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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

Trainee boaster of the day
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22 April 2015

But what did you get in your modesty exam?



BPP retweeted the trainee's unhumblebrag, but, curiously, not the follow-up:



The Solicitors' Accounts exam is like being dropped on a pyramid, so boasting about surviving it is perhaps understandable. As long as beforehand she didn't go on and on about how she was definitely going to fail, you guys.

She's only following the example of her betters. BPP Vice-Chancellor Carl Lygo has a brilliant personal website which doesn't so much hide his light under a bushel as wave it in your face until your lips catch fire. Although he does deserve a tip of the hat for including links to every single one of his press appearances, good and bad, including RollOnFriday's article taking the piss out of him. Not sure Nigel Savage, ex-boss of ULaw, will do the same.
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Exclusive: Fieldfisher partner accused of threatening to destroy trainees' careers after they witnessed boss's toilet incident
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21 April 2015

A Fieldfisher partner has been accused of telling two trainees that they would be fired and their careers ruined unless they gave testimony in favour of the firm after saying that they had witnessed an altercation between a secretary and the office's managing partner.

The explosive allegation is made in a claim for unfair dismissal being brought against the firm by a secretary in Fieldfisher's Paris office. She has also accused Bruno Paccioni, the Paris office's managing partner, of assaulting her.

RollOnFriday can reveal that the secretary alleges the contretemps took place when she bumped into Paccioni on his way to the toilet. She accuses Paccioni of repeatedly pushing the door to the mens' loos against her when she asked him to pay her for overtime, hitting her with it in the process. She also claims that when Paccioni couldn't shut the door because she was in the way, he asked her whether she wanted to come in with him and if she wanted to "hold it" for him.

    "Oui, oui, non, je comprend - mais can we discuss this dans deux minutes sil vous plait?

The secretary was dismissed the same day, and is seeking damages of €120,000. The sum includes compensation for the alleged extra hours she worked, her dispute with Paccioni and the "humiliating" conditions of her exit, which allegedly involved being ordered off the premises and standing on the pavement with a box of her belongings until her husband picked her up.

Whether the secretary was subjected to assault by toilet door or just hasty office bantaah from a man touching cloth will presumably be addressed at the hearing, due in September. But RollOnFriday also understands that after the incident the secretary approached two trainees (who were lucky enough to have desks near the toilets) and asked them if they would write down what they had witnessed. They agreed. However, it is alleged by a second secretary that within minutes of finishing their accounts a second partner approached the trainees and told them that they would be fired, and obstacles placed in the paths of their future careers, unless they issued new testimonies in favour of the firm. She alleges that one of the trainees broke down in tears over her treatment by the partner.

RollOnFriday understands that the trainees' original testimonies have been submitted to the tribunal, as well as the second secretary's testimony that a partner attempted to strong-arm them.

A spokesman for Fieldfisher said, "The case is still running and so we will not be commenting any further". .... read more >
Exclusive interview with Ted Loveday: a week after winning University Challenge "we were destroyed" in pub quiz
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17 April 2015

Cambridge law student Ted Loveday has become a bit of a legend after his bravura performance in the final of University Challenge, in which he answered ten starters for ten correctly and propelled his team to victory over Oxford's Magdalen College. Clips of his lightning quick responses have been awing the twittersphere, as has his impressive knitwear wardrobe.

I caught up with geek chiq's real deal to find out about his famous fans, what he doesn't know and how the University Challenge champions got trounced in a pub quiz.


Keeping warm
 

Ok, first things first, there's been a lot of commentary on your knitwear: where did you get that superb jumper?

I can't even remember where the jumper was from - and I'm surprised about the fuss people have made about it! I think it was a hand-me-down from my dad but I'm not sure where it came from originally.

Did you find Mr Paxman intimidating?

We were scared at first - we thought he was going to be terrifying. But, when you get onto the actual set, he tries his best to put everyone at ease. He was nothing but civil to us - there's a big difference between the way he treats students and the way he treats politicians. Maybe because, unlike politicians, we're actually happy to answer his questions! Having said that, his put-downs to losing teams can be pretty harsh.

What's the response been like back at university - have you had any messages of congratulations from celebrity fans?

Everyone's been really, really supportive - we're really lucky to have such great friends who have rallied round. We woke up to loads of notifications from well-wishers in college. (I guess the real challenge will be seeing if we can convert all the goodwill into free drinks over the next few months!) In terms of celebrities, er, Richard Osman sent us a tweet. That was a highlight for Anthony [Martinelli, the team captain], since he's a huge fan of Pointless.

