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Blog Name: Jamie Hamilton @ RoF

Exclusive: Redundancies at Hogan Lovells
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18 September 2017

Hogan Lovells is laying off dozens of support staff as part of a restructuring. The redundancy process, announced internally today, will affect 78 business services roles and 12 legal support roles, all in the London office. The jobs are expected to be transferred from London to the firm's low cost offices in either Birmingham or Johannesburg, or outsourced entirely. 

Staff in London were told that support staff in the US are going to be affected, too, and will be told when they go into work today. The difference is that the US redundancies will be structured as voluntary retirements.

    A voluntary retirement yesterday 

Last week RollOnFriday revealed that Pinsent Masons is laying off over 100 support staff as a part of a similar rationalisation.

A HogLove spokeswoman said, “The drivers behind our VERP* program are two-fold.  First, it is in response to requests we have had from a number of business services members to undertake early retirement and offers our people enhanced terms.  Second, it enables us to look again at our business services roles and where we deliver those services from.   Together they give us an opportunity to accelerate how we deliver our business services operations in the U.S. and globally, making sure they are aligned to the future needs of our firm”.

Read more on Friday.

*That's Voluntary Early Retirement Programme, by the way, not Very Endangered Role Pacification or a new STI. .... read more >
Firm gives the finger in ill-conceived ad
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1
18 September 2017

At first glance it's cloyingly whimsical, on closer inspection it's five people telling you to do one.





As a tipster notes, "Lovely little two-fingered salute to 'our people'". How did that get through, really. 

'But it makes a star'. Yes it does, doesn't it. But then, so does this.




That's yours for free, Scullion. .... read more >
Exclusive: Quinn Emanuel partner explodes at BoJo
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18 September 2017

Quinn Emanuel's Brussels managing partner has branded Boris Johnson a liar and joked that Threesa May is going to Florence to buy shoes.

Trevor Soames, an EU competition lawyer, published his outburst on Linkedin on Sunday afternoon. Stirred to action by Johnson's Telegraph column in which the foreign secretary repeated his claim that leaving the EU would allow £350m a week to be pumped into public services, Soames wrote that Johnson's "ability to lie is only exceeded by his personal ambition". Calling the tousle-haired japester's fib "extraordinary", Soames wrote that the letter of rebuke from the UK Statistics Authority, "made clear that he remains a 🤥 liar".

    Somo's Bojo nono 

The Quinn partner, who has said that he has applied for Belgium citizenship and will not return to the UK post-Brexit, wrote that Johnson only stands behind Theresa May "knife in hand". 

Not that he is a huge fan of May. Exclaiming, "Lord alone knows why" she picked Florence to deliver her speech on Brexit, the Quinn partner mocked her for "going to Florence this week on a taxpayer funded jolly, no doubt to purchase some shoes 👠 (in respect of which she has excellent taste)".

Opting wisely not to lob any more gender-based slights, Soames finished with a 'wry' concession that "there is a long history to the relationship between England and Florence. It was the English King, Edward III, whose default in 1343 caused a financial crisis and bankrupted the (then) greatest financial houses of Florence".

A LinkedIn follower commented, "You can forget that peerage now".

.... read more >
Glimpse inside RollOnFriday Pt 2
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12 September 2017

Recently RollOnFriday gave readers a glimpse into its inner workings when a firm's reputation manager threatened to sue. The consensus was that RollOnFriday wore the white hat in that encounter. But rarely, maybe once every 100 years, we get it wrong.

In my defence, Dawn Ellmore Recruitment has a reputation for inventing members of staff. And so when somebody tipped us off that one of its employees listed on LinkedIn, James, was a work of fiction conjured from a photo of a genuine employee, Luke, in which Luke wore a different expression and tie, they were pushing at an open door. 



The transcript of the phone call which followed yields a peek behind the curtain which, sadly, exposes this RollOnFriday reporter as an over-excited gimboid instead of a titan of investigative journalism.

Receptionist: Good morning, Dawn Ellmore employment. How can I help you?

JH: Hi, could I speak to James Smithson, please?

R: Yes, could I take your name please?

JH: Yes, it's Jamie Hamilton.

R: Ok, bear with me one moment.

