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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

Outstanding marketing as Withers partner dispenses grouse-shooting advice in Tatler
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24 August 2016

Withers is one of the City's oldest blue blood private client practices. And with a highly aristo-dependent business, it needs to market itself in the right places. But the appearance of partner Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall (yup, really) in a Tatler column on how women should behave on a grouse-shoot (yup, really) surely marks peak Withers.

From the August issue, "The Rules for wearing make-up during the hunting season":

Stuff the wife! Quite so. That should do the trick. As a roffer comments on the board, Bertie "no doubt brings in boatloads of work from chinless mates". As for those tips, ladies:

What, you didn't think it would be tips on how to shoot, did you? You wouldn't want to shoot a nasty gunny-wunny anyway. Your lickle hands would shake too much and your soft, liquid eyes would be dazzled by the bright sky. And you'd cry too much. And everyone knows grouse shot by ladies tastes like polystyrene. Either get in the undergrowth with the other birds, or dress the colour of a bush and sit three paces behind me and keep your mouth shut. And for God's sake, if it's that time of the month, stay at home, you'll rattle the dogs.

Of course all that is on the author, not Bertie. Bertie!

There are other contenders for the most Withers moment. Another roffer recalls the negligence case brought against the firm in 2012, which revealed that one of its senior lawyers had proposed that the whole nasty business might be cured with "a handwritten letter on Smythson paper and an invitation to drinks". .... read more >
11 More Invaluable Tips for Trainees
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09 August 2016

Lawyers on the discussion board shared a shedload of good advice with a new trainee who asked them what they wished they'd been told at the start of their training contracts. I bunged up nine of their key tips earlier this year. Here are eleven more.

1. Keep people informed.

"If you get a new task and don't think you can meet the deadline, say so up front and explain why. If it's a no, say why it's a no, and offer to speak to other people about juggling."

2. Don't worry if small talk with clients or partners is awkward.

"It's how they communicate. They'll think they've had a wonderful conversation."

3. Don't say no to work then chip off out the door at 6pm every night.

" *eyes current trainee* "

4. Don't eat smelly food in open plan.

"And wash, regularly."

5. If you get into trouble, tell someone more senior immediately.

"And if you think you're heading for trouble then speak up before you get there. It's probably not as serious as you think. It's fine (up to a point) to get stuff wrong, occasionally - but a partner will never employ someone they can't trust to come clean."

6. Don't beat yourself up too much about making a mistake.

"Good trainees aren't good because they never make mistakes, they're good because they dont make the same mistake twice."

7. Don't get so drunk at official firm events that you make a dick of yourself.

On that note...

8. Be social and talk to people, but don't share every intimate detail of your life.

9. Office relationships are rarely a great idea, especially as a trainee.

"Avoid shitting where you eat."

10. Dress appropriately. Invest some of your first wage slips in decent attire.

"If you are a lady, don't wear ridiculously high/platformed 'fashion' heels. The associates will laugh."

"If you are a chap, don't wear a waistcoat with your new TM Lewin suit and skinny tie no matter how smart your mum says you look."

"And polish your shoes."

11. Be enthusiastic, even if the task is dross.

"It goes a long way." .... read more >
"Jeansfaktor" is the most painful attempt yet by lawyers to look relaxed
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05 August 2016

If you mocked the German foreign exchange students for their shiny black puffer jackets, two strap backpacks and rat tails, look away now because they grew up and got the "jeansfaktor".

The lawyers of PMPG attempt to explain themselves on their website:

"Hello PMPG, when my father once went to a legal or tax adviser, they only wore a white shirt, tie and suit, looking serious and stiff.

This should make it even today. We are different. Relaxed and friendly. A consultation on an equal footing, at the Registry with the 'Jeansfaktor' "

Maybe in Germany pairing stonewashed jeans with a jacket represents a revolutionary display of chill unheard of since Kaiser Wilhelm loosened his mustaches in the notoriously hot summer of 1929. Here in the UK it doesn't have the same impact. Jeremy Clarkson is the patron saint of jeans and a jacket and he was so relaxed and friendly he punched someone in the face. They don't look 'different'. They look like a firing squad of Top Gear fans. An Oasis drummers' reunion. A police line-up after a dad groped a Year 9 at Sports Day. A Mike Read lookalike contest. Most of all, like an office of unrelaxed lawyers doing the bare minimum to oblige the dress-down Friday requirement. And the one on the left hasn't even bothered. He knows they look like the chorus line in Philip Green: The Musical. Anyway, they have a video about it.

