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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

The lawyer who loved IP
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20 October 2017

I assumed that last week's German tax lawyers were the most enthusiastic lawyers in Germany. They expressed a stunning degree of affection for their chosen métier, one claiming "Excel is my passion", and that tax had a "thrilling legal aura which didn't let me go".

   "Hold my stein."   

Then a tipster alerted us to Raffaele Raineri's LinkedIn page. Raineri is an IP lawyer based in Munich and he bloody loves it. It is not known how he got hold of my haircut from 1994.

Raineri's lust for law prompted RollOnFriday's source to comment, somewhat unfairly, "What an absolute knobber". He does, it is true, go on like Gwyneth Paltrow espousing her gloopy Goop philosophy:



But he also deftly anticipates accusations of knobbery (see above):



Don't worry Raffaele, it doesn't come across as pretentious, because it doesn't come across. It's a buzzword salad, now please go into overdrive.



If you've spotted a lawyer being very grand about the process of submitting applications to patent minor variations in the design of a spork, carton or tube, write in. .... read more >
Used car lawyers
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19 October 2017

A reader compared last week's IP-loving Italian solicitor to Swiss Toni. But if there was ever a firm which looked like it flogged used cars, it's this bunch. Behold:



Apparently at Lincoln IP "we decipher technology", but those coordinated digits say otherwise. They say we work under bunting. They say we can three-point turn in a shoe box. They say we know our way around a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man. 

I'm particularly drawn to Les Dawson. It's his louche, hand-in-pocket stance. It says enthusiastic but relaxed. It says this is not my first rodeo. Reverse is sticky because it's cold. Those melted divots are part of the steering wheel's ergonomic design. Ignore the fungal smell masked by Royal Pine freshener. And I would.

Not like Atkins Diet Peter Kay. He's hopeless. He's clearly one pulse away from sharting and knows it. He's sweating. His fallow arm is available, but what use is it? None. Help me Debra, he mutters through clenched teeth. Help me I'm gonna shart again. But even though she is right next to him, she doesn't seem to hear him.

It is because she is disgusted.

Of course the star of the show is the boss, centre stage, oblivious to the squalid human drama playing out behind him. He is concentrating on knocking that double-thumber out of the park. It's up there with the best.

    The best. 

Also, he sees you. 

  "They don't but I do. I see you. John." 

That deal may look overlawyered, but don't underestimate the complexity of Lincoln IP's work. Mrs Firthing isn't going to just fall over and pay sticker price. She wants rubber mats and a boot liner. It's going to take all of them to push this one through. Even Peter, but don't stress him out about it or he will degrade the chair. Let's just focus on shifting this Honda Jazz.

Exchange your used law news for nothing here. .... read more >
Exclusive: Bryan Cave and BLP in merger talks
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16 October 2017

BLP is in merger talks with Bryan Cave, RollOnFriday understands.

Berwin Leighton Paisner has been looking to merge with a US firm. Last year talks with Greenberg Traurig collapsed because of fears that the far larger Greenberg (whose partners earn twice as much) would demand a painful restructuring of the UK firm. BLP insiders said at the time that a purge of its equity partners would have been on the cards, and they worried that a flog-now, die-later US culture would have turned the place into a sweat shop. BLP partners also didn't like the prospect of Greenberg's black box remuneration being forced upon them, where partners aren't told what anyone else earns and are paid on the basis of year-to-year merit rather than seniority.  

  Bryan Cave is waiting. 

There is less chance of that pressure being brought to bear by Bryan Cave, which is half the size of Greenberg. Though it's still considerably larger than BLP, with around 900 lawyers compared to BLP's 500, and revenues in 2015 of £463m versus BLP's £259m.

How likely is a merger? Well, it is one of half a dozen merger rumours that have sailed in to BLP for comment in the last seven days. Last week, RollOnFriday understands, the firm had to bat away suggestions it was in talks with Simmons, Norton Rose Fulbright, Hunters (some US firm) and Kattens (some other US firm). So either it's speed dating firms, it's all bull or BC is the one. Watch this space. Not literally, it would be dull and you probably need to do work and eat.

