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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

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 consumerist.com:



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 >
Brexit shock infects nervous scam artists
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28 June 2016

I was furious at certain elder, non-metropolitan-elite members of my family for voting Brexit. Solely because my side lost, you understand. These particular relations are not xenophobic (though there was some trouble with gypsies a couple of years back), and are appalled that racism has become arguably the dominant narrative of the referendum result.

What they objected to, they told me, was the obscene pension packets of entitled eurocrats and the democratic deficit in the EU. I hope I'm proved wrong, but I don't think those cons outweigh the pros of the European project and so I proceeded to vent. I accused them of opening their head-lids and removing their bremains, and of consigning the UK to certain dissolution, unavoidable economic meltdown and a fascist storyline which will dominate our reputation at home and abroad and which will diminish us in the world's eyes until we rejoin the EU. Which we'll be able to do just after Turkey, in 3025, having become a sort of dark ages wasteland where our descendants haul carts of mud through ancient, mysterious ruins, and grunt to each other that the ivy-clad girders which once held up Canary Wharf are proof that in ancient times giants walked the land.

And the ape overlords, because yes it will be like Planet of the Apes but only in England, will shout "Quiet!" and whip them, your descendants, and sell them to other apes for coins which bear the visages of the men and women who applauded Brexit but who may not have had our best interests at heart.

There on the £10 coin, esteemed anti-expert Donald Trump, who this week hailed Brexit as "a great victory", clarifying, "they want to take their borders back. They want to take their monetary [sic] back". Clinching him on the coin, Rupert Murdoch, who called Trump "a very able man" while pronouncing Brexit a "prison break".

On the £50 coin, Sarah Palin in a tinfoil hat, who emerged from her Faraday cage to slur on facebook, "Congratulations, smart Brits. Good on you for ignoring all the fear mongering from special interest globalists who tend to aim for that apocalyptic One World Government".

Adorning the £1,000 coin, the botoxed profile of Vladimir Putin, who is not only sphinx-like because of the injections and riddled, "No one likes to feed and subsidise weaker countries and be a caretaker all the time". Before pointedly fixing his gaze on the EU's eastern border states, who are significantly more nervous than they were a week ago and somewhat suspicious that their own one-time 'caretaker' might quite like to feed and subsidise them again.

On the £10,000 coin, multimillionaire Leave.EU funder Arron Banks, who celebrated with a press release telling the Electoral Commission to "Bite me".



And when the apes have exchanged your kin for mine, they will grind the unsold - the weak and the slow and the old - into a paste which they will use to put up flyers. The flyers will reassure the human population that the Brexit campaign's claims were no lie. And they will be right. Englanders really will have more in their pocket than ever before, in pure mass terms anyway, because everyone will have to carry around a passport the size, shape and weight of their own head and painted with a crude likeness of their face, because there won't be any computers or paper or printers or cameras anymore, and the passport-headstones will be shackled to them, in case they get ideas and to remind them of their sovereignty.

And it is true that your twig-thin, pox-ridden and naked great-great-great-etc-grandchild will also enjoy a stronger NHS than ever before, because the NHS will be a 500 pound orang-utan on a pile of tyres called Nurse Bob, who operates with a shovel.

And immigration really will be under control, because no-one in their right minds wants to move to Great Britape or even drop in for a gawp, and in fact it's been cordoned off by the neighbours. Hadrian's Wall borders one side, Glendower's Fence another, while a string of bright yellow buoys bobbing in the channel beg rubberneckers, "Turn back, honestly, it's not even fun as a dare".

Anyway, back in the present, after appreciating that a lot of the less privileged are angry and seeking a cure, any cure, after being screwed and ignored by the global economy and successive governments, I had only one sensible response to all the madness: poke a scam artist. Except even that was ruined by Brexit.































A sad day. More scam email nonsense:

Sadiq Ahmed

Gordon Fathands

Stab-proof vests

Uncle Badtouch


.... read more >
Court of Appeal: High Court Judge Peter Smith "disgraceful"
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16 June 2016

The Court of Appeal has brutalised High Court Judge Peter Smith in a judgment allowing an appeal against his decision, calling his letter to a barristers' chambers "disgraceful". It said Smith's "shortcomings" dealing with evidential issues were "so serious"  that the appeal "must be allowed".

