Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dancing in Court

Dancing in the courtroom

From BBC News 24/11/11:

A man who posted video on the internet of his stepmother dancing on seats in the lobby of a court in Cornwall has apologised to a judge.

Shane Curnow, 24, from Stithians, faced contempt of court proceedings after taking the footage in Truro Crown Court and posting it on Facebook.

Good ol’ Stithians. There’s a steam rally held out there if I recall correctly. (As a child, I remember being dragged around there once by relatives and it was rather like pulling teeth. The noise, smell and utter drudgery of a steam rally is hard to beat).

Mr Curnow's lawyer told a judge that his client believed filming bans only applied to courtrooms, not buildings.

Mistake of law, never a defence, sadly. Darn it. Still, worth running up the judge’s flagpole in mitigation I suppose. (No, that’s not a euphemism).

Mr Curnow said he was very sorry. The judge accepted his apology.

Well, shiver m’ timbers and bless his heart: he’s very sorry. That’s all right then. (And I love the Cornish-ed up surname by the way – you can’t get much more Kernow than Curnow. Write that down if you want: it’s an original thought.

Mr Curnow filmed his stepmother on his mobile phone while he was supporting her and his father when they were making a court appearance.

After recording the footage in September, he posted it on Facebook, calling it "Bored at court".

The use of cameras in court buildings is currently banned by the 1925 Criminal Justice Act.

Staff were made aware of the footage in October, and Judge Barry Cotter QC ordered Mr Curnow to face contempt of court proceedings.

Joss Ticehurst, representing Mr Curnow, of Collins Park, Stithians, said his client filmed his stepmother because "he felt that she looked ridiculous" and he had uploaded it on to the internet "as a means of showing her how stupid she looked".

Sounds like the usual stepmother-stepson relationship then.

More to the point, what the heck was the stepmother doing prancing around like an demented Ginger Rogers in a court building? It’s kind of one of the rules that you aren’t allowed to dick around in the Crown Court.  I wonder if security guards rugby-tackled her to the ground. Ooh – I hope excessive force wasn’t used!!  ;-)

Mr Curnow's father and stepmother were not identified in court and their reason for being there originally was not said.


Monday, 28 November 2011

It just wasn’t top of mind

top of mind

From Roll on Friday 25/11/11:

A firm that specialised in repossessing homes has gone bust following the publication of a leaked set of photos showing staff celebrating Halloween by dressing up as homeless people. Classy.

Steven J. Baum, a New York State firm which represented mortgage lenders against homeowners, is set to close down leaving its 89 staff jobless, according to a New York Times report. The firm found itself embroiled in controversy after photos of staff dressing up as homeless people were plastered all over the web, complete with signs mocking the excuses of desperate homeowners.

Every lawyer’s entitled to let their hair down occasionally (even those who are ‘a bit thin on top’ – law tends to do that to people) but there are limits as to what taste, decorum and decency should permit. And that’s before we get into professional conduct regulations – yes, whatever the hell they are.

It just goes to show that even property lawyers aren’t above making the odd error of judgement (why is it that phrase always reminds me of Bill Clinton’s shenanigans?). Oh, don’t worry – I just remembered.

But really, at what point does your average fee earner think that going out to get hammered at an office ‘partay’ mockingly dressed as evictees of houses you’re helping to repossess is a good idea? Surely the ‘if it feels wrong’ rule of thumb test for professional conduct would have saved them here – if only they’d stopped to ask.

But work nights out, being what they are, it’s all too easy to get swept along in the madness of the moment. To quote James Murdoch, I’m sure it simply wasn’t “top of mind”.  But they’re certainly paying the price for it now.

Still, a lawyer with a sense of humour can always find a position with another firm, right?

Who me?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Black (pepper) Friday

black friday injuries

From CBS 25/11/11:

A woman shot pepper spray to keep shoppers from merchandise she wanted during a Black Friday sale, and 20 people suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

The incident occurred shortly after 10:20 p.m. Thursday in a crowded Los Angeles-area Walmart as shoppers hungry for deals were let inside the store.
Police said the suspect shot the pepper spray when the coverings over the items she wanted were removed.

"Somehow she was trying to use it to gain an upper hand," police Lt. Abel Parga told The Associated Press early Friday.

Holy Cripes. That’s what I call an unfair advantage. And for stores that complain about ‘challenging trading conditions’ and just how intense the competition is, they should try being a shopper!

He said she was apparently after some electronics and used the pepper spray to keep other shoppers at bay.

Officials said 20 people suffered minor injuries. Fire department spokesman Shawn Lenske said the injuries to least 10 of them were due to "rapid crowd movement."

Ah – so that’s what a stampede is euphemistically called now.

Parga said police were still looking for the woman.

The store remained open and those not affected by the pepper spray continued shopping.

Well, let’s just hope that they managed to pick up a bargain or two after all. I also hope PC Plod caught up with her (she’s sure to have been captured on CCTV if she was anywhere near an electronics cabinet).  And America being America, it wouldn’t surprise me if a few of the disgruntled shoppers were in a litigious mood!  Roll on the lawsuits, I say.

Be right back

Monday, 21 November 2011

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve done it?

