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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

If Spam Posted On RollOnFriday Was A Man
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04 February 2016

Every so often the blogs section of RollOnFriday gets clagged up with spam posted by people called things like qizhen0926 and CiCi Marie. Somewhere deep in China these poor drones are employed to pick a text, insert links to flooring and NFL jerseys and lob the results at thousands of websites like RoF.

It is difficult to believe that even the most gullible prospective purchaser of oak laminate would investigate further on the basis of their mad spewings. Reading their efforts is like being chatted up by a broken sociopath. In fact...

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Exclusive: Paralegal six figure salary shock
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21 January 2016

Someone must really need a document translated.

If you're a paralegal who speaks fluent Japanese then Lawson Clark may have just the position for you. On the downside, it's only for three to six months. On the upside, it pays £265,000 a year.

Thanks to the RoF tipster who sent it in, and who is at this moment resigning their partnership to apply for the role.
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That student did not invent the first robot lawyer
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20 January 2016

A student who did not invent the UK's first robot lawyer has won attention by claiming that he has invented the UK's "first robot lawyer".

As everyone knows, a robot lawyer is a machine on wheels or perhaps metal legs with arms like the terminator and gavel hands. It has a rubber lawyer's face stretched over a metal skull, unblinking red eyes and wifi. It eats oil, not regular food, it might be evil and whenever it is presented with a paradox its head explodes. It just can't deal with them.

Joshua Browder's so-called 'robot' has none of these qualities. Last year the computer science student launched a not-for-profit website, after successfully challenging Camden Council over several parking fines. When he was overwhelmed with enquiries, Browder wrote a program to help Joe Public. The 19-year-old's software asks aggrieved recipients of parking tickets a series of questions which vary depending on the answers given, and which are intended to determine whether or not the human has a legitimate case. If they do, the program processes their claim free of charge. Browder told Legal Futures, “It’s quite good with flights, parking tickets, and PPI, but if you ask on something other than those topics then it needs some help". When that happens, "the user gets a helpful message and I will get notified in the back end, so I go in and try and make it better".

After being royally done over by the unbending parking authorities only last week, I decided to try out Clampo 3000, even though it lied immediately about being a robot.

Browder told the Law Gazette that any adverse impact on parking ticket lawyers was unintentional collateral damage. "I don’t want to make anyone unemployed", he said. "I just want to automate a basic task so solicitors can move onto other, more complicated work". And if that's their only work or if they prefer simple tasks for mindfulness reasons, tough luck. "People are making money from parking fines", said Frankenstein 2.0. "They are glorified secretaries and they are exploiting people".

Browder is developing software to enable his program to recognise Arabic so that it can answer immigration queries, instead of knuckling down and building a proper robot lawyer like this one.

    "I'll be back... with that draft! And to kill you."

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Exclusive: A&O's website dies
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18 December 2015
Visitors to Allen & Overy's website this morning were greeted by this decidedly odd message:

As a tipster comments, it's hard to understand why the Magic Circle firm, with approximately 5,000 staff, including 40 cities etc etc, would let its IT department schedule a full takedown of the site on a working Friday, "rather than, say, a Saturday night".

RoF got in touch and soon the site came back online. Someone's crazy Darth Vader Christmas jumper got caught in the server, didn't it. And someone tried to help and they spilled their eggnog in the hard drive. And then the whole thing started sizzling and Dave ran around turning off all the plugs. .... read more >
If this was a gif it would be NSFW
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10 December 2015

Who needs heads? So overrated.

Thanks to the reader who spotted the rather Basic Instinct approach taken by regional firm Knights Solicitors, which "seems to be keen for us to look up the skirts of their assistants". Hopefully the subjects knew they were being photographed. This kind of work is usually done by a man rubbing himself on an escalator with a hidden camera in his laptop bag.

No doubt these models were aware of what Graham was doing. But were they aware of exactly what he was doing? Did he lie on the floor and carefully focus his panoramic lens on their groinal regions? That must have been a weird moment. The pot-bellied fan of busy public transport presumably reassured them that their inter-thigh zones would be hidden in shadow. And while the men took him at his hoarse, excited word, and left a decent crevice, the women took no chances. At the risk of studying this for too long, all their knees are touching and there's some clear gripping going on.

They were understandably nervous. It must be pretty creepy to pose from the neck down for a man who looks like the smell of cheese & onion crisps. Of course, it could just be a cropped photo, but that's an even more horrible prospect. Imagine having your photo taken for the firm website, then finding out that management prefers a crotch shot to your face.

Better than having no face at all, though.
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Law Firm Name of the Week
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04 December 2015

In Stockport, O'Neill and Patient set up a business together.