 

The winning team: Loveday's quick to point out that it was a group effort

 

How many requests to be on pub quiz teams have you received since the final - or are you still available?

We're all still available, but I'd warn you that it might not be a great idea! A week after we filmed the final, the four of us had a little reunion at a local pub quiz to celebrate. We were destroyed - we came 5th out of 7 teams! It definitely took us down a few pegs.

What's your weakest area of knowledge?

Sport. But the rest of the team are brilliant at sports questions. We were a strong team because we played to each other's strengths and covered each other's weaknesses.

You drank quite a lot of water - was it because you were on fire?

Probably nerves. I didn't really realise I was doing it. We were all really focussed on the questions and didn't really give much thought to presentation or being on TV.

I have to ask this given it was raised in the show: Are you in Mensa?

No.

Does your family make you play Trivial Pursuit with a handicap?

Haha! We don't really play Trivial Pursuit at home. But I'm sure they'd all be able to compete on level pegging - I'm good at academic knowledge but not necessarily general knowledge. On the other hand, Michael [Taylor], Anthony and Jeremy [Warner] are all quite well-rounded - their families might be a bit more afraid to pit their wits against them.

Finally, do you employ any techniques other than being bright to amass that amount of knowledge?

It's absolutely not about being bright - it's about memory, quick recall and working as a team. Anthony was a great captain because he made us do loads of preparation. We practised together regularly, we watched dozens of old episodes together on YouTube and we binged on Wikipedia. Everyone on the team put in loads of hard work and it paid off.

So there you have it, it's not heresy to revise using Wikipedia after all. Big thanks to Ted for taking the time to chat.

Here are those starters for ten. How many can you answer within five seconds of reading them? The RoF team managed *cough*

1. “This long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we’re all dead.” These are the words of which economist?

2. “They illustrate the temper of a pre-revolutionary age, when there is widespread desire for moderate reform.” These words of Bertrand Russell refer to which two figures of the northern Renaissance born respectively in London and Rotterdam?

3. What five-letter word means a stupid or silly woman in Mexican Spanish, a university canteen in German and in the English-speaking world an organisation founded in 1946 for people with high IQs?

4. During the 20th century, which Conservative Prime Minister’s cabinet included that party’s previous and subsequent Prime Ministers, both of whom served for the whole of its period in office, the former as foreign secretary and the latter as secretary of state for education?

5. “The first known instance of the application of algorithmic thinking to a field outside logic and mathematics.” These words refer to a grammar of which language by the Gandharian scholar Panini?

6. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter is an autobiographical work by which French author? It recounts her stifling and respectable upbringing and how she revolted against it at the Sorbonne with Jean-Paul Sartre.

7. Inspired by the artworks of Viktor Hartmann, ‘The Gnome’, ‘The Hut on Fowl’s Legs’ and ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’ are among the 10 movements that comprise which suite by Mussorgsky?

8. John F Kennedy’s statement that “mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind” is an example of what figure of speech named after the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet?

9. From the Greek for 'unguent', what five-letter term denotes a complex of molten silicates with water and gases formed within the upper mantle of the earth?
    
10. Meaning ‘said only once’, what two-word Greek term denotes a word or word-form that is recorded only once in a text, in the work of a particular author, or in a body of literature?



Answers

1.John Maynard Keynes 2. Erasmus and Thomas More 3. Mensa 4. Ted Heath (the previous and subsequent Prime Ministers were Alec Douglas-Home and Margaret Thatcher) 5. Sanskrit 6 Simone de Beauvoir 7. Pictures of an Exhibition 8. Chiasmus 9. Magma 10. Hapax legomenon

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Exclusive: Irwin Mitchell to outsource all its IT roles
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10 April 2015

RollOnFriday understands that Irwin Mitchell is planning to outsource all of its IT work, with redundancies expected.

A source told RollOnFriday that Esteem, an 'IT Managed Services Provider', is being given the personal injury firm's IT functions this year. The first phase will apparently see all of Irwin Mitchell's helpdesk roles in Sheffield moved to Esteem's call centre. Irwin Mitchell staff are thought to be unaware of the plans.

    "Have you tried turning it off and then shafting me?"

Irwin Mitchell paid Esteem £1.7 million in 2012 to "transform their IT infrastructure". In the interim the firm's major PI rival, Slater & Gordon, ramped up its acquisition of UK personal injury firms. Meanwhile IM suffered embarrassment thanks to a cack-handed digital marketing policy which got it banned from Google's search results.

