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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

Keen Lawyer of the Week
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29 July 2014

Murray Shusterman's boss doesn't mind him skiving off from work early. "I like to tease him when I see him walking out at four," says Michael Menkowitz, the managing partner of Fox Rothschild, " 'What is this, a half day, Murray?' "

It's understandable. Yours will probably cut you some slack, too, if you're still coming into the office aged 101.

Shusterman, a Philidelphia corporate and real estate lawyer, was born in the Ukraine in 1912, the same year the Titanic sank. He qualified as an attorney in 1936. He's been lawyering ever since, for 75 years and counting.

During WW2 he deferred the draft 19 times to continue working as government counsel reconfiguring US banks during the Depression. He spent a few years in the 1950s & 60s writing housing and employment law as a solicitor for the city. Aged 50, he moved into private practise.

50 years later, he's still billing. He's toiled long enough to see his old law school auditorium renamed the Murray H Shusterman Hall (he donated $1 million for renovations). He might yet outlast it. Asked why he carries on, Shusterman told the Philidelphia Inquirer, "What? Retire? Sit in a rocking chair and wait to die?" He is, after all, still a good decade younger than the oldest American, who is 115 (staggeringly, she was born in 1899. Though she's stopped working).

Shusterman, two months shy of 102

One of Shusterman's three sons, 72, said the key to his father's longevity was simple: "stubborness". That seems accurate. When people try to congratulate Shusterman on his years, "I say, 'For what?' Did I just win a big case? If you want to congratulate someone, congratulate my great-great-great-great-grandfather who gave me the genes.' "

There's a price to pay for his great age. Most of the people he loves are dead. His wife of 65 years died in 2005. His siblings are all gone, and so are his friends.

A middle-aged Shusterman (centre) in the 1950s

But his love of the law prevails. Shusterman says it embodies, "the dynamics of living, the progress or retrogressing that we're involved in".

As for life lessons, "the real secret is to be decent, to be fair, and to be forgiving - now and then even a friend will do something that annoys you. And don't take yourself too seriously".
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Exclusive: Hill Dickinson places 39 at risk of redundancy
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21 July 2014

Hill Dickinson placed 39 lawyers and non-fee-earning staff into a redundancy consultation today.

All the jobs will be lost from HD's fraud division, specifically its counter fraud teams. The firm told RollOnFriday the cuts are being made "following a 15 % increase in instructions" for counter fraud over the last year. A reduction in jobs seems like a bizarro response to an increase in work, but apparently it's not: the firm said it was "restructuring and streamlining processes aligned to insurers’ ongoing counter fraud requirements". 

  The price of success, coming soon in HD

It's Hill Dickinson's second restructuring in as many years. In 2013 the firm made a £2.8 million cash call on partners, cut 14 of them and axed 69 other staff. At the time managing partner Peter Jackson prophesied that 2014 would be a "solid year". But while PEP and profit both rose a smidgen in 2013/14 (though revenue is flat - the wonders of a reduced wage bill), the rank and file are facing another dose of pain.

Head of Fraud Peter Oakes said: “It is regrettable that we will lose some colleagues from the group as a result of this restructure. We appreciate this is a difficult time and we will be providing as much support and guidance as possible.  The counter fraud market is hugely dynamic and the restructure will give us an agile model with an emphasis on expertise aligned to the evolving counter fraud environment, the needs of our clients and the insurance market”.

Managing Partner Peter Jackson said, “We are always saddened to see colleagues depart, but the counter fraud market is changing rapidly. Generating efficiencies where possible enables us to invest throughout our business”.

Read more on Friday.
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What you get when you hire a maniac to design your website
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18 July 2014
Hungarian law firm Nagy & Trocsanyi: Ok, who's our first appointme -

Nagy & Trocsanyi
: AARGH! Oh, good morning, Mr Torrance. Please, come in and take a seat. How's the family?

Nagy & Trocsanyi: Oh-kay. Now, we understand you spent the winter in a hotel designing our new website. How did that go?

Nagy & Trocsanyi: Great, great. As you know, our slogan is "We're not square".

Nagy & Trocsanyi:
Yes, we know how much you liked that. We think it's pretty snazzy, too. Have you finished the website?

Nagy & Trocsanyi: Excellent! Let's take a look.

Nagy & Trocsanyi:
  Even if we use your design, we're not getting out of this office alive, are we?

If you've seen a deranged law firm website like Nagy & Trocsanyi's, let us know.
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Not the most attractive job offer in the world
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17 July 2014

Honesty is not always the best policy.

.... read more >
Law firm wins Pavement Appeal Award
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02 July 2014

Finally, someone's taking a stand against overblown branding:

"Nothing says 'reputable law firm' quite like some stickers you bought from B&Q", said the impressed RoF source who snapped this back-to-basics shopfront in Lewisham as they hunted for a solicitor to instruct.

There might be something to be said for giving the door a scrub, though, just a bit, just so it looks less like a crack den. The potential client said they were "quite nervous taking the photo, thinking one of the "solicitors" might open the door and pop a cap in me".
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13 reasons why lawyers are like condoms
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27 June 2014

There's been superb work from Roffers on the discussion board who have dedicated their considerable brainpower to noting down why lawyers are like condoms. Some of it is publishable.

