LIVin’ it up North
10 October 2003
We don’t know if this is a sign of things to come, but it certainly was strange to see the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) bobbing up in the Far North Queensland’s press.
Maybe Bill O’Shea and the boys are planning to take over the whole nation. If that’s the case, they certainly got things off to a roaring start last week after the LIV was quoted extensively throughout a special on legal rights in the Cairns Post.
The title of the newspaper may be a red herring, but we’re still not convinced its readership would get much from the line: “Clients who believe they have been overcharged by a lawyer can contact the Law Institute of Victoria’s department of Professional Standards.”
For the few banana benders somehow unfamiliar with Victorian legal guilds, a direct phone number and web link was kindly included as well.
We know the more aptly located Queensland Law Society has copped a bit of ribbing over its complaints handling of late, but referring readers to an interstate body more than 4,000 kilometres away doesn’t say much for their redemptive efforts now, does it? And we thought Queenslanders were meant to be the most fiercely parochial people in Australia.
A final dig from the grave
11 September 2003
Over in the Supreme Court, our attention was brought to a will that obviously lays great claim to being the lifeblood of racial sensitivity.
And just to confirm what a tolerant society it is in which we live, the court did the right thing by determining the deceased’s responsible wishes were to be carried out to the letter.
We hope you can all learn a thing or two from Kay v South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service  NSWSC 292 and in doing so make the world a better place.
“I appoint Stephen Kay ... to be Executor and Trustee of this my Will & I expect him to carry out my orders without any changes and no-one can contest it.
“I give Royal North Shore Hospital $10,000 for the Liver Department ... I give The Children's Hospital at Randwick $10,000 for treatment of white (and white is underlined twice) babies. I give the Blind Dogs $10,000 for dog pets for the elderly.
”I give the Pink Ladies at Ryde Hospital $5,000 & my finished craft to sell in their shop ... My brother, his wife or any of their descendants are not (not is underlined twice) to get anything out of the house or one cent of any money. If Stephen Kay wants to sell the house he must sell it to a young white (white is underlined twice) Australian couple for a reasonable price & not sell at auction or to a developer.
“Nothing in the house is to be sold. It is to be given to anyone who needs it or to charity, even Rotary for their garage sale but not the Smith Family or St Vincent de Paul. What no-one wants is to go to the tip. So goodbye to anyone who is interested.”
13 October 2003
If only Richie, Tony, Bill et al at the Channel 9 commentary team could get their laughing gear around this wonderful item of sporting memorabilia during a drinks break this summer.
Unfortunately for the boys, Folklaw has beaten them to it and is now proud to showcase this rare office rugby jersey, framed and mounted alongside the signatures of team Allens Arthur Robinson.
A perfect addition to the wall of any games or bar room, this special one-off treasure captures the team of lawyers who, we are led to believe, will play a leading role in the firm’s special duties over the month ahead.
Beautifully entitled “Official Law Firm of the Rugby World Cup 2003” this must-have piece of history would no doubt make a great birthday present for the lawyer hubby who’s simply got everything. Ladies, imagine the look on the face of your beloved as he gazes longingly at the names of the very Australians responsible for making 2003’s biggest sporting event legally possible. It certainly got the thumbs up from young Corey Knight of Brisbane recently. Not only have Team Allens cured all of the 20-year-old’s headaches surrounding what to get his mates for Christmas this year, the firm also gave him two tickets for this weekend’s World Cup opener.
But like those representing Team Allens — whose names are now carved into legal sporting lore within that stunning wooden frame — would well admit, the limelight doesn’t come easy.
Corey won the tickets after being randomly selected from a portion of 60,000 contestants to beat the computer in Allens’ online drop-kick competition.
Many of those on the winners list were later discovered to be lawyers from other firms. Such effort to find the spare time to conquer this challenge, we believe, must be heartily applauded in light of exhausting workloads they keep telling us about.
Email of the week
3 December 2004
A Lawyers Weekly writer was corresponding with a friend via email this week when they realised they shared a mutual association.
“A friend’s boyfriend who works at a law firm in Sydney knows you,” the Lawyers Weekly writer was told. She was also told his name. “Ah, yes,” said the writer, “I think he works at Clayton Utz, in construction”.
But the friend insisted that it wasn’t him. “It couldn’t be him”, she said. “No, he definitely works in a law firm.”
“Yes,” the Lawyers Weekly writer explained, “Clayton Utz is a law firm, and construction is an area of law.”
“Ahhh,” the friend replied, “I thought you meant Clayton’s Utes, and that he builds the utes, being in construction.”
Folklaw was pleased to hear that the legal world has not, in fact, infiltrated the entire universe and that some gaps remain untouched by the goings on of law firms in this country. Phew.
Jeans for genes
19 August 2004
Folklaw was able to lay its hands on two emails, each sent to all staff of major law firms Allens Arthur Robinson and Mallesons Stephen Jaques on ‘Jeans for Genes’ day last Friday. We were surprised to see the two very different takes on the same day. While Allens’ national staff partner Michael Rose encouraged staff to get involved, dress up and really embrace the cause, Mallesons’ employees were restricted to wearing matching suit jackets and trousers. Here, dear readers, we publish them for your perusal.
Email from national staff partner Michael Rose to lawyers at Allens Arthur Robinson:
As in previous years, I will donate $20 to CMRI for any pair of the following brands worn to my office on the day:
• Amco Amco Peaches Amco Bogarts Levi’s Californian
• Faberge Staggers Fiorucci Blues Union
• Can’t Tear’em Pointing Dog Skipping Girl Miss Completely
• Big Boy Giordano American Yankee
• Marte et Girault Union Made
Also — as a special this year — $20 more if the jeans are accessorised with a Miller brand Western Shirt with pearl press studs (plus an extra $5 if it has a stitched shoulder saddle and/or metallic pin stripes).
