Matthew @ RoF's blog
Exclusive - 80% of Ashurst's secretaries at risk of redundancy
30 April 2018
RollOnFriday has just been told that up to 80% of the secretaries at Ashurst's London office are to be made redundant.
Law firm secretarial positions have long been vulnerable to the relentless advance of AI, off shoring, near shoring, partners being forced to answer their own emails etc.. But 80%? That's brutal.
||Yes, it can take dictation, but can it screen calls from irate clients?
Apparently the announcement is planned for Thursday. As the consultation has not yet started the firm wasn't able to comment, but we should have more information by the end of the week. Read more on Friday.
.... read more
Exclusive - Squires parachutes in an American to run London
16 April 2018
RollOnFriday has been told that Squire Patton Boggs is replacing the head of its London office with an American.
An insider says that Robert Weekes will be handing over the reins to Stephen Mahon, who is currently in Cincinnati. Apparently only the firm's partners have been told so far, and many of them are less than delighted. Weekes has been behind the mast for a decade and is very highly regarded. Mahon is currently the firm's "Global Managing Partner, Clients And Strategy" and, our source says, best mates with the firm's Chairman, Mark Reulhmann. And it presumably helps that he looks all-American.
Squires's offices were recently raided by the FBI in connection with Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, who camped out there and was paid $500,000 by the firm. Unkind commentators might suggest that it should be getting its house in order in the States before messing about with London...
Read more on Friday.
.... read more
Exclusive - Bakers instructs Simmons & Simmons to review sexual assault
21 February 2018
Baker McKenzie has instructed Simmons & Simmons to conduct an independent review into its handling of a sexual assault by a partner.
RollOnFriday broke the story
a couple of weeks ago. The firm paid off a female associate after she had been assaulted by a partner and subsequently denied it. Once Bakers finally put its hands up it accepted that lessons needed to be learned and said that it would be commissioning an independent review. Simmons has just been instructed.
A spokesman for Bakers said "Baker McKenzie has appointed Simmons & Simmons to conduct an independent review of this incident and how it was subsequently handled. The review will also look at and review all our complaints policies and procedures to ensure our employees are protected and have a voice. We will follow the recommendations of the review and will take all appropriate action.
As a Firm, our values of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring the welfare of all employees
.... read more
An emphasis on an Indian Accent
15 February 2018
A new slant on Indian cuisine, I see what they’re trying to do with the name, but it’s still a slightly curious one for a restaurant. I find that with lots of top end Indian restaurants. Chutney Mary always puts me in mind of Typhoid Mary, not the greatest prelude to a butter chicken. And one of my favourite spots, Gymkhana
, has me thinking of Normal Thelwell drawings of small children and badly behaved horses.
But I digress. Nomenclature aside, this is a restaurant that I had to bring it to a wider audience primarily because of just one dish, this starter:
It is soy keema, quail egg and lime leaf butter pao. It looks a little unprepossessing. And it is vegetarian. I generally subscribe to Captain Haddock’s use of the word in the Tintin books as a vile form of insult. This would turn me away from meat for good. In a meal full of exceptional dishes this shone as one of the best things I have ever eaten.
The chef came over and told me about it. He wanted to create something which tasted like meat for his vegetarian family and this was the result. I will return just to eat it again, his exquisite, aromatic and sensitively spiced Indian take on carne con chilli.
London is lucky enough to have some of the best Indian restaurants in the world and this is clearly destined to get to the top of all the guides before the year is out. I am told that the original Indian Accent is regarded as pretty much the best restaurant in New Delhi. The next branch opened up in New York to great acclaim and this one launched in Albemarle Street a few weeks ago. Go. Go and eat the soy keema. They do it as part of a two course lunch for £25 a head – given away for food that will surely garner a couple of Michelin stars in very short order. The room is elegant, the staff friendly and professional, the barman knocks out a cracking martini. Ask to sit upstairs rather than in the basement. Make sure you visit the very beautiful loos.
.... read more
Jeremy Sandelson to be Clifford Chance's new Senior Partner. Probably.
28 November 2017
Jeremy Sandelson has stepped down as Global Head of Litigation at Clifford Chance. It was all over The Lawyer yesterday, and it is FAKE NEWS. Well, it's not actually fake but it's certainly not news. He's done his eight years, the firm has term limits, he was always going to step down now.
What is much more interesting is that he may be the firm's next Senior Partner. A number of his colleagues tell me that he's expected to stand when Malcolm Sweeting reaches the end of his term next year. Although when I asked him he told me "my colleagues are winding you up
They're not. In his favour is the fact that he's been a safe pair of hands as Head of Litigation, he's been on the board forever and he did a cracking job as London Managing Partner until stepping down eight years ago. He's also a very decent, convivial chap.
Against him is the fact that he's British, so some of his continental partners will vote for Horst from the Cologne office just out of spite. He also famously acts for weapons-grade spanner James Murdoch.
And since acting for him has acquired a wardrobe of highly doubtful black suits.
Still, Murdoch is one of the reasons that Sandelson's partners are currently pulling in £1.4m each so they can't really complain. And no doubt some of his more traditional partners will be able to take him under their wing and steer him in the direction of Huntsman for something more befitting of his new status.
You heard it here first.
