Podcast 41: Andrew Holroyd OBE, President of The Law Society

Today I am talking to the President of The Law Society, Andrew Holroyd, about the Law Society stepping in to help international Lawyers, reported recently in the press.. The Law Society, the Association of Muslim Lawyers and the Bar Council will call on the Pakistani authorities for the release and reinstatement of lawyers and judges imprisoned in Pakistan following the recent constitutional crisis. Andrew Holroyd also drew attention to the fact that the Law Society has raised £85,000 so far to help lawyers in Zimababwe.

Andrew Holroyd, President of the Law Society, has stated in the Press: “Solicitors have a duty to uphold the rule of law. The rule of law requires the judiciary and the legal profession to be independent and free from political interference. The Law Society continues to urge the government of Pakistan to return to an internationally recognised standard of the rule of law and to release and reinstate those lawyers and judges who remain in detention.”

Listen to Podcast 41: Andrew Holroyd, President of The Law Society

Weekend Review 3: Sunday 27th January 2008

The theme this weekend is experimentation. I am experimenting with a bit of beard growing. I will almost certainly get bored with the idea… simply because I am beginning to look like Oliver Reed in Gladiator…. ahead of my time. I do not eat Fish Fingers these days… I had to eat quite enough of those when I was detained for a crime I did not commit at detention centres, called schools, in Scotland between the age of 7-18.

I am also experimenting with the format of Weekend Review. A 45 minute download is quite a lot to listen to in one hit – so, this week, we have a mix of text and interviews.

I have two podcasts: First… Nearly Legal on his experience during his training contract (and blogging generally). Nearly Legal seems to be having a very positive experience and is enjoying his time. Listen to the podcast here.

I also had a most interesting discussion with Carl Gardner, Head of Legal, on the Peter Hain resignation, the Police investigation, possibles charges, the Home Secretary’s difficulties pushing through an extension of detention without trial powers and the continuing imprisonment of lawyers and judges in Pakistan. : Listen to the podcast here

We have some new UK blawgers: White Rabbit… authored by author and barrister Andrew Keogh. Well worth a visit… he specialises in bloodstains and is a published author.

Also….. we have Legal Seagull – who is at the beginning of his path to qualification. Legal Seagull says the road is long with many a winding turn. Absolutely….

Jailhouselawyer, a blog I read regularly, is a prolific blogger. The other day he was talking on the BBC World Service – interesting and well worth a visit, as is the blog.

I managed to find myself on Geeklawyer’s blawg late on Saturday night, wondering if I should file my annual tax return online. Apparently…. astonishingly important people are being advised NOT to file online because of security concerns. This is ironic given the ability of HMRC, The Ministry of Defence, The DVLA (NI) and sundry other government organisations, to keep our data safe…

HMRC, however, recommend that the rest of us, the peasant underclass of modern Britain, continue to file online even if they don’t use the internet – an interesting idea in itself. Charon is a phantasm… he is a figment of imagination and does not, therefore, have to file a tax return “qua Charon”.
I am done for today…

***

PS: I am also experimenting with PageFlakes – an aggregator – for Consilio. Here is my first attempt

(You might like to try Pageflakes yourself)

Podcast 40: Carl Gardner on Peter Hain, Terrorism, The EU Amendment Bill and the problems about the rule of law in Pakistan…

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog. Carl was a government lawyer for ten years specialising in Constitutional and EU Law issues. Now freelance, Carl has some useful views today about the Peter Hain resignation, the Police investigation, possible charges, the new Counter Terrorism proposals being debated in Parliament and he is keeping a watching brief on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – the EU Treaty debate in The House of Commons.

Head of Legal blog

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Listen to Podcast 40: Carl Gardner on Hain, counter terrorism, the EU Treay and Pakistan.

Law Society steps in…

The Law Society steps in to help protect International Lawyers
The Law Society, the Association of Muslim Lawyers and the Bar Council will call on the Pakistani authorities for the release and reinstatement of lawyers and judges imprisoned in Pakistan following the recent constitutional crisis.

Demonstration: The Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group (SIHRG), the Society of Asian Lawyers and Amnesty International are holding a demonstration outside Downing Street, from 12 noon to 2pm on Saturday, 26 January.

