Showing posts from March, 2010

What kind of law student are (or were) YOU?

And we want the truth! :D

What it really meansBurned byFrequently SaysTryThe ‘I'm seriously conscientious-er’You’re a caffeine-fuelled boffin.Serious rejection – that one time.“You’re so immature!”Getting laidThe ‘Panicker’You're mildly neuroticThat time you got things badly wrong“OMG – I haven’t read all 8 chapters for tomorrow’s seminar!!!”Taking a chill-pillThe ‘I'm at uni to have a good time-er’You’re a lazy no-good waster who should have avoided getting into debt by omitting the whole uni experienceLack of ambition and/or intelligence“Screw this – I’m heading down the union!!”Visiting the library / bribing or having sex with your lecturersThe ‘Dreamer’I’m hoping to stay in academia all my lifeReal life“I don’t see the need for practical contextualisation at all.”Waking up and smelling the coffeeThe ‘Chancer’You’ve lucked through everything so far in life and if it aint broke, don’t fix it.Hard work“I’m going to wing it in tomorrow’s seminar”Actually working hard f…

Moped rider burns up the streets – literally

From 30/03/10:
A James Bond fan fed up with drivers cutting him up on his moped invented the ultimate gadget to gain his revenge - a 15ft flamethrower.Colin Furze, 30, from Stamford in Lincolnshire, spent a month converting the 60mph sports scooter in his back garden."It's a lot of fun and when I fire the flames out the back it makes me feel just like James Bond," said Mr Furze."The flames are pretty big and up to 15 feet long so you could definitely set fire to someone's car if you wanted to."The only problem is it can get rather hot if you are riding the moped and blast the flames when the wind is in the wrong direction."But he added: "I've been told that if I fire the flames while riding on the road it's equivalent to using a fire arm and I could be in a lot of trouble," he said.Wow. If I found myself driving behind him, I think I’d find myself a lay-by to pull into pretty sharpish.And it’s not just ‘being in a lot o…

University stipulates font for printing emails

From 26/03/10:The University of Wisconsin at Green Bay announced this week that it was switching fonts to save money, from Arial to Century Gothic.[The University] says that while the change sounds minor, it will save money on ink when students print e-mails in the new font.

Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one.
That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon.That's nothing to sneeze at, to be sure. Except for that little part about printing emails.Who prints emails these days? Why not just disable that function? With the exception of things like concert tickets, boarding passes, and so on, what needs to be printed? 

Another, probably more impactful tool for university officials who want to go green: Buy and install printing optimization software that removes unnecessary images, cuts HTML headers from web pag…

Failure to wear seatbelt, not contributory negligence

From the Solicitors Journal 03/03/10: A 16 year-old boy who sat in the front seat of a friend’s car without a safety belt, but with a female friend “on his knee or lap” should not lose a percentage of his damages for contributory negligence, the Court of Appeal has ruled.William Stanton suffered serious brain damage when the driver, who was also not wearing a belt, lost control of his car driving a group of young people back from a bar in South Yorkshire. The court heard that Matthew Collinson was driving too fast on a single lane road, at a minimum of twice the 30 mph speed limit, when he hit an oncoming vehicle. He was killed immediately and the car ended up on its roof.Giving judgment in Stanton v Collinson [2010] EWCA Civ 81, Lord Justice Hughes said the High Court had declined to reduce the damages awarded to Stanton on the grounds that it had not been shown that wearing a belt would have sufficiently reduced his injuries.Hughes LJ said Collinson was just within the legal alcohol…

