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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

Saatchi visits Horwich Farrelly
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12 February 2016

John O’Roarke, the Chairman of Horwich Farrelly, sits at the boardroom table with Rob Barrett, the firm's Managing Partner.

O’Roarke: I can't wait to see our new logo.

Barrett: It certainly cost enough!

O’Roarke: You get what you pay for. And apparently this Saatchi fellow is the best in the business.

Barrett: Yes. Although I did hear something about how he designed a dildo for Dentons and a cat's arsehole for Herbert Smith Freehills.

O’Roarke: Really? That's odd. I'm sure he-

There is a huge explosion as the doors of the boardroom are blown off their hinges. O'Roarke and Barrett cower behind their chairs as debris rains down. Saatchi, for it is he, goosesteps through the smoke wearing an SS officer's uniform.

Barrett: What the hell is -

Saatchi: Silence!

Saatchi gives Barrett a backhander across the face, sending him reeling to the carpet.

O’Roarke: Saatchi! What do you think you're doing?

Saatchi pulls out a Luger pistol and points it at Barrett, who screams and curls into a ball. Saatchi smiles and holsters his weapon.

Saatchi: Did I get your attention?

O’Roarke looks round the smouldering boardroom. Barrett stares up in shock, his face wet with tears.

O’Roarke: Yes, but -

Saatchi: At what price? A fair question. Easily answered - no price is too high for the attention of millions of new customers.

Barrett lets out a sob.

O’Roarke: Why are you dressed as a Nazi?

Saatchi puts his hands over O’Roarke's eyes.

Saatchi: What colour is the other little man's tie?

O’Roarke: I...I don't know.

Saatchi: What am I wearing?

O’Roarke: A Nazi uniform.

Saatchi: Exactly. Do you want to be the law firm with a forgettable tie, or the law firm everyone remembers? Behold your new logo!

Barrett: That's...that's a swastika.

Saatchi: Bingo! Or, should I say, schnell!

O’Roarke: Is this a joke?

Saatchi: Only if you call four quadrant brand recognition a joke.

O’Roarke: But it's a swastika.

Barrett: Mr Saatchi -

Saatchi: Lord.

Barrett: Lord Saatchi-

Saatchi: Apologise.

Barrett: Sorry?

Saatchi: Carry on.

Barrett: Lord Saatchi, we don't want to be associated with the Nazis.

Saatchi: You said you were on a budget.

O’Roarke: Yes.

Saatchi: It is gold. Just sitting there. There is no copyright on it.

O’Roarke: Look, this may be some trendy advertising tactic where you shock people, but we are a law firm, not a...I don't know who would have a swastika as their logo. It doesn't matter. I cannot put this strongly enough - this is unacceptable and we will not accept it as our logo.

Saatchi: Good.

O’Roarke: Really?

Saatchi: Yes. I completely understand.

: Thank goodness.

Saatchi: It is absurd.

O’Roarke: It really is.

Saatchi: It was a ploy. An old adland trick. I show you something ghastly, and then you will be a lot more receptive when I show you the real idea.

O’Roarke: That is a huge relief.

Barrett: But he hit me.

Saatchi: Behold your new logo!

Barrett: Oh Lord.

Saatchi: If I hadn't shown you the first design, this one would have seemed too edgy.

O’Roarke: I'm afraid it still seems too edgy.

Saatchi: But it's blue.

Barrett: It's a blue fecking swastika!

Saatchi: They are the initials of your firm. I simply melded them together. Here's what I started with.

O’Roarke: Wait. That's not bad. That could work.

Saatchi: No, that could never work.

Barrett: Why not?

Saatchi: It is the only copy.

Barrett: So?

Saatchi: Because now this is happening.

Saatchi tears it in half.

Barrett: No!

O’Roarke: Why did you do that?

Saatchi: Brand purity must be preserved.

Barrett: It'll have to do. There's no time to get something else done.

