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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

A furious Senior Partner takes revenge
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25 May 2016

A year ago we ran a Bonkers Website story about a firm based in Middlesex called Bhogal & Partners. Here's the original article. The firm came to our attention because it gave all its lawyers terrifying blank faces:





I applied my full artistic talents to this important story and haltingly drew in what I imagined to be their actual faces. One was 90% beard:



We asked the firm for a comment but it did not respond.

Until now.

Senior partner Kenny Bhogal has got in touch, nine months later. This is Kenny Bhogal on the site:



This is Kenny Bhogal in Microsoft Paint:



It turns out the Microsoft Paint depiction was pretty accurate. Because Kenny Bhogal did not find the story funny. At all. He has, in fact, possibly spent every night for the last nine months sitting at his kitchen table staring at a print-out of the article consumed with fury. But after nine months of waiting, planning, drafting and redrafting and proofing and perfecting, his response was ready:




 

.... read more >
Exclusive: Recruiter's candid notes of meeting with Eversheds partners leaked
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25 May 2016

Candid notes of a meeting between legal recruiters and Eversheds partners have been leaked to RollOnFriday. They shine a baleful light on the inner workings of chinnys*.

Eversheds has disputed much of the content of the notes, which were emailed by a senior recruitment consultant to his colleagues. The notes were taken by the rec cons of a briefing given by two Eversheds partners on hiring requirements for their expanding practice.

RollOnFriday has redacted personal details to protect the guilty and also the innocent, particularly the lawyers who work in the Shed's regional teams. In an observation which would otherwise break their hearts (and which, it should be emphasised, Eversheds has told RollOnFriday it does not recognise), the recruiters noted that Eversheds' Birmingham and Cambridge offices are, "where they outsource less interesting work", whereas "the quality of work is really high in London".

According to the email, the Shed partners would ideally poach associates from Nabarro because it is "apparently a sweatshop", where "they have to work harder than Eversheds because of their fee rates". As Nabarro supervisors are, the note records the partners saying, "very systematic with checking emails", their associates "are well trained".

    Recruitment consultants preparing to tranq you, right now

The recruiters also summarise (their interpretation of) partners' issues with existing team members, providing an invaluable insight into the hard-nosed world of the working chinny.

There's the lawyer who doesn't know he's bungling it across the table:

  • "They made an offer to a star in [rival firm], but there are complications with [redacted], so on hold currently but [an Eversheds partner] is working opposite him on a case and not too impressed so they are ambivalent."

The lawyer playing hard to get:

  • "Recently, a senior associate resigned on the day she was made up to senior associate because her boyfriend is a [travelling clown**] so very seasonal work so they are going travelling, the partners want her to stay and negotiating a sabbatical for her."

And the lawyer who is hard to like:

    • "They have a senior associate who is quite demanding...[partner] thinks she will leave."

    Apparently before their meeting the recruiters also talked to a recent lateral hire into the Eversheds partnership. Their write-up of what happened when they relayed the new joiner's view of his prospects to the Eversheds partners is the saddest part of the note:

    • "[New junior partner lateral hire] is bringing work with him and he is particularly strong in [redacted specialism]. He thinks it could be a £2 million practice next year, both partners laughed at that."
    A spokesman for Eversheds told RollOnFriday, “This seems to be a third-hand internal note of a confidential meeting with us. We haven’t seen this interpretation before and do not recognise or agree with much of its content, especially the references concerning our competitors and our regional offices. I would take this with a pinch of salt”.

    *RollOnFriday for 'recruitment consultant', which may be derived from 'chinny beard'
    **not really, but a job even more ridiculous which would make her immediately identifiable if revealed
    .... read more >
    Magic Circle job application of the Month
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    24 May 2016

    RollOnFriday has been forwarded a superlative job application.

    The candidate for the 1PQE job at a Magic Circle firm boasts that he is highly proficient at Call of Duty and that his mum will "cut" him if he doesn't get the position. It was received by The Lawyer magazine's jobs team, which dutifully emailed the application to the legal recruiters who posted the vacancy. They presumably realised that a quality individual was in play when they read the covering email, below, which includes the foolproof tactic of begging: "plz give me the job.... my mum said she will cut me if you dont ;)"



    RollOnFriday was also passed a copy of Viron El Hameses' CV. It avoids the pitfall of being prolix, running a compact nine lines, but there are other issues. It is annotated it for the benefit of less street readers.




