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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

Spotted: Terrible Trainees
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21 August 2017

Make no mistake, it is hard being a trainee. But it's no cakewalk on the other side of the office, either. Nurturing, managing, reviewing, loving, caring, feeding, chastising, spanking, beating, shearing. All must be applied to the trainee by the diligent supervisor, but only at the right times and in the right quantities.

And sometimes, you get lumbered with a disaster. It is those rare, crapulous trainees whom supervisors including 'Mr Hargeaves', 'Badman', 'Mitrovic', 'Hodge', 'Obediah Hakeswill', 'Buzz', 'I am Cyprian', 'Spodric', 'An Irishman without rules' and 'Gloopers' have been remembering on the discussion board, thanks to 'Jack Nance'. Jack asked, "Who was the worst trainee you ever had, and what did they do?" Rollover for the muppet.

If you are a trainee, take heart. RollOnFriday posters also came up with nine trainee tips, and 11 more.

Here's another one for free. Watch out for this trick used by 'Buzz'.

"To: All Trainees
From: Buzz
Subject: Monaco

Have any of you got capacity to fly out to Monaco tomorrow morning, get a signature on a doc from a client during the afternoon, stay over and catch a mid-morning flight back?

To: Buzz
From: Gullible Trainee
Subject: Re: Monaco

I could probably just about manage this if needed.

To: Gullible Trainee
From: Buzz
Subject: Re: Re: Monaco

Excellent, thank you. Thing is I don't need anyone to go to Monaco but I do need someone to spend the next two days in a data room in Slough so thanks for confirming you have capacity

.... read more >
A Gun Show in TrumpLand
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21 August 2017

A couple of weeks ago a video emerged of Donald Trump boasting that he grabbed women "by the pussy". The same day, I decided to visit a gun show in Natchez, Mississippi.

I drove there from New Orleans where, in a no-frills diner serving the city’s best poboys (crisp-shelled, fluffy-guts baguettes overflowing with spicily-battered shrimp), I'd got talking to a local about the election. It's not the only conversation in town - there's always sports - but Trumptalk is ubiquitous (and, in fact, NFL ratings have cratered, with pundits blaming a boring season which can't compete with the political fireworks). Only hotel lobbies pretend the country isn't being torn in two. Their TVs are all tuned to the football, so receptionists aren't berated by sane patrons offended by Fox, or Trumpers frothing at the election-rigging going on at every other network.

    I didn't take any pictures of the poboy shack. Here's Nicholas Cage's tomb instead

The poboy customer, a black filmmaker, told me Trump represented the last gasp of an entitled white demographic. To its horror, he said, it is about to become part of just another minority in the US. He seemed relaxed about Trump's chances.

Three hours north they weren't relaxed at all.

Natchez is a pretty little town on the southern bank of the Mississippi. In the 19th century, it was the site of the second largest slave market in America. In the 1960s, it was a Ku Klux Klan stronghold. Racists belonging to an offshoot of the KKK, called the Silver Dollar Group (every member carried a coin minted with the year of his birth), murdered at least eight black men in the area during that time (but got away scot-free). So fervent was their fear of equality, the good bhurgers
of Natchez endorsed an order to assassinate Martin Luther King, who took it sufficiently seriously that he refused to stop in the town whenever he had to pass through it.

Today, there is a small museum dedicated to African American history in Natchez, but there are also signs that its ugly past is not completely buried. Some of those signs are literal, like the one for tourists outside a chic antique store which was once a segregated concert hall. It attempts to put a positive spin on Jim Crow, stating that, “although black and white audiences were separated, they could both enjoy the same music”.

And four years ago, letters of the cinema sign advertising Men in Black 3 in 3D, The Avengers and Dark Shadows were rearranged to read, “Niger 3D, Dark, Black Men”.

But on my visit, the signs drawing attention were for the GUN SHOW, held at the drab Civic Center in the middle of town, where pick-up trucks the size of small moons filled the parking lot. Photography was strictly forbidden and, when I paid my $7, a sheriff asked me if I had any concealed weapons and to turn them in.

    Hand stamp/shopping note

Inside, plump folk manned their stalls and plump browsers ambled. The only difference between the gun show and a bric-a-brac sale was the guns. Pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns, semi-automatics.
All available to anyone thanks to the controversial gun show loophole, which means that under federal law sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers. 

    Hooray, kids under six go free!

