly, Mr Hillgrove runs a PR company – who’d have thought that he doesn’t have an agenda?   Clearly, The Guardian may not have realised they were publishing a PR piece?  Who knows?  The Guardian is very busy these days…… very.  (Hat Tip to @ashleyconnick for drawing my attention to this website – Mr Hilgrove’s PR business.)

Anyway.. back to the man who may have a tin foil hat under his hat.  I quote from his own piece in The Guardian….

“Clearly, they  (twitter)are going to have to introduce a delay mechanism so that content can be checked before it goes up. There will have to be a completely different structure, which will be difficult when the whole thing about Twitter is its spontaneity.”

Wonderful nonsense…. how will that work?  Human being, algorithm?  I think Mr Hillgrove needs to go back to his bunker and put this idea back in the oven.

AND Finally.. this wonderful piece from @loveandgarbage... who is ruining his excellent reputation for blogging about scones and snow by doing a lot of serious and good law blogging…!

Are you a celebrity? Have you a secret? Consider your choice of lawyer carefully.

Well… there we are.. another day… another legal marvel….

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