Don't bother watching it, it's all in German and they just sit at their desks talking about how their strict denim uniforms make them fun, probably. Even though because they're at their desks it looks like they are in normal suits. Which they might be. Ideally they would have done double denim. But they didn't.
.... read more >
DLA gashgate partner's extraordinary emails revealed
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26 July 2016

The extraordinary emails sent by a DLA partner have been revealed against his will, along with his attempt to defend his use of the word "Klunt" by claiming he was referring to one of Ricky Gervais' Flanimals.

Nick West was caught out in 2014 when emails which he sent to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore were leaked. In one email West complained about an in-house lawyer - "have spent all day fending Edna off my graphite shaft. She is terribly relentless isn’t she?!” In another he advised Scudamore to “save your cash in case you find some gash”.

Scudamore's PA was appalled by the exchanges. She leaked extracts of the emails to the press and West found himself hitting the headlines and had to issue a grovelling apology. DLA reported West to the SRA, and he was called to a tribunal. West had originally agreed to pay a fine of £10,000 in return for the evidence not to be made public, but the chairman of the tribunal, Andrew Spooner, ordered that it be read out. Spooner described West's comments as "despicable" and increased the fine to £15,000.

Now the SDT has published its ruling, revealing that West may actually be Roy Chubby Brown, aged 13. Here are the 'highlights' (West is the Respondent). Fun task: read them and imagine being a woman working along the corridor from him.

1. "Anti-klimax"

2. "Dangle of your dong"

3. "Foetus shopping"

4. "Kluntish"

5. "Graphite shaft"

6. "Gash"

7. "Teach her to talk"

Aside from the toe-curling attempts at gagsmithery, the saddest thing about the emails is West's pathetic, panting indulgence of his client's misogyny. What a depressing lesson if a partner at DLA feels they have to sink to these depths to keep the fees coming in.

  Here comes the Bantasaurus Rex

Unsurprisingly, West was extremely keen for the emails not to see the light of day.

He gave the SDT four reasons why it would be "wrong, unfair and disproportionate" for the tribunal to publish them. Firstly, because "the majority of the emails were sent by others". Which doesn't address the fact that some of them were sent by West, nor that his lapdog-like response to the rest represents a failure by omission to stand up to his client.

Secondly, because he and his chums thought their misogynist bantah "would remain private". Except West used the firm's email system to send and receive them.

Thirdly, because the emails were exchanges "between long-standing friends" and contained comments which might damage them. Presumably those super-sexist comments for which, it might be argued, they should be damaged.

Fourthly, and somewhat negating the third reason and his whole argument not to publish, because the emails "contained what were intended to be light-hearted remarks" and the participants "were not in the least offended by them because they understood their proper meaning".

And what was their proper meaning, according to West's letter to the tribunal? Er...

That resulted in one of the more extraordinary sentences to grace a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal:

Shockingly, the tribunal did not buy West's Flanimal Defence. Nor West's argument that the graphite shaft conversation was merely referring to golf clubs. It was particularly unimpressed that "the email referring to 'the dangle of your dong' was sent in the context of a recruitment exercise".

Summing up, the tribunal called Gashgate a "sad and salutary lesson" for West "and indeed the profession not to engage in inappropriate and offensive correspondence particularly when using business email addresses in the course of their work". Especially if you're an unfunny creep.

The full ruling:

Nick West Ruling

Read more on Friday.

.... read more >
High Court sorry for making people wet themselves
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25 July 2016

A number of readers have got in touch about a golden typo.

The operations manager of the Rolls Building on Fetter Lane, which houses 31 courtrooms, has sent all registered court users an email about fee increases. He's expecting the worst.

RollOnFriday has redacted the poor gentleman's name because we've all done it.

Kind retards,

ROF .... read more >
The Lawyer magazine calls Dentons chairman a 'ranting loon' in url slip-up
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25 July 2016

The Lawyer has accidentally published an article with a url which calls the boss of Dentons a ranting loon.

Dentons chairman Joe Andrew had talked to The Lawyer to object to a commentator who claimed that Dentons, with its Swiss Verein structure, was not a proper law firm, but a giant legal network. The suggestion struck a nerve with Andrew, who laid into the commentator's "arrogant perspective". The Lawyer duly published Andrew's polemic, only someone in the office left in what they really thought in the url:

The address was hastily amended from "loon-andrew-rants" to the less provocative "lets-make-netweorks-great-again". As a ROF tipster noted sagely, "Awkward AF". Though to be fair to The Lawyer, Andrew is a bit of a talker. .... read more >
Obligatory Pokémon Go Article
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20 July 2016

"So, when I was a lad, Pokemon was played by the types who wore their school tie properly and probably have still never felt the warmth of a woman."

