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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

Hurrah for Bolt Burdon
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15 November 2017

It's a fine line writing about Bonkers Law Firm Websites

The staff involved -  loving tax, making tiny movements, having an alien, posing with bears - are either victims of an over-zealous art direction, or complicit and therefore deserving of even more credit, for injecting some colour into the grey veins of corporate websitery. They are fun pieces to write, too (do write in if you spot a candidate). When I catch myself photoshopping a tentacle onto a face I think, 'someone is paying me to do this', then, 'should I have a real job I am not a young man anymore', then 'brilliant just like Cthulhu'. But in taking the michael, we don't want to go too far. Otherwise we get angry letters.

As a result, it's always nice to hear that the subjects of a Bonkers story, which is really just a certificate of fabulousness, have taken it in good humour. 

So thank you, Bolt Burdon. RollOnFriday recently highlighted the Islington firm's staff posing in chairs, across chairs, among chairs, on top of chairs and in fact everywhere except under a chair (perhaps it could fix that with its next hire). Then, this week, these warriors in pink swivelling chariots, the masters of all they sit in, sent RoF Towers an email attaching a photo. At first glance it looked like a ransom note for a chair:

But on closer inspection it was a kind message. Although after a while it does begin to look like a cryptic warning. The point is, they probably see the funny side. Or we're going to get pulled into a van and diced into stuffing and pushed into the seat of that chair like so much meaty padding. But hopefully not. In any event, cheers to Bolt Burdon! The best lawyers in Islington with pink chairs. Yes, of course they get a plug for emailing us a compliment. Especially because it could be a death threat. .... read more >
Online drug touts and law firms make perfect bedfellows
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08 November 2017

A law firm's website has been improved immeasurably by an instruction to buy valium.


Linkworths, a Stoke Newington high street firm, appears to have been infiltrated by a shifty online chemist. But rather than standing out, the summons to guzzle drugs makes perfect sense. Most people instructing lawyers, especially lawyers on Stoke Newington High Street, which is still a bit rough compared to Church Street where you've got the Whole Foods, will be stressed - stressed enough that that they should absolutely also be in the market for a decent anticonvulsant. And now they can get one, or even dozens, courtesy of Linkworths, tagline unknown, and PharmaHub24, tagline "Prevention is better than cure".

Pharmahub24 has turned Linkworths into a regular dispensary. Elsewhere the firm now states that its staff can "work effortlessly buy klonopin online for lucrative commercial businesses". 


At first glance it looks like a hack, but this could just as well be a mutually beneficial partnership. After all, it is impossible to work 'effortlessly' unless you are pinged out of your socks. Rolling balls so big you don't feel exhaustion. So spangled, so over the rainbow that you actually feel like you're, like, actually Linklaters.

Promoting the consumption of massive doses of benzodiazepine may appear an odd, even questionable, position for a law firm. But as an employee satisfaction strategy it is a no-brainer. Goodbye zombie workers complaining about the coffee, hello bouncy movers and shakers who occasionally experience extreme disinhibition. It also pays dividends as a client relationship plan. According to Pharmahub24, which it must be noted should not be taken at its word, klonopin gets rid of attacks of aggression. What better way to take the sting out of any invoice you send? "Steven a mint's come with the bill from Linkworths...bloody hell they'e charged far too - Wow. Oh God. Oh God. Let me stroke your face, God I love you. I know I'm crying right now but I love our life, I love you, I love the work we do and I LOVE LINKWORTHS!"

Of course I am not recommending working in a law firm and getting bug-eyed on Klonopin. Noted side effects include drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, trembling, impaired coordination, vision problems, grogginess, feelings of depression and headaches. And the same applies to Klonopin. Boom!

Linkworths did not respond to a request for comment, too buzzed, so we don't know if this is a hacking issue or an official commercial arrangement. Either way, it's in good company. In May, the website of high-paying, hard-playing Kirkland & Ellis was injected with Viagra. .... read more >
Firm single white females Clifford Chance
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07 November 2017

A reader emailed a firm's new logo to RollOnFriday and asked whether the two-partner Maltese start-up in question was "passing itself off as associated with Clifford Chance?"

