The reference you never knew about.
A junior barrister in Hong Kong is facing an unexpected hurdle in his hunt for a new job – his former colleagues, who have written to a prospective employer explaining in gory detail why he should be rejected.
The letter, a copy of which was passed to RollOnFriday, is understood to be circulating in the HK legal fraternity.
Addressed to a Hong Kong chambers, the letter purports to have been authored by the barrister's former colleagues at three previous workplaces, who say they have elected to remain anonymous for fear of retribution by the barrister.
ROF has been unable to confirm the identity of the letter's authors, so it is not known whether the attempt to torpedo the barrister's career really is the work of multiple people, or just one motivated enemy. ROF has also seen no evidence that the letter's allegations are true, and is only identifying the barrister as 'Jobby'.
“We write to express our unreserved opposition against the admission of [Jobby] as a tenant of your Chambers, and earnestly urge you to decide the same", began the letter, which was dated 9 June 2023.
Claiming to have “had the opportunity to observe [Jobby’s] work for nearly two years and interact with him”, the poison pen letter stated that while he “may perform satisfactorily when circumstances demand”, his “professional integrity and quality as a team player should be called into question”.
With colleagues like these, who needs enemies?
His alleged misdeeds included padding timesheets, spending office hours trading crypto, speaking dismissively of defendants convicted under China’s draconian unlawful assembly laws, and describing immigrants in derogatory terms.
“Worse still", lamented the authors, was when Jobby referred to a one-legged judge as a “compass”. Jobby allegedly explained that “his amputated leg could be used like the centre point of a compass and the remaining leg being used to draw circles”. Which sounds involved.
Having tarred Jobby as a lazy, anti-democratic racist who mocks the disabled, the letter moved on to megalomania and sexism. It alleged that he vowed to supplant his “low intellect” superiors, suggested female court opponents "go back to the kitchen", and called a fellow pupil barrister "a fat ass who did not deserve a silk seat as that pupil was ‘obese like the retards in Po Leung Kuk’".
That person The unknown authors concluded by saying, “We sincerely hope that your Chambers will reject his possible application for tenancy both this time round and in the future. In our humble view, this may save your goodself from having to deal with such a sexist and misogynistic, racist, uncollaborative and reckless individual, who risks bringing considerable disrepute to any institution or individual he is associated with”.
“It's one thing to alienate a few colleagues, but to do so to such extremes at 3 workplaces that they somehow manage to meet each other and swap notes of dislike with each other - now that's quite the achievement!’, said a source who was persuaded of the letter's contents.
The ethics of whistleblowing and the treatment of anonymous accusations are complex, but the comments section below will undoubtedly find the morally correct position without rancour.
Jobby, and the chambers to which the letter was sent, did not respond to requests for comment.