I stopped at Greg's stall. Greg bore an uncanny resemblance to James Woods (who happens to also hold pretty extreme views on the election) and was the only person I saw who was literally wild-eyed. Pacing the area in the middle of his rectangle of stalls like, well, James Woods, he was also one of the only stall-holders who wasn't selling lethal weapons, although they might get you killed. Whereas other non-gun sellers flogged night vision goggles or outrageous knives, Greg sold humorous slogan T-shirts.


'Winning hearts and minds ...One in the heart, Two in the mind'

'Infidels for Trump'

Greg was very proud of his slogans. "I made them all up myself,” he said. “Isn't this one great?"  Sniggering, he held up a T-shirt:

'Is it cos I is BLACK?...'

He turned it round.

'Don't be 'haterz'...'

I didn't tell him that all of them would have made me feel like I was wearing John McClane's sandwich board from Die Hard With A Vengeance. Apart from, perhaps, 'If you heard the bang, you weren't the target!'

Why Trump, I asked Greg. "He's a businessman. We need America to be run more like a business." Is a businessman whose businesses have gone bankrupt on several occasions the right businessman? "In the US, it's sensible to declare bankruptcy at a certain point,” he said. ”It's good business."

"Look," he allowed, "he's not the ideal candidate." You'd have preferred just about any other billionaire? "Sure." But after a few minutes of talking to Greg, it became clear that he wasn't attracted to Trump just for his business acumen. "In the UK, you've got real problems," Greg informed me. "With Muslims flooding in." He grabbed another T-shirt. "How about this one? So true right?"

'Black GUNS Matter'.

Greg's fears of a deadly African American uprising seemed unfounded, at least in the hall. There were only five black people there, and the two who were stall-holders sold pepper spray. A pair of excessively cheerful young men, it was tempting to read their rictus grins and perspiration as signs of terror. After all, we all knew they were one sudden move away from getting drilled into oblivion by the vigilant browsers.

Bob, a gentle-eyed gun store owner who said he wasn’t voting, convinced me of the fetishist appeal of his wares. He pointed out a chunky silver magnum .357. And how light death could be, in the form of a diminutive lady gun with a pink rubber grip.

Why did people want to carry concealed weapons? "Who do you want to be standing next to if someone bursts in here with a pistol?" he said. "The guy holding a gun for everyone to see, or me carrying a concealed weapon? Who's the bonehead going to shoot at first?" The guy with the gun he can see? "Right."

So do lots of people carry? "Let me put it this way. Everyone in here will be carrying a concealed weapon."  Didn't we have to check them in? "Sure."

Has he ever fired at anyone? "I used to be a bounty hunter. A couple of times back then."  He didn't elaborate. Or believe me when I said that Britain felt pretty safe even though the police mostly carried sticks.


"Sure there are boneheads here," he said. "That's why if someone takes out a gun for me to look at in my store, I take it right outta their hands. They go, 'It's not loaded!' I open it up. What's in there?" A bullet? "Uh-huh. Always one in the chamber. Always."

A man in a duck-hunter vest sat under a row of hunting prints clipped to a length of twine. On the table in front of him lay a drawing of a chocolate box homestead in small-town USA, with an American flag fluttering in the background and a large mailbox front and centre. "So, what you're gonna do is, you buy one of my artworks," he said, "and I send one of these prints to a fallen soldier's family free of charge, with their name written on the mailbox." That's lovely, I said. "I've had so much support. They're so grateful."

By the exit was a small table manned by a pair of reedy, bespectacled identical twins called Patrick and Paul. They were selling Trump memorabilia, including the must-have of the 2016 election cycle, the Make America Great Again cap.

"Oh, those have been a real pain to get hold of," said Patrick.

said Paul. "We placed orders with the campaign and it took - oh boy, one batch took over six months to arrive."

"Totally disorganised," said Patrick. If the twins had considered the worrying implications of a Trump administration which could not, in its larval stage, send out some hats, they didn't appear to care.

  Wearing the totemic headgear I felt transformed, virile

Civil War buffs, the twins recommended a few must-see battlegrounds in the area. I said I could hazard a guess which side they were on. They looked at me suspiciously.
"Confederate," said Patrick. Or Paul. "Our grandpappy fought."

Feeling guilty for fuelling the Trumponomy, I nonetheless bought a cap and a 'Trump that Bitch' bumper sticker. As they struggled with the arithmetic, I noticed a small placard hidden amongst the merchandise. It said something in German in gothic script, and I looked away quickly in case they caught me staring.