Saudi prince Abdul Aziz had appealed against an unfavourable ruling by Smith on several grounds, one of which was an allegation that Smith was bias against Aziz' barristers, from Blackstone Chambers. In 2015 a Blackstone barrister, Lord Pannick QC, had criticised Smith in the Times for Smith's behaviour during a case involving British Airways, which Smith had hijacked to accuse the airline of deliberately losing his luggage. Pannick wrote in his article, “How we laughed. But the case raises serious issues about judicial conduct that need urgent consideration by the lord chief justice".

At Aziz's appeal, a letter from Smith to Anthony Peto QC, the head of Blackstone Chambers, was produced which revealed that Smith had called Pannick's article "quite outrageous", cried that, "I am extremely disappointed about it", sulked that Pannick's "opinion is not worth the paper it is printed on", and vowed "I will no longer support your chambers". Aziz argued that the letter was evidence of bias by Smith.

     Comes with baggage

The Court of Appeal has now given its judgment allowing Aziz's appeal. While bias is not one of its grounds for doing so, Smith's approach to the evidence is. The court has absolutely whalloped him, calling his performance "unsatisfactory in a number of significant respects". Drilling down with gusto, The Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Moore-Bick, and Lord Justice McFarlane, said:

- "he failed to identify in sufficient detail the questions that needed to be answered" 

- "he failed to carry out a proper evaluation of all the evidence in order to test its strengths and weaknesses"

- Regarding criticisms of a witness: "he failed to deal with any of those criticisms and brushed them aside"

- On another witnesses' testimony: "he did not subject it to any serious degree of scrutiny"

- "he failed to draw together the evidence from the various different sources and analyse it in order to make his findings in relation to individual issues"

They ruled that Smith "owed it to the parties to identify the relevant evidence, discuss its significance and explain why he had reached the particular conclusion", which, "required him to analyse the various possible implications of different strands of evidence, as well as the inherent probabilities. He failed to do this".

In a extremely damning comment, they ruled that it was "clear" that Smith "in effect, took a short cut".

But they saved the motherload for Smith's barmy letter. Para 68:

"In his letter to the claimant’s solicitors dated 12 February 2016, the judge accepted that he should not have written the Letter. It is difficult to believe that any judge, still less a High Court Judge, could have done so. It was a shocking and, we regret to say, disgraceful letter to write. It shows a deeply worrying and fundamental lack of understanding of the proper role of a judge. What makes it worse is that it comes on the heels of the BAA baggage affair. In our view, the comments of Lord Pannick, far from being “outrageous” as the judge said in the Letter, were justified. We greatly regret having to criticise a judge in these strong terms, but our duty requires us to do so."

Allowing the appeal, the CofA ruled that the claim must be retried before a different judge.

Smith has not yet exploded over the ruling. He may not. In the notorious BA case, Smith said, "I have plenty of regrets about the way in which the Court of Appeal went about their decision [to remove me from another case], but, like you I suspect, we are no longer surprised by what happens in the Court of Appeal". .... read more >
Clients ditch firm which mocked parents of disabled children
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14 June 2016

Clients are deserting the law firm which mocked the parents of disabled children.

On Saturday evening, Baker Small posted a series of extraordinary tweets crowing that it had defeated parents of disabled children who had appealed to a tribunal to get their local council to provide their kids with funded specialist care. The firm's mockery, which included posting a picture of a laughing kitten, provoked widespread fury. National papers picked up the story after RollOnFriday reported it, with legendary paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson commenting with incredulity on the RoF article:



Now, Baker Small is losing the very local authority clients which led to its myopic boasts.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Lorna Dupré has said that the firm was paid at least £144,000 by her council between May 2015 and January 2016. But today it has announced that it will not be referring any new cases to Baker Small.