Then the internet happened.

It sits particularly well alongside the sensitive patter on the firm's wills and probate page.

"Just get in touch with oneillpatient. Wait, why are you crying?"

Oneillpatient is in good company, joining the likes of penisland, whorepresents, therapistlocator, molestationnursery and hollandshitfestival (Holland’s Hit Festival).

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ROKA Aldwych review
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02 December 2015

I was angling for dinner, but the PR person was insistent that in order to properly review the lunch menu, intended for City types, it would be really helpful if I ate from the lunch menu. So, on the day that RollOnFriday's survey launched, a mean, bitter day (because of the weather, not the survey, which you should take), I scurried round to Aldwych.

It's Joe Cocker ROKA, not Bram Stoker ROKA, but I don't know why capslock. The more diminutive 'roka' seems like it would be a better fit for a Japanese grill restaurant. But founder Rainer Becker maybe writes emails full of typos because he is too busy and important to correct them, like a proper bossman, only this time he emailed "i WANT MY RESTRANT TO B CALLD ROKA - love YOU GUYS rAINER" and the design people took him at his word and before he knew it all the signs had been knocked up and the menus had been printed and it was too late. And this is the fourth branch now, of ROKA instead of roka, a scream instead of a whisper, so he's obviously decided to swallow it.

I took along a friend who's an associate at a City firm. As per baboon-killer AA Gill's reviews, he wanted a nickname. "Call me the Brown," he said. "But you're brown-skinned," I said. This was a review, not a fan letter I was going to post into Bernard Manning's urn. I told him I'd get hate mail. He didn't care. "What about the Brunette?" I said. "No," he said, "The Brown. Anyway, my hair is black." "What about...what do they call people with black hair?" I asked. "The Black. You can call me the Black if you like." "I'm not doing that.

How do you get in to ROKA? Because the Noirette had to get back to the office to send out a contract by 3pm, so how do you actually get inside and start a review? Through sliding glass doors, which felt anachronistic because there's a rustic stone water trough in the lobby. Usually I don't buy into faux-antique outside of Disneyland. Take the Duck & Waffle. Forty stories up a glass tower, but decked out with country kitchen tiles. Don't pretend we're in Shropshire, I just shot up here in 10 seconds and I can see Anish Kapoor's rusty thumb. Or the burrito concession in Cheapside Tesco, a driftwood cabin plonked in a striplit aisle with queuing stanchions.

    Carnival time on aisle three, carnival time on aisle 3.

We're not idiots, Tesco. Or, we are, but we're not convinced we're in Brazil, at all. It does not feel fiesta just because you've hung bead necklaces on a distressed sign saying 'Burrito Time'.

ROKA's attempt to transport customers to another place was rather more successful, partly because it spent lots of money, partly because it was very easy to pretend we were in You Only Live Twice.

    Not my photo, it was full when I went

Clad in ash wood, the walls hid Aldwych from sight. The staff wore colour-coded cotton smocks, one of whom presented the menu in both hands and bowed. Trios of glowing slits cut into the walls betrayed modern tech behind the scenes.

The subterranean ambience. A multi-ethnic army of uniformed henchman. The forced adoption of Eastern customs to satisfy the boss's latest whim. It all lent the place a distinct air of volcano lair. At one point the roof slid open and Sean Connery flew in in a microlight, shouting about Scotland and his neighbour's faulty plumbing. The waiters swatted at him with napkins until he buzzed away. When the three beams over the Noirette's shoulder began to blur and coalesce in my peripheral vision, it felt like an eye exam round Dr No's.

    "Oh no, Mr Bond. I expect you to just relax your right eye."

We started with a pair of refreshing non-alcoholic Ginger Ninjas. The Noirette chuckled ruefully that his youngest son waved goodbye whenever he saw him, a Pavlovian response because daddy was always leaving for the office. I felt under the table for a button to drop him in the shark tank.

Five chefs sliced away in the open kitchen, the centrepiece of the restaurant, surrounded on three sides by a counter for grill-side dining. The cheaper lunch menu was £27, the one we had, £37 per person. It was low fuss to order because you get everything on it except the mains, which were a choice of three. To start, an iceberg lettuce salad chopped fine with caramelised onion dressing, along with four maki rolls of avocado, cucumber and wasabi pea. Also, superb light, clean, meaty sashimi. Ten mouthfuls of five types of fish, presented on a bowl of chipped ice with a clod of wasabi on the side. I identified salmon and prime blood red tuna, but not whatever had three suckers on the end.