Saatchi: Would you like to see your new slogan?

O'Roarke: I doubt it.

Barrett: You're insane.

: Please, Lord Saatchi, stop.

: Better.

Barrett: Marginally.

Barrett & O’Roarke: Security!

Saatchi: Never fight a war on two fronts!

Saatchi pulls a ripcord on his suit, releasing a parachute which flops out behind him. Security guards pour into the room. Saatchi snatches his cheque from O'Roarke, climbs out of the ground floor window and runs away down the road. It has been another successful pitch.
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The Report Hating On City Lawyers Is A Load Of Rubbish
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10 February 2016

According to a new report, your elite law firm is destroying access to justice in this formerly great nation, the UK. By extension so are you, you monster.

You claim you're harmless, because you spend your days picking through a database of 50,000 emails for mentions of insider trading. Your hands are clean. You're not personally reversing miscarriages of justice, sure, but you're not finding loopholes for Japanese whalers, either. You make no real impact on the scales of Lady Justice either way, is your position. A gentle press on the positive side, because you did some pro bono work before you got too busy. Balanced out by a couple of kilos on the negative dish because you do also act for BAE Systems - not exporting their mines to the DRC or anything - another part of the business, a bit that does electronics. Overall you're innocent.

Well buckle up, because a costs lawyer called Jim Diamond has some news for you: that's bullshit.

In his report, The Price of Law, he drops a truth bomb that blows up your precious innocence, and your ignorance, and leaves you with poor people's blood on your hands.


The implication is clear and at the same time baffling: the high price of City lawyers is forcing everyone to pay through the nose for access to justice. Last Friday, because for the first time in 2016 a legend didn't die (celebrity deaths, this year's celebrity paedos), Diamond's unimpeachable conclusion was splashed on the front page of the Independent.


Because of you, if you are a partner at a top London firm, and also you, if you work under that partner, hunched and brutalised, you complicit scumbag, because of you, the ordinary man in the street "seeking to comply with UK legal procedure" is "forced" to instruct expensive lawyers. And the man in the street can't afford it. Dennis just wants to get a will drawn up for his dear old mum. Dennis runs a garage in Somerset. He has no savings to speak of. But now, because he needs to comply with a UK legal procedure, he has to find £1,000 an hour to pay a Magic Circle partner to ensure that £25 is bequeathed to Elsie's best friend, Iris.

No wonder it made the Indie's front page. It's a scandal. Diamond's report includes a pre-packaged pull quote for ease of reporting:

"Today’s astonishing findings from costs lawyer Jim Diamond shed an entirely  new, and in some quarters probably not entirely welcome, light on the past couple of years’ trading environment for the UK’s leading lawyers. The fact that not one magic circle partner was willing to go on the record for a story about a resurgence in law firm pricing smacks of embarrassment at a time when lawyers are supposed to be bending over backwards to accommodate clients

Embarrassment, sure, that's why he couldn't get any partners to go on the record.

"Hello, is that a partner at A&O?"
"How much do you charge an hour?"
"Who is this?"
"Jim Diamond, I conduct the Jim Diamond Hourly Rate Survey."
"The what?"
"The Jim Diamond Hourly Rate Survey."
"I don't want any jewellry."
"I don't sell-"
"Or suits. Laura. Laura! You're supposed to filter out tailors."
"I'm not-"

Clearly these silent partners had something to hide. Sacks of beloved heirlooms, for starters, handed over by desperate asylum seekers with nowhere else to go. And guilt, for compelling small business owners to sell their children into sexual bondage so they can afford a few minutes of Magic Circle legal advice.

