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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

Legal press makes shock Cliff Richard claim
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30 July 2018

After Cliff Richard spent £3 million pursuing the BBC through the courts because it reported on something that actually did happen (a police raid on his home), you'd think the media would be really, really careful not to report on something that didn't.

So congratulations and jubilations to the Times, which threw caution to the wind reporting on the 77-year-old in its legal newsletter, The Brief, when it informed subscribers that "this month Mr Justice Mann backed the swinger in his claim over the BBC's coverage".


     

My heart goes out to the Times hack responsible. Typos happen. You check your newsletter, you press send, and then as the counter ticks past 3,000 deliveries you give it a cursory scan and realise with horror that you wrote "Shakin' Stevens is a prostitute" or "Lulu dogs". They shouldn't beat themselves up about it. However RollOnFriday would like to make it quite clear that Cliff Richard is definitely not a swinger, as far as we know.


.... read more >
PR XXXX-up of the week
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1
27 July 2018

RollOnFriday was about to delete a press release filled with mind-numbing garglings about 'lawbots' when, blame the heat, we scrolled through it instead. Thank God, because it contained a public admission that law firm Kennedys and PR outfit Olive Communications are doing unprintably rude things to one another.



Either that or someone pressed 'send' too soon. In which here's our best guess at what it should have said:
 
"Kennedys has been working with Olive Communications for 12:21pm, enhancing it’s garbage isn't it, thanks for Olive’s birthday present."

Kennedys must be delighted. Luckily no-one will ever know, because who reads these press releases anyway. .... read more >
Exclusive: MPs launch blistering attack on Allen & Overy, question its commitment to diversity, say firm "can't even come clean"
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20 June 2018

A parliamentary select committee has accused Allen & Overy of not taking diversity seriously after the firm refused to disclose gender pay gap data.

As RollOnFriday revealed last week, the chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Labour MP Rachel Reeves, wrote in May to the five Magic Circle firms demanding they disclose details of their partnership pay gap. A&O declined.

Today the committee published the five firms' responses and Reeves blasted A&O. “Allen & Overy can’t even come clean on its partner data now", she said. "It’s easy to talk the talk on diversity and inclusion, but if a business is dragging its feet on providing even basic information about its gender pay gap then it begs the question of how seriously it takes its responsibilities to valuing all its staff and how dedicated it is to committing to promote female associates to partner level".

Reeves clambered onto her high horse even though firms were under no duty to include partner data. Alluding to the failure of parliament to draft appropriate legislation, but shifting the blame onto A&O nonetheless, Reeves said, "It is clear there are weaknesses in the reporting requirements, which firms such as Allen & Overy have been able to exploit". She said the committee "shall be looking at what recommendations we can make to ensure that businesses are taking their responsibilities on fair pay seriously”.

Allen's essay was not up to scratch.   


An insider told ROF that the letters were drafted with one eye on their expected publication. They show all the firms (apart from A&O) bending over backwards to provide the overall salary and bonus gender pay gap figures. Here's how A&O stonewalled those nosy MPs:



And here are the letters, which give up all sorts of other man/woman/pay stat stuff:

Allen & Overy

Clifford Chance

Freshfields

Linklaters

Slaughter and May

More on Friday .... read more >
Exclusive: Allen & Overy refuses to tell parliament the size of its partnership's gender pay gap
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12 June 2018

RollOnFriday can exclusively reveal that MPs on the business select committee wrote to the five Magic Circle firms demanding that they provide it with their partnership gender pay gap figures, and that Allen & Overy refused.

Clifford Chance and Linklaters had already publicly released their partnership stats (CC's mean partner pay gap was 22%, Links was a minute 2.2%). Both confirmed to RollOnFriday that they submitted their figures formally to the committee. Slaughter and May and Freshfields also confirmed to RollOnFriday that they provided their figures, although they have not released them publicly. But Allen & Overy declined, telling the committee that it would give them up when it was ready - in September. Apparently a calculator with a divide button is hard to come by at the firm.
 
A&O regularly and heavily promotes its drive for inclusion and diversity, which makes its decision to hide its partnership's gender pay gap from parliamentary scrutiny all the more remarkable.

    "A parliamentary request, you say?"

When law firms released their gender pay gap reports earlier in the year to comply with new legislation, most carved out their partnerships. Partner stats are technically exempt from the gender pay gap disclosure obligations, because they are classified as 'owners' under the statute, not 'employees'. That didn't stop critics accusing them of obscuring the true pay gaps within their businesses by eliding their male-dominated upper echelons.

The chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Labour MP Rachel Reeves, was sufficiently exercised by the omissions that she called in Slaughter and May's human resources director, Louise Meikle, for a grilling before the committee in May. “What is being masked is the true gender pay gap”, Reeves said, calling Slaughters' gender pay gap report "meaningless". 

RollOnFriday understands that Reeves subsequently wrote to the Magic Circle firms on Friday 25th May demanding that they provide her with their partnership gender pay gap figures within two weeks. A source told RollOnFriday that, considering the subject matter related to fair workplace practices, it was an interesting choice by Reeves to force the firms to scramble to produce the figures over the half-term holiday.

Except Allen & Overy did not. A spokesman for the firm told RollOnFriday, "We were asked for a number we didn't have". When ROF suggested that some of the other firms also didn't initially have the number, he said that A&O would release its figure in September, and added that the firm was being "extremely rigorous" in its calculations. 
 
Sources expect Reeves to publish the results of her fact-finding mission imminently. RollOnFriday understands that the firms have drafted their responses accordingly, with one eye on the public exposure which their submissions will receive. Except A&O. .... read more >
Exclusive: Lord Harley is being prosecuted for fraud
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07 June 2018

Alan Blacker, AKA Lord Harley, AKA Dr The Right Honourable The Lord Harley of Counsel of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, is being prosecuted for fraud.

The court character, who infamously drew the ire of a judge for having the temerity to adorn himself with badges and ribbons and a ponytail, is set to stand trial in January next year for failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances. It is not known whether the specific charges are related to disability benefits, social security credits or undeclared royalties on Blacker publications including 'Hauling Trailers, the law made simple', and 'All you wanted to know about medals but were too afraid to ask'.

     Orange is the new Blacker?

Blacker has been suffering a whirlwind ride to the bottom ever since his disastrous appearance before Judge Wynn Morgan in 2015, when the judge compared the self-styled Lord to "something out of Harry Potter". Media attention quickly turned to Blacker's 12,500 word LinkedIn profile. His profile boasted that Blacker was a 'Licensed Boiler Examiner', attended colleges at Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin Universities (none had any record of him), owned patents including one for a mortar weapon called a 'Hedgehog', and was fluent in Urdu.

In 2016 Blacker was prosecuted by the SRA. He refused to attend because, he said, the hearing overlapped with his birthday. He was struck off and ordered to pay the SRA's costs of £86,000. Blacker appealed the order on the basis of his health. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ruled his evidence "unconvincing", then handed him another bill for £7,500.

Blacker's trial is set to begin on 7 January 2019. He did not respond to a request for comment. .... read more >
Blackmailer threatens to release video of ROF staff self-pleasuring
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31 May 2018


The RollOnFriday team is sad to have to report that a man in Belgium has caught one of us self-pleasuring.

'Krebs Ferree' emailed to let us know that he recorded a pervert through a camera in one of our computers at ROF Towers. He says that unless we cough up he's going to send it everywhere.




Against the veracity of all this, he did address his email to a woman who left the business ten years ago. But in its favour, it's true and it was me.



I missed the deadline by a couple of hours, but Krebs has not replied and mother hasn't called, so fingers crossed he's got nothing. .... read more >
Exclusive: Herbert Smith Freehills poaches WFW transport heavyweight, plus more
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17 April 2018

The global head of transport at Watson Farley Williams has been poached by Herbert Smith Freehills. 

Several other lawyers are also leaving with Rex Rosales.

Even if he was departing solo it would represent a hammer blow for WFW. And an interesting coup for Herbies. 

Rosales is a 30 year veteran of the sector. An aviation finance specialist, he effectively founded WFW's transport practice when he joined in 2010 as part of a defection of five transport lawyers from Reed Smith. As its global head he built the department up into a significant team for WFW. As recently as last summer, while announcing new hires from White & Case, he said that transport was "one of the firm’s key specialist sectors" and "one we are committed to expanding”.

Just not with him. Or the rest of the lawyers who are leaving too. 

    He's leaving, on a jet plane. 

A spokesman for WFW declined to comment on how many other partners and associates were following Rosales out the exits, and HSF was also taken a bit by surprise when ROF called up. 