JH: Thanks.

[On hold]

R: Hi Jamie, can I ask what the call's regarding?

JH: I actually need to speak to James directly about that. If that's alright.

R: Ok, bear with me.

[On hold]

James Smithson: Hi, it's James here, how can I help?

JH: Oh hi, is that James Smithson?

JS: It is.

JH: Hi James, I'm calling from RollOnFriday. I'm just slightly puzzled because I saw you on LinkedIn and I've been told that you've got the same picture as your colleague, Luke Rehbein. Is that an error on the platform?

JS: Erm, no. I've got my own picture on LinkedIn, thank you very much.

JH: Oh, so you're...because it looks to me like you're actually Luke Rehbein. 

JS: ...No, I'm not [puzzled laugh].

JH: You're James Smithson?

JS: And I've got my own picture on there.

JH: It looks the same as Luke's picture.

JS: ...No it doesn't.

JH: It does, it's the same. It's the same picture.

JS: Where are you calling from, sorry?

JH: RollOnFriday, the legal news website.

JS: It's...not the same picture. I'm looking at my profile right now and it's...my picture.

JH: Because it looks like you just...it just looks like Luke's picture with a different face - different expression, sorry.

JS: Er, no, I think you're getting mixed up here, sorry. Thanks very much. Bye.

[JS hangs up]

[JH conducts frantic, silent analysis of photos]

 

JH: Oh *@~!*. He's right. They are pictures of completely different people.

James Dennison: No. Really? So you called him up and accused him of not existing?

JH: From his perspective that must have been strange. Someone just phoned him out of the blue and insisted he's not real. Maybe I've plunged him into an existential crisis.

JD: He's staring into a mirror, questioning everything.

JH: I can't write this up. It's too toe-curling.


Three months later I can. Sorry, James, for being a wally. You are real. You are real. .... read more >
Exclusive: Pinsent Masons placing all secretaries at risk of redundancy
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11 September 2017
Pinsent Masons is placing all of its UK secretaries on notice of redundancy.

The firm made the announcement internally on Thursday. Leaked to RollOnFriday, a source said the firm made the decision after reviewing the amount of administration work undertaken by PAs and lawyers. The source said 105 jobs are expected to be axed, with the majority in the London and Birmingham offices. 

According to RoF's source the firm intends expand its use of its centralised typing pool and its outsourced resource  in South Africa instead. It will also apparently recruit administration assistants to replace costlier legal secretaries, and cull PA team coordinator roles. The massacre would, said the source, be completed by the end of November. 

Pinsents is by no means the first firm to 'modernise' its secretarial support functions, with all the pain that entails. BLM pushed the button earlier this year (provoking fury in the comments section).

  Betty was more efficient than the old PAs right up until the moment she synced with Skynet. 

A spokeswoman for Pinsents said that the location and number of individuals impacted had not been finalised. She said, "Our vision is to be an international market leader in our global sectors, and to do that we need to ensure our people have first-class support and infrastructure. Over the past year Pinsent Masons has invested significantly in technology and other resources to achieve this as efficiently as possible. One of the consequences of this is that our resourcing levels among PA staff and the needs of the business are no longer aligned. For that reason we will be entering into a consultation with our PA team. While it is hard to be precise about the outcome of the consultation at this point, we have not ruled out the reallocation of resource or redundancy of some roles. We will do everything possible to support those impacted during what we recognise is an unsettling time".

Read more on Friday.
.... read more >
Men drink for free and women pay at awful-sounding 'Legal Gentlemen' dating event
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07 September 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 actually find attractive. It's a pretty freaky kink though.



Haha! Equal opportunities is what feminazis say! Tables, turned.



Yes.



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, wearing nothing but a fedora. 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 >
Glorious twitter marketing
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06 September 2017

Life comes at you fast.







Thanks to the tipster who provided evidence that Westwater Advocates' advocates are indeed using iPhones and iPads, with predictable results. .... read more >
Spotted: Terrible Trainees
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22 August 2017

Make no mistake, it is hard being a trainee. But it's no cakewalk on the other side of the office, either. Nurturing, managing, reviewing, loving, caring, feeding, chastising, spanking, beating, shearing. All must be applied to the trainee by the diligent supervisor, but only at the right times and in the right quantities.

