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Exclusive: Sexy Kirkland & Ellis includes viagra in offer to trainees
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10 May 2017

In an inspired combination of business and pleasure, Kirkland & Ellis is currently advertising a brand of Viagra to future trainees:

  K&E: Putting the firm back into law firm

As the spotter put it, "Doesn't sound so flexible to me".

Was it a hack? Was a sacked IT worker taking revenge (it would not be the first time)? Will trainees achieve the tumescence they demand? RollOnFriday asked Kirkland, but a spokesman declined to comment. Too busy pushing down an absolutely raging ten-hour boner. Healthymanviagra be strong.

Fingers crossed that boob-honking partner didn't get any. .... read more >
Men drink for free and women pay at awful-sounding 'Legal Gentlemen' dating event
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05 May 2017

There's still a place for real life dating events.

For a while there it looked like apps might kill them. Bumble and Happen were going to replace the palm of your hand with the masses, by putting the masses in the palm of your hand. And everyone is on them. They haven't quite overcome the stigma of internet dating, but lying in a wedding speech is a small price to pay for the huge pool of candidates apps have opened up. No more dodging lonely hearts serial killers, no more marrying racist Ian the postman because he's the only single person you know.

But solving the choice problem has created a new one: too much choice. Bringing a huge field of mates into play has made people picky. Love is Chandlerised before it can blossom. His smile's too kind, swipe, her pupils are wet, swipe, he built a snowman, swipe, her hair looks hairy, swipe. Prospects who would have been shoe-ins before smartphones get depth-charged out of contention before they can even meet, denied the chance to prove that their off-putting face is actually ravishing in motion.

E-singletons are experiencing the heartache of rejection like no generation before them, because they are rejected by multitudes. As hundreds of crushes fail to reply to their pokes and nudges and winks, app users become by increments vast wobbling bags of vulnerability, one 'no match' away from bursting with defeat and flooding the whole carriage with curdled love, of which they had so much to give.

Which is all to say, there's still a place for real life dating events. Because everything depends on chemistry, and chemistry only happens in the real world (ignore those stories about penpal lovers who meet and live up to each other's expectations - in reality they all lock eyes and realise, whelp, that's 12 years of erotic poetry wasted). So yes, there's a place for real life dating events. Just not Tom's event. Surely. However bad it gets, surely not this event from Tom, who got in touch with RollOnFriday asking us to promote it to you. 

Let's go through his horseshit line by line.

Maybe that was unduly harsh. Hi Tom!

 If it involves jelly and smoke machines then you thought right.

Mmm. "Dubai's popular Gentlemen's Nights" definitely all feature trafficked women, don't they. Liam Neeson's forged a career around Dubai's popular Gentlemen's Nights.

Will do.

Around 90 degrees until bedtime, then 180 degrees.

Sorry, different angle. What are "London's legal men", though? Over 18? And what is an illegal man? This sounds like a Dubai thing, like Dubai lingo and the definitions hinge on whether you were bussed in to die building a football stadium or flew in to oversee construction. 

Quick, to the attachment.

HOLY macaroons. Everyone appeals to someone. It doesn't matter if you're a bore who reeks of mice or Katie Hopkins, dozens of life partners are out there and desperate for you, willing to crawl over broken glass to jump your bones. You've just got to wade through billions more who would rather pluck out their own eyeball and leave it dangling on its gross cord and play swingball with it. But that's fine. The important thing is not to hide your niche. Lean in to your niche. This guy is. His niche is disguises.

Yeah! Exclusively for the L.A.D.S. bANTER! Anyone murdering prostitutes outside of the designated areas will be removed.


Is it because scientists want to observe how much spit drunken misogynists fleck on each other as they man-to-mansplain why women are cheap in a room completely devoid of the opposite sex?

By my own logic, the men turning up to this - men sick and tired of getting a raw deal, men convinced that 'ladies nights' are engineered not to benefit them but to cuck them into betahood, men who think it would look pretty swag not to foot the bill and see the women pay for once, the bitches - will be exactly the type of fellows some women are after. It's a pretty freaky kink though.

Equal opportunities is what feminazis say. Tables, turned.


In return, they'll have a room full of smirking, bitter and bladdered mens' rights activists to fend off and later testify against for sexual assault.

Ladies nights are not catering to women, Tom, they're catering to men by creating an environment - free drinks - which is attractive to women, to get them through the door. Also, when you refer to women as 'females' you make it sound like they are animals in a zoo and the men are zoophile interlopers who've scaled a fence with a bag of sugar cubes, it's creepy. 