    Nonsense! One is painted in Mauritian Shallows and the other in the very different Maltese Surf.

We couldn't possibly say one way or the other. But you know what they say: if you can't beat them, join them, and if you can't join them, push the limits of copyright law at the expense of one of the biggest, most powerful firms in the world. What could go wrong? .... read more >
Top sports lawyers quit Charles Russell Speechlys to set up boutique
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23 October 2017

Four sports law partners have quit Charles Russell Speechlys to found a boutique, ravaging its sports practice in the process. You heard it here first.

Jonathan 'Edwards' Ellis, Ian 'Des' Lynam, James 'Starting' Eighteen and Jon 'The Last One Referred To Australian Rules Football' Walters announced today that they have left to set up a new firm called Northridge. In doing so they appear to have completely scalped CRS's sports practise.

That includes clients. Big hitters going with them include The Football Association, the Welsh Rugby Union, Premiership Rugby and several Premier League clubs, as well as household names (except if you know nothing about sport) like Dele Alli (nope), Thierry Henry (yep, he's a footballer), Cesc Fabregas (heard of him, kicks balls), Raheem Sterling (football) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (fencing?).

  Ellis, Eighteen, Walters (sorry Walters) and Lynam. 

In leaving they are also punting the guts out of CSR's formerly-leading sports law practice. The four partners comprised the four listed key sports law individuals at the firm. Ellis and Lynam headed up its Sports Group for the last five years. And they have taken with them 12 fee-earners. That includes three Managing Associates, four associates, three paralegals and even two first seat trainees. They clearly decided it would be much more fun striking out with a sports boutique than staying at CRS (where, staff told RollOnFriday's Firm of the Year 2017 survey, relations between some legacy Charles Russell and legacy Speechlys staff are toxic).

Partner Jason Saiban has been left in charge of the sports practice at CSR, hitting a tennis ball against a wall.

Applying a stud to the eye, Lynam said they had been “delighted with the response from all of our clients in following us to Northridge". Ellis joined him in the scrum, promising "ambitious recruitment plans". Read more on Friday. .... read more >
The lawyer who loved IP
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20 October 2017

I assumed that last week's German tax lawyers were the most enthusiastic lawyers in Germany. They expressed a stunning degree of affection for their chosen métier, one claiming "Excel is my passion", and that tax had a "thrilling legal aura which didn't let me go".

   "Hold my stein."   

Then a tipster alerted us to Raffaele Raineri's LinkedIn page. Raineri is an IP lawyer based in Munich and he bloody loves it. It is not known how he got hold of my haircut from 1994.

Raineri's lust for law prompted RollOnFriday's source to comment, somewhat unfairly, "What an absolute knobber". He does, it is true, go on like Gwyneth Paltrow espousing her gloopy Goop philosophy:

But he also deftly anticipates accusations of knobbery (see above):

Don't worry Raffaele, it doesn't come across as pretentious, because it doesn't come across. It's a buzzword salad, now please go into overdrive.

If you've spotted a lawyer being very grand about the process of submitting applications to patent minor variations in the design of a spork, carton or tube, write in. .... read more >
Used car lawyers
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19 October 2017

A reader compared last week's IP-loving Italian solicitor to Swiss Toni. But if there was ever a firm which looked like it flogged used cars, it's this bunch. Behold:

Apparently at Lincoln IP "we decipher technology", but those coordinated digits say otherwise. They say we work under bunting. They say we can three-point turn in a shoe box. They say we know our way around a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man. 

I'm particularly drawn to Les Dawson. It's his louche, hand-in-pocket stance. It says enthusiastic but relaxed. It says this is not my first rodeo. Reverse is sticky because it's cold. Those melted divots are part of the steering wheel's ergonomic design. Ignore the fungal smell masked by Royal Pine freshener. And I would.

Not like Atkins Diet Peter Kay. He's hopeless. He's clearly one pulse away from sharting and knows it. He's sweating. His fallow arm is available, but what use is it? None. Help me Debra, he mutters through clenched teeth. Help me I'm gonna shart again. But even though she is right next to him, she doesn't seem to hear him.