    In plugging news, serious candidates are using RollOnFriday's jobs board. Thousands of lawyers have also uploaded their anonymised profiles onto RollOnFriday's free Make Me An Offer database, enabling employers to make them a dream offer. You, yes you, can join them. Not you Viron. .... read more >
    This is the most annoying name for a company
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    19 May 2016
    RollOnFriday has been alerted to the most annoying company name in the UK.

    Filling in forms is a junior corporate lawyer's bread and butter. Dull but often vital work. Companies House can be a real pig about forms, and spelling your client's name correctly on them comes right at the top of the list. So spare a thought for lawyers acting for Maxi-Flow, a Cheshire building company.



    RollOnFriday's tipster thought it was the prank of a bored registrar at Co House. But no, some comedian actually picked this when the company was incorporated:



    Is this a Yellow Pages trick to be named first, above A1 Builders? Or does Maxi-Flow's founder hate lawyers so much, he's decided to torture his own every time a document needs to be drafted?



    Typing ........0.....0.....0.....0.....0.....0.....0.....0......0.....0.....0..0..0..0..0..0..0..0..A.A.A.A.A.A.A.A.AAAAAAAA. Maxi-Flow Limited took me 1 minute 46 seconds to type. Then an extra 40 seconds when I realised the Os were actually 0s and I had to replace them all. That might squeeze an extra unit onto Maxi-Flow's bill, but I am not its lawyer and counting the dots has increased my short-sightedness by 0.6 in both eyes, with no recompense. Thanks ........0.....0.....0.....0.....0.....0.....0.....0......0.....0.....0..0..0..0..0..0..0..0..A.A.A.A.A.A.A.A.AAAAAAAA. Maxi-Flow Limited! Thanks a lot.

    At least someone in the business also had to suffer, although you'll notice they missed out the initial string of dots:



    A nice woman at Maxi-Flow told me that people do call up to double-check the name sometimes, but mostly there are no problems, presumably because cut&paste. Apparently only the founder knows the reason he did this, and he's out building something today. .... read more >
    The perils of calling a lawyer a bird at Bird & Bird
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    17 May 2016

    Bird & Bird performed fantastically well in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2016 survey. There was a complaint from one associate, though, about the "endless references" to birds. "The canteen is the Bird Table, the newsletter is Bird Talk (or NestNews for internal stuff), the lawyers are Birds... and it goes on".

    The scope for offence to be caused by the identification of people as 'birds' is large and obvious. Nonetheless, the firm's Twitter team flew right into precisely that jet engine when they recently congratulated six IP lawyers who had been recognised as leaders in their field:



    Does that winky face indicate that the tweeter knew that labelling high-achieving female lawyers as 'birds' was a bit off, but the 2Bird style guide means they can get away with it? Or is it an embarrassed admission akin to, "I know this looks wrong but I work at 2Birds and I am forced to wrangle everything into bird-ese, this morning I told a stranger he had food on his beak oh God what is happening to me?"

    We may never know. What we do know is that 2Birds' subsequent tweet didn't help:



    "Promotes white men around the world, calls women 'birds'", summarises a reader. "Bit tone deaf at the very least". Showing off a gallery of talented women who have been rewarded with exposure and then immediately following it up with a gallery of talented men who have been rewarded with actual money certainly invites unfortunate conclusions. But the bird criticism is complicated. Every lawyer at the firm is a 'bird', regardless of their gender. It is not used in the Benny Hill, Jim Davidson, Only Fools and Horses sense. The term refers to eagles. Blue tits. The humble sparrow. But if they were lawyers.

    So it's harsh to blast the firm when a group of its 'birds' all happen to be women. It's like if a law firm was called Rapers Solicitors and referred to its staff as 'Rapers', and created a whole nomenclature around rape in which the canteen became the Rape Field, their trainees Rapeseeds, the coffee Rapeseed Oil and the end of the tax year The Plough, and then it tweeted, "Well done to our six rapers ;)" and got closed down for promoting sexual violence.

    Like 'rapers', the 'birds' label is vulnerable to misinterpretation by outsiders. Bird & Bird's social media gurus aren't the only ones finding this out. Its lawyers also encounter disambiguation issues. An associate responding to the Firm of the Year survey bemoaned the "endless sniggering from estate agents when you give them your email address", adding "@twobirds.com really isn't that funny Mr Foxtons". The birds of 2Birds should stand firm. Unlike Rapers. Yes, it did exist. But when it merged in 2001, Rapers took the opportunity to change its name to SMR Solicitors. Sad, but probably wise. .... read more >
    200 redundancies at DLA Piper
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    11 May 2016
    DLA Piper is making 200 UK staff redundant.