UPDATE: BLP has confirmed it is in talks with BC. Read more on Friday. .... read more >
The barrister with a Game of Thrones theme tune
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04 October 2017

Nothing brings to mind brutal power games, dragons and the promise of fleeting nudity like the Game of Thrones theme tune. Duhduh-duhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduh deeeeeeduhduhdidideeduuuududehduuuuuh duh - so evocative. But cut off my willy and send it away in a box, because now you can add 'costs barristers' to the list.

 

No, costs barrister Andrew Hogan's website is not on the face of it as exciting as coming face-to-face with a white walker, getting a sword through the face or finding a bag of spare faces. In fact, it looks duller than a date between that slave girl translator who can't act so good and that eunuch soldier who can't act so good, and whose Action Man groin we didn't even get to see during their sex scene.

Hogan doesn't have any sex scenes on his website, instead he poses in scenic Nottingham.

 The Wall   

However he does have a theme tune.




And it goes like this: Duhduh-duhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduh deeeeeeduhduhdidideeduuuududehduuuuuh duh- Yes, it's the Game of Thrones theme tune, and it plays automatically when you land on Hogan's site. A reader told RollOnFriday about it because, I imagine, his colleagues heard it blaring from his monitor and assumed he was googling 'Tyrion words of wisdom' instead of doing his work, and he cried, "I'm not skiving, this costs barrister has got the Game of Thrones theme tune on his website", but they didn't believe him and pushed him out of a window, crippling him, and now he gets pulled around on a sled and despite demanding they stop everyone calls him the three-eyed raven.

Hogan does allow you to pause the music, but you shouldn't, you should risk becoming the three eyed raven, because the alternative is reading about costs law with nothing to distract from that, and without the Game of Thrones theme tune playing you will beg for a vial of that poison that gave Joffrey varicose vein face. Of course Hogan knows that, which is why he's made costs law more interesting by adding stirring music. And it goes both ways. After a visit to Hogan's site, you'll never watch the show again without the nagging thought that the Lannisters should always pay their debts with the assistance of a costs lawyer providing an accurate assessment of the amounts due.

    Hogan in action 

Hogan's a true fan of the show, even referring to the fact that season 7 is available to buy in a post headed Winter Has Come. Hopefully he's got a deal to use their music, otherwise HBO Will Come and slap him with a copyright infringement suit, and that can only end one way: with a cute pixie cut and a naked procession down Exchange Arcade. Right, that's enough Game of Thrones references, I don't want to go hodorboard.
.... read more >
Exclusive: Bakers retains 94% of trainees
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27 September 2017

Baker McKenzie has managed an excellent retention rate of 94%, RollOnFriday understands.

The firm made offers to 100% of its trainees qualifying this autumn. One declined, an inside source told RollOnFriday, "as they like money". Translation: find them tomorrow at a US firm.

94% surpasses the firm's own decent stat in spring, when it retained 13/16 (81%) of its trainees. And last autumn's score, when it kept on 14/16 (88%).

RoF is waiting on Bakers to confirm the number of trainees in the latest intake. Was it 16? It was 16 before. And the time before that. But will it be 16 this time? RollOnFriday does not know. It could be. It might not be. It is not known at this time.

    ??? 

Read more shortly. Fingers crossed it's 16, though. The symmetry - the continuity - would be pleasing.

God it would be great if it was 16. Please be 16. In the meantime, here's the table:



Sod it. If it's 16, I'm going to buy a bunch of flowers for my wife and get my daughter one of those learner bikes. And, why not, I'm going to book a family holiday. Nothing extravagant, just a weekend break. But they'll really like it. They deserve it. If it's 16. 

Update: It is 16! 

A spokeswoman said that one trainee wanted to return home, so they were sent to qualify into the firm's Belfast office. Presumably their home is in Belfast, otherwise, ouch, cold move. Another "liked it so much" on secondment in Brussels that they "decided to stay". And the one who left, because they liked money, has not gone to a US firm, but a "specialist finance company". Maybe Black Rock, maybe Wonga.

