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Archive for May 31st, 2013

Pic from a Buzzfeed article – amused me. HT @ChristianUncut

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.
Groucho Marx 

Communication has been occupying my mind for a few days.  This morning on BBC Breakfast they were taxing their minds with ‘spelling’ and one of the presenters was asked to spell *Supersede*.  Like many before him, he had a crack at it and came up with *Supercede*.

With way too much time on my hands early this morning , I made myself a cuppa and, as I did so, came up with the thought “One precedes, but one supersedes.”  This was enough to set me up for a sardonic day and knowing that bananas can walk has set me up nicely for a weekend of  Sybaritic pleasure drinking tea (not Earl Grey) and… in Britain we  spell it ‘grey’ not ‘gray’ when referring to the colour or our skies.

But does spelling matter?  Can you read this?

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Well…there we are…

ON to the law blogs…with a bit of dead tree press action to kick off…. 

In the wake of the tragic murder of April Jones we had the predictable call for ‘something’ to be done in relation to internet pornography.  A view that the state should not intervene in sexual activities between consenting adults which cause no harm to others – an old fashioned Benthamite utilitarian stance to be sure – seems a not unreasonable starting point for debate.

The Guardian editorial on the subject was pretty ropy and ill thought out and careered toward the Ban It stance of human thinking. Ironically, The Telegraph took a more reasoned view.

Given that our government has developed the skills of the whirling dervish and a predilection for U-turns, one hopes that there is not a pandemic of Kneejerkitis acutis toriensis on the  part of the shield munching beserkers  (pictured right) on the Tory benches, forcing yet more ill thought out snap reaction legislation, when Parliament eventually gets back to work again.

On the subject of the so-called ‘Snoopers Charter’ being revived in the wake of the murder of Lee Rigby, and the decision by the BBC to shunt Anjem Choudary onto Newsnight, David Anderson QC provides wise advice to government in this article from The Guardian: Anjem Choudary controversy sparks debate over TV censorship – “anti-terror law reviewer David Anderson QC says broadcasters should decide whether to show radicals on their channels.”

It seems that the Police are also getting in, rightly, on the sensible, cool headed, side of the debate. The Telegraph reported: MI5 failures over Woolwich probably ‘misjudgement’ not lack of snoopers’ charter, says Sir Chris Fox

***

And now for the law bloggers….

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen asks the (necessary) question: 

Why Does Everyone Want to Go to Law School?

For some reason people in America and the UK people have come to regard Law School as some sort of panacea. The pinnacle of academic learning and the route to meteoric career earning: the ultimate career backstop that offers glamour, big respect and guarantees a bulging bank balance.

Let’s call this ‘Law School Think’: the reason why everybody wants to go to law school.

However it’s all a myth.

The idea of Law School being a panacea is a perception ingrained so deeply that young men and women enrol in the face of hard facts that scream out: “Don’t go to Law School!” Slate writer Eric Posner provides a great prefatory note here.

A MESSAGE FROM DR ERASMUS STRANGELOVE
Senior Partner and Director of Education, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Dr Strangelove wrote this some time ago.  It still seems to reflect the current state of affairs?

Dear Prospective Applicants,

It is that time of year again.  You are back at university.  The long summer holidays are over.  Binge drinking in Cornwall is a long distant memory.  Your *Gap Yah* is finished and your parents are now able to get on with what is left of the rest of their lives knowing that you are safely on the treadmill called life.  Now you are back at your cash poor universities or are attending one of the shiny new reassuringly expensive law schools doing your LPC.  If you haven’t already been snapped up by one of the big law firms,  sponsoring you, you are probably sick with worry about your future prospects – and, frankly, you have every reason to be.  We are not out of the bears shitting all over the credit crunch woods yet… Lord Browne is about to release his entirely predictable report to allow the Vice Chancellors to increase their fees, law firms are still reeling from  the credit crunch… well…some law firms are…we at Muttley Dastardly LLP are not..in fact, to be honest, we are rather enjoying it.

