The Source's Blog
29 March 2011
Never let it be said that lawyers have no sense of humour. If ever you doubted it, check out the transcript of last week's bizarre valedictory
arse licking send-off
given to retiring judge, the Rt Hon Lord Justice Jacob.
After a quick intro from The Lord Chief Justice (of course that's the wonderfully named Judge Igor Judge), it's straight into the farewell speeches from various legal luminaries. First up, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, who makes a couple of super little quips about cases on loo roll and kitchen roll. Now Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury is also known as the Master of the Rolls
. It's a joke. Geddit??!!
In case you didn't, the killer line has been signposted in the transcript with the term "(Laughter)
". And so it continues, ad infinitum
"The case was called Wombles Skips v Wombles Ltd, a passing off case, and he won. He has never let me forget it. (Laughter)
Other such jokes abound (sample: "Only recently your Lordship honestly described the excluded matter provisions in the EPC as something which does your head in! (Laughter)
According to the eagle-eyed spotter who sent in the transcript (which you can review here
), there are no less than 33 individual "(Laughter)
Given that Lord Jacob is clearly such a wag - and indeed prompts the laughter of many others - those winter evenings of retirement sat in front of a roaring fire with Lady Jacob will no doubt fly by.
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Cantankerous Lawyer of the Week
23 March 2011
Toronto lawyer Ernest Guiste has had his knuckles firmly rapped for "uncivil behaviour
" by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Everyone can get a little riled at work but it appears that Guiste
gets a bit more worked up than most by filing deadlines and the cut
and thrust of mediation meetings. Some choice nuggets from his repertoire
include: responding to a settlement offer by telling opposing counsel
to "shove it up your ass
", littering a mediation meeting with blue language, calling his opponent's client a "cash cow
" and informing an associate who refused to consent to his late filing that she would "burn in hell
The hearing panel found Guiste guilty of four counts of misconduct, calling his comments "sarcastic and offensive and discourteous
And there seems to have been a spate of Canadian lawyers getting a bit handy of late. Family lawyer Colin Lyle has been suspended since the end of 2009 for reportedly using abrasive language and telling a client that his girlfriend was sleeping around. Whilst Julia Ranieri received a 10 month suspended sentence for punching her client in the face and breaking her nose.
Read more about Canada's uncivil lawyers here
Guiste talking to the other side, how it might have looked
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Flying dirty business class
09 March 2011
The Source's Balls of Steel Award this week goes to the as yet unnamed and so far uncaptured thief who escaped last week with £148,000 after tunnelling through an aeroplane's toilet into the hold, where 1.2 million Euros were being transported.
The tea leaf claimed from the outset of the flight that he was unwell, and spent the 40 minute hop ensconsed in the washroom. However, this was all an incredible ploy. Because - whilst mock-retching - our anti-hero was actually removing several panels from the walls and working his way towards the enormous cash stash secreted below.
Pockets stuffed with lovely lolly, the Great Plane Robber emerged, demanding that - given the severity of his illness - an ambulance meet him. It was duly dispatched, only for the burglar to make a remarkable recovery after having circumnavigated the standard security checks (presumably the checks where staff patt you down on the off-chance you're carrying £150k in used bank notes).
The miscreant remains on the run
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It's the taking part that counts...
08 March 2011
Congratulations to Peter Hastings
of Rogers and Norton Solicitors for his vainglorious appearance on BBC1's Total Wipeout
, a Japanese-inspired horror-fest in which members of the great unwashed race around an enormous foam obstacle course being buffeted into mud and water. On Saturday's "International Special", Peter represented the UK against the rest of the world, and took on the enormous yoke of going first.
His performance is best described as mixed. After an introduction which might be described as insanely overconfident, our Pete - after shrieking something unintelligible about "revenge for 1066
" - slipped and fell from several great heights. The Source couldn't quite make it to the end of the show - but you can watch the entire thing on the iPlayer here
. The visual highlights are as follows:
Peter looking confident...
...but remember pride comes before....
Thanks for turning up.
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He will fight to collect the rent until his last drop of blood
01 March 2011
In this week's most tenuous link to the biggest news story in the world, The Source can reveal that Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi is apparently the landlord of Barlow, Lyde & Gilbert's
A reader who used to work at Halliwells
said that this matter came to light when partners at the now defunct firm were negotiating a tie-up with BLG. He says that it was "widely known and discussed
", and "typically, the Halliwells partners were unconcerned
". Presumably this was the least of their worries given that they were about to fold and leave debts of some £200 million...
A spokeswoman for BLG said that the building was owned by an investment fund registered in the Isle of Man. She added that "we are aware via the building's managing agents of some connection with Libya but know no more than that
||"No, no, trainees count as pets, I keep your deposit"
Several other law firms will be in a similar position to BLG - wealthy despots the world over have been buying up chunks of London. Maybe Slaughter and May
brings out the Coutts chequebook for Kim Jong-il? Do Linklaters'
partners get Christmas cards from Baby Doc Duvalier? Click here
to let The Source know.
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Geek invents software to spot terrorists (sort of)
24 February 2011
Dennis Montgomery is a 57 year-old, unassuming-looking former biomedical
technician. He's also a man alleged to have a prodigious gambling habit,
who now stands accused of conning nigh on $20m from the US
government after claiming to have invented miraculous new software which
could stop terrorists in their tracks.
The media storm which has unfolded around our be-spectacled protagonist involves bogus Somali terrorism plots,
re-routed flights, White House briefings, government hush-ups and Al
To cut a very long story a fair bit shorter, Montgomery claimed
his software could:
- find terrorist plots hidden in Al Jazeera broadcasts;
- identify terrorists from predator drone videos; and
- detect noise from hostile submarines.