Baker McKenzie Training Principal Arron Slocombe said, "I'm very pleased that we have such a high retention rate this year and have been able to make offers not just in London, but also in Brussels and Belfast. We our committed to attracting the best and brightest talent and offer the finest training and opportunities, while also maintaining our culture of being a great place to work".

Pack the bags, kids, we're going to Yarmouth.  .... read more >
Exclusive: Kennedys in talks to buy Plexus
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26 September 2017

Kennedys is in advanced talks to buy Plexus, RollOnFriday understands, although the firms have poured cold water on the rumour. 

A source has told RollOnFriday that Plexus, the one-time Golden Turd which was flushed into administration and then resurrected, was "being bought" by Kennedys. While not confirmed by either firm, it would make sense. In the UK the two have sparred in the same claims markets for years, taking each other's places on panels, poaching each other's staff, backing their cars into each other with sabotaged indicators, etc. There have also been signs that Plexus may be ready and willing and actually pretty bloody desperate for a takeover, including seeking this summer to quietly lease its London office.

  Here they come to save the daaay*

*NB may make some redundancies as a result of synergies. 

Regional firm Plexus, which specialises in insurance defendant claims, won the Golden Turd in 2014 when its staff voted themselves the least satisfied in the UK. There was worse to come. Mass redundancies followed in 2015,  then Plexus sought a takeover by Keoghs which fell apart when Keoghs walked away from talks, and then, that November, the larger Parabis group collapsed. It was split up via pre-pack administration deals and sold off in a firesale, which Plexus survived after being taken over by some of Parabis' founding members.

With over 1700 staff and offices around the world (where its partners are, sometimes, sued for defamation) Kennedys is by far the larger firm. It also has a record of plundering Plexus for resources, in recent years tempting a 13-lawyer team to defect. If Kennedys latest move is indeed taking it over wholesale, hopefully the talks will be more productive than they were for Keoghs. And don't presage another collapse for Plexus. 

Although it may have gone that way already. A spokesman for Plexus said the firm was not in discussions with Kennedys, whose spokesman said that while it was approached by firms "regularly", it was not buying Plexus. 






.... read more >
Exclusive: Quinn Emanuel partner explodes at BoJo
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20 September 2017

Quinn Emanuel's Brussels managing partner has branded Boris Johnson a liar and joked that Theresa May is going to Florence to buy shoes.

Trevor Soames, an EU competition lawyer, published his outburst on Linkedin on Sunday afternoon. Stirred to action by Johnson's Telegraph column in which the foreign secretary repeated his claim that leaving the EU would allow £350m a week to be pumped into public services, Soames wrote that Johnson's "ability to lie is only exceeded by his personal ambition". Calling the tousle-haired japester's fib "extraordinary", Soames wrote that the letter of rebuke from the UK Statistics Authority, "made clear that he remains a 🤥 liar".

    Somo's Bojo nono 

The Quinn partner, who has said that he has applied for Belgium citizenship and will not return to the UK post-Brexit, wrote that Johnson only stands behind Theresa May "knife in hand". 

Not that he is a huge fan of May. Exclaiming, "Lord alone knows why" she picked Florence to deliver her speech on Brexit, the Quinn partner mocked her for "going to Florence this week on a taxpayer funded jolly, no doubt to purchase some shoes 👠 (in respect of which she has excellent taste)".

Opting wisely not to lob any more gender-based slights, Soames finished with a 'wry' concession that "there is a long history to the relationship between England and Florence. It was the English King, Edward III, whose default in 1343 caused a financial crisis and bankrupted the (then) greatest financial houses of Florence".

A LinkedIn follower commented, "You can forget that peerage now".

.... read more >
Exclusive: Redundancies at Hogan Lovells
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18 September 2017

Hogan Lovells is laying off dozens of support staff as part of a restructuring. The redundancy process, announced internally today, will affect 78 business services roles and 12 legal support roles, all in the London office. The jobs are expected to be transferred from London to the firm's low cost offices in either Birmingham or Johannesburg, or outsourced entirely. 

