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Blogs

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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

Something fishy in The Times
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0
15 April 2014

Finding itself with two stories featuring 'the sea' on Saturday, The Times decided to put them both on the same page. Very neat and tidy. A pity one was about new tactics in the hunt for flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean and the other was a photograph of a child being "taught to swim like a mermaid".



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What lawyers can learn from Robocop
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0
09 April 2014

'Reasons to watch' takes a look at great films featuring law. This week it's the turn of the original Robocop, in which a metal policeman teaches lawyers how to navigate the shark tank of professional life.

At first glance Robocop doesn't have a lot in common with a lawyer. He's mostly made of iron, he spends seconds rather than days in a data room thanks to a metal spike which extends from one of his knuckles and plugs directly into computers, and he shoots pretty much everything. But look beyond the chrome dome and the hyper-violent trappings, and at its core Robocop is about something very close to a lawyer's heart. Robocop's bosses wipe his memory and reprogram him to work all the time. He only gets a break when he's clamped into a chair to be fed a paste containing all the nutrients he needs. His quest is to try to leave work and remember his family. Robocop is about the fight for a reasonable work/life balance.

 
Robocop, unwittingly signing out of the Working Time Directive

 

And what a working life it is. In Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece the corporate environment is a playground for turbo-charged arseholes. It's no mistake Richard Nixon was hired to promote Robocop's home video release. The film's potrayal of white-collar bastards will strip away any illusions you might have about how to get ahead from behind a desk. When the credits rolled in cinemas, viewers binned their hippy ideals and sold their own mothers to the glue factory. It's why you've got no granny and a framed photo of a Pritt Stick.


This man made them do it
 

King of the slimeballs is Dick Jones, Senior Vice President of Omni Consumer Products. He's closely followed by Bob Morton, an ambitious executive who wants to replace him. Their feud ends badly, but thanks to Robocop you don't have to. Simply do what Jones' victim doesn't - before you badmouth your boss in the office loos, check they aren't sitting in one of the cubicles. Robocop is quite clear what will happen otherwise: a nasty man will visit your prostitute party (hey, it was 1987) and ruin it with guns and bombs.


 He's here about your knees
 

Robocop is more than a guide to the greasy pole, though. It's also a very effective stress ball. Carry a video of Robocop on your person and you'll only ever be 78 minutes away from the cathartic release of a punk getting dunked in toxic waste and burst by a car.

 
"Maybe it's Maybelline"
 

And as for client functions, well, Robocop also contains invaluable pointers on etiquette. In the film's wine-tasting scene, psychotic baddy Clarence Boddicker jams two fingers into another man's glass and sucks them. Moments later Robocop bursts in and throws Boddicker through a window. The message is clear. Boddicker also flobs blood on a document and sticks chewing gum on a secretary's nameplate. His gruesome end at Robocop's hands makes the attentive viewer aware that this is all poor behaviour.

Monitor of soirees
   

Robocop features lots of great work from top-tier character actors, but Peter Weller's performance stands above them all. For the role, he took mime lessons, insisted on being called 'Robo' and, in scenes where he shot people, he listened to Peter Gabriel's 'Red Rain' on his in-suit Walkman. All things that a lawyer should do.

Weller's never topped his potrayal as the ultimate silver fox, and perhaps he never will: after filming ended he was mistaken for a pile of metal pipes and put into storage. But you can still benefit from his greatest role, and if he ever does burst through a dry-stone wall to fulfil his classified fifth objective, you'll be able to thank him for your much-improved career.

[5. Infiltrate German parties]
   

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Life Inside, a cartoon
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-9
01 April 2014
 


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Life Inside, a cartoon
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5
20 March 2014

 

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Life Inside, a cartoon
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1
13 March 2014
The adventures of a young lawyer continue.

 

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Life Inside, a cartoon
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7
06 March 2014

Being the adventures of a young solicitor.


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Law firm advert of the week
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1
26 February 2014

Not even the dead are safe from ambulance chasers.


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Life Inside, a cartoon
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1
26 February 2014

This week our young hero reports back on his latest secondment.
 