Elsewhere in his report, Diamond admits that City firms are not the only option for the huddled masses. But, he says, they are still to blame, because, in a kind of reverse price war, their exorbitant fees have driven up the cost of all the firms in the UK which once were affordable. He doesn't provide evidence of this. But it doesn't matter. He has an axe to grind. He reveals his hand a bit when he advocates their utter destruction: "The associated high salaries enjoyed by top law firms attract a significant proportion of top graduates - highly competent workers who could instead be employed elsewhere, in more productive industry [sic]." Like a Jewish mum in opposite land, he wants top grads to stop becoming lawyers. Be gymnasts. Be singers. Anything but City law. You're killing your father with these crazy dreams.

Diamond horrified the Indie with some specific examples of out-of-control behaviour. Get ready to clutch your pearls.

A veritable bargain, if accurate. These partners are the cream of the cream. They have to rest their heads in wheelbarrows when they want to get around after 3pm, because their brains are so massive their tiny withered necks can't support them anymore. Their hearts can't send enough blood to their giant brains, either, so trainees have to donate plasma day in, day out. £1,100 an hour barely covers the cost of drips and disposable gloves. These benevolent Mekons are so clever it would take them 0.01 microseconds to point out, "No-one is forced to instruct me, now give me my blooooooood".

I'm worried about Jim if it takes him 30 seconds to type "no". Does he work underwater? It takes me about one second. Not only has Diamond missed the opportunity for a much juicier accusation than the one he came up with, he may have a problem with his joints.

Lanima is not a chip shop, Shoreditch is not in Essex and Ashurst's deals are surely never, ever, 'bog-standard'.

If the client met up with the partner to discuss his legal issues, the charge is legitimate. If the client met up with the partner because he thought they were friends, he has been disabused of that notion. He now knows he is a terrible bore, so eye-clawingly dull that even a quick drink in his company requires thousands of pounds in compensation. His sense of injury, while regrettable, is acceptable collateral damage.

A sandwich fee? I have never heard of a firm charging a sandwich fee. I have to say it shattered my monocle. With these £22 fees for sandwiches, access to justice is surely over. Although it feels like a very low-budget move for a top 15 firm. Wise though. You get a couple of Tommy Tuckers like these two jokers and before you know it they've mowed through an entire platter. I bet they rushed over as soon as they heard the tinkle of the trolleys arriving and when the smoke cleared, only the tapenade ones were left.

To Diamond, this dubious poll tax of stomachs is more proof of the rapacious greed of City lawyers forcing ordinary folk to their knees, strangling access to justice. It doesn't stack up. Don't like paying for City firms? Don't use them. Can't find a cheaper one? They exist. His truth bomb is pure, cold-pressed, organic, grass-fed, free-range bollo. The biggest load of bollo since Cain told Abel to close his eyes, he's got a lovely surprise. 

The Price of Law depends. I award this report one sandwich out of five.
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If Spam Posted On RollOnFriday Was A Man
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04 February 2016

Every so often the blogs section of RollOnFriday gets clagged up with spam posted by people called things like qizhen0926 and CiCi Marie. Somewhere deep in China these poor drones are employed to pick a text, insert links to flooring and NFL jerseys and lob the results at thousands of websites like RoF.

It is difficult to believe that even the most gullible prospective purchaser of oak laminate would investigate further on the basis of their mad spewings. Reading their efforts is like being chatted up by a broken sociopath. In fact...

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Exclusive: Paralegal six figure salary shock
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21 January 2016

Someone must really need a document translated.

If you're a paralegal who speaks fluent Japanese then Lawson Clark may have just the position for you. On the downside, it's only for three to six months. On the upside, it pays £265,000 a year.

Thanks to the RoF tipster who sent it in, and who is at this moment resigning their partnership to apply for the role.
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That student did not invent the first robot lawyer
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20 January 2016

A student who did not invent the UK's first robot lawyer has won attention by claiming that he has invented the UK's "first robot lawyer".

As everyone knows, a robot lawyer is a machine on wheels or perhaps metal legs with arms like the terminator and gavel hands. It has a rubber lawyer's face stretched over a metal skull, unblinking red eyes and wifi. It eats oil, not regular food, it might be evil and whenever it is presented with a paradox its head explodes. It just can't deal with them.