Choc-Actually: Chocolate Designed with Lawyers in mind

Coming to all good confectioners...As Donald Trump might say, 'The confectionary industry... it's a big business.  And I want a slice of it ... (or should that be square?)Introducing a new range of dreamy, creamy chocolate - designed particularly for a lawyer's vices.  Legal professionals, students and graduates  up and down the UK are discovering the revolutionary pleasure sensation that is Choc-Actually.  Made with 78% cocoa, it's sure to deliver 200% pleasure.  With a patented ultra-quiet foil wrapping, it won't give the lawyer with a craving away.  Choc-Actually so sensually satisfying, it never stops at one bar...Be sure to  get your bar of Choc-Actually today, available at all good confectioners.Choc-Actually...  Yes it's chocolate.  No actually - really!What people / obscure publications are saying:"Just what I needed to get through that deposition", Adrian, 42, slightly bored divorce lawyer."God that's good chocolate", 'Nicky…

Another one bites the dust: ASP Bites bows out

In case anybody didn’t see the comment left on Law Actually by ASP, here it is:
Well, I'm afraid to report that the Blawgosphere is now getting ever smaller.
I apologise unreservedly to Michael for using his post in this way, but I need to post things to my fellow blawgers whilst not, for reasons that will become apparent, putting it in the blog.

Over the past few months, I've known that some of my work colleagues have come across and read 'Bites. I, personally, did not see that as a problem. I've been careful with my posts, not referred to people by names, and not mentioned any cases I'm involved in any detail whatsoever.

The problem with blogs though is that it's a very 2-dimensional platform. There's no body language or tone of voice to show how things are intended. People can comment, but generally don't.

Today one of my colleagues, who knows about the blog etc, gave me what I would professionally term as "certain adv…

Favourite stories of the day

Here are two of my favourite news stories that have been floating about today:

From The Register 24/03/10:"Facebook gives you the clap: Official"The sharp rise in syphilis cases in Teesside has been partially attributed to social networking sites which incautious locals are trawling in search of casual sex.According to the local Evening Gazette, the number of reported cases jumped to 30 last year, up from less than 10 in 200 8. Professor Peter Kelly, executive director of public health for NHS Tees, said that "reports from doctors and nurses diagnosing and treating patients suggest some sufferers are using social networking sites to find and arrange meetings with new lovers".Now I'm a FB user, let's hope I won't be doing my own stint in the STD clinic.
And secondly this brarmer from the Guardian:The police have issued a warning for harassment against an airport worker after he allegedly took a photo of a female colleague as she went through a full-bod…

County Court: Sorry litigants, we're too busy to respond

Happily, I've managed to sufficiently pacify a rather aggrieved customer from pursuing the legal action he started against us.  He settled his rather frivolous claim for about 1 fifth of of what he was initially asking for.  The time and hassle of me preparing for the hearing and myself and commercial director travelling up to London for it was not worth the measly few hundred quid it ended up costing. However, after the claimant and I informed the relevant county court that we had settled, the court then had the temerity to send back a letter essentially saying they were too busy to respond to us properly but hopefully would in the near future.  Just charming.

Office Competition

The PA to the director has recently taken to baking cakes and cookies each Friday for the staff to consume - then including the recipe in the company's internal blog.  Quite honestly, it's long been apparent that nobody reads the internal weekly blog post summarising events in each dept., so the chances of someone taking the time to go and try baking that week’s recipe are, quite frankly, pretty negligible.Still, I found it rather amusing yesterday when the ‘significant other’ of another employee had gone head-to-head with the PA’s offerings and baked a competing cake.I love the competitive forces present in the workplace sometimes. They’ll be holding weekly heats culminating in a bake-off soon!

Why the Blawgosphere is doomed

On Barmaid's blog, I recently suggested to supposedly avid blawgosphere reader, Katie, that she create her own blog and join the party properly, if only as a means of serving as her 'help meet'.  Sadly, she wasn't keen.
"Hey Michael - nice idea, but i have far too much fun ready you're [sic] blogs! And plus it would be more like a distraction for me(rather than motivational). but nice suggestion though."Oh well.  It's your loss, Katie.  But does the blawgosphere lose too?

The ‘sphere needs new blood - desperately, if the out and out truth be told.  And it's not going to get it from an ageing bunch of law graduates, now slightly squidgy round the edges, growing bitterer by the day.  (Speak for yourself, Michael :p).