It was decided at the highest levels to decline the invitation:

 So. Will you be going?

    "I'm going!"

    "I'm going!" 

    "I'm going!" 

.... read more >
SRA rips up GDL and LPC with new super exam
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25 April 2017

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has overruled objections from lawyers and law firms and is pushing ahead with a standardised exam for solicitors.

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) will replace all the current routes to becoming a solicitor, including the requirement for qualifications including the GDL and LPC. Instead, anyone wanting to become a solicitor will need to complete five elements. Firstly, candidates will need either a law degree, a non-law degree, an "equivalent qualification" or an apprenticeship comprising "equivalent experience". Candidates will then have to complete SQE stage 1, comprising an assessment of legal knowledge in six areas:

-Principles of professional conduct, public and administrative law and the legal systems of England and Wales
-Dispute resolution in contract or tort
-Property law
-Commercial and corporate law
-Wills and trusts
-Criminal law

And, in addition, they must pass a practical assessment of legal research and writing skills. Candidates must then complete SQE 2, which assesses five practical legal skills:

-Client interviewing
-Case analysis
-Legal research and written advice
-Legal drafting

Each of the five skills will be assessed twice, in the context of two specialisms picked from dispute resolution, property law, commercial and corporate law, wills and trusts, or criminal law. The fourth element of the SQE will be two years' work experience. In a significant change from the current system, it will no longer have to be completed as a block two year training contract with a single provider.  Instead candidates will be permitted to gain work experience at up to four different places, including student law clinics and pro bono work. It means students on a so-called 'sandwich' degree course which wraps up two years' work on the job could fulfill the work experience element of SQE before they even graduate. The SRA said this would "remove a barrier which has created a real block on numbers and diversity".

The fifth component is a "character and suitability test" to be administered at the point of a candidate's admission to the profession. So far the SRA has not provided details of the requirements, but it has said the standards will be supplied to candidates when they register to undertake SQE 1.

After initially forecasting that the SQE would be introduced this year, the SRA has pushed back implementation until 2020. Candidates will have until August 2020 to start training under the existing regime.

The SRA said it had undertaken 18 months of "extensive engagement" before coming to its decision. It received "over 240" formal responses to its first consultation in September 2015, and exactly 253 to the second consultation. It also "engaged with more than 6,800 people through 45 events, meetings and digital activities" and received "237,00 impressions on social media". The response was overwhelmingly negative. 60% of consultation respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the suggestion that the SQE was a "robust and effective measure of competence". Over 80% of academics, 70% of law firms and 65% of solicitors disagreed or strongly disagreed.

But the SRA has said that the public are in favour, touting an August 2016 poll in which 1,866 people were asked if they would have "more confidence in solicitors if they all passed the same final exam". 76% agreed with the (arguably rather leading) question, although the poll did not specify that the SQE would only apply to solicitors qualifying in England and Wales, and not to foreign-qualified lawyers.

At a press conference this morning SRA Chief Executive Paul Philip called the consultation "full-blooded", and said it had been the "most contentious" project the SRA had attempted. Executive Director Crispin Passmore said that (luckily for the SRA), "popularity has never been the objective of a regulator", and that "our board is clear this is the right way forward".

One of the key motivations for the SQE was, they said, a desire to increase the diversity of the profession by opening it up to those who were either put off by, or saddled with debt by, the "LPC gamble". At present, candidates who do not obtain a training contract and sponsorship from a firm have to decide whether to pay around £15,000 in course fees for the LPC, with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. SRA Director of Education and Training Julie Brannan said that "students who pay £15,000 are subsidising the cost of the big City law firms who bulk buy places [from LPC providers] at a discount, which does not seem fair". With the destruction of the LPC, those costs are gone. Despite that, LPC providers like BPP and ULaw may not be losers in the SQE era. Although SQE assessments are to be outsourced to a single body, legal education providers will be able to design SQE-preparation modules for candidates and firms, while City firms are expected to continue to demand bespoke training modules relevant to their specialisms. Professor Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP University Law School, said, "We have been consulting with law firms for some time now to ensure that any new programmes continue to meet their needs for commercially aware and technically able trainees". 