In a statement, Cambridgeshire County Council said that it had "decided to set up alternative arrangements for new cases". Adrian Loades, Executive Director for Children, Families and Adults, said, “We can confirm that we will no longer be using Baker Small for new cases. We recognise the damage that these tweets have done to parental confidence and by extension to the potential relationship between the County Council and parents".

Even though CCC is one of the local authorities which have been fighting parents, it is unsurprisingly unhappy at the manner in which Baker Small has depicted the battle, with Loades at pains to emphasise that while “there can be different views between parents and the Local Authority" in respect of support to the disabled children (i.e. you want it, we're not giving it), "we always work hard to avoid this relationship becoming adversarial if at all possible." So not this then:



Loades said that despite the firing, there may be a continuing (and presumably excuciatingly awkward) relationship between the council and Baker Small in respect of cases already underway. He said they “will be reviewed on a case by case basis", and that "in some instances it may be better for the all parties that Baker Small retain the case in order to avoid delay or disruption to decision making”.

Read the full story on Friday. .... read more >
Outrage at firm's spectacularly misjudged tweets mocking the parents of disabled children
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13 June 2016

A law firm has provoked disgust and complaints to the SRA after gloating on Twitter that it had succeeded in an action to deny specialised education to disabled children.

When councils decide not to provide disabled children with specialised education, parents have a right to appeal to The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. Buckinghamshire firm Baker Small, run by director Mark Small, routinely advises local authorities at SEND tribunals. Given the sensitive and emotive nature of the disputes, the importance of not appearing to revel in victories would appear to be obvious. On Saturday night, however, Small's firm decided to not only crow on Twitter that it had beaten an appeal by parents, but expressed bemusement that parents bothered to fight councils, and amusement that the latest unsuccessful appellants did not understand the verdict:



In a staggeringly myopic response to criticism of the tweet, Small, who is understood to have operated the social media account, replied that parents who mistakenly believe they have won "make me smile":




When the twittersphere reacted with fury, Small doubled down and attacked the protestors:







At one point, he tweeted gobsmacked followers a picture of a laughing kitten to illustrate his firm's disdain for the complainants:



In a subsequent tweet, Small expressed bitterness that parents' lawyers are applauded when they boast about winning against local authorities, whereas he is not. Indicating that he is somehow unaware that 'parents fighting for their disabled children' comprise a significantly more sympathetic demographic than 'lawyers boasting that they have beaten parents fighting for their disabled children'.





Images of the tweets spread quickly across blogs and discussion boards, with mumsnet users reacting with shock. One of the offended women who engaged with Baker Small on Twitter, Diane Kay, revealed that she has written to the SRA to complain that the firm has breached Principle 6 of the Code of Conduct, by behaving in a way which has failed to maintain the public's trust.

Just before midnight, as the onslaught persisted, Small took the last refuge of the twitter-shamed and claimed victimhood:



The next day, an abrupt change of tone indicated that Baker Small had belatedly realised it had committed a colossal PR error:




The apology tour continued on Monday:





Fittingly, Small's profile on his firm's website reveals that in 2008 and 2010 he was nominated for the 'Solicitors in Local Government Young Solicitor of the Year Award' for "his work with schools".

Small told RollOnFriday, "Inappropriate tweets were sent from the Baker Small twitter account, which in the context of the work we undertake both for public bodies and parents, were unacceptable and showed a lack of sincerity to Parents".

He added that, "We recognise that offence was caused", which is reassuring, because only a dead person wouldn't have, saying "they were immediately deleted and a written apology was issued". Small said, "We understand all too well the pressures of the SEN system and the challenges faced by parents to secure appropriate provision and we have tweeted and spoken extensively about those issues. We are sincerely sorry for the tweets and for the upset caused."

A spokesman for the SRA said, “We take all complaints seriously and will examine all the available evidence before deciding on an appropriate course of action”. .... read more >
Lawyer's profile on "TV Talent Supermarket" reveals he is basically Patrick Bateman
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08 June 2016

A proportion of solicitors harbour an urge to be something else, something more, something rockstar. As another heavy mark-up is emailed back, as another client can't give instructions because they're yachting off Monaco, there are days, maybe all the days, when it's all they can do not to shout "I have had enough, [client contact]!" and quit to invest everything in a boutique fishburger joint. But that can appear rash to a lawyer, particularly given that lawyering encourages an aversion to risk on a par with Howard Hughes at his pee-drinking best. So what's the answer?