The far wall of ROKA was taken up with shelves of big glass jars, each with a cloth tied over its lid. No idea what was in them. If Blofeld did catch James Bond, which incarnation would be the easiest to trap? Surely Roger. Vamping it up in a safari suit, confused by women. Fists like hams, though, apparently - David Niven maintained that Moore was the hardest man in Hollywood. Upon catching him, it is not inconceivable that Blofeld would separate out the body parts and pickle them, and display them in jars. In ROKA.


A bowl of steamed rice arrived in a rough-hewn bowl, dusted with a black herb like the first spray of grit across London snow. Of the three mains, we ordered lamb cutlets with Korean spices, and black cod marinated in yuzo miso. To channel Captain Birdseye, the cutlets were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The Noirette declared them the second-best he'd ever tasted after Atul Kochhar's at Benares. Apparently he lost £900 in free childcare because of Osborne's budget. I tried surreptitiously to get the waiter's attention as I still hadn't found the button.

The cracked chunk of cod came sat on a big leaf, which was bent over it and pinned in place with a stick. You know, a fish bivouac. A tap from our chopsticks cleaved off meaty hunks. Unexpectedly sweet, it fell apart on the tongue. Dipping it in the yang-shaped swirl of pearly sauce, it took on another layer of sweet mmmmmcomplexity.

I got a Negroni, £9, plugged, as is proper, with a single globe of ice the size of a snowball. The Noirette got something fruity. He groaned - he had been holding his chopsticks the wrong way up. He insisted on correcting himself and ate the rest of the meal with all tips stodged in rice. I stabbed wildly under the table. He pointed out that the acoustics were reasonable, not too loud, not too quiet, and thanked me for inviting him, and I felt terrible for trying to kill him.

It's £4 extra for a dessert (NB I didn't pay for anything) and while no-one goes to an Asian restaurant for the puds, mine was superb, a chimney pot-shaped almond cake with thin walls which, when split, bled cold yoghurt and hot mango toffee sauce. On the side, an airy ball of caramel ice cream on warm slivers of mango. The Noirette had a Nutella-thick chocolate mousse. Finally, I found the button and he dropped from sight. I heard violent thrashing in water, then all was quiet and the chair shuddered back up, dripping and empty except for a shocked buttock.

The lunch menu was designed for those with a one hour break and an afternoon of work ahead. We rattled through the fixed menu in an unrushed 50 minutes and I left feeling sated, but not stuffed or lethargic.

More reviews: Matthew tackles a boar.

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Legal indemnity company called ISIS releases daring advert
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27 November 2015

A legal indemnity company called ISIS has released a possibly ill-advised advert of a figure tied up with rope being tossed off a bookcase.

Based in Norwich, ISIS offers legal indemnity insurance. It was founded in 2006, but in the intervening years a group of Islamist terrorists has done its best to ruin the brand. As a result, the Norfolk company's boast that, "Isis' reputation is built upon a solid foundation of great customer service", now reads a little strangely. As does the assurance that, "Despite what our name may suggest", ISIS "has the expertise to handle all your missing will and missing beneficiary insurance requirements too".

What looks even stranger, though, is the decision to approve this advert:


Refusing to change your name from ISIS is one thing. But doubling down with an image that at first glance looks a lot like a man undergoing a fatal punishment - that takes cojones.

An ISIS spokesman explained to RollOnFriday that the advert is one in a series of four. The others feature mini-people decorating a Rubik's Cube, lifting files with a forklift truck and cleaning a computer screen from a window-washing cradle. He said that since ISIS (terrorists) started making headlines, a few people had asked ISIS (Norwich) whether they would change their name. But, he said, they decided that it would be unpalatable to, in effect, kowtow to terrorism. He said, "I'd like to think the service we provide overcomes any hesitation solicitors may have in recommending us". Fair play, ISIS. Here's to you outlasting your namesake.
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Exclusive: Firm in talks to buy another chunk of Parabis
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16 November 2015

Another slice of the Parabis Group is set to be sold, this time to Lyons Davidson.

The firms is in talks to buy Saga Law, an ABS set up in 2013 as a joint venture between Parabis and Saga, the insurance and holiday company for the over-50s. When it launched, Saga Chief Executive Roger Ramsden criticised the traditional law firm model, saying that, "all too often customers have to chase solicitors for action and updates". Saga Law would address those needs, he said. Although only in three specific areas: conveyancing, wills and probate. Because Saga knew its audience.


Despite negging law firms, Saga now intends to sell to one. Fittingly, Bristol-based Lyons Davidson doesn't appear to particularly like ABSs, either. Announcing earlier this year that turnover had dropped £20 million to £51.6 million in 2013/14 and that pe-tax profits were down from £2.61 million to £1.54 million, Lyons Davidson blamed "unprecedented changes" to the litigation system, including the introduction of ABSs.

