poison pen

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.


Sounds impractical.

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.

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Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 30 June 23 08:43

Poorly written letter, and the overly flowery language suggests someone very junior pretending not to be. Jilted lover takes it to the max?

Anonymous 30 June 23 09:25

Since when had any lawyer, and especially a barrister, needed to be a "team player"?  

Compass, lol.

Sounds like a good bloke, I'd hire him, and this snivelling, woke missive would only serve to confirm my decision.   

Lester & Partners LLP 30 June 23 09:58

"Sounds like they'd be perfect city partner material to me!"

Too right!

The exact opposite of FILTH. His problem is that he's actually too good for the increasingly shabby offshore backwater that Hong Kong is becoming.

I mean, check out this glowing recommendation, like, which bit of this wouldn't you want in a senior associate:

"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."

Door is open whenever he calls. A star is born.

Lydia 30 June 23 11:00

May be it is even written by China - they do an awful lot. I saw a documentary on youtube from Australia about not only the Chinese police outposts in NY, China, UK (which are illegal) but also the huge lengths to which they went to destroy the lives and reputations even just of academics in Australia who were researching and criticising china. They made up all kinds of things against men who had done nothing wrong under Australian law.

Hurt partnership 30 June 23 12:20

This sounds like a wounded partnership I know. They hacked someone’s phone and were hurt by the things that were said on WhatsApp, amongst other things so tried to break the person down. He’s still going to everyone’s surprise. They like to teach him lessons they do no teach their own children. Lol. 

Managing Partner 30 June 23 12:37

Please someone answer for the love of god. Can I give my daughter a training contract, or will everyone on RoF laugh at me?

Anonymous 30 June 23 13:16

"Can I give my daughter a training contract, or will everyone on RoF laugh at me?"

According to Ayesha that's just the start of what you can give her.

Kirklander 30 June 23 13:41

Unironically based, I’d hire him any day if he’s interested in becoming a solicitor

Anonymous 30 June 23 14:20

@13.27 - has anyone ever proved forensically that every single fact is not also an allegation?

Popularity Contest at The Hong Kong Bar 01 July 23 19:08

Just how many enemies does this Hong Kong Pupil Barrister have and why?

Pupil Barrister 03 July 23 04:58

The Hong Kong Bar Association should make it more difficult for law graduates to become Pupil Barristers, or Barristers.  

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