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Folklaw 8 July
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Folklaw 8 July

The cat is out of the bagTony Keal, head of leveraged finance at Allen & Overy in London would be none too popular with his superiors after he accidentally copied his entire department in…

The cat is out of the bag

Tony Keal, head of leveraged finance at Allen & Overy in London would be none too popular with his superiors after he accidentally copied his entire department in on an email that spelt out just how badly underpaid they were. Keal apparently heard that some of the firm’s senior support staff would be given bonuses and pay rises. He sent an email to managing partner David Morley to inform him that the finance assistants would be peeved when they found out, and thus informed them all. Dang technology.

In the email Keal pointed out that the firm was “substantially underpaying senior and junior finance assistants. He said salaries paid by banks, US firms and Magic Circle competitors should be taken into account, and pay increases of 10 to 40 per cent were necessary. More distressingly, he added that the underpayment had led to a loss of assistants and the “degradation of overall assistant quality”. Folklaw suspects there aren’t many happy campers in that department at the moment.

The final chapter

Attorney Rich Merritt was ‘released’ from his position with Atlanta law firm Powell Goldstein, LLP, after he notified them about the imminent release of his book Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star. Merritt, who was the gay marine featured anonymously in a controversial 1998 New York Times Magazine article about gays in the military, was quoted on American website Out in Twin Cities as saying that the current political climate “and continuing loss of separation between church and state, and public and private life in our country seem to me to demand that we tell our stories, especially when personal freedoms are involved”. According to Erwin Chemerinsky, Alston and Bird Professor of Law at Duke University in North Carolina, the First Amendment only protects citizens from actions by the Government. “Any private sector employee can be fired, as Rich was, for speaking out, such as he did by publishing his memoirs,” he said.

Dig that hole

A spokesman for a beer company that angered women’s groups over an advertisement has refused to back down, and has dug the company an even deeper hole. A television advertisement by Regional Beer in Venezuela stated that the difference between a wife and a lover was 30 kilograms. El Universal newspaper reported that women’s rights groups said the advertisement was misogynist and demanded a public apology. Regional beer said it will only apologise if it is forced to by the courts and the spokesman added: “I bet all those women’s groups are run by women who are at least 30 kilos overweight”. Will they never learn?

A dishonest lawyer?

A retired lawyer from Palm Springs, California, has been charged by federal prosecutors for accepting cash in return for acting as a plaintiff in “dozens” of class actions and shareholder lawsuits. The scam allegedly earned him $57 million over 20 years. The Washington Post reported recently that Milberg Weiss, the firm that represented Seymour Lazar, 78, a retired entertainment lawyer, was not named in the indictment. The Post stated that the indictment was the result of an investigation into the practices of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, which led the largest of the investor suits against bankrupt energy trader Enron before splitting in two last year. Lazar’s attorney said the indictment was an attempt to convince the ailing Lazar to turn on the firm. The charges against Lazar do not relate to the Enron suits, but included suits against Standard Oil, United Airlines and Denny’s.

Reverse progress

UK High Court judge, Sir Hugh Laddie, has announced he is going to step down from the bench and join IP specialists Willoughby and Partners after 10 years as the senior judge of the Patents Court. Apparently he misses the “fun” of working as part of a team, but Folklaw wonders if he is suffering from a case of sentimentalised reality. After all, there must be some reason why no other judge has ever left the bench to join a law firm.

We beg your pardon

Folklaw was surprised to receive a letter recently stating that several items published in its hallowed pages had been derogatory to women and ridiculed the victims of sexual harassment. The letter pointed to three items: ‘Lawyer’s libido’ about an attorney accused of sexually harassing a client, ‘Case of the exploding boobie’ about a policeman who was so rough with a woman he arrested that her breast implant ruptured, and ‘Revenge of the what?’ about a strange man who was dressing up as Darth Vadar and exposing himself to unsuspecting (and completely uninterested) women.

Folklaw would like to clarify that in all these cases, the ridicule was pointed squarely at the men involved, and we all know it is alright to ridicule men, after all they earn more than women, play rugby not netball, age better than women and generally have much more fun. With all these things going for them, men can afford to cop a bit of ridicule on the chin.

We also want to assure you that we aren’t discriminating against men, we are willing to ridicule anyone who has done anything stupid — man, woman, child or animal and even ourselves. However, if anyone else has misinterpreted the content of these pages, we do humbly apologise.

Celebration

So excited are they by winning the 2005 Australian Law Award for Information Technology, and placing as runner up in the Media and Entertainment category, Deacons is hosting a cocktail party to celebrate its success. It’s good to see a bit of old fashioned ‘making merry’ taking place — and well deserved it is!

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