Indeed, I seem to have attracted the reputation of being the Victor Meldrew of the blawgosphere - and not, I might add, without good reason. 

We've lost that air of virginal innocence and thirst for life under the years of …

Don’t Shave and Drive

On the way to work this morning, I actually saw a guy with his electric razor looking up to the sky shaving at the wheel.  But even so, it's nothing compared to this:From the Metro 08/03/10:"A car crash in Florida is being blamed on the fact that the driver was attempting to shave her pubic hair while at the wheel.According to reports, Trooper Gary Dunick says that the two-vehicle smash was caused by the fact that the woman was attempting to shave her bikini area, while her former husband held the wheel.

Her car then crashed into the back of a pickup truck. I realise that people do all kinds of things in cars and act as though nobody can see them.   But this?!?Couldn't her old hubby have taken over the driving before she started her grooming.  Or couldn’t they have called at a service station?  Was giving her nether-regions the once-over, really that crucial?And did she get lathered up at the wheel before she started trimming her topiary?  Surely she wasn't dry-…

Online Legal Services Promotions, Not Black and White

I came across this rather polarised blurb on the Law Gazette, featuring some rather questionable views of marketing strategies for a law firms’ website:
Websites and online services raise many questions and issues for solicitors. One point firms need to decide is if their website is primarily to retain or gain clients. For many firms it’s a mixture of the two, but the emphasis is important in deciding how the website is then promoted. To gain clients requires effort and expenses that includes fighting for position on search engine rankings, competing against the many websites already out there and setting up your firm to take the incoming enquiry volumes (should they materialise).To retain clients means looking at how you can help the people you already know by reinforcing their view that your firm is ‘their solicitor’; promoting the benefits of and how easy it is for the clients to get immediate help via the website.Both approaches are there to capture client enquiries. The quest…

Pringles: Weird, Wacky Flavours

Grilled Shrimp, Seaweed and Soft-Shell Crab?I initially suspected a Photoshop job but a quick look on Google revealed that this monstrosity of snack flavours is actually genuine. Yes, the green Pringle is real, too.So what’s next: Apricot, Marmite and Spinach?  Dried Placenta and Lemon?

A Voyage For Madmen

First and foremost, A Voyage for Madmen (AVFM) written by Peter Nicols is an absolutely brilliant read – an unquestionable 10 on 10. I’ve read a number of sailing books (particularly those which are touched by tragedy – my reading tastes run the macabre) and nothing even comes close. AVFM, however, isn’t as downbeat as many of the 1979 Fastnet disaster titles I’ve read, though the story is heavily touched by tragedy. It’s a maritime masterpiece and its literary crafting is as exquisite as it gets.AVFM essentially tells the story of the first ever solo, non-stop, round the world yacht race held in 1968/69. While Robin Knox-Johnson emerged victorious, the real story arguably lies in the utter tragedy that befell competitor Donald Crowhurst.Crowhurst’s voyage was ill-fated from the beginning, ill-conceived in every possible way and executed in such a manner that would ensure there could only ever be one outcome. He was merely a weekend sailor – his furthest voyage prior to his round-the-…

Facebook, Grooming and the Regulatory Mix

From the Guardian 09/03/10:Senior police officers clashed with the UK's most-used social networking site today, accusing Facebook of ignoring worrying trends that it is providing a safe haven for predatory paedophiles by refusing to sign up to a "panic button" for children and young people.Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Unit (Ceop), was joined by the country's lead officer on homicide to tackle the site about its repeated refusal to sign up to a key safety practice adopted by many other similar websites.The American-owned site has 23 million active users in the UK but refuses to display an official "panic button" that links users directly to Ceop to report suspected activities by predatory paedophiles.Chapman, a convicted double rapist, posed as a young man called Peter Cartwright on Facebook and spent time grooming Ashleigh before the pair exchanged mobile phone numbers and agreed to meet. Ashleigh was raped an…

More business travel: stuck on a stinky tube

I got another spell of business travel tomorrow - to London again; I'm usually up there every fortnight or so now at industry meetings / various working groups etc. 
Like so many people, I abhor public transport in general but at times, it just can't be avoided.  The tube, though, provides a fascinating insight into the weird and wacky characters out there. And they seem be flock to London in spades.