    Not this

Charles Cook has an answer. He's the managing partner and founder of Cook & Co, and as you can tell from his firm's profile photo, he is damn busy.

    This

Notice how Cook holds his phone like a boss just between his finger and thumb, right on the edge, with just the tips, signalling that he's a maverick not afraid to gamble (sexy), or at least has strong finger muscles (also sexy, imagine if it was your hair he was gripping against his cheek). His phone cover is the naughty knickers of phone covers, featuring a status peephole for the Apple logo which ensures that he won't be mistaken for a scumbag with a Huawei. Look at Cook's ripe Apple, all on display, oh yeah. As you can tell from the tilt, the photographer was so aroused they fell over.

So what is Cook's answer? Cook's answer is to be a star part-time. He doesn't need to risk it all. In fact, his day job is his passport to the other side of the velvet rope. How? He's available to purchase at the "TV Talent Supermarket", that's how.



Admittedly, the "Do you need a charismatic, young TV lawyer? Well...here he is" line sounds apologetic. Like, "Do you need a charismatic, young TV lawyer? Well...here he is. Sorry." Or, as if the narrator is himself surprised and disappointed with the goods. Like, "Do you need a charismatic, young TV lawyer? Well...here he is. Jesus. Pauline! Pauline! There's been a mistake! Really? This is him? Ugh. Who got him? Well tell Ian he's embarrassed me in front of Schofield." Or, an evil djinn revealing a monkey's paw of a wish, like "Do you need a charismatic, young TV lawyer? Well...here he is. AHAHAHA! No backsies, Wishmaster out".

When pop singers start out, they give interviews in Sugar magazine or, nowadays, Oh my Vlog!, in which they provide tween-appropriate facts. For some reason, the TV Talent Supermarket has taken the same approach with Cook, and thus we learn that the future Dr Phil of property sales and litigation has a second home in Salcombe.



There are some top, top facts here. Laytons is an "international law firm", apparently, even though its offices are in Bristol, Guilford, London and Manchester.

Cook's favourite colour is red. You now know that.

He enjoys "listening to a wide range of music including music from the era of the 80’s".  Forsooth, didst thou enjoy the Phil Collins concerto? Verily, tis from the era of the 80's and the drumming is righteous. I suspect it's not a wide range including music from the era of the 80s, though. I suspect it's solely music from the era of the 80s, plus whatever Patrick Bateman is listening to now. Yeezy and Robin Thicke.
 
He is an avid reader of Tony Robbins books, "which he finds motivating". Which is lucky because Robbins writes motivational books.

And Cook hates seafood. He hates seafood so much it makes it onto the list of key facts about Cook.
"Charles, a fun one, what food do you like?"
"I hate cod."

"Ok, but what do you like?"
"Not just cod. All fish. Trout, swordfish, seahorses. If I could, I'd boil off all the seas and stamp on every last one of them."
"But what do you like?
We want to be positive."
"I hate eating them, too. Oh boy, don't make me eat them! I will literally gag. I puked up a clam the other day."
"We can..we can put that down."


Of all his family, he likes spending time most of all with his grandfather who, it is made explicit, is 92. That's a grand old age. This is how you win X-Factor, with a story. Cook and his ancient grandfather, watching Wall Street on a powerboat in Cannes, spitting on fish. Sign him up, Fern. .... read more >
Clifford Chance unveils impressive pay hikes
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01 June 2016

Clifford Chance has given pay rises of over £20,000 to its associates, with 1PQEs potentially earning £95,000.

Trainee salaries are rising, too. Backdated to 1 May, first years are now on £43,500, up from £42,000. Second years are on £49,000, up from £47,300.

