Folklaw 24 June 2005
Jet setting dreamIt was interesting to read last week about the managing partner of Clifford Chance, who jet sets about basically dealing with difficult situations, adding a touch of diplomacy
Jet setting dream
It was interesting to read last week about the managing partner of Clifford Chance, who jet sets about basically dealing with difficult situations, adding a touch of diplomacy where it is needed, whether in New York or London.
The life of Peter Cornell, outlined in The Times last week, reveals that, comparatively, many lawyers would be left in the lifted dust as Cornell rushes about doing his job. Cornell, we hear, leads a nomadic existence. He lives in Madrid, but spends two to three weeks a month in New York. He returns to Madrid with leftover time, after stints in London to boot. As the newspaper points out, it is exhausting just hearing about it.
His actual job, though, sounds like a breeze. The Times says his role involves walking the floors, shaking hands, listening to grievances. Apparently this role became necessary after 2000, when Clifford Chance merged with New York firm Rogers & Wells, which brought with it a cultural clash triggered by the “lockstep” pay system under which lawyers climb up the salary ladder. Basically, the arrangement saw the top New York partners being paid up to double the top British partners. This, inevitably, led to a wave of high-profile departures. This is where Cornwell comes in, smoothing things over.
Asked whether he would encourage his children to become lawyers, he replies he would not dissuade them against anything they would want to do. Folklaw would advise he inform them, however, that not all lawyers’ jobs are quite as jet setting and high-profile as his.
Back when Folklaw was at school, chewing gum in class was an offence that earned you the right to spend the rest of the period outside. Judges in a certain Romanian courtroom must have attended the same school. The said courtroom was recently emptied by judges because most of those in attendance were chewing gum. The judges, presiding over a civil lawsuit at Focsani Court, suspended the case for 10 minutes and asked everyone to leave the room after repeatedly warning them to show some respect and get rid of their gum. The warnings apparently served only to encourage some in attendance to blow bubbles in front of the judges. After the suspension the case continued without further indiscreet chewing.
Alright, I’ll talk!
Over the past few weeks Lawyers Weekly has covered the debate surrounding torture and whether or not it is ever acceptable. Well, interrogators at Guantanamo Bay have taken things to a new level. Folklaw thinks Mohammed al Qahtani (known as the 20th hijacker) would have been begging for a couple of mild electric shocks or a dose of sleep deprivation if allegations in Time magazine were true. The magazine reports that Christine Aguilera’s music was used to interrogate the al Qaeda suspect. Surely that would be enough to break anyone.
Taking the budget too far?
Personal injury lawyers could have been given a licence to print money by American health insurance companies who are recommending pill-splitting as a way for their clients to save money. UnitedHealthcare is giving away pill-splitters and offering discounts to clients who are willing to buy their prescription pills at double the required strength and cut them in half. Apparently with some medications both the 10 milligram and 20 milligram dosages cost the same amount for a 30-day supply and savings of up to $30 a month can be achieved with this method. However, not all pills can be split without compromising their effectiveness. UnitedHealthcare is supposedly getting around this by providing advice on which medications are suitable for the method, but commentators say they are not qualified to make such recommendations. It will be interesting to see how many cases arise in the future, as we know how fond of litigation our American friends are.
Handling his own defence
A top German lawyer confessed to a string of bank robberies after handing himself into police last week. Police are confused as to why he made the confession, however, as they didn’t have an inkling of suspicion that the 41-year-old had been involved.
As well as the robberies, which netted him more than $592,000, the lawyer also admitted to a number of cons that he had carried out from his legal practice in Muenster, Germany, most of which involved clients’ money. His life of crime dated back to 1986. The man’s wife also had no idea that he was living a double life and was shocked when police found a backpack containing guns and masks in the cellar.