Crisp also said that apprenticeships could now become one of the "major ways in which people qualify as a solicitor", and that there would also be an "exciting opportunity for smaller firms that historically have not paid for LPC training to recruit graduate talent at a much earlier stage than under the current system". For those recruited, "it will bring a welcome end to the financial burden of funding their own training".
While the SQE, particularly SQE 2, will still cost money, the SRA predicts it will be far cheaper that the LPC. Its executives rejected suggestions that the SQE would create a two tier system in which firms will continue to pick the candidates they have always picked, while the remaining candidates who obtain piecemeal work experience until they qualify will find themselves unable to secure a job. Passmore said that after "a while" firms would realise that some of their redbrick picks were not as good as the candidates qualifying elsewhere, and would change their recruitment processes to accommodate them.

With firms generally cutting the number of their trainee places and consequently hiring fewer NQs, and an increasing reliance on cheaper labour such as paralegals (or robots), the successful implementation of the SQE could result in lots more newly-qualified solicitors ending up unable to work as solicitors. Despite that, and the fact that many of those may be the more diverse candidates, the SRA has said that as a regulator its role was not to restrict the number of people who are permitted to meet the required standards. Philip said "we need to be able to trust those who enter the profession are fit to practise. The current system cannot provide that confidence". Whereas the SQE would "help law firms recruit the best talent", "help education providers to show just how good they are" and give candidates "from all backgrounds a fair opportunity to qualify". Sqeeee.
.... read more >
Lima law firm boss trolls Chambers & Partners
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13 April 2017

A law firm boss has greeted the news that an editor of the legal directory Chambers & Partners is quitting by telling her at length how he has ignored the company and thinks it's rubbish.

Laura Mills posted on professional networking site Linkedin that she was leaving her job as editor of Chambers & Partners USA, giving thanks in particular to "all of the firms whose participation in our research has made the guides such a great success".

A touching moment. Cue, said a source, "the standard gushing goodbyes and good lucks from contacts". Except for one man. One dedicated griper who decided to cut through the back-slapping like a pissed-off ex at a funeral. Victor Marroquin, a partner in Peruvian firm Marroquin & Merino, informed Mills and the world that "As we are a very discrete boutique in Peru, we have never responded to your research requests".

He continued, "It is part of our philosophy not to advertise in any way or to be "rated"" and confirmed that "we will not answer to Chambers". He went on, "a lawyer who touts himself or herself (or is touted by an entity, i.e. Chambers) loses in our view legitimacy".

    Peruvian party pooper 

With the Llama bit firmly between his teeth, Marroquin wrote, "clients are not with us because you or anyone else ranked us in Chambers", seething, "I have never replied to any of their requests, for the reasons I have just told you". Having done the LinkedIn equivalent of climb onto a desk and shout "Boo! BOO! BOOOOO!" during her leaving speech, Marroquin somewhat oddly wished Mills well, concluding, "Now, time to celebrate your move! Wherever you will go, you will be a STAR! :-)". 

Jobseekers interested in the vacant position will need to bone up on Chambers & Partners unique interview process, which allegedly includes deeply personal questions such as, "Do you have any sexual dreams?" Good times.
.... read more >
Tenuous Link of the Week
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06 April 2017

A wonderful bit of desperate marketing from RollOnFriday favourites, Bristol firm Cook & Co:

The firm has landed on these pages before courtesy of an absolutely glorious trainee diary and its founder's terrible attempt to become a famous person. May its excellent work continue.
.... read more >
The leather-clad lawyers who ride motorbikes
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29 March 2017

Unless you're in leather you're not credible in the niche world of motorcycle law. The lawyers of Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys know this. Here they are ranked in reverse order of the awesomeness of their names.


Michael Smith has the dullest name at Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys. But don't let his parents' conservatism and the muted palette of his leather jacket fool you. According to his profile, Michael started riding motorcycles as a young boy, "as soon as he was able to pedal-start his grandfather’s moped". Since then, motorcycles have been his "primarily (sic) vehicle, both for commuting and recreational thrill-machine use, on and off the road". Michael also has "an unhealthy attraction to barely-running two-stroke dirt bikes and enjoys wiping out all over Stonryford, Silver Lake and Georgetown OHV areas". He also plays for the San Francisco Underwater Hockey team. An oddy.


Marc Smith avoided last place because his first name is spelled 'Marc', not the more conventional 'Mark'. His leather jacket is the same design as Michael's, but shinier, which makes him look more like a real biker. He also has a rebellious stubbly facebox. According to his profile, Marc's "fascination with two–wheels was sparked by his grandfather, an avid motorcyclist, with whom he spent countless hours working on bikes". The mechanic of the team.


Jim Romag's name is so manly it is almost Jim Cro-Magnon. When he’s "not fighting for his clients, you can catch Jim enjoying one of the many twisty roads in Northern California on his 1198s Ducati". Like his colleagues, Jim is not permitted to wear colours.


