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Blogs

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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

Perfect gift: Jeep signed by the Rolling Stones
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19 December 2014

If you've saved some cash buying everyone very cheap socks this Christmas, there's really only one sensible way to spend the remainder: buy a Jeep signed by the Rolling Stones. The perfect stocking filler for dad.

    Paint it black, with mud

The cherry red 2014 Jeep Renegade (Official Car of the 2014 Rolling Stones On Fire tour) has been donated to a charity auction, with the money raised going to Community Links, which helps out in deprived areas of the UK. The current bid is $42,500, so you really will need to have skimped on those socks.

A four wheel drive sounds about right for the Stones, even if a Beetle would have been nice. It's not qute clear how long the signatures will last, though. From the video it looks like the band signed the bonnet with a marker pen, and Watts and Wood are very near the edges. If that isn't a serious permanent pen they're going to get rubbed out driving through the first puddle. Maybe it's intended more as a Chelsea tractor, or a piece for your Ferris Bueller-style show lounge, than for rolling over stones.

Small print: the car can't be legally driven outside Europe, the Middle East and Africa because the signatures have criminal records. Bid here.
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Firm website hacked and used to advertise Viagra
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1
16 December 2014

It's important to pay your IT contractors on time. From Pride Solicitors' website:



I called to find out whether the prominent advert for generic Viagra was the work of a disgruntled employee or if the lawyers were just supplementing their income.

Receptionist: "Hello, Pride Solicitors."
Jamie: "Hi, I'm calling from the legal news website RollOnFriday. Is there anyone I can talk to about a press enquiry?"
The receptionist puts me on hold.
Receptionist: "He says he's calling from some company."
J: "It's me."
Receptionist: "Oh, it's you."
The receptionist puts me back on hold.
Receptionist: "You need to hang up and I'll call back, there's something wrong with the phone."
J: "You want me to hang up?"
Receptionist: "It's still you. No."
The receptionist puts me back on hold.
A man: "Hello."
J: "Hi, are you..who are you, please?"
Man: "Who are you?"
J: "I'm Jamie calling from RollOnFriday."
Man: "I am a solicitor."
J: "I wanted to speak to someone about the Viagra advert on your website."
Solicitor: "I'm not following you, sorry."
J: "Have you seen your website today?"
Solicitor: "Yes."
J: "There's an advert for Viagra just beneath his firm's logo."
Solicitor: "I haven't...let me go and check."
There is the sound of clicking.


Solicitor: "It wasn't there before. It wasn't there before. That's annoying."
J: "It's not intentional?"
Solicitor: "That's not the case."
There is a sudden transfer of the call.
Another man: "Hello?"
J: "Hello?"
Another man: "You're calling about the website?"
J: "Yes, who are you please?"
Another man: "Farouk."
J: "What's your position in the firm?"
Farouk: "I'm the director, yeah."
J: "I'm just wondering, have you paid your IT guys?"
Farouk: "Are you the IT contractor?"
J: "No, I'm calling from RollOnFriday."
Farouk: "You're not the contractor?"
J: "No. I'm not the contractor."
Farouk: "Yeah, he's been paid."
J: "Right."
Farouk: "It's because of page corrections, and mapping, the code."
J: "But do you know how the advert got on the site?"
Farouk: "I don't know. Our contractor, he's trying yeah, but I don't know whether he's able to do it."
J: "So you might be stuck with it?"
Farouk:  "It's really embarrassing. Yesterday I told him to mend it, and the day before. Now I am calling again and it's still there."
J: "It might be good for business."
Farouk (laughing): "No."
J: "Good luck."

The advert links to a defunct page on a Honduran photographer's website. It's not quite the Sony hack, but who knows where it could lead. Hopefully to some knock-off Viagra.

Thanks to the reader who let us know.
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Exclusive: Two Linklaters partners resign after office party fight
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15 December 2014

Two Linklaters partners have resigned from the firm after brawling at an Oktoberfest party.

Litigation partner Laurenz Schmitt decided, presumably after a few too many steins, that tax partner Thomas Elser was 'standing too close' to a female student at the Munich office's "After Wiesn Party". In order to defend her honour Schmitt rushed over and repeatedly punched Elser in the face.