And sometimes, you get lumbered with a disaster. It is those rare, crapulous trainees whom supervisors including 'Mr Hargeaves', 'Badman', 'Mitrovic', 'Hodge', 'Obediah Hakeswill', 'Buzz', 'I am Cyprian', 'Spodric', 'An Irishman without rules' and 'Gloopers' have been remembering on the discussion board, thanks to 'Jack Nance'. Jack asked, "Who was the worst trainee you ever had, and what did they do?" Rollover for the muppet.

1. The Chiller



2. The Gambler



3. The Cryptographer



4. The Admirer



5. The Archivist



6. The Pro



7. The Night Owl



8. The Chum



9. The Scholar



10. The Accountant



11. The Client Firster



12. The Majority



If you are a trainee, take heart. RollOnFriday posters also came up with nine trainee tips, and 11 more.

Here's another one for free. Watch out for this trick used by 'Buzz'.

"To: All Trainees
From: Buzz
Subject: Monaco

Have any of you got capacity to fly out to Monaco tomorrow morning, get a signature on a doc from a client during the afternoon, stay over and catch a mid-morning flight back?


To: Buzz
From: Gullible Trainee
Subject: Re: Monaco

I could probably just about manage this if needed.


To: Gullible Trainee
From: Buzz
Subject: Re: Re: Monaco

Excellent, thank you. Thing is I don't need anyone to go to Monaco but I do need someone to spend the next two days in a data room in Slough so thanks for confirming you have capacity
."


.... read more >
A Gun Show in TrumpLand
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21 August 2017

A couple of weeks ago a video emerged of Donald Trump boasting that he grabbed women "by the pussy". The same day, I decided to visit a gun show in Natchez, Mississippi.

I drove there from New Orleans where, in a no-frills diner serving the city’s best poboys (crisp-shelled, fluffy-guts baguettes overflowing with spicily-battered shrimp), I'd got talking to a local about the election. It's not the only conversation in town - there's always sports - but Trumptalk is ubiquitous (and, in fact, NFL ratings have cratered, with pundits blaming a boring season which can't compete with the political fireworks). Only hotel lobbies pretend the country isn't being torn in two. Their TVs are all tuned to the football, so receptionists aren't berated by sane patrons offended by Fox, or Trumpers frothing at the election-rigging going on at every other network.

    I didn't take any pictures of the poboy shack. Here's Nicholas Cage's tomb instead

The poboy customer, a black filmmaker, told me Trump represented the last gasp of an entitled white demographic. To its horror, he said, it is about to become part of just another minority in the US. He seemed relaxed about Trump's chances.

Three hours north they weren't relaxed at all.

Natchez is a pretty little town on the southern bank of the Mississippi. In the 19th century, it was the site of the second largest slave market in America. In the 1960s, it was a Ku Klux Klan stronghold. Racists belonging to an offshoot of the KKK, called the Silver Dollar Group (every member carried a coin minted with the year of his birth), murdered at least eight black men in the area during that time (but got away scot-free). So fervent was their fear of equality, the good bhurgers
of Natchez endorsed an order to assassinate Martin Luther King, who took it sufficiently seriously that he refused to stop in the town whenever he had to pass through it.

Today, there is a small museum dedicated to African American history in Natchez, but there are also signs that its ugly past is not completely buried. Some of those signs are literal, like the one for tourists outside a chic antique store which was once a segregated concert hall. It attempts to put a positive spin on Jim Crow, stating that, “although black and white audiences were separated, they could both enjoy the same music”.

And four years ago, letters of the cinema sign advertising Men in Black 3 in 3D, The Avengers and Dark Shadows were rearranged to read, “Niger 3D, Dark, Black Men”.

But on my visit, the signs drawing attention were for the GUN SHOW, held at the drab Civic Center in the middle of town, where pick-up trucks the size of small moons filled the parking lot. Photography was strictly forbidden and, when I paid my $7, a sheriff asked me if I had any concealed weapons and to turn them in.