Shelby's "long history with motorcycles started in Michigan as a small child when his father would put him on the handlebars of his motorcycle and ride around on open back roads". After a series of horrific injuries, "at about age 6, he graduated to a small Yamaha dirt bike, then a Honda NT650 Hawk GT at 14". Shelby wears the classic 'double rider' jacket and is the firm's go-to gel man.


Chuck Koro's name is the actual sound a motorbike makes when it's started up. He also sports the trendy and versatile 'racer' design leather jacket. Who could possibly beat him?


If the Hell's Angels don't call their hogs' gearsticks 'grindstaffs', they really should. Ashley Grindstaff’s fascination with motorcycling "started at a young age, when her grandfather would take her riding around the block on the back of his bike". Like most of the Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, then, Ashley had a very involved grandfather. Wonderful stuff. Today she is a personal injury attorney with a super-stylish leather number who "identifies with the riding community and feels passionate about helping the hardest hit". Literally the hardest hit. Don't waste her time if you've been dinged by a Prius and popped over the handlebars of your Honda Dream. Grindstaff won't get out of bed for anything less that a full-skeleton crush and a totalled Harley. Her name's Grindstaff.

Thanks to the reader who alerted us to this most macho of firms.

.... read more >
Exclusive: Mark Stephens rubbishes claims he hooked up Assange with Farage
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17 March 2017

Legal pundit and Howard Kennedy partner Mark Stephens has denied being a conduit between Julian Assange and Nigel Farage.

Farage was recently caught by Buzzfeed leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange has been holed up since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges. The meeting fueled speculation that Farage had visited Assange at the behest of Donald Trump, who benefited in the US election from Wikileaks' publication of hacked emails which damaged Hillary Clinton.

Stephens was subsequently fingered as the original link between the ex-UKIP leader and the Wikileaks owner when a cache of documents dating from 2011 leaked to Business Insider which it claimed was evidence of a longstanding relationship between UKIP under Farage and Assange. It suggested that the documents showed the relationship was brokered by Stephens, who was then Assange's lawyer. The documents included:

  • An email from UKIP MEP Gerard Batten's secretary to Stephens requesting a meeting with Assange.
  • Minutes of a meeting between Batten and Stephens detailing the possibility of a UKIP press conference supporting Assange. 
  • An email promoting a "UKIP City of London Business Forum" on the European Arrest Warrant, held at the House of Lords, in which Stephens was described as "the solicitor representing Julian Assange" and billed as one of two "Key speakers". 
  • An email from Farage's then-personal assistant providing undisclosed recipients with a review of the House of Lords event, in which she wrote that "Bianca Jagger was there with Mark Stevens (sic) who Nigel spoke to".

However, in emails with RollOnFriday Stephens strongly disputed Business Insider's implication that he was the connection between the two men, as well as the accuracy and veracity of the leaked documents. Stephens said that the meeting note "doesn’t have the ring of truth about it", because it suggested Assange would speak on the continent, when he surrendered his passport in 2010. Querying the characterisation of the House of Lords event, he said, "I don't know what UKIP say they advertised but I've never spoken for them in the City of London". Stephens also challenged the UKIP staffer's recollection of the House of Lords event, saying  "I don't think Farage was there", adding, "in fact I don't think I've spoken with Farage about Assange ever". 

    Stephens wants no part of this 

Stephens, who no longer acts for Assange and has been critical of Trump on social media, said his interactions with UKIP "were only to raise awareness of the deficiencies of the EAW". He said, "I may have been asked to arrange meetings with Assange and UKIP", but, "I didn't do so". At the time, "everyone wanted access and I got enquiries from all quarters. Most of which [I] ignored  or brushed off". Understandably keen to distance himself from an Assange-Farage-Trump love triangle, Stephens said, "maybe a later lawyer or conduit did but I didn't". .... read more >
Firm hangs Scarface portrait in reception
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13 March 2017

Gracias to the reader who alerted RollOnFriday to the portrait of Scarface hanging in a law firm's lobby.

"I was walking down Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester", said the spotter, "and happened across M&M Solicitors. As I passed their office I realised something was amiss. I doubled back and peered into the window only to be greeted by a framed picture of Scarface in the reception".

"I have seen a lot of dodgy artwork in solicitors’ offices", he said. "But Scarface, infamously slumped in his desk chair surrounded by mountains of cocaine and automatic weapons, is a first".

