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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

Exclusive: Top Farrer & Co partner prosecuted by SRA
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21 October 2016

Farrer & Co's head of Reputation Management is to be prosecuted by the SRA for allegedly suggesting to News International that it should snoop on other lawyers.

In 2011 prominent Farrers partner Julian Pike was subject to a scathing report on Newsnight suggesting that he may have advised News International to place two lawyers acting for phone hacking victims under surveillance, in order to obtain details on their personal lives. 

Pike was subject to unwelcome publicity after admitting that he knew that his client had misled Parliament. And a spokesman for the SRA said at the time that, hypothetically of course, covert filming of opposing lawyers "could be seen to breach Principle 2, which compels solicitors to act with integrity".

And now, a mere five years later, it has indeed decided to prosecute Pike, with the SDT certifying that there is "a case to answer".

    Yikes Pike 

In the course of advising the Murdoch machine on its defence of civil proceedings for phone hacking, alleges the SRA, Pike "gave advice to the effect that his client should undertake or commission surveillance of a solicitor and employed barrister acting for the claimants". He is also accused of having "commissioned a private investigator to undertake investigations" into the lawyers "without proper justification for doing so". 

Pike's hearing is expected next month. Read more next Friday. .... read more >
'Mrs. Michelle Obama' offers millions to ROF
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22 September 2016

Breaking out the champers here. RollOnFriday is about to get very rich.

.... read more >
North Korea comic break
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21 September 2016

Last night it was the RollOnFriday annual party and today light is stabbing our brains through our eyes with pencils. But also last night, an IT flunkey in North Korea accidentally opened up the country's internet to the world. Today he or she is busy being shredded by an anti-aircraft gun somewhere, but at least we now know that the Hermit Kingdom only has 28 websites.

Although most are no longer accessible, a couple of the news sites, of which there are several, were still accessible this morning. Either Google's North Korean is rusty, or the editor of takes more LSD than his despicable human scum western counterparts.

Another news site proved that the great tradition of photographing the current dictator looking at things lives on. Its home page is comprised solely of photo galleries depicting Kim Jong-Un touring factories, fields and military installations while terrified factotums grin, clap and wield notepads with which to record the chubby titan's every word.

It must be intoxicating to go from a regular to a Caligula overnight, but the dear respected leader probably has doubts and fears, too. In fact, because I am very hungover and couldn't face doing anything else this morning, here they are:

.... read more >
A lovely little humblebrag
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19 September 2016

Herewith an elegant humblebrag, spotted winging across twitter by @JudgeJohnHack:

*carefully snips quote*
*lards in self-deprecation*
*tattoos on chest*
*digs into Lords cricket pitch overnight*
*flies behind plane*
*buries in time capsule*
*names child for* .... read more >
Married to Adam Sandler? This firm can't help you.
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14 September 2016

.... read more >
The 10 best trainee jobs eeeveeerrrr
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07 September 2016

Life as a trainee can be like war: long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.

You spend weeks on a numbing due diligence exercise, checking the same eighteen boxes on the same form, thousands of them, all day, every day. Not even the God of Bore itself, a composite of Paul Scholes and my friend's dad, could design a better way to plough your synapses into a fugue state. But when you finally collapse into bed, your traitorous mind asks w
hether you missed one anomaly in one of those boxes, and leaves you to picture the ball-crushing negligence claim and shameful end of your professional life that would surely follow, and your heartbeat accelerates and your stomach spasms like a wrung flannel and your guts actually weirdly seem to be burning and now your heart is a black stone hammering through your back and only a desperate, calming act of onanism can lull you to rest.

Basically, it's like working quality control on an M&M conveyor belt where if you don't spot the Smartie they shoot your kids. That's what it's like. Like war.

Sometimes you think you've been given a breeze of an assignment, but you haven't, you're just desperate. So when a partner tells you to collect his forgotten gym kit, you're so Shawshanked you treat a visit to a basement thick with hot BO like a trip to Santorini. When you're safely back in corporate with his ponging spinning vest and your Stockholm syndrome, perhaps the gym receptionist, perhaps in between sipping water from a cone and offering bending advice, perhaps he wondered what trauma turned you into a broken spaniel.

But let's not plumb those depths with Gavin. Occasionally good things do happen to bored people, and those lucky roffers have revealed on the discussion board their best experience as a trainee. Here is the top ten ordered correctly by me.

10. "Purchasing counterfeit womens' trainers in Peacocks stores in East London for a TM infringement case, looking like a weirdo in a suit buying womens' shoes."

 It's homework.

9. "A week looking though porn mags to find breaches of copyright."

 Julie notes that Denise from Ipswich looks suspiciously like Amy from Stockport.

8. "Test-purchasing champagne in swanky West End bars."

 Nicky disliked champagne but had a camel's thirst for chablis.

"My firm acted for the BDO in the darts litigation against the WDC. I got to meet and hang out with lots of top darts players and got to know Tony Green quite well."

Up to the oche - and listen to Tony.

6. "Chasing a well known gossip columnist around the city to serve a writ on him."

Probably not him, but he's not going to sue now.

5. "I had an assignment in Zurich where I had to supervise a bunch of document-scanning monkeys to scan stuff at some head office in response to a subpoena. After identifying the relevant documents in the first week all I had to do was go to the office, open up, let the monkeys in then go and find somewhere to have a nap. Did that for another week - went out on the p*ss till about 3 or 4am every night. Good times."

 His reign was brief and negligent.

4. "There was a large development contract for a bus lane to go through a nature reserve. The environmentalists were all up in arms but the government wanted to push ahead. I spent a week walking through the nature reserve with a bunch of scientists and greenies and government peeps observing them recording all the flora and fauna along the proposed route. I was there to write an independent verification report that everything had been done properly. Way better than being in an office looking at documents."

 Reader, she approved the bulldozers. 

3. "Being invited to a closing celebration in Dublin: Michelin star restaurant for lunch, evening beers with the client, hotel, lunch the next day in a fancy café sat next to Pierce Brosnan and his wife, then to Lansdowne Road for Ireland v Australia...all paid for by the client."

 Double oh who gives a toss about the Bribery Act.

2. "Having to go to the old Bourse in Paris to pick up three billion in bearer bonds in a briefcase which was handcuffed to my wrist, and taking it across Paris in a cab to the client at La Defence. I was convinced all the way I was going to get mugged and have my arm chopped off with a machete."

 That is pretty cool.

1. "The day spent looking through the house of a man who had died unexpectedly. His estranged wife had asked that a solicitor locate various items including all photos, negatives and undeveloped film. Found the films in the fridge. Eventually found the rest in a locked filing cabinet that the removal man helped me break into. We could see exactly why she was so keen to get them back."

 What they found.

If you've had an unusual training experience, maybe it involved a tricycle and pirates, chime in. .... read more >
I cannot lose this case
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30 August 2016

Any takers?

.... read more >
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 >

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