But probably most relevantly, the firm's pre-tax profits dropped by over 10% last year. As a result Esteem appears to have been tasked with not just transforming Irwin Mitchell's IT structure, but running it. Slicing Irwin Mitchell's headcount and wage bill in the process.

A spokesman for Irwin Mitchell told RollOnFriday, “Esteem are already a valued supplier of IT services to our business. We are in discussions with them and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage”. .... read more >
The Lego art your firm doesn't want you to see
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08 April 2015

When Nathan Sawaya quit being a lawyer at Winston & Strawn he did what our parents refused to allow us to do when we were eight and wisely invested in hundreds and hundreds of buckets of Lego. He became a master builder at Legoland, and is now a fully-fledged Lego artist. It was a genius move (read a RoF blogger's interview with him here), because while no-one knows how difficult it is to make a bronze statue - so few of us cast in metal - everyone understands the effort it takes to build a giant scultupure out of plastic bricks, because we all struggled to make the perfect gun truck as children.

Riding the nostalgia wave has paid off and Sawaya's worldwide tour has now landed at the Old Truman Brewery in Spitalfields, which just happens to be five minutes' walk away from the offices of Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills and Ashurst. One reader who has already visited says it's "handily placed for A&O staff seeking inspiration". He suggests the rather gruesome piece titled "Self" will be of particular interest.






Enjoy before management spots that an associate has spruced up her desk with a Duplo self-portrait and sprints to the exhibition with a hammer.
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Weil forced to apologise to staff for awful April Fools' email
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02 April 2015

Weil has apologised to staff after a miscalculated April Fools' joke went down like a lead balloon.

When Weil's US associates aren't in the office on drips to keep them at their desks for as long as possible, they're expected to respond to emails before their Blackberry has finished vibrating. So when an email was sent from Weil to all its lawyers headed "Important New Email Policy" informing them that, in order to improve work/life balance, no emails would be sent between 11pm and 6am or at the weekends, there was dancing in the corridors from those still strong enough to jiggle their atrophied limbs.

Some were suspicious, but not only does the 11pm-6am amnesty seem fairly reasonable, the email signs off,  "We are proud to be taking a leadership role in caring about our colleagues' quality of life". Surely the firm wouldn't leverage its goodwill towards staff for a joke?

    "I'm Jeremy Beadle and I approve this message"


Yes it would! US legal gossip blog Above The Law was inundated with responses from Weil lawyers. They were not amused:

"Please get ahold of Weil’s April fools email. It’s awful and associates are pissed."

"If this is true, it’s awesome. If it’s a joke, it’s the worst joke of all time. Especially to someone like me who has been billing 12-16 hour days recently and gets a lot of late night and weekend emails."

"April Fools! We don’t really give a shit about you! Now get back to billing."

"You must read the last sentence of this ridiculous email. Weil is making a mockery of our hard work."


It's impossible to please everyone with a joke, and it would be a shame if this means Weil stops its (real) email policy of sending out an April Fools' email every year. But telling staff it's improving working practices because it cares, then whipping the promise away with a chuckle, suggests Weil does need to stop hiring King Joffrey to write its gags.

Executive partner Barry Wolf was forced to issue an apology:



Here's the full high-larious email:


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Clifford Chance came *this* close to having to dress vac schemers like hipsters
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31 March 2015

Clifford Chance is producing hoodies which are colour-coded to show who has a training contract. However students came close to arguably an even worse fate: having to dress like hipsters.

Nine different designs by students at Kingston University were modelled at a CC fashion show on Red Nose Day and put on the firm's grad rec facebook page. It was announced that the design which won the most votes at the fashion show and most 'likes' on facebook would be "worn by our Clifford Chance lawyers of the future".

Introducing the winning Diffusion and Off The Shelf collections:




With 356 'likes', Marjade Roniet's caste system clothing was the clear winner on facebook, with votes from mum ("not to sound bias, but I love my daughter's design") and a suspicously large contingent of fans from, improbably, Nassau in the Bahamas. It's not clear how many actual students who might secure a CC vac scheme participated, but those who didn't bother will rightly pay for their apathy when they end up looking like the crew of the Enterprise.


"Someone find them something to do"
 

Students with training contract offers will be able to strut around campus with their heads held high in black hoodies, winning high fives from fellow 'blacksters' and jealous glances from everyone else. Meanwhile, those without quite as much foot in the door will be identifiable thanks to their different shades of jumper. Students in their penultimate year at uni who score a CC vac scheme will be given a maroon hoodie, students who got on the firm's "Intelligent Aid" vac scheme (by answering an essay question) will be in navy and it will be easy to spot the first year students in grey and chant "fresh fish, fresh fish" at them and bet which one will cry first.