    Elser and Schmitt, now free to start a boutique firm together. But unlikely to do so.
After an internal investigation Schmitt and Elser have resigned, meaning both men have lost partnership at Linklaters and over a million a year because of a pissed scrap over a girl at the office party. Sterling work. The firm declined to comment.

Read more on Friday.
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Sadiq Ahmed, the scammer who tried to scam RollOnFriday, is back, and he's annoyed
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9
11 December 2014

When an internet scam artist calling himself 'Sadiq Ahmed' got in touch with RollOnFriday offering us a share of $79 million which he had stolen from Syria in exchange for a few of our details, of course I didn't hesitate to provide a photo of Michael Heseltine and pretend to be 'Mr Wibble'.

If you haven't read what happened next, do, because otherwise this is going to make no sense at all.

In what I thought would be the final email, Mr Wibble told Sadiq that all his teeth had been removed and that he was waiting to meet Sadiq in Dubai airport. Mr Wibble also attached a poorly photoshopped montage of Michael Heseltine with new gold teeth and a bodybuilding Syrian clutching a hen. I didn't think Mr Wibble would hear from Sadiq again, but I was wrong.

A note: all the people corresponding with Sadiq are made up. You cannot actually instruct Harker Bumtrumpet to be your solicitor. In fact, since Sadiq is the invention of a scam artist, what follows is effectively a conversation between two idiots trying to persuade the other that their fictional characters are real.











     



Since Sadiq had been so forthcoming, it was time to introduce Mr Wibble's wife and give Sadiq the opportunity to make some real money.





















Time for Mrs Wibble to invent her own Syrian. Enter Neil Mohammed. Copying in Sadiq, of course.




















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Sadiq Ahmed, the scammer who tried to scam RollOnFriday, is back, and he's annoyed
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1
11 December 2014

When an internet scam artist calling himself 'Sadiq Ahmed' got in touch with RollOnFriday offering us a share of $79 million which he had stolen from Syria in exchange for a few of our details, of course I didn't hesitate to provide a photo of Michael Heseltine and pretend to be 'Mr Wibble'.

If you haven't read what happened next, do, because otherwise this is going to make no sense at all.

In what I thought would be the final email, Mr Wibble told Sadiq that all his teeth had been removed and that he was waiting to meet Sadiq in Dubai airport. Mr Wibble also attached a poorly photoshopped montage of Michael Heseltine with new gold teeth and a bodybuilding Syrian clutching a hen. I didn't think Mr Wibble would hear from Sadiq again, but I was wrong.

A note: all the people corresponding with poor Sadiq are made up. Since he is also an invention of a scam artist, what follows is a conversation between two idiots trying to persuade the other that their fictional characters are real.











     



Since Sadiq had been so forthcoming, it was time to introduce Mr Wibble's perspicacious wife and give him the opportunity to make some real money.





















Time for Mrs Wibble to invent her own Syrian. Enter Neil Mohammed. Copying in Sadiq, of course.




















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Pinsent Masons lawyer loses festive fetish gear
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2
11 December 2014

Avoid embarrassment this Christmas; remember to give your complete address when ordering GimpFun Ltd items.











.... read more >
BLP is Whitechapel Road in UK Law Firm Monopoly, the year's must-have game
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6
09 December 2014

Themed Monopoly sets are a dime a dozen these days, but management consultant Janders Dean has commissioned a version which players will love whatever their interests: UK Law Firms Monopoly.

Kids of all ages will be delighted when they unwrap UK Law Firms Monopoly on Christmas Day. Though it won't be as popular at BLP and Lewis Silkin, because they're Whitechapel and Old Kent Road. They must have offended these people egregiously.

 
   

Taylor Wessing won't be that impressed either.

     

Meanwhile it's a stark reminder of life's possibilities for Clyde & Co, Pinsents and 2 Birds, which are all wedged between a Partner's Country House and jail.

     

Norton Rose Fulbright, Hogan Lovells and the 'Shed are all lumped into the same bracket as Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street, though NRF is worth 20 quid more which will delight it and infuriate Hoglove.