As I left I realised my Make America Great Again cap was Made in China. Outside, a man in a hurry sat on a bollard loading his new pistol.

  TFW when you can't wait to get home before opening a toy
.... read more >
Jones Day stands by its Trump
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21 August 2017

Jones Day, the biglaw firm most closely associated with Donald Trump, has refused to condemn comments in which he defended participants in a white supremacist march.
Organised by a self-described "pro-white" activist, the deadly Charlottesville rally saw KKK members, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and 'alt-right' supporters join forces to protest the removal of a confederate statue. Amongst violent clashes with anti-fascists, legal assistant Heather Heyer was killed when a far-right protester ploughed his car into a crowd of demonstrators.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that anti-fascists "came charging in without a permit", were "very, very violent" and asked if they "have any semblance of guilt". Defending the far-right 'Unite the Right' rally, he said there were "very fine people on both sides", and characterised a pre-rally march which featured Nazi salutes and chants of "the Jews will not replace us", as "people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue". Trump's claim of moral equivalence between the far right and those who opposed it drew condemnation from across the political spectrum. But the corporate world also recoiled. So many CEOs quit Trump's advisory business councils that he was forced to disband them. 

In doing so they risked incurring the US president's wrath. That brings with it a risk of financial penalty. Amazon's value dropped $5 billion after Trump tweeted negatively about the company in response to critical articles in the Washington Post, which is also owned by Jeff Bezos. But despite the commercial danger, whether as a result of newly-discovered moral fibre or a cynical (but in some ways encouraging) calculation that there are more anti-fascist customers out there than fascist ones, they nonetheless turned their backs on Trump.

Lawyers have also kept him at arms length. And some US firms have condemned the rally in Charlottesville and, in fairly direct terms, Trump himself. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom called it an "affront to the fundamental principles of equality and justice that strengthen our nation", in a statement. Gary Wingens, the chairman and managing partner of Lowenstein Sandler noted in The American Lawyer that his firm does not represent any Trump-related companies, and said he told his staff in a firmwide email, "There is no place in this firm, our communities or this country for white supremacists or leaders who do not unequivocally name them and call them out".

But Jones Day, which was paid $3.3 million in legal fees by the Trump campaign and gave up a dozen lawyers to the White House, appears to have decided that the US president's comments are not sufficiently toxic. It declined to criticise Trump's words in any way when requested to make a statement by RollOnFriday. Steve Brogan, Jones Day's Managing Partner, also declined to comment when contacted directly for his views. He also did not respond when asked to confirm whether Jones Day would act for Trump in future.

Some will say that of course Jones Day is not going to condemn its client - just like any other law firm - because it is fundamentally incompatible with the client/lawyer relationship. That overlooks the ability of a firm to drop its client. In any event, the direct monetary benefit Jones Day has enjoyed from its client relationship with Trump appears to be relatively small. The disclosed amount paid to the firm by his campaign, $3.3m, is negligible in the context of Jones Day's revenues (£1.98 billion in 2016). Rather, it appears that Jones Day values the fees it can generate indirectly from its proximity to the leader of the free world. With the Trump administration stocked with Jones Day lawyers, it has advertised itself as possessing knowledge of, and, the implication is, influence in, the febrile corridors of the White House. And apparently it's not about to turn off that tap, regardless of the decision by many other businesses to drain the one-man swamp. The firm could not even bring itself to condemn the white supremacist marchers. Call it spineless. But how many of us would refuse to bow to public pressure, and instead continue to suckle on an ethno-nationalist clown? It's actually rather brave. There are so many sides to it - so many sides. .... read more >
White & Case forced through Daily Mail mangle
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16 August 2017

Sterling work from the Daily Mail today, which has published an article taken from the Evening Standard and still manages to get everything wrong.

First up, Norton Rose Fulbright.

Perhaps Norton Rose Fulbright should have another 'f'. It should be 'full'. Because what's a 'ful'? You've got a nor, a ton, a rose and a bright, so clearly the firm was intending for every syllable to comprise a complete word. 

Not that RollOnFriday is at all perect, DM reporter, but you're also missing an 'and' in there. 

Next, it's that famous UAE institution, White & Case.

What the hell, let's screw up a couple of universities. The most famous ones please.

As RoF's media tipster noted, it's otherwise a nice story about leaving law for a different life. Probably safest to get it from the Standard though.