So where do you routinely do it?

Perhaps more to the point, where’s the craziest, wackiest, zaniest place you’ve done it in the past?

Don’t worry – I’m talking about blogging here. (Obviously!)

blogging from the boudoir 2 4

Most blawggers who know me won’t be surprised that I haven’t strayed too far from the straight and narrow of blogging from a computer whilst sat at a desk.  Sigh.

But I’m not opposed to giving it bash in another room: I’ve done it the garden, in bed, the sofa and whilst sat on the stairs. I’ve also blogged from university computer rooms, various foreign countries, hotel rooms (it left me with a rather cheap, dirty and unfulfilled feeling), and even fiddled with the template code on Law Actually whilst held up in an airport lounge. Perhaps most bravely of all, I’ve been daring enough to crack my laptop open whilst being thrown about a train carriage like a rag doll; how anybody can work productively on a train is utterly beyond me!

The bedroom is an obvious place to blog from and I’ve seen a number of bloggers comment from time to time that they’re doing a ‘duvet post’. I’ve never found tapping away on a laptop in bed that comfortable really but I still do it occasionally. My GF used to get a little narky when I was ‘blogging from the boudoir’ but in my defence, she was equally engrossed in the TV. From experience, it’s tough to strike a creative note when your ‘significant other’ is glaring daggers at you (or serving up a generous portion of the cold shoulder speciality – women seem to have this down to a fine art!!).  Ahem.

So whilst I’m a boring, play-it-straight kind of chap, the simple truth is that I’m more productive sat at my desk (and I can think more clearly when quiet surrounds me - hence my hatred of open-plan offices). My tendency to throw up a graphic with blog posts means I don’t like to be more than 10 paces from Photoshop. This probably also explains why I downloaded the blogger app for my HTC Desire and have never used it.

So where do you blog from? And where are you most creative / productive?  Do you have to do it from a computer – 20th century style - or are you part of the iPad-wielding new skool of blawgsters who will happily update their blog whilst hanging upside down from a curtain pole or something crazy like that?

Either way, I’d like to hear about it.  Be right back

Friday, 18 November 2011

Family lawyers are the most depressed, miserable, (and busy)

Nope, not according to some poll organised by the Law Society, the Solicitors Journal or whatever other body or publication that’s flavour of the month.

... according to my optician!!! 

Well, he should know, shouldn’t he?

(And just to confirm, I think he meant that comment in relation to lawyers generally rather than everyone he encounters).  Still, it’s not impossible I suppose…

Yep, it seems you can get a whole lot more from a contact lens check-up these days.

Fancy.  Be right back

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Bonfire Night Edition

Guy Fawkes Gunpowder plot

Guy Fawkes Night came early at Law Actually HQ this year. (And yes, I have jokingly referred to our house as that – (my gf just about tolerates my blogging whims as she might those of a small toddler).

We’re rather conveniently located at the rear edge of the campus of one of the UK’s (and I quote) “leading provider[s] of financial products and services”.Despite the gloomy economic climate and the financial services industry forever teetering on the brink, this specific provider festively opted to put on a bumper fireworks display on Thursday evening.

They even had the courtesy to come around earlier in the week to stuff a letter in the mailbox of their ‘neighbours’ saying all hell would be breaking loose in the sky from 7.00pm onwards, so we should lock up our pets and children, pop on our safety glasses & ear defenders and suggested that anyone of a nervous disposition should hide under the duvet until the display was over.

As fireworks go, they were pretty darn good and we got a front row seat. Watching the display from our upstairs window might have deprived us of the seasonal atmosphere but it certainly kept my tootsies warmer!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sinful Computer Keys

First there were the deadly sins, then….

sinful computer keys

Well, it kind of works, doesn’t it?

I’m not sure about the 'escape = sloth’ bit, and I’d have said that Control + T in a browser is more apt for gluttony.  (I’m am absolute glutton for tabs when I’m browsing).

Control + S is more reflective of obsessive compulsive disorder rather than pride, surely?

Control + C should should be cheat and Control + X should be home wrecker (or something like that…)

They all count as sins, right?  Be right back

Found here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Legal Brand Names

… aren’t worth much it seems.

high street law

From the Solicitors Journal 17/10/11:

Brands in the legal services market suffer from poor consumer awareness, with nearly half of consumers relying on personal contacts when choosing a provider, a survey has revealed.

When choosing a law firm, 44 per cent said they would ask friends for a recommendation while a further 16 per cent said they would ask professionals they already knew, such as estate agents or accountants.

The most important factor for consumers when making decisions was whether the firm had been recommended by a friend and the total cost to them. Only 15 per cent regarded a ‘trusted brand name’ as the most important factor.

Most of this isn’t at all surprising. Surely the criteria reflect what every client wants from their solicitor: someone well-recommended, trusted, competent and cheap (preferably charging fixed fees).

Hmm – good luck with that one!

So I’m not at all surprised that so many people choose a lawyer through reputation and word of mouth, but I am slightly surprised that the weight attached to a established and trusted legal firm name was so insignificant.

Heck, maybe there is hope for Quality Solicitors after all then!  Be right back