Joshua Browder's so-called 'robot' has none of these qualities. Last year the computer science student launched a not-for-profit website, after successfully challenging Camden Council over several parking fines. When he was overwhelmed with enquiries, Browder wrote a program to help Joe Public. The 19-year-old's software asks aggrieved recipients of parking tickets a series of questions which vary depending on the answers given, and which are intended to determine whether or not the human has a legitimate case. If they do, the program processes their claim free of charge. Browder told Legal Futures, “It’s quite good with flights, parking tickets, and PPI, but if you ask on something other than those topics then it needs some help". When that happens, "the user gets a helpful message and I will get notified in the back end, so I go in and try and make it better".

After being royally done over by the unbending parking authorities only last week, I decided to try out Clampo 3000, even though it lied immediately about being a robot.

Browder told the Law Gazette that any adverse impact on parking ticket lawyers was unintentional collateral damage. "I don’t want to make anyone unemployed", he said. "I just want to automate a basic task so solicitors can move onto other, more complicated work". And if that's their only work or if they prefer simple tasks for mindfulness reasons, tough luck. "People are making money from parking fines", said Frankenstein 2.0. "They are glorified secretaries and they are exploiting people".

Browder is developing software to enable his program to recognise Arabic so that it can answer immigration queries, instead of knuckling down and building a proper robot lawyer like this one.

    "I'll be back... with that draft! And to kill you."

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Exclusive: A&O's website dies
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18 December 2015
Visitors to Allen & Overy's website this morning were greeted by this decidedly odd message:

As a tipster comments, it's hard to understand why the Magic Circle firm, with approximately 5,000 staff, including 40 cities etc etc, would let its IT department schedule a full takedown of the site on a working Friday, "rather than, say, a Saturday night".

RoF got in touch and soon the site came back online. Someone's crazy Darth Vader Christmas jumper got caught in the server, didn't it. And someone tried to help and they spilled their eggnog in the hard drive. And then the whole thing started sizzling and Dave ran around turning off all the plugs. .... read more >
If this was a gif it would be NSFW
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10 December 2015

Who needs heads? So overrated.

Thanks to the reader who spotted the rather Basic Instinct approach taken by regional firm Knights Solicitors, which "seems to be keen for us to look up the skirts of their assistants". Hopefully the subjects knew they were being photographed. This kind of work is usually done by a man rubbing himself on an escalator with a hidden camera in his laptop bag.

No doubt these models were aware of what Graham was doing. But were they aware of exactly what he was doing? Did he lie on the floor and carefully focus his panoramic lens on their groinal regions? That must have been a weird moment. The pot-bellied fan of busy public transport presumably reassured them that their inter-thigh zones would be hidden in shadow. And while the men took him at his hoarse, excited word, and left a decent crevice, the women took no chances. At the risk of studying this for too long, all their knees are touching and there's some clear gripping going on.

They were understandably nervous. It must be pretty creepy to pose from the neck down for a man who looks like the smell of cheese & onion crisps. Of course, it could just be a cropped photo, but that's an even more horrible prospect. Imagine having your photo taken for the firm website, then finding out that management prefers a crotch shot to your face.

Better than having no face at all, though.
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Law Firm Name of the Week
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04 December 2015

In Stockport, O'Neill and Patient set up a business together.

Then the internet happened.

It sits particularly well alongside the sensitive patter on the firm's wills and probate page.

"Just get in touch with oneillpatient. Wait, why are you crying?"

Oneillpatient is in good company, joining the likes of penisland, whorepresents, therapistlocator, molestationnursery and hollandshitfestival (Holland’s Hit Festival).

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ROKA Aldwych review
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02 December 2015

I was angling for dinner, but the PR person was insistent that in order to properly review the lunch menu, intended for City types, it would be really helpful if I ate from the lunch menu. So, on the day that RollOnFriday's survey launched, a mean, bitter day (because of the weather, not the survey, which you should take), I scurried round to Aldwych.