NB this was not written by the DM's other reporter on the law beat, who confused a lawyer with his client and wrote a whole piece on a solicitor with a full-face tattoo.
.... read more >
Firm breaks RoF's heart with plea for more rotten chicken cases
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16 August 2017

In a heartbreaking gambit to drum up business, an East Midlands firm has written about a family's unpleasant encounter with some poorly-cooked chicken.

Nelsons Solicitors' article, Clifton Mum Claiming Compensation Over Undercooked Chicken Upset, burrows deep - way deep, deeper than any firm has ever burrowed before - into how two people got the runs from a chicken wing with a yellow blister on it.

  "Oh boy, your whole life you work and you slave and scrimp and you steal just enough to get a sweet, sweet lick of that scabby chicken. Where’s Nelsons' lick, doesn’t old Nelsons get a lick?"

It is tasteless for firms to leverage a tragedy to flog their services, but this is not that. The only victims of this disaster were a woman, her grandad and their toilet. Vegans would argue that the feathery little clucker who turned them into a pair of burst bum gravy hydrants was also a victim, but she had her revenge.

Nelsons successfully shopped its sad story to local newspapers who reproduced it in full because it is free content. And now RollOnFriday will do the same, because RollOnFriday will always publicise a bird-based prayer-advert as over-extended as this. 


Chuck in the detail that Nelsons is fighting this travesty and that single paragraph is all that needs to be said on the matter. Or not.

Heron Foods advertises its products as "top quality - lowest prices". There is an argument that anyone purchasing bargain basement meat should expect a 50/50 chance of dinner ending up with the table overturned, the air hazy with gas, the walls spackled with chicken and the guests trying to smash the windows with chairs as their orifices violently expel top quality - lowest price food. Those odds are fair. A company charging 20p for 5kg of chicken shouldn't have to be diligent about checking the oven.

Three days until they could finish that packet of chicken wings. The torture. Sitting right there.

...yes, other sufferers must get in touch with Nelsons to provide "vital witness evidence". Ideally come with a pic of your gran barfing up a thigh. And, while you're here, have you...considered making a claim using Nelsons? We're the UK's premier undercooked chicken claims firm!

  "You found a nipple on your rasher? Oh boy, Nelsons is moving up to the big time!"

Don't lay it on too thick, they'll think you're exager-

Yes, Nelsons reveals that auntie was tasked with bringing lunch and picked the outrageously cheap option. And then "didn't fancy any" herself. Too right she didn't. She knew it was 85p from the orange sticker shelf. Good enough for dad and her niece, though. She was full anyway, scarfed down a Waitrose sandwich in the car before she came in. Then, after being informed that the chicken was covered in YELLOW BLISTERS, grandad "said his tasted fine" and polished off the rest. Of course he did. He's seen much worse, once ate a dog with the plague. Mild headache, that was it. Young people don't know they're born. In his day, you'd be lucky if you got any chicken with your dinner blister. In fact a blistery chicken was a luxury. He worked for a year to buy a blistery chicken for his wedding day. No-one had seen a chicken before. They ate it raw. Took bites out of it as it ran around the church. The vicar asked to keep the skeleton. 

Yes. He probably would have shat a lung. God, think of the compensation if he had. If only he'd eaten some of that bad chicken. I mean, "thank goodness he didn't have any of the chicken".

Bent double by a Turkey Drummer? Barking poison in the street thanks to a rancid pork loin? Go on, give old Nelsons a lick, won't you? .... read more >
Glimpse inside RollOnFriday
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10 August 2017

After speaking to a spokeswoman for a firm advertising training contracts for a salary of £10,000, I received a call from someone calling herself "Jess". She said she handled reputation management on behalf of the firm. Because it was an odd call, here is the transcript (skipping introductions).

Jess: Isn't it time someone wrote a review about you?

JH: Sorry, you're suggesting that someone write a review of RollOnFriday?

Jess: No, I'm suggesting that because of your negligence and because of the inaccurate information that you are publishing it would be just for somebody to write a review about your business online.

JH [sighs]: I'm not sure what the point of this conversation is, but I mean, you can. I'd dispute that we're writing anything negligent or inaccurate.

Jess: It is inaccurate because it's a clerical error.

JH: That's what the firm's told us, but it doesn't appear to be. There are adverts that were put up in 2016 and 2015 that also advertise a £10,000 salary.

Jess: Wouldn't that suggest, then, that it's an ad that's just repeated and obviously the error is also repeated because it's just a repost of the ad. Doesn't that make sense?

JH: Not really. I'm very suspicious of the suggestion that an advert can be posted at least three years in a row containing the same error without someone at the firm realising that it's advertising an incorrect detail.