"But this new version has more players than the number of users of facebook and twitter combined. Am I missing out on something that's quite enjoyable, just because I consider it to be for the turbonerds?"

So fretted 'intheregions' on the RollOnFriday discussion board this week.

Yes, is the answer. Unless you're scampering giggling into the middle of the M4 to flick a Poké ball at a super rare Vileplume, you are missing out. You're old. You've given up. You won't ever go clubbing again. You will only dance at weddings, doing something static and bum-waggly where you clomp your feet up and down and wave your arms but it's not dancing, is it, why can't you dance anymore? You will not recognise any of the bands on posters for festivals. You will get buzzed about going to bed at 9.30pm because it means 10 hours sleep. You will not understand the next social media phenomenon. You won't notice when the Singularity happens. By not playing Pokémon Go you have surrendered your interest in new things and might as well set your life in aspic because this is it for you.

    Even they love it

"Ok, I have just started this", said 'just 1ng of those things clive'. "There was one conveniently on my desk which I nabbed. WTF am i supposed to do now?"

Yes, even as 'intheregions' expressed culture-shock at our brave new augmented world, other readers were busy downloading this year's loom bands. By that afternoon, 'Clive' was lost to the game and didn't care that he looked insane: "I just got a bat thing on a crowded train".

Other grown-up actual lawyers were no less susceptible. "I caught a Tentacool lurking behind the Globe Theatre this morning", said 'bookem'. "I have sent my trainee to see if there are any in the office. I suspect not."

For years, 'sort out this filing' has been the go-to instruction to trainees and students when there's nothing else to give them. But not any more. Now they will get to enter in their training diary, "Swept for Blastoise - 2hrs." 

Some remained lost, like '3dux', who ventured, "I understand it's a craze involving telephones."

But if you aren't playing, it's highly likely the person in the next cubicle is. All the time.

"Yeah, my office building is a Pokestop," boasted 'Captain Mal'. "Also managed to catch one pokemon outside Liverpool Street and two pokemon when I popped to the communal area of the building for a quick break."

"There is a pokestop within range of my office," said 'Horace Rumpole'. "This is going to hamper my productivity every five minutes."

Christ we sound like children. "My office is a pokegym", said 'Meh', "but I am not allowed to play in it."  

  "Hey guys, stop Pokegyming a second because we've gone bust and also - I've hatched a Charizard!"

One good thing: you walk to make your eggs hatch, which means traffic jams are now a blessing. "A taxi to the West End is just about perfect hunting territory," said one poster. "You're going at so close to walking pace it counts your kilometres and you go past hundreds of stops."

"Having just had an Uber over to Holborn I was about to say the same," said 'Captain Mal', for whom reaching meetings is now of secondary importance to capturing Nidoqueen and Weepinbell, "but the driver disappointingly found a way out of traffic at one point.

Not everyone is on board the Poketrain. "You're all weirdos" said 'Montagu', realising to his horror that everyone he knows is now these guys:

But there is something for black letter lawyers to get their teeth into - the t&cs. This, from

The solution to this sneaky corporate skullduggery is to email Niantic and opt out of the clause within 30 days of downloading the game. Of course sensible people like me won't need to, because only idiots would consider spending money buying the add-ons. And if there are no credit card details to be hacked, there'll be no need to sue.


No harm, is there? Just in case I need to buy an emergency Egg Incubator.

Turbonerd Appendix: The Pokémon featured in this blog and a fact about each of them

  Vileplume. "The larger its petals, the more toxic pollen it contains. Its big head is heavy and hard to hold up."
  Tentacool. "It will sometimes wash ashore and become shriveled and dehydrated, but may be revived if it is thrown back into the ocean."
  Blastoise. "The jets of water it spouts from the rocket cannons on its shell can punch through the most stubborn stains."   
  Charizard. "Drinks the blended livers of our young."
   Nidoqueen. "Nidoqueen and its male counterpart Nidoking swing."
   Weepinbell. "See a doctor."

.... read more >
Former HSBC compliance lawyer defends offshore funds with his wife
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11 July 2016

In all the hubbub over Mossack Fonseca, other law firms doing their bit to help good men and women hide their loot have been scandalously overlooked. No longer. Welcome to Légal et Financier Européen, set up by a former HSBC compliance lawyer and his wife. 

