find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Folklaw LW 285

Folklaw LW 285

Garbage in, garbage outAs a regular recipient of monetary proposals from Nigeria, offers of instant credit approval, and ads for physical, er, ‘enhancement’, Folklaw is well aware of the…

Garbage in, garbage out

As a regular recipient of monetary proposals from Nigeria, offers of instant credit approval, and ads for physical, er, ‘enhancement’, Folklaw is well aware of the Inbox’s ability to attract the electronic equivalent of industrial waste. Not surprisingly, then, our interest was piqued by some apparently diligent research into how long lawyers spend taking out the garbage — and how much that time costs their firms.

California-based Edward Poll, on his blog (, reckons it’s a lot of moulah — US$80,000 to be precise.

“Based on personal experience, it is easy to estimate that most lawyers take about one or two hours each working day to ‘clear out’ their e-mail boxes,” he says in a special report. Based on a puny 200 work-day year, with two hours of cyber cleansing and a US$200 billable hour (even though most US attorneys charge more), that comes to a hefty US$80,000 of wasted billable time per year.

“Given the rapidity of response that e-mails encourage, it’s likely that very few lawyers are truly capturing the time that they’re spending on legitimate client communications, like phone conversations and e-mail communications,” Ed writes. “Yet lawyers are going so fast doing so many things, that they don’t actually write down their time notation as they’re working on e-mails.”

“Client e-mail gets so enmeshed in what has been called ‘administrivia’ that their importance is not adequately accounted for. The result is lost profitability.”

Not to mention, Folklaw suggests, lost time that could have been usefully employed in surfing the web for non work-related purposes.

Love website puts foot down

Folklaw has little tolerance — though tempered with a pinch of humour — for the over-litigious, ‘if it moves, you can sue it’ approach to litigation. We could, however, feel only sympathy for the US-based former Skadden Arps lawyer who has taken on an internet dating site after it refused to allow him to register because he was already married. According to our pals at, the lovelorn legal eagle tracked down the website in his search for some action and diligently filled out the online profile. This apparently took him a couple of hours, but no doubt he was also reading the site’s fine print, disclaimers, privacy info etc etc. After all, even regarding affairs of the heart lawyers are always lawyers, aren’t they?

Coming to the relationship status question, our friend (truthfully) ticked the “legally separated” box, anticipating that lurrv was now only a few mouse clicks away. But what do you know? Like a worried parent imposing a curfew on a hormone-fuelled 15 year-old, eHarmony told our unfortunately still hitched, but would-be Romeo, that it’s not going to happen until he is “free of relationship commitments”. (Hang on, isn’t that the girlfriend’s line anyway?)

While the site isn’t comfortable with the prospect of aiding and abetting an adulterous liaison, it nevertheless is quite happy for the lawyer to sign up once the spousal ties are severed. But that’s kind of missing the point and we applaud our friend’s decision to sue for discrimination on the basis of marital status.

Folklaw has dipped a toe into the world of internet dating, under a more personal guise of course — including, on one occasion, dinner with a top tier partner who had one or two unsavoury things to say about life at her firm — and thus appreciates the need not only to have your day in court, but also to have your day a courting.

Show me the money

And in another tale of amorous woe from — or amour that seems to have gone off the rails in this case — a UK lawyer who has served more than 10 years of time for contempt of court has been sent back to the slammer after refusing to tell his ex-wife where he has stashed his money. The 68 year-old divorced his wife 11 years ago but wouldn’t tell the ex what had happened to a tidy little GBP1.4 million which she alleged was hidden in offshore bank accounts. One judge after another has found him guilty of contempt. But when you consider that at the most recent of these hearings, our man refused to say where he’d stashed the cash, allegedly declaring — and we quote — “I’d rather spend my life in jail than give that bitch a single penny”, you can understand where the judges are coming from.

The man’s own lawyer claims his client is neither insane nor eccentric (although, as Rollonfriday reports, if he’d simply stolen the cash he would only have got seven years anyway). Folklaw can’t help but wonder that if both he and the courts stick to their guns, then the man may be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for quite a while, perhaps even taking the location of the loot to his grave. We assume the wife was written out of his will sometime ago.

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 LW 285
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...