Insiders say that the acquisition is due to go live next week, when Parabis is also hoping to wrap up the sale of Plexus. It is in talks to offload its defendant PI firm to its orginal founders after four months of discussions with Keoghs went nowhere.

A spokeswoman for Parabis told RollOnFriday, "As previously stated, Parabis is in talks with a number of parties as part of a strategic restructure of the group. While talks are ongoing there will be no further comment".

Paul Green, director of communications for Saga, said, "We can't comment on speculation. But what we can say is that ensuring our customers are well-served is always our primary concern". Smooooth.

Lyons Davidson declined to comment. .... read more >
Chocolate Snorting - Just Say No
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11 November 2015

Last week I threw a fabulous dinner party. As my guests polished off their spaghetti 'n carrot, one of them pulled out a large book:

We were shocked. Scandalised. "Chocolate Shooter: A BLAST OF CHOCOLATE PLEASURE"? Was he going to read aloud from this smut? Shouldn't the cover of an erotic novel be more fruity than a man studying a microscope slide? But when he opened the book, it was hollow. Instead of the interracial adventures of Chocolate Shooter P.I., the ex-cop with a sexy secret, the fake book contained two small tins of powdered chocolate and the instrument off the front. This was no grot, this was a chocolate-snorting kit. I quickly pulled up my pants.

According to articles about snorting chocolate which appeared earlier this year, it is "a bizarre new trend in certain circles". None of the articles managed to identify any of the certain circles, but they did namecheck Chocolate Shooter, brainchild of chocolatier Dominique Persoone. "Recent research has shown how important our nose is to us when tasting food", said Persoone. "Hence the idea of allowing it to enjoy a chocolate tasting event".

Now the time had come to allow my own nose to enjoy a chocolate tasting event. And while it would be a simple matter to tap out a line of ground-up chocolate and snort it without any artificial assistance, that's not what Persoone has in mind. He recommends using his Shooter. This is for two reasons. Firstly, it would be difficult to convince even morons to shell out €45 for two tiny cups of dust. Secondly, unaided, the action required to ingest chocolate via the nose is awkwardly similar, i.e. exactly the same, as that required to snort cocaine. And so we have the Shooter, a device which attempts to both justify the exorbitant cost of the chocolate-snorting experience and distance it from its insalubrious Bolivian twin. Certainly, no self-respecting cokehead would be caught dead plonking this on a cistern:

Although it looks like Jonathan Ive's mousetrap, this plastic knick-knack is in fact a catapult for launching doses of chocolate up your nose. In the flesh, it felt as insubstantial as a cracker toy.

Prepping the Shooter required a lot more effort than rolling up a fiver. First, I had to position the pointy end of the short bar underneath the pointy end of the long bar, which is sprung so that it presses down against the base. Next, I had to adjust the width between the two planks with divots in the end so that one sat under each nostril. I couldn't see whether I'd lined them up properly, but my companions assisted by screeching, "Wider, wider". I ladled snorting chocolate into each of the divots. The machine was ready.

I've never snorted cocaine - Daniella Westbrook's misfortunes made an impression on me as deep as the ching on her septum. But I still felt the disgrace of the relapsing addict as I hunkered down over the Shooter. And that's the problem: no amount of tacky gizmos can distract from snorting's deep association with yeyo, toot, chang, mork, teacher's cuff, the rich man's aspirin, tucker, bones, wow talcum. You can introduce as many little siege weapons as you like, the grim spectacle of huffing, blinking, shuddering and going "Aeeuhh" will always look dodgy and feel shameful.

But it was too late now, the jackals were watching for any sign of weakness. Gingerly, I depressed the end of the short bar. The spring-loaded girder rose and, when the short bar slipped past it, snapped back down onto the platform, causing the nasal springboards to propel two clumps of cocoa onto my upper lip and around my nostrils. A small amount went inside. It itched and tasted of itching.

Perhaps I was doing it wrong. A pair of balls sproinging limply into my face sounded too much like the adventures of Chocolate Shooter P.I. to be correct. And the promotional material shows flakes gravitating elegantly into a nasal cavity as if caught in a tractor beam.

But no, even the model couldn't manage it. His impressive column was added in photoshop. That guy is snorting air. Whereas I looked like I'd blown my nose with a shit. As did everyone else who tried it. In the Chocolate Shooter's defence, the humiliation created a party atmosphere. But unless I contract crippling dysphagia, my nose will not be allowed to enjoy another chocolate tasting event.
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