Scarface, aka Tony Montana, is an interesting choice for law firm wall art. It's not just that Al Pacino's tragic drug lord was terrifically guilty. It's that his lawyer was awful. In the movie George Sheffield is introduced as a rock star attorney: "He’s the best lawyer in Miami", says Tony. "He’s such a good lawyer, that by tomorrow morning, you gonna be working in Alaska. So dress warm”. Alas, instead Sheffield finds problems not solutions, telling Tony, “when you’ve got 1.3 million in undeclared dollars staring into a video camera, honey, baby, it’s hard to convince a jury you found it in a taxi cab.” As you'd expect from a man who refers to his client as honey and baby, Sheffield subsequently betrays Tony to his enemies and they try to assassinate him. Tony escapes, tracks down his lawyer and shoots him in the head while he begs for his life. As far as client-lawyer relationships go, it's a rocky one. 

    Bad lawyer 

But these trifling details are obliterated by the popular legend of Scarface, which is 'Boy done good goes out on his own terms with a grenade-launching M-16'. Remember every rapper on Cribs holding up a framed Scarface poster? It's still a cultural touchstone for young men in rags dreaming of riches. To the (alleged) gangsters of Leicester, M&M's big picture of Scarface doesn't say "Eventually you will execute us for treachery". It says, "We know you. We are you. Come in now for muy rápido advice".

As a spokesman for the firm told me, "It appeals to potential clients".

He explained, "we specialise in criminal law and we're opposite the Magistrates Court, so it tends to catch people's eye". He added, "I'd be a rich man if I'd sold it as many times as I've been asked to sell it". Might be an idea. As Tony once said,  "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power - then, you get the women". Or, in M&M's case, potentially a branch in Nuneaton or Derby. The world could be theirs.
.... read more >
Fair play, Danny Schwarz
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09 March 2017

Danny Schwarz is a partner at Farringdon firm Lawrence Stephens and he wins.


.... read more >
Exclusive: Simmons & Simmons refuses to admit its NQs are on temp contracts
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07 March 2017

Simmons & Simmons has refused to disclose how many of its qualifying trainees are joining the firm on fixed term contracts, citing unspecified "privacy reasons".

This week the firm announced a decent 80% trainee retention rate. It said 12 out of the 15 trainees in its spring-qualifying cohort accepted offers from the firm and were "staying on as NQs". Graduate recruitment partner Devarshi Saksena said, “We are pleased with the March 2017 results and I’d like to congratulate everyone on their qualification. Trainee development is an important part of the strategy of the firm and we’re receiving great feedback on our new Skills Academy”.

It follows a string of poor trainee retention results which identified Simmons & Simmons as an unattractive destination for students seeking a post-qualification career: a dozen of last autumn's qualifiers, half the intake, were not retained. In spring 2016, six left out of 13, and it was only marginally better in autumn 2015, when 18 stayed but 10 were not retained.

However, a source told RollOnFriday that the 80% retention rate announced this spring is a sham. Several of this spring's qualifying trainees are, they said, only joining the firm on six month fixed term contracts. "Sly" Simmons made the offers "just to boost their retention rate".  

Simmons & Simmons did not mention fixed term contracts in its announcement, and when pressed by RollOnFriday a spokeswoman refused to disclose how many, if any, of its qualifying trainees were being employed on fixed term contracts. She said that the firm could not provide an answer "due to employee privacy reasons", but would not state what the reasons were. 

Simmons has form when it comes to massaging woeful trainee retention figures. In spring 2016 RollOnFriday revealed that the firm had misled the market by claiming a 77% trainee retention rate, when in fact it was 54%. Simmons had secretly discounted from its figures four trainees who had decided to leave the firm.

FTCs can function as an entirely benign instrument for firms to continue to employ good trainees when their departments of choice are under-worked, often in the mutual hope that demand will increase sufficiently to require their long-term services in a few months. However, when their use is not disclosed, it can appear as if the firm is seeking to paint a healthier picture of post-qualification career prospects than the reality.

Simmons & Simmons' apparent deception is important because students rely on firms' trainee retention figures to help them assess whether a firm is likely to employ them beyond their training contract. Omitting to disclose that a proportion of NQs are employed on a short-term basis presents a misleading impression of NQ prospects. As in 2015, anyone taking Simmons at its word today is potentially basing one of the most important career decisions of their life on a false presumption.

Pretty much every firm discloses the number of qualifiers on FTCs to RollOnFriday as a matter of course. The remainder provide them on request. None has hidden them, refused to acknowledge their existence when prompted, then cited (unique in the market) "privacy reasons".

.... read more >

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