Why did the lawyer cross the road?
Hong Kong’s lawyers are going to extraordinary and perhaps ethically questionable lengths in order to squeeze money from their clients.
This problem was flagged by the Hong Kong Chief Justice, Mr Justice Li, who was quoted in an article in the South China Morning Post recently under the headline “Chief Justice laments rise of greedy lawyers”.
In the article the Chief Justice said “mercenary considerations had assumed greater prominence than ethical standards in the legal profession”.
By way of example, the Chief Justice pointed to a client who requested an itemised bill from his lawyer.
As website RollOnFriday reported, the Morning Post said “Mr Justice Li cited the case of a client who asked his lawyer for a breakdown of his bill. The itemised account included a charge for ‘recognising you in the street and crossing the busy road to talk to you to discuss your affairs, and recrossing the road after discovering it was not you’.”
American picks a bone with Novartis
An unfortunate New Yorker is suing a health drink manufacturer on the basis that one of its products has given him an uninterrupted two-year-long erection.
The plaintiff, Christopher Woods, 29, claims to have consumed a bottle of Boost Plus in June 2004, hoping to benefit from the wealth of vitamins created by pharmaceutical company Novartis, the Associated Press said.
However, the next morning, the aptly named Woods arose with an “erection that would not subside”, which after a thorough examination by doctors came to be classified as severe priapism.
Woods had surgery to have an implant installed with the hope that a diversion of blood would help his difficulty subside. When that was unsuccessful, he later had a penile artery embolization to close-down blood vessels, which had the side effect of making future erection less likely, the news service said.
Ruddock upset over Estcourt
The Federal Attorney-General’s Department sent out a curious press release last week, in which it was plain that Philip Ruddock is upset about Australian Bar Association president Stephen Estcourt QC and ALP representatives having private parties without inviting him.
The whole problem surrounds the appointment of judges, and the extent to which the Attorney-General consults with the profession as part of the decision-making process.
“[Estcourt] says he has met senior Labor advisors to discuss the issue of appointments, but I am disappointed that he has not approached my office for similar discussions,” Ruddock said.
Ruddock’s release came out the same day as an article in theAustralian, in which Estcourt was critical of the lack of consultation that has happened in the past.
“We say that the rule of law requires the best appointments to positions, and this requires consultation,” Estcourt said. “In my experience there has been zero consultation since this Attorney-General has taken power, with the exception of vacancies on the High Court.”
Folklaw wonders whether the A-G should take a leaf out of the NSW Young Lawyers’ book, which hosted a fundraising BBQ in Sydney this week to raise awareness of the importance of AustLII. Perhaps if Ruddock put on some gourmet sausages and marinaded baby octopus then Estcourt would be all ears.
Bill Gates swells the US lawyer ranks
Multi-zillionaire and Grand Computer Overlord Bill Gates has finally achieved something to be proud of — an honorary law degree from Harvard.
According to Reuters, Gates dropped out of Harvard 30 years ago while still a junior. Harvard University provost Steven Hyman said that the college wished to recognise “the most illustrious member of the Harvard College class of 1977 never to have graduated”.
“While his classmates, including his friend Steve Ballmer (now CEO of Microsoft), were busy cramming for midterms, he was planning for a revolution — the rise of the personal computer,” Hyman said. “It seems high time that his alma mater hand over the diploma.”
Upon accepting the degree, Gates said: “I’ve been waiting for more than 30 years to say this: ‘Dad, I always told you I’d come back and get my degree’.”
“I’ll be changing my job next year, and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume,” Gates said, in regard to his plans to step down from Microsoft management to concentrate on The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time as of 2008, the news service said.