It is because she is disgusted.

Of course the star of the show is the boss, centre stage, oblivious to the squalid human drama playing out behind him. He is concentrating on knocking that double-thumber out of the park. It's up there with the best.

    The best. 

Also, he sees you. 

  "They don't but I do. I see you. John." 

That deal may look overlawyered, but don't underestimate the complexity of Lincoln IP's work. Mrs Firthing isn't going to just fall over and pay sticker price. She wants rubber mats and a boot liner. It's going to take all of them to push this one through. Even Peter, but don't stress him out about it or he will degrade the chair. Let's just focus on shifting this Honda Jazz.

Exchange your used law news for nothing here. .... read more >
Exclusive: Bryan Cave and BLP in merger talks
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16 October 2017

BLP is in merger talks with Bryan Cave, RollOnFriday understands.

Berwin Leighton Paisner has been looking to merge with a US firm. Last year talks with Greenberg Traurig collapsed because of fears that the far larger Greenberg (whose partners earn twice as much) would demand a painful restructuring of the UK firm. BLP insiders said at the time that a purge of its equity partners would have been on the cards, and they worried that a flog-now, die-later US culture would have turned the place into a sweat shop. BLP partners also didn't like the prospect of Greenberg's black box remuneration being forced upon them, where partners aren't told what anyone else earns and are paid on the basis of year-to-year merit rather than seniority.  

  Bryan Cave is waiting. 

There is less chance of that pressure being brought to bear by Bryan Cave, which is half the size of Greenberg. Though it's still considerably larger than BLP, with around 900 lawyers compared to BLP's 500, and revenues in 2015 of £463m versus BLP's £259m.

How likely is a merger? Well, it is one of half a dozen merger rumours that have sailed in to BLP for comment in the last seven days. Last week, RollOnFriday understands, the firm had to bat away suggestions it was in talks with Simmons, Norton Rose Fulbright, Hunters (some US firm) and Kattens (some other US firm). So either it's speed dating firms, it's all bull or BC is the one. Watch this space. Not literally, it would be dull and you probably need to do work and eat.

UPDATE: BLP has confirmed it is in talks with BC. Read more on Friday. .... read more >
The barrister with a Game of Thrones theme tune
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04 October 2017

Nothing brings to mind brutal power games, dragons and the promise of fleeting nudity like the Game of Thrones theme tune. Duhduh-duhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduh deeeeeeduhduhdidideeduuuududehduuuuuh duh - so evocative. But cut off my willy and send it away in a box, because now you can add 'costs barristers' to the list.


No, costs barrister Andrew Hogan's website is not on the face of it as exciting as coming face-to-face with a white walker, getting a sword through the face or finding a bag of spare faces. In fact, it looks duller than a date between that slave girl translator who can't act so good and that eunuch soldier who can't act so good, and whose Action Man groin we didn't even get to see during their sex scene.

Hogan doesn't have any sex scenes on his website, instead he poses in scenic Nottingham.

 The Wall   

However he does have a theme tune.

And it goes like this: Duhduh-duhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduhduh-duhduhduhduh deeeeeeduhduhdidideeduuuududehduuuuuh duh- Yes, it's the Game of Thrones theme tune, and it plays automatically when you land on Hogan's site. A reader told RollOnFriday about it because, I imagine, his colleagues heard it blaring from his monitor and assumed he was googling 'Tyrion words of wisdom' instead of doing his work, and he cried, "I'm not skiving, this costs barrister has got the Game of Thrones theme tune on his website", but they didn't believe him and pushed him out of a window, crippling him, and now he gets pulled around on a sled and despite demanding they stop everyone calls him the three-eyed raven.

Hogan does allow you to pause the music, but you shouldn't, you should risk becoming the three eyed raven, because the alternative is reading about costs law with nothing to distract from that, and without the Game of Thrones theme tune playing you will beg for a vial of that poison that gave Joffrey varicose vein face. Of course Hogan knows that, which is why he's made costs law more interesting by adding stirring music. And it goes both ways. After a visit to Hogan's site, you'll never watch the show again without the nagging thought that the Lannisters should always pay their debts with the assistance of a costs lawyer providing an accurate assessment of the amounts due.