     

However all three should be very happy being orange properties, because they are of course the most frequently landed upon in the game.

Moving round the board, some difficult choices had to made allocating the reds.

     

That's 'Chance', not Clifford Chance. Links being £20 more than A&O and Freshfields might surprise both firms, though perhaps Freshfields will understand that it had to be matched to its Fleet Street address. Talking of surprises, Simmons & Simmons costs more than all of them.

     

And Ashurst being worth £40 more than Freshfields is frankly risible.

     

So, here's CC. It gets a prime spot as Regent Street, well above the rest of the Magic Circle, along with Herbies and DLA Piper. No, there's no cap-doffing to the traditional elites here, not in the cold world of macro-economics as navigated by a boot and a dog. But which two firms are the Park Lane and Mayfair of UK law?

     

That's right. Even in their own game, UK Law Firms could not take the top spot.

RollOnFriday's copy is going in the bag of prizes for our Christmas quiz next week, so set several reminders. In the meantime, put right Monopoly's wrongs by ranking your firm in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2015 survey. And if you're in-house, take part in the RollOnFriday In-House Lawyer 2015 survey. It's £2 cheaper than landing on Lewis Silkin.




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Exclusive: RollOnFriday interviews fired Apprentice lawyer Felipe
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6
05 December 2014

Ex-lawyer Felipe Alviar-Baquero has been fired from The Apprentice in scandalous circumstances, sparking heated debate around the nation's water coolers. Almost immediately after Felipe's sacking aired, he spoke to me about #Skeletongate, why he left Lathams and Suralan's mysterious hatred of lawyers.

Bucking the trend for Apprentice contestants, Felipe came across as a decent, intelligent person on the show. RollOnFriday profiled Felipe when he first appeared on it, and former colleagues piled onto RollOnFriday to agree that he was a good egg. Which all meant that he never stood a chance of winning. Of course he read the story ("I'm one of the RollOnFriday generation. It's one of the things you read every Friday"), and although he "was terrified what you were going to say", he didn't mind the digs about his shiny suit, and agreed to an interview (and thanks to roffers on the discussion board for their suggestions for questions).

    You're hired! (by RoF) (for an interview) (it's unpaid)

RoF: Did you feel a bit aggrieved getting the chop for buying a paper skeleton when the other team bought a plastic one?

Felipe: The description of the skeleton was so loose. You're given very little information and you're thinking, 'what are they looking for?' If you give people the flexibility, it's your fault. They got what they asked for.

The conversation in the boardroom was long with Lord Sugar. We had a long, long conversation.

They say they want an entreprenuer, so you think it's alright to think outside the box. But...for eight hours people think that you're a genius, and then in the boardroom you're suddenly an idiot.

    Felipe's last stand

Why didn't you argue more with suralan about the anatomical skeleton? You were being bright and should not have admitted defeat.

The argument went on for ages. The problem is you have a whole group of people in there from the production. It's like arguing in front of a judge, and if they're not going to take the point, it doesn't matter how long you argue, they're not going to take the point. You could see he was getting quite angry about it. I wasn't trying to make him look silly. And then we got that totally ridiculous fine, which took us over the limit so we lost.

Shouldn't someone have been assigned to build the skeleton?

You couldn't do it in the time you have. In the car there's no space. You have the cameraman, the sound guy, the editor. It's logistically impossible.

    Every great leader has a flat pack skeleton in their cupboard. It takes up less space.

Why didn't you stand up in the boardroom and say "Lord Sugar, you changed the rules once the task was completed...I have no interest in working alongside such a conniving, dishonest person. Thank you for the opportunity to see what you are really like. I don't like. Goodbye"?

[Laughs] I don't quit, and I argued my point as much as I wanted.

What was your impression of how the programme was made - fair or not?  

You have to give a lot of credit to the production team. They are amazing. Most days they film 14 or 15 hours, and have to condense it to one hour, with half of that in the boardroom. But they don't get to show that you do have to do everything yourself - there really is no help, at all.


  Anyone who can do this is going to be just fine

Why in the name of all that is wonderful would you want to work for Alan Sugar?