    18% of the firm's 1,100 UK business support staff are set to lose their jobs, with redundancies to be made across its IT, Finance, HR, Marketing & BD and Secretarial teams.

    Some of the work they do will be automated, while the remainder is to be transferred to DLA's global service centre in Warsaw. In many respects, the writing has been on the wall since the firm opened its low-cost Polish centre in December 2015, when it piloted the global business services approach.

    It's a grim day at the firm's UK offices, where staff were told of the impending consultation this morning. It begins on 31 May and will be completed by the end of July, at which point 200 staff will have to find new jobs. They are expected to leave their roles between October and next July.

        They stay over there, they take our jobs

    DLA has received criticism in the past for providing only statutory minimum packages to those it makes redundant. However the firm has told RollOnFriday that this time, staff will receive an "enhanced" package, which will be nailed down in discussions with their employee representatives. DLA also said it would offer "career support" to potentially affected staff (though sadly not the kind of career support that involves continuing to provide them with a career).

    COO Andrew Darwin said that the firm's rapid growth meant that "many of our systems and processes reflect the history of the firm rather than its future". He said a key part of DLA's strategy was to modernise its business service functions "in order to operate more effectively on a global basis and improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of the way we deliver our services to our clients".

    Darwin added that, "Until the consultation is completed, we will not be making any final decisions, and we will be actively supporting our people during this process". .... read more >
    Exclusive: Massive pay rises at Freshfields with NQs to get £85,000
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    06 May 2016

    Freshfields has given its trainees and associates massive pay rises which put NQs on £85,000.

    The Magic Circle's trainee salaries are rising by £2,000. First years will be paid £43,000 and second years £48,000.

    Above qualification level, the firm uses a performance-based salary banding system called Career Milestones. The lowest band, Career Milestones Foundation, covers NQs and 1PQEs. It used to be £67,500 to £77,500. The new band is £85,000 to £97,500.

    NQs will be paid £85k, and while they were previously eligible for a discretionary bonus, the firm has said that their new salary exceeds the previous salary and bonus combined.

    2PQEs and 3PQEs fall within "CM1" which used to pay between £87,500 and £100,000. They will now be paid between £105,000 to £115,000. That's without discretionary bonuses. With bonuses, 2-3PQEs can earn between £126,000 and £136,000. Taking the median figures (without bonuses) the Magic Circle salary table now looks like this:


     £ 2016 rise?
    NQ
    1PQE 2PQE 3PQE
    Allen & Overy
     Not yet
     78,500  92,000  104,500  115,000
    Linklaters*  Yes  81,000  90,000  100,000  111,000
    Clifford Chance
     Not yet
     70,000  75,500  88,000  98,500
    Freshfields (old pay)
     Yes
     85,000 (70,000) 94,375 (75,000)  107,500
    (90,600)
     112,500
    (96,800)
    Slaughter and May
     Yes  71,500
     79,000
     90,250
     99,750 

    *Unlike other firms, Linklaters releases figures which include the bonus along with the salary, so its figures appear higher. The figures used in this table are for a median salary plus a median bonus.

    The move will leave Slaughters lawyers grim-faced. As reported in today's news, they expected their firm to match Allen & Overy's bumper salaries. Instead the firm refused, creating a two-tier Magic Circle for pay. The only question was which way Freshfields and Clifford Chance would jump. Now Freshfields has jumped. In fact at most levels it has leapfrogged right over A&O. Its NQ pay is higher than A&O's by £6,500, and only at 3PQE will it pay less (and even then, perhaps not if the lawyer is awarded a bonus). Meanwhile, Its straight salaries now dwarf Linklaters' figures, which include bonuses.

        Get in

    Staff were told this morning and delighted insiders leaked the news to RoF within minutes (leak your stuff to RoF within minutes too, please).

    Julian Long, London Managing Partner, said "Our ability to attract and retain the most talented individuals is critical to our continued success". He added, "Obviously we should not underestimate the need to be competitive with regards to pay in our market; we believe that making changes across the board for our trainees and associates maintains our strong position as one of the most attractive firms in the market".

    Lawyers at Clifford Chance will be feverish with anticipation. Which tier will they be joining?