And it seems to have taken the government a wee while to figure out that
Montgomery's technology might not have been as futuristically awesome
as it first seemed. It appears that the CIA cottoned on after a couple
of years but never bothered to tell the government department that
contracted with Montgomery. Concerns about fraud were also raised by
venerable media institutions such as Bloomberg and, ummmmm, Playboy.
But Montgomery still managed to keep up the ruse for 8 years before
contracts were ended. Since which time the US government seems to have
been awfully quiet on the matter and there is no hint of any charges being made
Montgomery, however (who's asserting his Fifth Amendment right on the
issue of his software) is already in a spot of bother with the law. He's
about to go on trial in Las Vegas for
unrelated charges of attempting to pass $1.8m in bad cheques at
A spell in jail might provide perfect thinking time for his
Read the incredible tale in full here
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Arse over kick
17 February 2011
Another week chunters by. Lawyers continue to work themselves into the ground.
But whilst you stare glumly out your glass-walled cubicle at happy people gamboling in the Spring sunshine, always remember that there are people worse off.
Last Friday, Neil Lansing of No Fixed Abode, Florida was strip-searched in prison. During the course of the search, it became apparent that Lansing was holding a filled condom betwixt his buttocks (well, actually inserted up his rectum). On removing said prophylactic, officers were no doubt surprised to discover that the condom contained:
1. 17 blue pills;
2. one cigarette;
3. six matches;
4. one flint;
5. one empty syringe;
6. one eraser, covering the point of (5) above;
7. one container of lip balm;
8. one unused condom;
9. one pharmacy receipt; and
10. one coupon.
Total = charges of drug possession. And a sore arse.
Ze seagullz, zey follow ze trawler
In blast from the past news, Matthew Simmons, of Thornton Heath, south London has been charged with assault
following a fracas last August at a football match in which his 13-year-old son was playing.
In an excellent ironic twist, Matthew Simmons is, of course, the very same Matthew Simmons who was famously assaulted (well, kung-fu kicked in the chest) by Eric Cantona at Selhurst park in 1995, an incident for which the Gallic actor/beach footballer/pseud was banned for 9 months.
Unlike King Eric, Simmons denies the charge.
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Awkward Legal Family Photos
15 February 2011
Congratulations to MFG Solicitors of Kidderminster for displaying such tremendous pride in its team that a photo gallery
- spanning several years of happy memories - is proudly displayed on the firm's website.
MFG lawyers just love to be photographed, whether it's with the stars of lowly Telford United
massaged or just posing with an enormous pig
The firm's branding includes the line "A new shape of lawyer
". Well, there's certainly something in the water in Worcestershire. And for proof that they do indeed come in a variety of shapes and sizes, here are some staff luxuriating in a hot tub. In Kidderminster. There are lots of these; enjoy.
Seasoned Roffers may remember MFG from Glamorous Solicitors past. It's the firm which employs a
particularly keen Photoshopper with a fondness for orange. No shame in that particular foible, obviously. The orange should be embraced. But it does mean that all the lawyers'
profiles include a small hint of the colour. Chris Bovey, for instance, is
seen merrily juggling an orange ball whilst sporting a delightful orange
pocket square. he looks - relatively speaking - perfectly normal. Others are not so lucky - check out the website
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The Devil's Advocate
10 February 2011
British-Italian businessman, football enthusiast, music producer and attorney (of uncertain qualifications) Giovanni Di Stefano has announced that he will be representing Charles Manson in his quest for a new trial.
Di Stefano - who's had many a brush with the law himself and whose legal credentials have not been verified in either Italy or the UK - is no stranger to acting for controversial characters. He's represented a long roll call of nefarious figures, including:
- Saddam Hussein - former Iraqi dictator and generally acknowledged bad chap.
- "Chemical Ali" - so called for ordering gas attacks in Iraq, killing thousands.
- Arkan - Serbian paramilitary leader, indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity.
- Nicholas van Hoostraten - jailed for ordering a grenade attack, handling stolen goods and fined £6m for the death of a business associate after hiring heavies to frighten him.
Di Stefano doing his best Sopranos impression yesterday
Dubbed the "Devil's Advocate" and having boasted that he would happily "defend...Adolf Hitler or Satan
", this charming chap has decided he now needs convicted murderer Manson to complete his infamous client roster. Di Stefano has filed a petition on Manson's behalf asserting that Manson did not receive a fair trial 40 years ago - for the gruesome Tate and LaBianca murders - as he was not allowed to represent himself.
Di Stefano has explained that he's working on the case because "he believes in justice
" and he has "no interest in the facts of the case
". Which is interesting as he goes on to claim that there was a lack of proof that Manson even committed the murders. The prosecutor, however, thinks that Di Stefano "may be a fine lawyer and very sincere, but he's coming up against a brick wall here as there is no merit
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BPP's Brochure Bungle
03 February 2011
We've all read those lovely glossy law school brochures in the past. The ones full of shiny happy people loving every second of their three hour solicitors' account class, weeping tears of happiness during the advocacy practice and so on. Those brochures where everything's about how much you can achieve - for the mere injection of £12,000 into the coffers of your institution of choice (and nothing at all about how there are only half as many training contracts as there are LPC students).
Anyway, The Source had a browse through BPP's the other day. That's BPP University College (as no-one outside its press office calls it). There are the usual platitudes, the usual glowing descriptions of the unmatched brilliance of the courses available (although not very much about the crippling tragedy of post-course unemployment). There is fulsome praise presented by students and graduates, accompanied by full page pictures of bright young things.
Oddly though - and it's quite possible that it's just The Source who thinks this odd - one picture doesn't seem to match the quote.
|Here's BPP grad Ayanna Nelson waxing lyrical about the careers service
||And here's Ayanna Nelson smiling on the Gray's Inn website.
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