I really believe The Apprentice is one of the few programmes that makes people think about entrepreneurship. I've always been giving talks about the importance of being an entrepreneur and what it means to be one, and it was one of the things that was important to me, even at Slaughters.

Why does he dislike lawyers so much?

I don't know. I wanted to show him that law was an incredible profession. We work hard, but...I don't know. Something...[laughs] I really don't know.

How did you manage to not punch that Australian?

In life you have to manage people, and you have to respect everybody. That's the way I am.

    He really is jolly nice

(At this point Felipe asked if we could pause the interview to listen to his interview on Radio 1, apologising profusely. If I were him I would have happily told me our interview was over and hung up, but he's too nice for that, and invited me to stay on the line so we could continue talking afterwards. Because the radio interview played clips of Felipe on the show, I found myself in a hall of Felipe mirrors, listening to Felipe on the phone listening to Felipe on the radio listening to Felipe on The Apprentice listening to Suralan slag him off)

You come out of the show looking pretty good. Were you worried about how you might be made to look?


My biggest worry was my kids. Everything you do in life will have an impact on them. But I worked so hard [on the show] and was not prepared to change, so I thought I'd be ok. I hope my daughters will be proud of me.

Why did you leave Lathams?

Lathams I left because I wanted to do Latin-American work and that wasn't an area they were interested in. I think law firms should be focusing there. I'd gone to Singapore and I just didn't want to go to Singapore again. Lathams weren't interested in Latin America, so I left.

    And he wasn't a fan of the dress code either

What's next?

I will continue doing the play areas for kids, TinyTown, putting interactive play areas at the centre of communities.

When the phone rings in the morning, do you really only have 15 minutes (or whatever it is) to get ready for Sir Alan?

Yes. Whatever they tell you, that is how long you have.

What would you say to RollOnFriday's readers?

Be proud to be lawyers.


  Felipe celebrating, before Sugar pulls a cannonball
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Scammer dresses up for RoF
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4
02 December 2014

Recently I posted the correspondence between Sadiq Ahmed, a Syrian gentleman who had $79 million burning a hole in his pocket, and Mr Wibble, a credulous and greedy old man. It went strange.

Unlikely as it may seem considering where Mr Wibble left off (sending Sadiq crudely-photoshopped self-portraits), Sadiq has been back in touch. I'll be posting what happened next once the whole thing collapses in on itself next week, but in the meantime, here's how I discovered it is possible to push these honourable benefactors of the internet too far. Please don't tell anyone what you are about to read: it is TOP SECRET.


















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Slaughter and May gives biggest bonuses yet to associates
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01 December 2014

Slaughter and May is awarding bigger Christmas bonuses to its associates this year, as long as they're not on the naughty list.

Associates up to six months' PQE who pulled out a "good or exceptional" performance in 2014 will receive 7.5% of their annual salary. 1-2 PQE associates will get 10%, 2.5-4 PQE will get 12.5% and 4.5-6.5 PQE will recieve a very decent 15%. All those percentages are up on last year.

But that's just the cream: in a statement the firm explained that associates "who do not attain this level of achievement" will "receive a lower bonus percentage".  
 
    He'd dreamt of a lower bonus percentage all year, which was lucky

Until last year Slaughter and May awarded the same percentage bonus to everyone (5% in 2012). Now, only trainees and support staff remain on the socialist system. All of them will receive a 3% bonus, the same as last year.

However the upper limits of the associate bonuses have risen:

  Xmas 2013
 Xmas 2014
Up to 6 months PQE
 6%  7.5%
 1-2 PQE  8%  10%
 2.5-4 PQE  10%  12.5%
 4.5-6.5 PQE  12%  15%
 7+ PQE  You should be a partner by now/have left

Santa Richard Clark, Executive Partner of Slaughter and May, said "We do not impose billing or time recording targets on our associates and our approach to bonus differentiation is to recognise performance and career progression while ensuring that we reflect our team culture of valuing and recognising everyone’s contribution".

Is your firm handing out yuletide bonuses? Any as good as Skadden? Or have the partners decided times are a little too testing to lavish gold on the troops? Let RollOnFriday know. .... read more >

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