Rosales told RollOnFriday he was not able to comment. .... read more >
Hill Dickinson and RPC cut ties with Exeter Uni Law School students exposed in racist WhatsApp chat
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20 March 2018

Hill Dickinson and RPC have cut ties with members of Exeter University's Law Society after they were accused of making wildly racist comments in a WhatsApp group.

In the exchanges on the 'Dodgy Blokes Soc' group chat, law students including future Hill Dickinson trainee and General Secretary of the Bracton Law Society, Matthew Bell, and an RPC Brand Ambassador and the BLS pro bono officer, Alex Crawford, appear to have used racial epithets to refer to their peers. They also appear to have proposed a race war and joked about gang raping other students. 

Screengrabs of the chat were exposed on Twitter and Facebook by Exeter Uni Law School student Arsalan Motavali, who said he decided to reveal the messages after seeing the coverage of racist chants at Nottingham Trent University.

In the chat, the students appear to have frequently used terms such as "n***er", "coon" and "monkey". Bell allegedly suggested organising a social "where we invite pure ragheads and turn them away". First year law student Bailey Grant appears to have replied that they should hold the event in South Africa instead as it "means we can add in gang rape". He allegedly said they could "buy blacks in bulk" and put "bars on the shed". Crawford appeared to reply "You only need to go as far as Mauritania to get slaves. Much cheaper". In January this year, the group again turned to rape, with Bell allegedly commenting, 'Hey rape is funny'. He appears to have asked Grant to tell a female student they knew that "we'd all like to gang rape her".

    Quite. 

Motavali set up the WhatsApp group in 2017, but said that when Bell took over as the administrator and added more students the content "became increasingly racist and deplorable". Motavali said he decided to stay in the group to collect evidence. "I refuse to stand by and let such people who speak in these terms go on to recruit at future law firms", he said, while "cowering behind their phones and talking like this about people that are part of the society they represent".

In the chat, Bell appears to have said of a fellow student, "He's such a stupid little arse licking paki". Ash Chandraharan, who is currently running to become the next Bracton Law Society General Secretary, is shown allegedly replying, "He's why I'm for racial discrimination", and referring to another person as "such a dirty arab".

The group also apparently discussed a photo of London Mayor Sadiq Khan at a football stadium. Grant, allegedly identified in the screenshots by the last three digits of his number, 594, appears to have commented, "I'm disgusted", "get that cancer away from my ground" and "this is why we need a race war".

This morning, within 15 hours of Motavali posting the messages on social media, Hill Dickinson and RPC have both severed ties with Bell and Crawford.

In a statement, Hill Dickinson CEO Peter Jackson confirmed the firm had terminated Bell's training contract. He said, "Following serious allegations made against an individual who was due to join the firm in September 2019, we have now spoken to the individual and revoked his offer of employment. We are deeply disturbed by the messages that were brought to our attention last night and would like to stress that the views expressed by the individual and others involved in this matter do not in any way represent the views of the firm and we absolutely do not condone this behaviour."

RPC Training Principal Simon Hart said that the firm had ended its relationship with Crawford. The student, who did not have a training contract with RPC, was paid by an agency on behalf of the firm to promote RPC on campus. Just not like this. Hart said, "We are absolutely appalled by what we have read this morning, and condemn this sort of behaviour in the strongest possible terms. It is indefensible, vile, and has no place in any society. Despite the fact this individual was never an employee of RPC we, of course, treat the situation as seriously as if he was – it goes wholly against everything we stand for. We can confirm that we are no longer working with him in any capacity. We have also decided to terminate our Brand Ambassador agreement with the agency who employed him with immediate effect".

Bracton Law Society said in a statement, "Bracton Law Society has taken the decision to remove those involved from committee, ban the candidate from the ongoing election and indefinitely ban all those involved from the Society. The Society does not condone or tolerate such behaviour". The University of Exeter said it was investigating the allegations.

Alleged screenshots from the group chat:



























.... read more >
Eversheds Sutherland partner tries hard to be diverse
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08 March 2018

You are white. You are male. You are holding a frame. You are diversity. And so is your pal who looks just like you, he is also diversity. Together you can made (sic) a difference.


.... read more >
Jones Day does not care if it is snowing
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01 March 2018

Ice and Eastern Beasts have, as usual, created havoc in the UK. But Jones Day does not give a flying snowball f**k if all your trains are cancelled, your kid's school has shut or if you have slipped and died. Get. To. Work.





Thanks to ROF's source who just wanted "to let you know that Jones Day really cares for their staff's safety".

 Motto of the US Postal Service/Jones Day. .... read more >

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