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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

DLA gashgate partner's extraordinary emails revealed
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26 July 2016

The extraordinary emails sent by a DLA partner have been revealed against his will, along with his attempt to defend his use of the word "Klunt" by claiming he was referring to one of Ricky Gervais' Flanimals.

Nick West was caught out in 2014 when emails which he sent to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore were leaked. In one email West complained about an in-house lawyer - "have spent all day fending Edna off my graphite shaft. She is terribly relentless isn’t she?!” In another he advised Scudamore to “save your cash in case you find some gash”.

Scudamore's PA was appalled by the exchanges. She leaked extracts of the emails to the press and West found himself hitting the headlines and had to issue a grovelling apology. DLA reported West to the SRA, and he was called to a tribunal. West had originally agreed to pay a fine of £10,000 in return for the evidence not to be made public, but the chairman of the tribunal, Andrew Spooner, ordered that it be read out. Spooner described West's comments as "despicable" and increased the fine to £15,000.

Now the SDT has published its ruling, revealing that West may actually be Roy Chubby Brown, aged 13. Here are the 'highlights' (West is the Respondent). Fun task: read them and imagine being a woman working along the corridor from him.

1. "Anti-klimax"

2. "Dangle of your dong"

3. "Foetus shopping"

4. "Kluntish"

5. "Graphite shaft"

6. "Gash"

7. "Teach her to talk"

Aside from the toe-curling attempts at gagsmithery, the saddest thing about the emails is West's pathetic, panting indulgence of his client's misogyny. What a depressing lesson if a partner at DLA feels they have to sink to these depths to keep the fees coming in.

  Here comes the Bantasaurus Rex

Unsurprisingly, West was extremely keen for the emails not to see the light of day.

He gave the SDT four reasons why it would be "wrong, unfair and disproportionate" for the tribunal to publish them. Firstly, because "the majority of the emails were sent by others". Which doesn't address the fact that some of them were sent by West, nor that his lapdog-like response to the rest represents a failure by omission to stand up to his client.

Secondly, because he and his chums thought their misogynist bantah "would remain private". Except West used the firm's email system to send and receive them.

Thirdly, because the emails were exchanges "between long-standing friends" and contained comments which might damage them. Presumably those super-sexist comments for which, it might be argued, they should be damaged.

Fourthly, and somewhat negating the third reason and his whole argument not to publish, because the emails "contained what were intended to be light-hearted remarks" and the participants "were not in the least offended by them because they understood their proper meaning".

And what was their proper meaning, according to West's letter to the tribunal? Er...

That resulted in one of the more extraordinary sentences to grace a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal:

Shockingly, the tribunal did not buy West's Flanimal Defence. Nor West's argument that the graphite shaft conversation was merely referring to golf clubs. It was particularly unimpressed that "the email referring to 'the dangle of your dong' was sent in the context of a recruitment exercise".

Summing up, the tribunal called Gashgate a "sad and salutary lesson" for West "and indeed the profession not to engage in inappropriate and offensive correspondence particularly when using business email addresses in the course of their work". Especially if you're an unfunny creep.

The full ruling:

Nick West Ruling

Read more on Friday.

.... read more >
High Court sorry for making people wet themselves
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25 July 2016

A number of readers have got in touch about a golden typo.

The operations manager of the Rolls Building on Fetter Lane, which houses 31 courtrooms, has sent all registered court users an email about fee increases. He's expecting the worst.

RollOnFriday has redacted the poor gentleman's name because we've all done it.

Kind retards,

ROF .... read more >
The Lawyer magazine calls Dentons chairman a 'ranting loon' in url slip-up
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25 July 2016

The Lawyer has accidentally published an article with a url which calls the boss of Dentons a ranting loon.

Dentons chairman Joe Andrew had talked to The Lawyer to object to a commentator who claimed that Dentons, with its Swiss Verein structure, was not a proper law firm, but a giant legal network. The suggestion struck a nerve with Andrew, who laid into the commentator's "arrogant perspective". The Lawyer duly published Andrew's polemic, only someone in the office left in what they really thought in the url:

The address was hastily amended from "loon-andrew-rants" to the less provocative "lets-make-netweorks-great-again". As a ROF tipster noted sagely, "Awkward AF". Though to be fair to The Lawyer, Andrew is a bit of a talker. .... read more >
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

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 >

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