    Hand stamp/shopping note

Inside, plump folk manned their stalls and plump browsers ambled. The only difference between the gun show and a bric-a-brac sale was the guns. Pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns, semi-automatics.
All available to anyone thanks to the controversial gun show loophole, which means that under federal law sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers. 

    Hooray, kids under six go free!

I stopped at Greg's stall. Greg bore an uncanny resemblance to James Woods (who happens to also hold pretty extreme views on the election) and was the only person I saw who was literally wild-eyed. Pacing the area in the middle of his rectangle of stalls like, well, James Woods, he was also one of the only stall-holders who wasn't selling lethal weapons, although they might get you killed. Whereas other non-gun sellers flogged night vision goggles or outrageous knives, Greg sold humorous slogan T-shirts.

'ISIS lives SPLATTER'

'Winning hearts and minds ...One in the heart, Two in the mind'

'Infidels for Trump'

Greg was very proud of his slogans. "I made them all up myself,” he said. “Isn't this one great?"  Sniggering, he held up a T-shirt:

'Is it cos I is BLACK?...'

He turned it round.

'Don't be 'haterz'...'

I didn't tell him that all of them would have made me feel like I was wearing John McClane's sandwich board from Die Hard With A Vengeance. Apart from, perhaps, 'If you heard the bang, you weren't the target!'

Why Trump, I asked Greg. "He's a businessman. We need America to be run more like a business." Is a businessman whose businesses have gone bankrupt on several occasions the right businessman? "In the US, it's sensible to declare bankruptcy at a certain point,” he said. ”It's good business."

"Look," he allowed, "he's not the ideal candidate." You'd have preferred just about any other billionaire? "Sure." But after a few minutes of talking to Greg, it became clear that he wasn't attracted to Trump just for his business acumen. "In the UK, you've got real problems," Greg informed me. "With Muslims flooding in." He grabbed another T-shirt. "How about this one? So true right?"

'Black GUNS Matter'.

Greg's fears of a deadly African American uprising seemed unfounded, at least in the hall. There were only five black people there, and the two who were stall-holders sold pepper spray. A pair of excessively cheerful young men, it was tempting to read their rictus grins and perspiration as signs of terror. After all, we all knew they were one sudden move away from getting drilled into oblivion by the vigilant browsers.

Bob, a gentle-eyed gun store owner who said he wasn’t voting, convinced me of the fetishist appeal of his wares. He pointed out a chunky silver magnum .357. And how light death could be, in the form of a diminutive lady gun with a pink rubber grip.

Why did people want to carry concealed weapons? "Who do you want to be standing next to if someone bursts in here with a pistol?" he said. "The guy holding a gun for everyone to see, or me carrying a concealed weapon? Who's the bonehead going to shoot at first?" The guy with the gun he can see? "Right."

So do lots of people carry? "Let me put it this way. Everyone in here will be carrying a concealed weapon."  Didn't we have to check them in? "Sure."

Has he ever fired at anyone? "I used to be a bounty hunter. A couple of times back then."  He didn't elaborate. Or believe me when I said that Britain felt pretty safe even though the police mostly carried sticks.

    'Merica!

"Sure there are boneheads here," he said. "That's why if someone takes out a gun for me to look at in my store, I take it right outta their hands. They go, 'It's not loaded!' I open it up. What's in there?" A bullet? "Uh-huh. Always one in the chamber. Always."

A man in a duck-hunter vest sat under a row of hunting prints clipped to a length of twine. On the table in front of him lay a drawing of a chocolate box homestead in small-town USA, with an American flag fluttering in the background and a large mailbox front and centre. "So, what you're gonna do is, you buy one of my artworks," he said, "and I send one of these prints to a fallen soldier's family free of charge, with their name written on the mailbox." That's lovely, I said. "I've had so much support. They're so grateful."

By the exit was a small table manned by a pair of reedy, bespectacled identical twins called Patrick and Paul. They were selling Trump memorabilia, including the must-have of the 2016 election cycle, the Make America Great Again cap.

"Oh, those have been a real pain to get hold of," said Patrick.

"Sure,"
said Paul. "We placed orders with the campaign and it took - oh boy, one batch took over six months to arrive."

"Totally disorganised," said Patrick. If the twins had considered the worrying implications of a Trump administration which could not, in its larval stage, send out some hats, they didn't appear to care.