It's Joe Cocker ROKA, not Bram Stoker ROKA, but I don't know why capslock. The more diminutive 'roka' seems like it would be a better fit for a Japanese grill restaurant. But founder Rainer Becker maybe writes emails full of typos because he is too busy and important to correct them, like a proper bossman, only this time he emailed "i WANT MY RESTRANT TO B CALLD ROKA - love YOU GUYS rAINER" and the design people took him at his word and before he knew it all the signs had been knocked up and the menus had been printed and it was too late. And this is the fourth branch now, of ROKA instead of roka, a scream instead of a whisper, so he's obviously decided to swallow it.

I took along a friend who's an associate at a City firm. As per baboon-killer AA Gill's reviews, he wanted a nickname. "Call me the Brown," he said. "But you're brown-skinned," I said. This was a review, not a fan letter I was going to post into Bernard Manning's urn. I told him I'd get hate mail. He didn't care. "What about the Brunette?" I said. "No," he said, "The Brown. Anyway, my hair is black." "What about...what do they call people with black hair?" I asked. "The Black. You can call me the Black if you like." "I'm not doing that.

How do you get in to ROKA? Because the Noirette had to get back to the office to send out a contract by 3pm, so how do you actually get inside and start a review? Through sliding glass doors, which felt anachronistic because there's a rustic stone water trough in the lobby. Usually I don't buy into faux-antique outside of Disneyland. Take the Duck & Waffle. Forty stories up a glass tower, but decked out with country kitchen tiles. Don't pretend we're in Shropshire, I just shot up here in 10 seconds and I can see Anish Kapoor's rusty thumb. Or the burrito concession in Cheapside Tesco, a driftwood cabin plonked in a striplit aisle with queuing stanchions.

    Carnival time on aisle three, carnival time on aisle 3.

We're not idiots, Tesco. Or, we are, but we're not convinced we're in Brazil, at all. It does not feel fiesta just because you've hung bead necklaces on a distressed sign saying 'Burrito Time'.

ROKA's attempt to transport customers to another place was rather more successful, partly because it spent lots of money, partly because it was very easy to pretend we were in You Only Live Twice.

    Not my photo, it was full when I went

Clad in ash wood, the walls hid Aldwych from sight. The staff wore colour-coded cotton smocks, one of whom presented the menu in both hands and bowed. Trios of glowing slits cut into the walls betrayed modern tech behind the scenes.

The subterranean ambience. A multi-ethnic army of uniformed henchman. The forced adoption of Eastern customs to satisfy the boss's latest whim. It all lent the place a distinct air of volcano lair. At one point the roof slid open and Sean Connery flew in in a microlight, shouting about Scotland and his neighbour's faulty plumbing. The waiters swatted at him with napkins until he buzzed away. When the three beams over the Noirette's shoulder began to blur and coalesce in my peripheral vision, it felt like an eye exam round Dr No's.

    "Oh no, Mr Bond. I expect you to just relax your right eye."

We started with a pair of refreshing non-alcoholic Ginger Ninjas. The Noirette chuckled ruefully that his youngest son waved goodbye whenever he saw him, a Pavlovian response because daddy was always leaving for the office. I felt under the table for a button to drop him in the shark tank.

Five chefs sliced away in the open kitchen, the centrepiece of the restaurant, surrounded on three sides by a counter for grill-side dining. The cheaper lunch menu was £27, the one we had, £37 per person. It was low fuss to order because you get everything on it except the mains, which were a choice of three. To start, an iceberg lettuce salad chopped fine with caramelised onion dressing, along with four maki rolls of avocado, cucumber and wasabi pea. Also, superb light, clean, meaty sashimi. Ten mouthfuls of five types of fish, presented on a bowl of chipped ice with a clod of wasabi on the side. I identified salmon and prime blood red tuna, but not whatever had three suckers on the end.