1. "They are there for safety, they are the facilitators, they don't make the decisions which matter and don't get the real pleasure from sealing the deal" - Seagulled (we...probably shouldn't have allowed that screen name)

2. "They come in an assortment of colours and when they inevitably break you are just left with a dick" - Wellington

3. "They are only really important when you are about to get f**ked" - Le Chiffre

4. "And, having served their purpose, are discarded with disgust" - Abdul Abuldul Amir

5. "No one likes using them" - Cookie

6. "You know you're supposed to use one, but they're a pain in the ass - and what could possibly go wrong if you didn't?" - Abdul Abuldul Amir

7. "If you give them a quick wash in warm water you can use them again" - Wellington

8. "They are an awkward formality in an otherwise enjoyable exercise" - backhaul

9. "They are frequently out of date having suffered long periods without the sechs" - Wellington

10. "What they do is great while it lasts but leave it too long and they're full of holes and you are left with carrying a liability you really did not want" - Le Chiffre

11. "A waste of money if you pull out before completion" - World Cupcake

12. "Those that aren't stuck up c***s are almost certainly going to be stuck up arseholes" - Briefs

13. "They are often ribbed" - Old Git Roundabout

Indeed, Old Git Roundabout, indeed. They are also embarrassing to be caught with in public, snuff out the hopes of millions and, if worn by your partner before sex, reduce your risk of pregnancy by 98%.

If you would like to spend your time being constructive, do visit the board.
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Internet melts for sexy criminal
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24 June 2014

A handsome criminal has gained thousands of fans after police posted his mugshot on Facebook:

Jeremy Meek was arrested with three other men for a spate of robberies and shootings in California. His accomplices have been consigned to the bin of anonymity, but Meek's cutglass cheekbones, full lips and icy blue eyes are another matter. Over 95,000 people have 'liked' his mugshot and over 25,000 have posted comments. No doubt to the police department's dismay, very few are admonishing. At best they balance lust with regret.

Michelle describes the war waging between her heart and head with haiku-like efficiency.

20,000 other women are less circumspect.

Poor Gregory despairs.

Some of Meek's fanmail requires a working knowledge of prison culture. Did you know, for example, that a tear drop tattoo indicates that the wearer has committed a murder?

Ah, Starla does. Marvellous.

Supporters like Cathy are more constructive. She's really thought about Meek's modelling career. Really thought about it.

Just to be clear, he will be viewable in his undergarments.

Sure thing. Cathy, please step away from the computer.

Haha er, ok, Resa bye now.

But there are serious issues here. Tony Lam wonders whether glamorising a felon is in the best possible taste.

The answer, of course, is that victims will get attention when they have eyes you could drown in.

It's left to Jacques F AllTrades to think of the taxpayer.

Good point Jacques, if that is your real name. Unfortunately no-one's listening because they've all gone off to knock up pictures of what Meek would look like as a model.

No tats and no trousers. Somewhere, Cathy's drool has shorted her keyboard.

Meek's fans may be upset to learn that he is married, but, as these vintage mugshots show, his wife had to wait twelve years for her gosling to become a gun-toting, gang-banging swan.

Meek is awaiting trial and is unavailable for a dinner date unless someone can raise his $1 million bail. Several Facebook groupies have suggested setting up a fund. Meek said "I just want them to know that this is really not like me, I'm not some kingpin". He added that his only crime was that "they found a pistol in my trunk", which is only going to fan the flames. .... read more >
Capsticks board member in saucy calendar
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19 June 2014

Poor old Capsticks has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. First a sticky-fingered partner, then an embarassing data malfunction.

So three cheers for Rachael Heenan. Heenan is by trade a Capsticks employment lawyer who also sits on the firm's board, but in her free time she's a member of Harrogate's Cappuccino Cycling Club and she has, along with fellow female members, posed for a calendar wearing next to nothing to raise money for charity.

The cyclists were snapped along the route of the Tour de France in lingerie provided by the official supplier of the Queen's smalls, Rigby & Pelle. Heenan didn't get to dress up since she appears in a bath, representing September. She looks a lot less goosebumpy than the other cyclists, who are all photographed outside barreling through freezing fields of sheep wearing basques or lugging their bikes across a river in suspenders. I guess that's why she's on the board.

    September with Capsticks

All the money raised will go to air ambulance charities, who desperately need funds in order to be able to continue rescuing people posing naked for calendars on the side of hills. Buy one here.

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Exclusive: 19 jobs at risk at Keoghs
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18 June 2014

Keoghs has put 19 jobs at risk in its second redundancy consultation in six months.

In the crosshairs this time are non-fee-earning staff in the firm's Bolton office. A spokesman told RollOnFriday the consultation began this week as part of a restructuring of Keogh's support departments. He said Keoghs "will do everything we can to support those that are affected" (NB 'everything we can' does not include giving back jobs).

    It's known as The Meatloaf Promise

It's the firm's second consultation this year. In January Keoghs put 41 staff at all levels, from non-fee-earners to partners, at risk of redundancy in its insurance fraud division. Back then the firm blamed Legal Aid reforms for destabilising the market, though sources pointed the finger at poor management.

This time around Keoghs' spokesman said, "Against the backdrop of the LASPO reforms, Keoghs continue to invest in our infrastructure and in particular IT, where new systems drive the efficiencies to deliver and exceed our clients’ key requirements. In short, we are continuing to invest for the future to ensure that we can deliver, not just against our clients current but also their future requirements". If the firm spins any harder it's going to reverse the planet's direction and go back in time.
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Man hides from police in manure
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12 June 2014

A Stoke-on-Trent man who has been jailed for six months hid from police in a pile of dung.

Jake Hart, blessed with the name of a movie star and the lingering scent of poo, led police on a 90mph chase through the city after they tried to pull him over for having faulty brake lights. At points the unlicensed drunk driver whammed over speed bumps so quickly his £300 Peugeot left the ground.

But Days of Thunder turned to Nights of Shit when Hart abandoned his car and ran into a park, where police later found him lodged within a heap of manure.

 Hart in his mind

Hart in reality  

High on the thrill of the chase and ammonia, an exultant Hart told flat-footed rozzers, "I have got to try and get away. I nearly had you". Nearly! The stinking maniac was arrested, jailed and banned from roads for a year.
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