It means graduate recruitment teams at other firms missed the perfect opportunity to send the number of applicants for Clifford Chance vac schemes plummeting. They should have been voting like crazy for the design which came last, with only five 'likes'. Check out this beauty:



Labouring under the misapprehension that the Magic Circle is a cereal cafe in Dalston, the designer gives us a glimpse of a beautiful alternate reality in which vac schemers rock up to Canary Wharf wearing halfmast slacks and fisherman beards. Dismounting their fixie bikes, they stride into the office in their oversized, canary yellow cableknit sweaters, decorated with a tyre-tread pattern which makes them look like they've been run over. If only Freshfields had known, it could have sent the next generation of CC lawyers to sweat through the working day feeling like roadkill and looking like rejects from Hot Chip. How was this opportunity missed.

CC did select another winning design, though, possibly to give people an alternative to aggressively hierachical casual wear:



It comes emblazoned with a mangled, 8-bit version of 'CC'. Minecraft is so hot right now.
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In 2010 an attorney made a interesting point by voicemail
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31 March 2015

It is disheartening how far a lawyer can get on aggression. For most, going full Clarkson on the other side is reserved to that one time they were called up during the Christmas party and eight Margaritas produced Dutch courage akin to roid rage. But while they may be rare, everyone knows a lawyer who's made screaming himself puce a standard negotiating tactic. He flips from pleasant to bellicose in a heartbeat, leaving seasoned opponents discombobulated, reeling and weakened. They concede a point just because it is such an unpleasant shock to be on the receiving end of a screaming weapon's spittle.

I think this guy could be one of those weapons, although it's not immedately clear what point he's trying to win.




Maybe it was just going towards creating a general atmosphere of terror. Or maybe enlightening the other side that they were turds was an aberration. The judge seemed to think so.


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Lawyer proposes 'shoot all gays' law
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27 March 2015

A lawyer in California has proposed a law that homosexual people must be shot.

Disturbed attorney Matt McLaughlin paid $200 to file his "Sodomite Suppression Act" with the state's Department of Justice. The green ink marvel explains that God "commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction" the "monstrous evil" and "abominable crime against nature" known as "buggery, called also sodomy".

Because everyone will be killed by "God's just wrath" for the "folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst", McLaughlin's act decrees that anyone who "willingly touches another person of the same gender for sexual gratification" must be "put to death by bullets to the head". Or, in case the bullets run out, "by any other convenient method".

    McLaughlin prefers the company of manly men

Building on the mad work of Walter Kubitz, the act also imposes a $1 million fine, 10 year prison term and/or exile from Cali for anyone who produces "sodomistic propoganda", or promotes it, but not if you just think about it because otherwise McLaughlin would presumably have to hand himself over to the authorities.

Because McLaughlin has been thinking carefully and constantly about gay sex for a long time, he covers all the angles. He specifies that citizens will be allowed to shoot gays if the state doesn't begin the cull within a year. In a canny bit of future-proofing, he forbids judges from ruling on his act's validity if they are homosexual. And he calls for a copy of the statute to be sellotaped to every classroom wall, because of course it isn't a utopia unless the childrens' butterfly fingerpaintings appear alongside a warning that God will burn the world and kill them all unless people who love each other are shot.

Dissemination of McLaughlin's foaming cup of hate is the price of democracy in California, where the attorney general is required to circulate citizens' proposed acts for signature-gathering. If 365,000 people turn out to be Mel Gibson and add their names, the act is supposed to be put to a state-wide ballot where the public can vote on making it law.

However, the Sodomite Suppression Act is unlikely to get that far. Not only is 365k a high bar, but the Supreme Court can stop measures that violate California's constitution from reaching the ballot stage. McLaughlin should also be worried about community activist Charlotte Laws' plans to file the "Intolerant Jackass Act". It's a more worthy proposal which would require the attorney to undertake sensitivity training for a year and donate $5,000 to a pro-homosexual charity.
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Why lawyers hate Street View
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26 March 2015

Themis Lawyers boasts that it is a "leading law firm in Manchester", and who could doubt it? Just look at its office.


   

Over six stories, modern, views over water, blue underlighting. Them really is lawyers. Plus "all enquiries and advice is [sic] provided by fully qualified, high calibre solicitors". But they need to start badgering Google, because Street View doesn't seem to be reflecting reality.

     

Thanks to the reader who alerted RollOnFriday to Google's misrepresentation. If you come across a law firm equivalent of the Wizard of Oz, or one that's into cloning, or a bit bonkers, do tip off RoF.

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