The far wall of ROKA was taken up with shelves of big glass jars, each with a cloth tied over its lid. No idea what was in them. If Blofeld did catch James Bond, which incarnation would be the easiest to trap? Surely Roger. Vamping it up in a safari suit, confused by women. Fists like hams, though, apparently - David Niven maintained that Moore was the hardest man in Hollywood. Upon catching him, it is not inconceivable that Blofeld would separate out the body parts and pickle them, and display them in jars. In ROKA.


A bowl of steamed rice arrived in a rough-hewn bowl, dusted with a black herb like the first spray of grit across London snow. Of the three mains, we ordered lamb cutlets with Korean spices, and black cod marinated in yuzo miso. To channel Captain Birdseye, the cutlets were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The Noirette declared them the second-best he'd ever tasted after Atul Kochhar's at Benares. Apparently he lost £900 in free childcare because of Osborne's budget. I tried surreptitiously to get the waiter's attention as I still hadn't found the button.

The cracked chunk of cod came sat on a big leaf, which was bent over it and pinned in place with a stick. You know, a fish bivouac. A tap from our chopsticks cleaved off meaty hunks. Unexpectedly sweet, it fell apart on the tongue. Dipping it in the yang-shaped swirl of pearly sauce, it took on another layer of sweet mmmmmcomplexity.

I got a Negroni, £9, plugged, as is proper, with a single globe of ice the size of a snowball. The Noirette got something fruity. He groaned - he had been holding his chopsticks the wrong way up. He insisted on correcting himself and ate the rest of the meal with all tips stodged in rice. I stabbed wildly under the table. He pointed out that the acoustics were reasonable, not too loud, not too quiet, and thanked me for inviting him, and I felt terrible for trying to kill him.

It's £4 extra for a dessert (NB I didn't pay for anything) and while no-one goes to an Asian restaurant for the puds, mine was superb, a chimney pot-shaped almond cake with thin walls which, when split, bled cold yoghurt and hot mango toffee sauce. On the side, an airy ball of caramel ice cream on warm slivers of mango. The Noirette had a Nutella-thick chocolate mousse. Finally, I found the button and he dropped from sight. I heard violent thrashing in water, then all was quiet and the chair shuddered back up, dripping and empty except for a shocked buttock.

The lunch menu was designed for those with a one hour break and an afternoon of work ahead. We rattled through the fixed menu in an unrushed 50 minutes and I left feeling sated, but not stuffed or lethargic.

More reviews: Matthew tackles a boar.

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Legal indemnity company called ISIS releases daring advert
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27 November 2015

A legal indemnity company called ISIS has released a possibly ill-advised advert of a figure tied up with rope being tossed off a bookcase.

Based in Norwich, ISIS offers legal indemnity insurance. It was founded in 2006, but in the intervening years a group of Islamist terrorists has done its best to ruin the brand. As a result, the Norfolk company's boast that, "Isis' reputation is built upon a solid foundation of great customer service", now reads a little strangely. As does the assurance that, "Despite what our name may suggest", ISIS "has the expertise to handle all your missing will and missing beneficiary insurance requirements too".

What looks even stranger, though, is the decision to approve this advert:


Refusing to change your name from ISIS is one thing. But doubling down with an image that at first glance looks a lot like a man undergoing a fatal punishment - that takes cojones.

An ISIS spokesman explained to RollOnFriday that the advert is one in a series of four. The others feature mini-people decorating a Rubik's Cube, lifting files with a forklift truck and cleaning a computer screen from a window-washing cradle. He said that since ISIS (terrorists) started making headlines, a few people had asked ISIS (Norwich) whether they would change their name. But, he said, they decided that it would be unpalatable to, in effect, kowtow to terrorism. He said, "I'd like to think the service we provide overcomes any hesitation solicitors may have in recommending us". Fair play, ISIS. Here's to you outlasting your namesake.
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