Fifty dollars more if the jeans are accessorised with a limited edition John Laws signature Valvoline chambray shirt.
Twenty dollars more for any t-shirt featuring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, the Bay City Rollers, Karen and Richard Carpenter, Farah Fawcett-Majors, the Partridge Family (with or without Rubin Kincaid) or a scene from Jaws.
May the best dressed win.
Email from partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques to all staff:
In future, could all male staff please wear matching suit jackets and bottoms as the clients are not colour blind. David Palser has attended Sydney this morning wearing non-matching suit components. The partners in the group would like to discourage this sort of conduct and would also like to point out today is not a free dress day.
Gadens ’ creative approach to the Christmas spirit
17 December 2004
The madness of the Christmas season has once again gripped the esteemed law fraternity of Australia. Some invite their prestigious blue-chip clients to share a bottle or three of their finest Dom Perignon in the secluded comfort of mahogany veneered boardrooms, while others let their summer clerks loose on drunken rampages. Each has their own special and dearly treasured way of celebrating the birth of the Son of God, but the frenzied festivities have seized Gadens Lawyers in a personal and uniquely creative way. The firm is encouraging staff to design and send their own set of Christmas cards, which demonstrates Gadens’ dedication to nurturing creativity in a colourful and fun way, says managing partner Michael Bradley. Designed to challenge and stretch the imagination of the firm’s festive workforce, Bradley also says such initiatives confirm Gadens’ commitment to supporting the arts in Australia.
Your time is our time
29 April 2005
Folklaw isn’t sure of Gadens Lawyers’ official (or unofficial) policy on work/life balance, but the fact that the firm’s representatives at the fast-approaching Sydney Grad Fair will be wearing “Property of Gadens” t-shirts, as reported in last week’s Lawyers Weekly, could be an indicator. Or maybe they are just having a dig at Allens Arthur Robinson’s Tom Poulton’s recent comments about how much their lawyers are expected to work, treating clients like God, to boot. Gadens will also be handing out party poppers at the Grad Fair, so it can’t be all bad. Such garments would probably make an ideal ‘welcome aboard’ gift for graduate recruits at any firm.
Bright side of the street
28 October 2005
They really are very lovely offices, aren’t they? But that still gives Allen & Overy no right to claim them as their own in Prospects Law magazine recently — they are in fact Clifford Chance’s offices. In a full page advert that would have wowed all those who came across it, the firm yelled “Start at the top and work up” in bold font, accompanied by a short spiel on why young lawyers should work there (to eventually make it to the top, in case you hadn’t figured it). And, there amongst the bravado were several pictures of what is quite clearly Clifford Chance’s Canary Wharf headquarters.
We couldn’t get a copy of the actual magazine, we’re sorry — it seems all involved are choosing to sweep the whole embarrassing mistaken (or stolen) identity matter under the carpet.
Sauce on their faces
1 July 2005
A lawyer from Baker & McKenzie’s London office has achieved notoriety — for all the wrong reasons — after an email exchange between himself and a secretary at the firm was forwarded throughout the UK legal community. Richard Phillips emailed Jenny Amner, informing her that he wanted her to pick up his $9.40 (£4) dry cleaning bill because she had spilt tomato sauce on his trousers.
A week later, she emailed back with the message: “I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother’s sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your £4 ($9.40). I apologise again for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial needs as a senior associate are greater than mine as a mere secretary.”
She informed him that she had told partners, lawyers and trainees about the email and they had offered to pass the hat around for the money. She declined their offer, but informed him that should he feel “the urgent need for £4 it will be on my desk this afternoon”.
BBC reported that the email exchange had been forwarded throughout the legal community. In a statement, Baker & McKenzie confirmed it was aware of the exchange and said the matter “had clearly got out of hand”.
You have to laugh
9 September 2005
Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Matthew Seymour wrote up a piece for the Lawyers Weekly deals column, a blander version of which is in this issue. However, we at Folklaw thought Seymour’s take on the deal was worth publishing. “The logistics of settlement were interesting: five parties, 15 people, an 11 page settlement checklist, over 60 documents (plus counterparts) and five hours to complete,” he wrote. Seymour also revealed that David Walker claimed the dubious honour of working for three different law firms over the duration of the deal — his previous employer, as a sole practitioner for a brief period and then with current employer Holding Redlich.
“The deal nearly collapsed at least twice, but both vendor and purchaser seemed to be experts at deal CPR milliseconds before the flat line,” Seymour wrote, before adding a warning at the end of his email. “If you are ever asked to act in the sale or purchase of the IMAX Theatre, do not be deceived by the apparent simplicity of assigning a head lease — your fee quote should be about 10 times your wildest estimate.”
In a moment of seriousness, he said that he wanted full credit to go to the other lawyers on the transaction, including Walker, because if it wasn’t for them being easy to deal with, the process would have been an utter chore.
28 April 2006
Of course it's only rumour, but Folklaw heard via an undisclosed (but usually reliable) source that Allens Arthur Robinson had a couple of signage hiccups in its new Sydney offices into which everyone moved after Easter. Apparently, the toilets on all ten floors were inadvertently labelled 'batrooms' and the pens and notebooks cupboard was 'stationary' (as in, not moving). Folklaw imagines AAR red pens have been busy on the walls this week.