Tune in next week for more hijinks!
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Devastating profile of Julian Assange reveals he gave HKFsi star lawyer a bashing
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1
26 February 2014

In January 2011 novelist Andrew O'Hagan agreed to ghostwrite Julian Assange's autobiography. He conducted months of interviews with the Wikileaks founder at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, where Assange was holed up while he fought extradition to Sweden on rape charges. But when the book finally came out, long overdue, it was called The Unauthorised Autobiography. And it was unauthorised: Assange disowned it, saying it had been released against his wishes. O'Hagan refused to reveal why the project failed. Until last week, when the London Review of Books published Ghosting, O'Hagan's mammoth blow-by-blow, 26,000 word account of his time with the hacker.

    Define irony

It is a brutal take-down. O'Hagan paints himself as a fan willing to be won over by Assange, only Assange is so lazy, so narcissistic, so paranoid and venal (and has such appalling table manners - apparently he eats everything with his hands), that O'Hagan's affection sours into abject disgust. He decides that Assange had no intention of allowing the book to be released.

There are some gobsmacking moments in O'Hagan's demolition. Assange perving over 14-year-old girls outside a cafe. Assange making his girlfriend search for assassins in the bushes outside Beccles police station. O'Hagan also describes the collapse of Assange's relationship with his lawyer, Howard KennedyFsi's Mark Stephens. Media lawyer Stephens is the 's' in HKFsi. He is also, thanks to his appearances as a pundit, a bit of a celebrity in his own right. Even more so now. Stephens first pops up in Ghosting at Assange's extradition hearing. O'Hagan describes him as an "ebullient, red-faced mucker straight out of Dickens, saturated in media savvy", which Stephens really ought to slap straight up on his firm profile.

    Gluehand strikes again

O'Hagan reveals that the autobiography was, according to Assange, Stephens' idea: "[Assange] had signed up for a book he didn’t really want to publish because – as he alleged to me separately – Mark Stephens had suggested it might help cover costs."

Unfortunately Assange isn't happy with the costs:



Poor old Stephens. It's nice to know that not even sleb lawyers can escape the occasional ear-bashing from a client. And grow to be hated by them:



Stephens seems to enjoy his high profile in the media: when he was made a freeman of the City, he actually did exercise his right to drive a sheep across London Bridge. But he must have spat out his cornflakes when he read about himself in Ghosting:



It's one thing to negotiate bills with one's clients - lawyers are used to that humbling back-and-forth - it's quite another to read about it in the Sunday papers. Luckily, it's not one-sided. O'Hagan recalls a conversation where he's told, "Mark Stephens thinks [Assange is] having a nervous breakdown". O'Hagan records more lawyerly concern when the autobiography misses its deadline:



Though it may be galling for Stephens and his team to see their opinion of Assange, and his opinion of them, splashed across the mediaverse like, well, a wikileak, at least - for once - the lawyers come across as the victims, and the client as the skeezy mercenary. Very skeezy: "I made lunch every day and he’d eat it, often with his hands, and then lick the plate. In all that time he didn’t once take his dirty plate to the sink. That doesn’t make him like Josef Mengele, but, you know, life is life".
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Exclusive: 21 DWF staff up for the chop
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1
21 February 2014

DWF has placed 21 of its staff into a redundancy consultation.

The job losses are expected across the firm's finance teams in its Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester offices.

The affected employees are also understood to be mostly legacy Cobbetts staff, who have suffered various indignities since DWF snapped up the troubled firm early last year, including denial of loo-paper, being made redundant, and getting paid less than their trainees.

    An ex-Cobbetts staffer wonders when they swap places
Andrew Leaitherland, Managing Partner & CEO of DWF told RollOnFriday, “It is with real regret for the individuals concerned that we have just announced a proposed restructure of our finance team".

He said the move was a result of the the firm "switching off old accountancy packages used by legacy firms so that we’re using a single system across all of our operations and also to centralise our finance operations to deliver a more efficient and effective client service.  We will of course do everything we can to minimise the number of people affected and to support them should they need to find another role”.

Read more next Friday.

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