Over the next few weeks, on The Lawyer, Legal Week and LawCareers.net websites you will be able to find lots of shiny brochures to download from BIG law firms and BIG law schools – implausibly showing pictures of glossy potential lawyers smiling away….possibly even sitting on the grass…although why they should be sitting on the grass when they should be inside working is a matter of some surprise to *US* at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

There will be lots of pictures of young people in suits, carrying briefcases, looking busy and important. Our Psyops team has replicated the genre below…. we’ve gone for the lawyers happy on a beach look… (right).

OK… we talk straight… expensive… but straight at Muttley Dastardly LLP.  Listen up…. and, I cannot resist using that dreadful phrase so beloved of cliche ridden writers…and smell the coffee.

1.  The economy will improve

2. Law firms will recover

3. Universities will raise their fees – and so will the BIG law schools for you (although not for us!)

4.  The Legal profession is changing – read the journals and keep up to date.

5.  You have to get a 2.1 to even stand a chance of selection for a decent law school at LPC level and, being honest, a decent university if you are going to get into a City law firm or any major commercial firm.

6. Being really honest… you haven’t a chance of getting into Muttley Dastardly LLP unless you went to Oxbridge or a top Russell Group university – why would *WE* take second best?

7. Be realistic… City practice is not for everyone – there is a wonderful world of law out there for lawyers who don’t want to be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, who don’t want to be movers and shakers in the City and business world, who don’t want to rub shoulders with the likes of Duncan Genocide from The Dragon’s Den. [Good one, Harry & Paul] We don’t have a clue what these lawyers do… but hey.. there must be a Facebook group.. or Twitter hashtag… and you could always Google?!  FTW!…as, I believe, some say…..  LMFAO, ROFL  etc etc etc…..

8.  We will always be honest with you…. if we take you on as a trainee, you will be worked beyond the limits of The Human Rights Act, you will learn a great deal about *OUR* type of practice and if you don’t cut it… we will give you a black plastic bag to take your belongings away in and that’s it.

Good luck with your studies this year.  I look forward to hearing from you… if you think you are hard enough.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

Having been involved in legal education for thirty odd years – and continue with a Churchillian stance of ‘buggering on’ through blogging – I do get the  feeling that the law schools, particularly those providing vocational courses for the BPTC and LPC, are more concerned with their own profits and survival and this may outweigh their ‘corporate social responsibility’ to those they eagerly seek to enrol – and who may, despite all the third party advice on offer, be eager to enrol.

Interestingly: The Lawyer reports: 

Law students have reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that the National College of Legal Training (NCLT) has discontinued its legal practice course (LPC) and graduate diploma in law (GDL).

The NCLT announced last week that it is to stop teaching the LPC and GDL, blaming market conditions and a drop in the number of students for its decision (24 May 2013).

Legal Cheek had a good piece by David Banks this morning:  ‘JOURNALISTS PROBABLY DEAL WITH MORE LAW THAN ANYONE ELSE – INCLUDING LAWYERS’

Professor Richard Moorhead has an interesting post: Does legal education impact on how small businesses see the world?

“There are some interesting findings on attitudes risk and the incidence of legal problems in small businesses in the new study done by my colleagues Pascoe Pleasence and Nigel Balmer for the Legal Services Board. That study has drawn attention principally because it suggests a large latent market for legal problems. Small businesses have a large volume of legal problems which are not tackled with the assistance of legal advice. The median value of such problems was of the order of £1,2000 (though the mean value was much higher). Interestingly, also, whilst solicitors dominate service to this sector, accountants appear close behind…..”

Read more…

Practitioners may be interested in Professor John Flood’s article: Institutional Bridging: How Large Law Firms Engage in Globalization

“I’ve just posted a new paper to SSRN titled “Institutional Bridging: How Large Law Firms Engage in Globalization“. It’s for a symposium put together by the Boston College Law Review and the Boston College International & Comparative Law Review on Filling Power Vacuums in the New Global Legal Order.”

And that is probably enough for a Friday evening…back with Part 3 of my review of and from the law blogs at the weekend.

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