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Folklaw 15 September 2006

Folklaw 15 September 2006

Wisewoulds gets wise on the webMelbourne law firm Wisewoulds has taken a novel approach in their attempt to convince ordinary folk that its clients are real people, just like them.The…

Wisewoulds gets wise on the web

Melbourne law firm Wisewoulds has taken a novel approach in their attempt to convince ordinary folk that its clients are real people, just like them.

The individual profiles of partners and staff give an insight into the private lives of the people described. Just in case you’re unconvinced, the usual professional photo of each staff member as they might appear at work alternates with a snapshot of that particular person at play — a sort of day/night transition that allows an eye-opening impression of what lawyers are really like beneath their sensible suits and below-the-knee skirts.

Partner Matthew Maher provides us with a cheeky Superman-esque striptease to reveal his Essendon Bombers undershirt. Fellow partners are also on display: Caroline Harold, whose arms are weighed down with shopping bags; John Corridon, friend to small fish; Paul Marsh, an avid horse-snuggler; and Steve Jacobs, who has the uncanny ability to detach his own head and reconnect it to the body of a younger AFL player.

But the fun doesn’t stop at the top. Administration manager, Dora Smirnis, enjoys the company of Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore; senior associate Ingrid Nunnink can kick a man’s head clean off his shoulders; and solicitor Robert Blake seems to keep some very unusual company.

Folklaw encourages its readers in the legal community to embrace this new trend, and post similar images on their respective firm websites.

Penis pump goes off with a bang

A young American man faces the prospect of jail after the penis pump he was trying to take on board a plane bound for Turkey was mistaken for a bomb.

Iraqi-American Mardin Amin, 29, was stopped by airport security at the gates of O’Hare Airport with his mother and two small children. The Chicago janitor’s backpack was searched by a female guard, who demanded an explanation for a suspicious looking sex aid she found inside. A red-faced Amin claims he mumbled the word “pump” in reply, but the guard heard “bomb” and chaos ensued.

Endowment-obsessed Amin has since been hauled before a court in Cook County. But the janitor’s lawyer insisted the miscommunication arose only because her client was trying to keep his voice down.

“He’s standing there with his mother; of course he’s not going to shout this out,” Amin’s lawyer, Eileen O'Neill-Burke, said.

But according to the security guard, and local prosecutors, Amin spoke clearly when he twice said the object was a bomb, only to later reveal its true purpose.

The Cook County judge, Gerald Winiecki, found enough evidence for the case to progress further. Phallic inflator Amin must return to court next week, and could potentially be jailed for up to three years if found guilty.

Outside the hearing, the janitor stressed his innocence, while assuring the public that the practice of penis pumping is normal. “Half of America, they use it”.

Folklaw has unearthed another potential cause, other than embarrassment, for the apparent miscommunication involved. According to our source, there is no letter ‘p’ in the Arabic alphabet. It is therefore not uncommon for an Arab to say ‘b’ where there should be a ‘p’. For example, ‘police’ might sound like ‘bolice’ and ‘persecution’ might come across as ‘bersecution’. And perhaps more importantly, in the case of Amin, the word ‘pump’ could well be misheard as ‘bumb’, particularly when muttered under the breath.

Things not so gay at UK Law Society

The Law Society of England and Wales has fallen afoul of the legal community after a report on the ability of gay lawyers to work happily in the profession, based on a tiny sample of 25 people, was released to the national press.

As website RollOnFriday reported, both The Times and the Metro ran with the story that London city firms had an entrenched “macho culture” that was at times homophobic.

According to The Times, the “culture of some of Britain's biggest law firms is forcing many gay lawyers to lead a double life”.

This was due to a “work hard, play hard” attitude, involving excursions to rugby matches, heavy drinking sessions and “constant trips” to strip clubs such as The Spearmint Rhino.

The website said that the Law Society could not confirm whether any of the 25 people interviewed actually worked at city firms, and that it recognised things had improved dramatically in the industry over the last 10 years.

Folklaw would be interested to know what Australia’s gay lawyers think of the culture they work in. Email your thoughts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Emailing on the worlds superhighway

Ever been annoyed by erratic drivers who insist on talking on their mobile phones? Although many people are guilty of this offence, it’s no secret that taking a hand away from the wheel is a dangerous act.

Well, be thankful that you don’t live in Switzerland. A 34-year-old saleswoman was caught flying along a Swiss highway in her car while she was using her handheld mobile phone and her laptop, a police spokesperson in the canton of St Gallen said.

The driver claimed she was doing no wrong; in fact she was “driving like I always do”, the police statement said.

A patrol car pulled her over after police spotted the woman’s car zigzagging across the A3 motorway just outside of Murg.

Robbed of a steal in Austria

An armed bandit was caught by police after he tried to rob a local town hall, mistaking it for a bank.

A masked man, 34, barged into the municipal building in Poggersdorf, Austria, allegedly wielding an air gun. Making the error because of the presence of an automatic teller machine outside the town hall, the man’s attempt at a hold-up was frustrated by the complete lack of money on the premises to steal, said Hermann Klammer, leader of the criminal division at Carinthia province's police department.

Terrified employee, Helga Aichwalder, had the job of telling the man he had made a mistake. “At first, I thought he was making a bad joke," she was quoted as saying by Austrian broadcaster, ORF.

The failed thief was soon arrested as he tried to flee on the back of a motorbike.

“This is an extremely odd case. I’ve never come across anything like this,” Klammer said.

Pot plants at cop shop

Officers at a police substation in Minnesota were tipped off that a local town authority had marijuana plants growing outside its front door — only to discover that it was their own.

News reporter Janna Goerdt, of the Duluth News Tribune, found 12 small pot plants growing in the garden outside the police station after she overheard another news team talking about “something interesting” budding among the other plants.

Upon returning with police to the station after a staged media sting on the misuse of all-terrain vehicles, Goerdt took a closer look in the garden at the front of the building and located the offending ganja. Although she maintained she wasn’t sure what the plants were, she took a leaf as a sample to show her colleagues at the newspaper.

“I needed some evidence. I didn’t know if anyone would believe me,” she said. “I didn’t think it was a big deal. I just thought it was rather amusing.”

Gardener Tom Kasper confirmed Goerdt’s suspicions, who later notified Lt John Beyer of the West Duluth police.

Beyer, in his defence, stressed that both the police and the public made use of the back entrance to the police station, while the front door remained locked.

“The only thing I can say is somebody has a sense of humour. Now they’ll read about it in the paper and say, ‘yeah, that was me’,” Beyer said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Folklaw 15 September 2006
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