Visitors to the LEFE site are immediately made aware that they are in the hands of refined lawyers by the posh font, which promises buckets of Ferrero Roche at reception, Joanna Lumley narrating the lifts and lashings and lashings of smart Euro peen.

  Defo not grubby, look at the swirls

LEFE promotes itself as a "Business Development and Legal Counsel" service. Based in Paris, it has a clucking terrible wordcloud.


LEFE's main business is setting up offshore funds. In something of an understatement, its site notes that they've suffered "some bad press":

As LEFE explains, these hidden funds beloved of the super-rich are actually pretty much socialist piggybanks. Whereas the popular perception is that cash just sits in them metastasizing quietly for Sir Fuksem-Politely, in fact they provide more money to the taxman than conventional bank accounts.

Despite the obvious altruism behind offshore funds, for some reason LEFE feels obliged to go on, emphasising that they are legal and there is no place for morality here:

LEFE also does arbitration. Of course most LEFE clients earn a living curing cancer, making crutches, eating pollution or shitting out mung beans for the poor. But for those who don't, for those who maybe mulch orphans or sell tickets to baby orangutan hunts, for those who make guns out of unicorn horns and turn crabs upside down, LEFE's view of the key advantage of arbitration will appeal:

So who are the masterminds behind LEFE? And, indeed, its only visible staff? A married couple:

  Curious and curiouser

  Must have been taken on a Friday

It is not immediately clear how Valentina qualifies as 'Executive Council'.

Mah apologies. She brought international flavours to Russia.

Justin McCarthy, in line with his firm's antipathy towards regulation and its embrace of ethically-dubious investment vehicles, is a keen libertarian. It so happens that between 2006 and 2008 he was also a compliance officer at HSBC's London office. Coincidentally, the bank was fined $1.9 billion in the US for laundering Mexican cartel's money, while in London it was investigated on suspicion of allowing suspected drug-dealers and other criminals to set up, how about that, offshore funds. At the time the scandal generated "some bad press". .... read more >
Exclusive: Fieldfisher staffer charged with sexual assault of paralegal at firm's Christmas party
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01 July 2016

A Fieldfisher staffer has been charged with sexually assaulting a paralegal at the firm's Christmas party.

The accused worked on the IT helpdesk at the London HQ of the international law firm. He is accused of cornering one of its paralegals in the office toilets at the Christmas party, and sexually assaulting her.

    Not pictured: worst Christmas party ever 

City of London police were called to the scene where officers arrested the man. He has subsequently been charged with sexual assault. RollOnFriday understands that he has pleaded not guilty, and will go on trial next month.

When the allegations were made, the accused was suspended by Fieldfisher and he has now "left the firm". A Fieldfisher spokesman told RollOnFriday, "Given the case is ongoing it would be inappropriate for the firm to comment further".

Read more next Friday. .... read more >
Lawyer uses hilarious deaths to advertise his services
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30 June 2016

In a little-watched corner of Twitter, a Canadian lawyer is ploughing his own furrow.

Mark Kok is an estates specialist. His close proximity to death has diluted its impact. For him. For everyone else, his tweets about bizarre deaths followed by an all-caps reminder to 'UPDATE YOUR WILL' look a little odd.

Some might even say they're tasteless - but actually it's highly educational.

And a lot of the weird and ironic deaths Kok summarises are from ages ago, so it's ok to chuckle at them.

His 'funny but fatal' tweets means it takes a couple of seconds to realise it isn't another LOLdeath when he posts that his wife died of cancer. There's no invocation to UPDATE YOUR WILL in that one.

The cumulative effect is chilling. Partly because it's like being locked in a box with the Rain Man of death, and partly because the victims are posted chronologically, moving closer and closer to the present day. The unspoken threat being: your own demise, if it is sufficiently ludicrous, will one day appear as an M.A. Kok advertitweet.


He drops the smiley face after 21 people are wiped out in the molasses disaster.

I'm not sure why he thinks pre-1923 deaths are funnier, but who's going to question a man who makes those sorts of distinctions.

Today he shot forward nearly 20 years, and blundered into 'too soon' territory.

Not sure that's a gutbuster, Kok, or appropriate for an advert. It's just really sad. What's next? "Trayvon Martin died when he was shot by a man supposed to protect the neighbourhood - UPDATE YOUR WILL"  Time to rewind to the vintage deaths, or, even better, take some tips from The Texas Law Hawk. .... read more >

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