There's something very comforting about the smell of a tube station - that oily, dry, stale warm air rushing up your nostrils.  It seems to be a smell common to underground train stations across the world in my experience - having been on few in the US and across Europe.  I don't know what it is about this smell, but I'd buy an Ambi-Pur refill of it!  ;-)

The aromas given off by many of the commuters, though, tend to be far less pleasurable to one’s olfactory sense - particularly after a long day at work.  I frequently clothes-peg my nose when travelling after 4.…

Law Firm Advertising an Utter Waste of Time

From the Solicitors’ Journal 02/03/10:A survey for the MoJ based on telephone interviews with more than 900 law firm clients has revealed that only five per cent chose their lawyer through advertising.This proportion is smaller than the eight per cent who “saw local offices” and the same as those who found their law firm through research, either online or in directories like Yellow Pages.The survey, by the National Centre for Social Research, aimed to give an overview of the legal services market before full implementation of the Legal Services Act and the arrival of ABS. The telephone interviews were carried out between March and June 2009.The most popular way of finding a lawyer was through word of mouth recommendations by friends or family (29 per cent) or because clients had used the firm in the past (23 per cent).A further 23 per cent found their lawyer through a referral. In most cases, 14 per cent, the referrals were made by non-legal businesses, such as estate agents or finan…

Down time: Half Life 2

Long-time members of the blawgosphere may recall me previously talking about my penchant for the fantastic first person shooter, Half Life – over which I became totally obsessed and very nearly lost my mind in the summer of 2001.Skip forwards nearly 10 years and I’ve finally, finally managed to get around to playing the equally fantastic sequel, Half Life 2. I don’t get much time for gaming but I have the odd flurry of activity amusing myself with aging racing titles. Half Life 2 was released in 2004 and I remember gearing up to play it back then. Alas it never happened but I guess it’s better late than never. In short, Half Life 2 is fantastic and I’m itching to begin Half Life 2 Episode 1 - (I snagged a bargain on Amazon and bought the Orange Box). Even my GF’s had a go at shooting the hell out of the Combine’s Civil Protection dudes and the Overwatch, not to mention a shedload of zombies!! I’ve virtually finished it for the second time, playing during odd moments at weekends. I’ve …

Mortgage Appointments

My girlfriend and I have a couple more mortgage consultations scheduled for the next two weeks. We’ve already had one with a well-known building society in the high street (and one that amazingly hasn’t been subsumed into Santander ). Happily, they’ve agreed to offer us more than we’ll need for a nice two bedroom semi in one of the areas we’re considering.I’m actually quite excited about the prospect of finally moving on from renting and my GF is certainly as keen as mustard.That said, the prospect of dealing with estate agents again fills me with abject horror.I guess I should also swot up on the conveyancing process and am already dusting down my property law materials.

Reforming Legal Education: Death of the Training Contract

From The Law Gazette 24/02/10:
Could a new holistic approach to training solicitors, being trialed by Northumbria University Law School in partnership with national firm Irwin Mitchell, be the future of legal education?The Master of Law (Solicitor) degree combines the academic, vocational and training stages of qualification as a solicitor. At the end of the full-time, five-year degree course graduates can apply to the SRA for enrolment as a solicitor.The course, made possible by an SRA initiative and designed to pilot work-based learning as a means of increasing access to the legal profession, incorporates a qualifying law degree with the legal practice course and work-based learning replacing the training contract.Increasing access to the profession is no doubt important in the light of recent surveys that have revealed the legal profession to be drawn from increasingly narrow sections of society, but could this new form of qualification create a two-tier system in which some ar…