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Folklaw, 17 March 2006

Folklaw, 17 March 2006

Harder, too hard!Social approbation is a fickle beast at the best of times, especially when it comes to lawyers, but Folklaw suggests that even those prone to the odd Dionysian rampage or two…

Harder, too hard!

Social approbation is a fickle beast at the best of times, especially when it comes to lawyers, but Folklaw suggests that even those prone to the odd Dionysian rampage or two might find the following a little much. Roll on Friday reports that famous New Zealand lawyer, Christopher Harder, has finally been struck off the roll after a luminous legal career.

Harder has been involved in various novel courtroom techniques, such as a bout of fisticuffs with his learned colleague (most possibly shrugged off as merely a zealous defence of his client’s rights) and invective-laden tirades against judges. However, most of his career highlights revolve around a dedication to rigorously exploring the boundaries of the lawyer-client relationship.

After years of allegedly abusing clients at meetings, drinking heavily while interviewing them and sending lewd text messages that would make a bawdy leg spinner blush, the New Zealand Law Society decided that enough was enough when Harder allegedly took a client to a brothel and made him simulate the sexual offences he had been charged with.

In a moment of stoicism upon learning of his fate, Harder said, “I let my guard down, dropped the ball and I’ll take my punishment like a man”. Apparently this involves sharing said punishment with the world, as his next project is a book dedicated to the Law Society president who ended his career.

Firm looks to see further

For Melbourne law firm FAL, the logical progression from eyesight problems that affect some 250 million people around the world, to optometry, to the idea of wearing sunglasses at legal meetings to raise money for said eyesight problems, was easy to make. Advising the International Centre for Eyecare Education (an Australian non-profit organisation) has obviously been an edifying experience for the firm. Joint senior partner cum visionary Jenni Lightowlers said “funds raised on National Sunnies for Sight Day will go towards giving others that fundamental human right — the right to sight. It’s extraordinary to believe that vision impairment is left unchecked simply because people don’t have access to glasses or optometry services.”

FAL’s lawyers showed their support for National Sunnies for Sight Day by wearing their shades to their first legal meeting of the year. Their efforts will contribute to a variety of programs set up to help people with vision impairments. Folklaw congratulates the firm on its honourable endeavour, but hopes for their clients’ sakes that they get brighter lights for the office. We wouldn’t ever want to see a lawyer working with blinkers on, now would we.

Sue well and dont let the bedbugs bite

Self-enforced insomnia is quickly taking hold throughout New York state after allegations by couple Leslie Fox and Stephen Cohen that they were attacked by bedbugs during their stay at a Catskills hotel in Ellenville. Apparently the attacks were small, vicious, wholly unprovoked, and repeated hundreds of times over five nights. The couple thought they had a watertight case for winning US$20 million in damages after the hotel all but admitted liability by offering them at the time two free nights in compensation. Unfortunately for their long-suffering lawyers, the couple returned to the very same hotel a week later to stay for another five nights. The hotel, unsurprisingly, now denies all liability.

Fox reportedly told US newspaper The News that she only went back because her husband was under contract to give a lecture on Jewish humour and that she only returned with “great apprehension”. Folklaw lauds her stoicism in the face of overwhelming entymological adversity, but suggests that next time the walls start moving she should note in her diary “don’t go back to place where I suffered $20 million in physical and mental anguish and spend another five nights there”.

Money money money

Folklaw thinks that whoever made the decision to launch into the C7 fracas Channel 7 is currently undertaking must have an almost supernatural control over his or her fear receptors. After throwing cash around last year and accumulating $54 million in legal fees, the broadcaster has already racked up another $27 million in 2006 thus far. $70 million in just over a year is nothing to be sneezed at. Folklaw sincerely hopes that Channel 7 keeps an eye on its cost benefit analysis over the next year or else we might be treated to a future in which the Nine Network rules all with an iron glove. Oh wait…

Vexed by the law

The phenomenon of the vexatious litigant is an intriguing one, Folklaw feels. “It’s unconstitutional,” bemoaned long time San Francisco litigant Burton Wolfe, when asked what he thought of legislation requiring deemed vexatious litigants to apply for leave before being allowed to bring a claim. Dogged Wolfe has thus far settled 25 claims to the tune of US$200,000, despite being deemed a vexatious litigant by his local court early on in his career. Other examples of “successful” needlers include Californian Jarek Molski, with 200 active cases (estimated to cost his weary defendants roughly US$800,000 per calendar year) and American Holli Lundahl, who charges out her money-bleeding services at approximately the same rate, recently costing a defendant US$1 million.

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, 17 March 2006
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