    In the meantime, Freshfields lawyers who are toasting management in the sun today should probably raise a glass to A&O. .... read more >
    What happened when a scammer offered a free BMW to an evil clown called Uncle Badtouch
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    05 May 2016

    A scam artist emailed RollOnFriday to inform us that we'd won a BMW. After celebrating with wine and biscuits, I forwarded the email to an account belonging to a fictitious character I'd created with no forethought called 'Uncle Badtouch'. I know, but I did say no forethought.

    Here's what happened next, and if you like it remember to check out the insane correspondence with Sadiq Ahmed, the ballad of Gordon Fathands and the stab-proof vest debacle.

    Advance clown warning: don't worry, on a scale of scary clowns it comes very low, somewhere between Krusty and Ronald.




































































































     








































    .... read more >
    Exclusive: Meagre Slaughter and May pay rises fail to match A&O
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    04 May 2016

    Slaughter and May has confirmed the exact amounts of its pay rises after RollOnFriday revealed yesterday that it had concluded its salary review to the sound of a slow fart. Staff were apparently left unimpressed by hikes "at best in line with inflation", of "around £2,000".

    The firm has now confirmed its rises, and some bands are getting even less than £2k. Trainee salaries are rising by £1,500. A first year trainee will be paid £42,500, up from £41,000, while a second year tainee will be on £47,500, up from £46,000.

    Insiders told RollOnFriday that staff were "disillusioned" with the hikes, ostensibly because they failed to match Allen & Overy's bumper salaries, which were brought in to staff delight last year.

    It is clear that Slaughters really has shied away from matching Allen & Overy. NQ salaries also rise by £1,500, to £71,500, remaining £7,000 less than an A&O NQ's salary. It's the same story at every level. Slaughters has raised 1PQE pay by £3,500, but there's a gulf between the £79,000 they're now on and the eye-watering £92,000 a 1PQE receives at A&O. 2PQE pay is increasing by £3,250, to £90,250, but that's over £14,000 less than a 2PQE receives at A&O. The difference rises to £15,250 at 3PQE level.

     £k 2016 rise?
    NQ
    1PQE 2PQE 3PQE
    Allen & Overy
     Not yet
     78.5  92  104.5  115
    Linklaters*  Yes  81  90  100  111
    Clifford Chance
     Not yet
     70  75.5  88  98.5
    Freshfields**  Not yet
     70  75  90.6  96.8
    Slaughter and May (old pay)
     Yes  (70) 71.5
     (75.5) 79
     (87) 90.25
     (96.5) 99.75

    *Unlike the other firms, Links releases figures which include the bonus along with the salary, so its figures appear higher. The figures in this table are a median salary plus a median bonus.
    **Freshfields NQs and 1PQEs fall within Freshfields' "Career Milestones Foundation" band which pays between £67,500 and £77,500. 2PQEs and 3PQEs fall within "CM1" which pays between £87,500 and £100,000.


    Inside sources told RollOnFriday that Slaughters staff, who on the upside do not have billable hours targets, are "pretty disillusioned". One said, "we don't expect to keep up with US firms, but when a lawyer at the same PQE at another MC firm is earning £10k more than you when your firm has just made up 10 new partners, it starts to grate".

    Slaughters' new rates are effective from 1 May. Despite being lickle, they do mean that Slaugher and May pay now trumps salaries at Clifford Chance. CC staff will be waiting eagerly to see if management decides to lift them to A&O levels of wealth with a 2016 pay review or decide, naaah, if S&M can get away with it so can they. .... read more >
    Exclusive: Slaughter and May raises pay
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    03 May 2016

    Slaughter and May has failed to match Allen & Overy with its new pay rises, leaving staff "disillusioned".

    The results of the firm's 2016 pay review were announced internally on Friday. Apparently across most bands the increases are "at best in line with inflation", around £2,000. That would put solicitors on less than peers at Freshfields and Linklaters (which is so far the only other MC firm to raise pay this year) and nowhere near the earnings of lawyers at A&O, which gave staff unexpectedly massive rises last summer.

    Sources report that Slaughters associates are, as a result, "pretty disillusioned". One said, "we don't expect to keep up with US firms, but when a lawyer at the same PQE at another MC firm is earning £10k more than you when your firm has just made up 10 new partners, it starts to grate".

        The day of his promotion he realised associates were actually ridiculously overpaid.

    More details to follow in Friday's news.
    .... read more >

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