.... read more
Exclusive - Law Society faces ‘judicial review’ over training
31 October 2017
RollOnFriday has been told that the Law Society is facing a judicial review.
On 9th October the Society announced that it was entering into a joint venture with training provider BARBRI to provide courses for the QLTS. In essence, BARBRI provides the courses, The Law Society lends its reputation and gets a cut of the fees.
The Law Society was highly excited about this
. One imagines other course providers, notably BPP and The University of Law, rather less so. Given that the Law Society is meant to be the indepent voice of the profession (and given that it ultimately pays for the SRA), the words "conflict", "inappropriate" and "anti-competitive" come to mind.
And now, apparently, "High Court". A source tells us that an (as yet unnamed) applicant filed a claim last week. It is seeking a judicial review of the arrangement between The Law Society and BARBRI on the basis of intervening in the regulatory powers of the SRA and of conducting an improper bid. Our source tells us that The Legal Services Board is also investigating the matter.
The Law Society said that it was currently unable to comment. We'll keep digging and come up with a more detailed update on Friday.
The Law Society has just (morning of the 31st) confirmed this to me. A spokesman said "we have received a pre-action protocol letter and we are currently considering its contents. We will not be commenting further at this time
More to follow.
.... read more
Exclusive - Former Dean of BPP joins University of Law
30 October 2017
Peter Crisp, the Dean of BPP Law School, is joining its arch-competitor the University of Law.
Crisp resigned from BPP
back in June, following a change in ownership of BPP and the subsequent resignation of much of the board. He is widely credited with having made BPP Law School the success that it is today. His successor, Andrew Chadwick, is very highly regarded but has some big shoes to fill.
And they've just got rather bigger now that Crisp has taken his size nines to ULaw. He will take up his post as Pro Vice Chancellor - External on 2nd January 2018, joining the executive management team and leading ULaw's business development and client relationship teams. Any way you look at it, it's a massive coup for ULaw and a serious embarrassment for BPP.
Crisp, who has grown a beard to add gravitas to his new academic status, said “this is a very exciting time for me to join ULaw, and I am very much looking forward to embracing the opportunities of the role as the University continues to go from strength to strength
Vice-Chancellor & CEO Professor Andrea Nollent said “I am delighted to welcome Peter to the University of Law. The future changes to legal qualifications offer many opportunities for innovation and enhancement... This is a very important role for us in terms of external strategy and, with his extensive skills and experience, I look forward to Peter building further our reputation and success
You heard it here first. Read more on Friday.
.... read more
Not remotely legal story about large dog disgracing himself in Selfridges
06 September 2017
This is not even on nodding acquaintanceship with anything to do with the legal world, but it made me chuckle...
At dinner with friends last night, they described how they had taken their dog George to Selfridges earlier in the day. Apparently this is allowed as long as the animal can be carried. I suppose this is possible with George. If you have the arms of a strangler. He's not exactly a small dog.
Anyway, here he is in a dressing room:
This is the aftermath of him pissing all over Roland Mouret:
And here is a video of the hapless manager of Tom Ford trying to eject him:
.... read more
RollOnFriday inadvertently shops a law firm to the Lord Chamberlain
31 August 2017
I wrote a story last week on Reece Law, a firm made up of a bunch of paralegals. A salesman had been trying to drum up some referrals
. He described a potential client who was suspicious of a firm containing no qualified solicitors as a “fucking retard
”. He also came up with the immortal line “"it appears to me she is giving out false legal advice!! she need to leave that to us
The firm, which was quick to distance itself from this charmer, brands itself as follows:
The designer was clearly a childhood fan of Rex and Tex in the Funday Times:
Cartoons aside, surely there must be some restriction on ripping off royal armorial images. I emailed my old chum Peter O’Donoghue who is York Herald at the College of Arms. He said that “the use of the lion and unicorn in this way is almost certainly unlawful. This kind of thing is dealt with by my senior colleague Garter King of Arms who works with the Lord Chamberlain's Department
.” And he sent it on to him.
Peter emailed me the next day. “Garter advises that this fake coat of Arms is a doctored version of the Royal Arms of Canada. It is certainly unlawful and would seem likely to be contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994, which forbids the use of Arms suggestive of Royal authorisation; and the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, which forbids giving an indication of Royal approval. He is I believe passing it on to the Lord Chamberlain's Office
.... read more
Exclusive - Hill Dickinson insurance team moving to Keoghs
08 August 2017
Hill Dickinson is in advanced talks with Keogh's to transfer its entire insurance business, with the exception of Marine and Healthcare.
Peter Jackson, Hill Dick's Chief Exec, told me this morning that general insurance had become so commoditised that it was now out of kilter with the firm's more specialist Marine and Healthcare practices. It made sense for the firm's lawyers to go somewhere which was committed exclusively to insurance and could provide greater investment and career progression. The aim is for everyone to move by the end of 2017.
Jackson said "I believe that our partners and staff involved in any transition would benefit from moving to a firm whose sole focus is insurance and has invested heavily in IT to service clients efficiently. Furthermore, it would allow us to focus our resource and efforts on areas of future strategic growth, including marine, commercial and health work, while maintaining close relationships with Keoghs to provide an enhanced offering to our retained clients who require insurance related advice
.... read more