  Wearing the totemic headgear I felt transformed, virile

Civil War buffs, the twins recommended a few must-see battlegrounds in the area. I said I could hazard a guess which side they were on. They looked at me suspiciously.
"Confederate," said Patrick. Or Paul. "Our grandpappy fought."

Feeling guilty for fuelling the Trumponomy, I nonetheless bought a cap and a 'Trump that Bitch' bumper sticker. As they struggled with the arithmetic, I noticed a small placard hidden amongst the merchandise. It said something in German in gothic script, and I looked away quickly in case they caught me staring.

As I left I realised my Make America Great Again cap was Made in China. Outside, a man in a hurry sat on a bollard loading his new pistol.

  TFW when you can't wait to get home before opening a toy
.... read more >
Jones Day stands by its Trump
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21 August 2017

Jones Day, the biglaw firm most closely associated with Donald Trump, has refused to condemn comments in which he defended participants in a white supremacist march.
Organised by a self-described "pro-white" activist, the deadly Charlottesville rally saw KKK members, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and 'alt-right' supporters join forces to protest the removal of a confederate statue. Amongst violent clashes with anti-fascists, legal assistant Heather Heyer was killed when a far-right protester ploughed his car into a crowd of demonstrators.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that anti-fascists "came charging in without a permit", were "very, very violent" and asked if they "have any semblance of guilt". Defending the far-right 'Unite the Right' rally, he said there were "very fine people on both sides", and characterised a pre-rally march which featured Nazi salutes and chants of "the Jews will not replace us", as "people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue". Trump's claim of moral equivalence between the far right and those who opposed it drew condemnation from across the political spectrum. But the corporate world also recoiled. So many CEOs quit Trump's advisory business councils that he was forced to disband them. 

In doing so they risked incurring the US president's wrath. That brings with it a risk of financial penalty. Amazon's value dropped $5 billion after Trump tweeted negatively about the company in response to critical articles in the Washington Post, which is also owned by Jeff Bezos. But despite the commercial danger, whether as a result of newly-discovered moral fibre or a cynical (but in some ways encouraging) calculation that there are more anti-fascist customers out there than fascist ones, they nonetheless turned their backs on Trump.

Lawyers have also kept him at arms length. And some US firms have condemned the rally in Charlottesville and, in fairly direct terms, Trump himself. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom called it an "affront to the fundamental principles of equality and justice that strengthen our nation", in a statement. Gary Wingens, the chairman and managing partner of Lowenstein Sandler noted in The American Lawyer that his firm does not represent any Trump-related companies, and said he told his staff in a firmwide email, "There is no place in this firm, our communities or this country for white supremacists or leaders who do not unequivocally name them and call them out".

But Jones Day, which was paid $3.3 million in legal fees by the Trump campaign and gave up a dozen lawyers to the White House, appears to have decided that the US president's comments are not sufficiently toxic. It declined to criticise Trump's words in any way when requested to make a statement by RollOnFriday. Steve Brogan, Jones Day's Managing Partner, also declined to comment when contacted directly for his views. He also did not respond when asked to confirm whether Jones Day would act for Trump in future.

Some will say that of course Jones Day is not going to condemn its client - just like any other law firm - because it is fundamentally incompatible with the client/lawyer relationship. That overlooks the ability of a firm to drop its client. In any event, the direct monetary benefit Jones Day has enjoyed from its client relationship with Trump appears to be relatively small. The disclosed amount paid to the firm by his campaign, $3.3m, is negligible in the context of Jones Day's revenues (£1.98 billion in 2016). Rather, it appears that Jones Day values the fees it can generate indirectly from its proximity to the leader of the free world. With the Trump administration stocked with Jones Day lawyers, it has advertised itself as possessing knowledge of, and, the implication is, influence in, the febrile corridors of the White House. And apparently it's not about to turn off that tap, regardless of the decision by many other businesses to drain the one-man swamp. The firm could not even bring itself to condemn the white supremacist marchers. Call it spineless. But how many of us would refuse to bow to public pressure, and instead continue to suckle on an ethno-nationalist clown? It's actually rather brave. There are so many sides to it - so many sides. .... read more >

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