    Hogan in action 

Hogan's a true fan of the show, even referring to the fact that season 7 is available to buy in a post headed Winter Has Come. Hopefully he's got a deal to use their music, otherwise HBO Will Come and slap him with a copyright infringement suit, and that can only end one way: with a cute pixie cut and a naked procession down Exchange Arcade. Right, that's enough Game of Thrones references, I don't want to go hodorboard.
.... read more >
Exclusive: Bakers retains 94% of trainees
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27 September 2017

Baker McKenzie has managed an excellent retention rate of 94%, RollOnFriday understands.

The firm made offers to 100% of its trainees qualifying this autumn. One declined, an inside source told RollOnFriday, "as they like money". Translation: find them tomorrow at a US firm.

94% surpasses the firm's own decent stat in spring, when it retained 13/16 (81%) of its trainees. And last autumn's score, when it kept on 14/16 (88%).

RoF is waiting on Bakers to confirm the number of trainees in the latest intake. Was it 16? It was 16 before. And the time before that. But will it be 16 this time? RollOnFriday does not know. It could be. It might not be. It is not known at this time.


Read more shortly. Fingers crossed it's 16, though. The symmetry - the continuity - would be pleasing.

God it would be great if it was 16. Please be 16. In the meantime, here's the table:

Sod it. If it's 16, I'm going to buy a bunch of flowers for my wife and get my daughter one of those learner bikes. And, why not, I'm going to book a family holiday. Nothing extravagant, just a weekend break. But they'll really like it. They deserve it. If it's 16. 

Update: It is 16! 

A spokeswoman said that one trainee wanted to return home, so they were sent to qualify into the firm's Belfast office. Presumably their home is in Belfast, otherwise, ouch, cold move. Another "liked it so much" on secondment in Brussels that they "decided to stay". And the one who left, because they liked money, has not gone to a US firm, but a "specialist finance company". Maybe Black Rock, maybe Wonga.

Baker McKenzie Training Principal Arron Slocombe said, "I'm very pleased that we have such a high retention rate this year and have been able to make offers not just in London, but also in Brussels and Belfast. We our committed to attracting the best and brightest talent and offer the finest training and opportunities, while also maintaining our culture of being a great place to work".

Pack the bags, kids, we're going to Yarmouth.  .... read more >
Exclusive: Kennedys in talks to buy Plexus
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26 September 2017

Kennedys is in advanced talks to buy Plexus, RollOnFriday understands, although the firms have poured cold water on the rumour. 

A source has told RollOnFriday that Plexus, the one-time Golden Turd which was flushed into administration and then resurrected, was "being bought" by Kennedys. While not confirmed by either firm, it would make sense. In the UK the two have sparred in the same claims markets for years, taking each other's places on panels, poaching each other's staff, backing their cars into each other with sabotaged indicators, etc. There have also been signs that Plexus may be ready and willing and actually pretty bloody desperate for a takeover, including seeking this summer to quietly lease its London office.

  Here they come to save the daaay*

*NB may make some redundancies as a result of synergies. 

Regional firm Plexus, which specialises in insurance defendant claims, won the Golden Turd in 2014 when its staff voted themselves the least satisfied in the UK. There was worse to come. Mass redundancies followed in 2015,  then Plexus sought a takeover by Keoghs which fell apart when Keoghs walked away from talks, and then, that November, the larger Parabis group collapsed. It was split up via pre-pack administration deals and sold off in a firesale, which Plexus survived after being taken over by some of Parabis' founding members.

With over 1700 staff and offices around the world (where its partners are, sometimes, sued for defamation) Kennedys is by far the larger firm. It also has a record of plundering Plexus for resources, in recent years tempting a 13-lawyer team to defect. If Kennedys latest move is indeed taking it over wholesale, hopefully the talks will be more productive than they were for Keoghs. And don't presage another collapse for Plexus. 

Although it may have gone that way already. A spokesman for Plexus said the firm was not in discussions with Kennedys, whose spokesman said that while it was approached by firms "regularly", it was not buying Plexus. 

.... read more >

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