The firm has adopted the same method of presenting its rises as Linklaters which, as RollOnFriday revealed in March, has decided to wrap up the bonus figure with the salary figure to give a total compensation figure. It makes CC and Links' numbers look very good compared to the rest of the Magic Circle, since Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Slaughter and May state bald salary figures, not inclusive of bonuses.

At NQ level, CC pay increases from a salary of £70,000 to a total compensation figure (i.e. salary and bonus) of £85,000. At 1PQE level, lawyers move from a salary of £75,500 to total compensation of £95,000. Those are both on a par with Freshfields, the highest payer of the MC. Freshfields' figures don't include a bonus, though, and so Clifford Chance's NQs and 1PQEs will need to be awarded theirs just for their total pay to match Freshfields' salaries. However, CC London Managing Partner David Bickerton said that "the vast majority of junior lawyers will receive it". It's being called a "Binary Bonus", said Bickerton, explaining "we expect our lawyers to work hard to develop the skills and good habits of an exceptional lawyer so their contribution is assessed on the basis of whether or not they are acquiring these skills and habits. This is a binary assessment. At these levels, lawyers receive a salary and a Binary Bonus. If the lawyer is developing the skills and habits they will require they will receive the Binary Bonus".

    "0110011100!"

Clifford Chance has told its lawyers they will fall into two camps above 1PQE: those who have made a "Good contribution" to the firm's "success over the course of the financial year" and those who have made an "Exceptional contribution". No mention of those who have made a Poor contribution, or even an Average one. Presumably they will be quietly catapulted off Canary Wharf. The firm is following Freshfields' lead with this approach (to splitting PQE bands, not to launching slackers off the roof). When RollOnFriday broke the news of Freshfields' rises in May, it had also split its bands, into 'Median Performers' and 'High Performers'. In a subtle jab at its rival, CC doesn't have 'Median' performers, don'tchaknow, beginning at 'Good' instead.

It means Clifford Chance's 2PQEs move from a salary of £88,000 to total comp of £100,000 if they're 'Good', and to £119,000 if they're 'Excellent'. 3PQEs move from a salary of £98,500 to a total comp of £111,000 if they're 'Good', and £130,00 if they're 'Excellent'.

RollOnFriday averages out the performance bands to give median figures. Here's how it looks:

  NQ
1PQE 2PQE 3PQE
Allen & Overy
 £78,500  £92,000  £104,500  £115,000
Linklaters*  £81,000  £90,000  £100,000  £111,000
Clifford Chance*
(old figures)
 £85,000
(70,000)
£95,000
(75,500)
 £109,500
(88,000)
 £120,500
(98,500)
Freshfields
 £85,000
£94,375
 £107,500
 £112,500
Slaughter and May
 £71,500
 £79,000
 £90,250
 £99,750 

*Figure includes bonus

CC also announced that it is expanding its remote working pilot scheme. Don't picture lawyers at home with their feet up and checking their phone every couple of hours, though. This is the Magic Circle, so it's more about being able to get them to work 24/7 wherever they are. As Bickerton said, "It is already the case that many of our lawyers work out of standard working hours to support our clients and therefore we see working remotely not as a perk, but as removing a barrier to effective client service".

Interestingly, it means CC has said that a portion of those big salaries is to be spent on a "technology boost" to "enable our lawyers to invest in technology (on top of the laptops we are providing) so that they can work effectively remotely". So those whopping rises aren't just for Lambos and Gucci. They're for associates to bring about, by their own hand, a dystopia in which their CC inbox is projected onto the backs of their eyelids and clients can shout new deadlines directly into their brains. A cruel twist. Still. £95k for a 1PQE.

    "I invested in MindBuzz, which uses my pain receptors to combat fatigue!" 

Slaughter and May, CC, Freshfields and Linklaters have now all raised pay this year. Allen & Overy kicked off the round of big rises when it hiked salaries enormously last year. It constituted a significant leap toward the amounts on offer from US firms, and now that the rest of the Magic Circle has followed suit (except Slaughters, whose lawyers feel it should have jumped higher), many of those same US firms are feeling the pressure to put some clear water between themselves and the UK elite. .... read more >

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