Staff in London were told that support staff in the US are going to be affected, too, and will be told when they go into work today. The difference is that the US redundancies will be structured as voluntary retirements.

    A voluntary retirement yesterday 

Last week RollOnFriday revealed that Pinsent Masons is laying off over 100 support staff as a part of a similar rationalisation.

A HogLove spokeswoman said, “The drivers behind our VERP* program are two-fold.  First, it is in response to requests we have had from a number of business services members to undertake early retirement and offers our people enhanced terms.  Second, it enables us to look again at our business services roles and where we deliver those services from.   Together they give us an opportunity to accelerate how we deliver our business services operations in the U.S. and globally, making sure they are aligned to the future needs of our firm”.

Read more on Friday.

*That's Voluntary Early Retirement Programme, by the way, not Very Endangered Role Pacification or a new STI. .... read more >
Firm gives the finger in ill-conceived ad
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18 September 2017

At first glance it's cloyingly whimsical, on closer inspection it's five people telling you to do one.





As a tipster notes, "Lovely little two-fingered salute to 'our people'". How did that get through, really. 

'But it makes a star'. Yes it does, doesn't it. But then, so does this.




That's yours for free, Scullion. .... read more >
Glimpse inside RollOnFriday Pt 2
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12 September 2017

Recently RollOnFriday gave readers a glimpse into its inner workings when a firm's reputation manager threatened to sue. The consensus was that RollOnFriday wore the white hat in that encounter. But rarely, maybe once every 100 years, we get it wrong.

In my defence, Dawn Ellmore Recruitment has a reputation for inventing members of staff. And so when somebody tipped us off that one of its employees listed on LinkedIn, James, was a work of fiction conjured from a photo of a genuine employee, Luke, in which Luke wore a different expression and tie, they were pushing at an open door. 



The transcript of the phone call which followed yields a peek behind the curtain which, sadly, exposes this RollOnFriday reporter as an over-excited gimboid instead of a titan of investigative journalism.

Receptionist: Good morning, Dawn Ellmore employment. How can I help you?

JH: Hi, could I speak to James Smithson, please?

R: Yes, could I take your name please?

JH: Yes, it's Jamie Hamilton.

R: Ok, bear with me one moment.

JH: Thanks.

[On hold]

R: Hi Jamie, can I ask what the call's regarding?

JH: I actually need to speak to James directly about that. If that's alright.

R: Ok, bear with me.

[On hold]

James Smithson: Hi, it's James here, how can I help?

JH: Oh hi, is that James Smithson?

JS: It is.

JH: Hi James, I'm calling from RollOnFriday. I'm just slightly puzzled because I saw you on LinkedIn and I've been told that you've got the same picture as your colleague, Luke Rehbein. Is that an error on the platform?

JS: Erm, no. I've got my own picture on LinkedIn, thank you very much.

JH: Oh, so you're...because it looks to me like you're actually Luke Rehbein. 

JS: ...No, I'm not [puzzled laugh].

JH: You're James Smithson?

JS: And I've got my own picture on there.

JH: It looks the same as Luke's picture.

JS: ...No it doesn't.

JH: It does, it's the same. It's the same picture.

JS: Where are you calling from, sorry?

JH: RollOnFriday, the legal news website.

JS: It's...not the same picture. I'm looking at my profile right now and it's...my picture.

JH: Because it looks like you just...it just looks like Luke's picture with a different face - different expression, sorry.

JS: Er, no, I think you're getting mixed up here, sorry. Thanks very much. Bye.

[JS hangs up]

[JH conducts frantic, silent analysis of photos]

 

JH: Oh *@~!*. He's right. They are pictures of completely different people.

James Dennison: No. Really? So you called him up and accused him of not existing?

JH: From his perspective that must have been strange. Someone just phoned him out of the blue and insisted he's not real. Maybe I've plunged him into an existential crisis.

JD: He's staring into a mirror, questioning everything.

JH: I can't write this up. It's too toe-curling.


Three months later I can. Sorry, James, for being a wally. You are real. You are real. .... read more >

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