Jess: Jamie, is this your company? RollOnFriday? Or do you work for the company?

JH: I work for the company.

Jess: You work for the company. Ok, and how long have you been working there for?

JH: Four years?

Jess: Oh, ok, so you write gossip, for a living, for four years?

JH: Well, I mean-

Jess: Grand! Gosh, you're punching.

JH: Well, I was a lawyer for-

Jess [laughing]: You WERE a lawyer! Wow, what happened to that career? You went from being a solicitor to writing gossip. What happened Jamie?

JH: I left.

Jess: You left! You obviously weren't very good at it then. Ok, yeah, stick to the day job, please. You failed miserably with law. Ok, [laughing] we will be suing you.

JH: Sorry?

[Jess hangs up. JH weeps. Can he and Jess ever make it work?]
.... read more >
All shall be welcome in the house of the Lord
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10 August 2017

"Dear RollOnFriday, 

I was worshipping on Sunday when I noticed this servant of mammon resting cheekily on a pew. I wonder if any other readers have spotted similar desecrations?

A Men"

How about it, readers? Have you spotted a Withers umbrella in a mosque? Or a DLA mousemat in a synagogue? Email for a chance to win forgiveness.

(NB the pen must be loved - it predates Herbies' name change.) .... read more >
"I've been waiting all day for her to respond"
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07 August 2017

The perils of being a personal injury lawyer on Tinder. Ali's suitor said he's been "waiting all day" for her to respond.

(via reddit)

.... read more >
Macfarlanes partner publishes amusing book
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02 August 2017

A tip of the hat this week to Geoff Steward, a litigation partner at Macfarlanes, who wrote a book on his sabbatical.

This in itself is hardly unusual. RoF gets contacted pretty much every week by agents representing lawyers who have used their copywriting skills to more useful effect than drafting version 26 of a sideletter. But not many of them are partners at City firms, fewer manage to get their books published by Biteback publishing (most famous for inflicting Lord Ashcroft’s pig fuckery fest “Call Me Dave” on an undeserving public) and fewer still send in a friendly and self-deprecating email explaining it:
"As someone with whom I have worked over the years, I hope you don't mind me troubling you with an announcement about a book I have written which may (or may not) be of interest to you.  I should stress from the outset that it is not about the law; nor is it self-published!
Last summer I took a three month sabbatical.  The word "sabbatical" originates from the Hebrew "Shabbat" meaning literally "a ceasing".  Its modern day meaning is "an extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something".  Wikipedia goes a bit further and instructs that a true sabbatical taker should write a book or travel extensively.  Not wanting to disappoint Wikipedia, I decided to do both.
To my surprise, I found a publisher who wanted to publish the book and the above link gives you more detail.  The book is released on 15th August and is available now for pre-order from Biteback or on amazon.  I am told that it will be in Waterstones as well.  It is being released in the US in April 2018 [and] has been described by The Telegraph as "light-hearted and very, very funny".
...For the avoidance of doubt, I haven't given up the day job."

This morning a preview copy arrived in the post at RoF Towers, accompanied by a hand written note from Charlie Martin, the firm’s Senior Partner, saying that he knows we will love it. So all in all there’s probably enough cause to give it a bit of puff and say that you can buy your copy here:
We haven't had an opportunity to read In Search of Nice Americans yet, but according to the blurb, "With his blend of waspish wit and mischievous charm, Steward seeks out normal Americans, such as Joe le Taxi, the former NYPD officer who was one of the first on the scene at the Twin Towers; Pam and Bob, a paranoid psychiatrist and a failed actor who once saw the back of Meryl Streep’s head; and Sheriff Duke of Calhoun County, South Carolina, who reintroduces Steward to the long (and armed) arm of the law". All "without his trusty PA and life support, the unflappable Charmaine, for whom contentment lies in Jesus Christ and custard creams".

£9:99 for an ebook or £12:99 for a dead tree. Bargain.
.... read more >
Ban this sick filth: Kingsley Napley's obscene Brexit crossword (possibly NSFW)
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19 July 2017

I love a good, clean word puzzle, who doesn't, and so I was understandably delighted when Kingsley Napley unveiled its Brexit-themed crossword promising no "cross words" (nice) and that it "won't offend".

How wrong I was. It quickly became apparent that this was an absolutely filthy puzzle.

Kingsley Napley has not responded, with champagne or otherwise. .... read more >

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