See Law Society website report | I am doing a podcast with The President of The Law Society on Monday afternoon about this initiative.

Strange day…

Today a rogue trader at a leading French bank lost them £3.7 billion, The Sun has a story about dwarves hiding in luggage and then stealing items from other people’s luggage when the bus started moving, only to return to his suitcase before the end of the trip – AND a prosecuting barrister rugby tackled a defendant who tried to escape during court proceedings and kept his wig on.

You really could not make it up…

Fortunately…. I have some interesting and sensible news – I will post it (above) in a few minutes.

The LSC contract…

Timothy Dutton QC (Left) has written a letter to The Legal Services Commission about the LSC contract.

The exchange between Chairman of The Bar Timothy Dutton QC and Richard Collins of The Legal Services Commission is quite extraordinary – and all the letters are well worth reading.

Simon Myerson QC explained his reasons for refusing to sign in a podcast with me the other day and on his blog.

Timothy Dutton QC letter | The original letters from the Legal Services Commission.

***

Simon Myerson interview with me | Simon Myerson’s blog post

Cream krackered

Northern Rocky Horror Show

Just a jump to the left… this animation, from Channel 4, may amuse you

***

Guido Fawkes also has a most interesting story about law firm Schillings:

This is what Guido has to say… “Schillings, the lawyers specialising in reputation protection from online threats, are making a complete arse of themselves. See their correspondence with Wikileaks over the Northern Rock summary…. an interesting use of copyright law.

***

That is all for today! I can read no more law / emails / blogs / papers or take / make calls today…

Flight Arrivals

A good friend of mine, a First Officer who flies Jumbos, sent me this pic via Facebook.

An extraordinary story

Blawg Review: carnival of the blawgers

Blawg Review 143 is up

Consilio has all the new podcasts and Weekend Reviews. Also extracted the interview from Weekend Review about Simon Myerson QC’s reasons for not signing the LSC contract – on Consilio.

Weekend Review Podcast 2: Sunday 20th January 2008

We have a packed programme for you. The programme runs for approximately 38 minutes but you can download it and listen to it in stages! Today Peter Rouse of Advizory has an interesting technique for you to help you reduce stress.

My guests today are: Tim Kevan on his new boook “Why lawyers should surf” – Dr Peter Groves, Consultant with Bircham Dyson Bell, talking about the copyright implications of parody – Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog, on the Gary Newlove bail case and Simon Myerson QC, a leading criminal law silk from Yorkshire who authors the Pupillage and how to get it blog. I ask Simon Myerson why he is not prepared to sign the Legal Services Commission contract. He has some robust views.

Listen to Weekend Review Podcast 2.

[I had a minor edit problem with the recording for Nearly Legal on his experiences during his training contract – thankfully, capable of being remedied. Nearly Legal’s piece will be in next weekend’s Weekend Review]

Podcast 37: Nick Holmes of Infolaw and Binary Law

Today I am talking to Nick Holmes, author, internet guru and founder of Infolaw. Nick is also the author of the Binary Law blog.

We discuss a wide range of net and blogging issues including: what prompted Nick to start a blog and how his view of blogging changed? I also asked him the question: Where do you see the legal web and law publishing going?

Listen to Podcast 37: Nick Holmes of Infolaw and Binary Law

Not many people know this… but…

Not many people know this… but I have a non-English speaking cousin, Fabio Charonello, who is now managing a local football team using sign language. He won’t be busy this summer – but he has high hopes for the future and, as far as I know, he is up to date with his Italian paperwork.

I am doomed… I’m now being described as “good ‘ol Charon”…

I have spent a few minutes online selecting a coffin, seeing if anyone has an online downloadable Will precedent and ensuring that Gordon Brown doesn’t want me to give any of my remaining organs to medical science… as he is planning for most of the people who live in Britain unless they opt out. I wonder if Gordon has been watching too many episodes of that TV programme with the German doctor who wears a hat and cuts people up on television?

This is how I want to go. Unfortunately the people who make this stylish coffin and last ride are a long way away.

I have been described as “good ‘ol Charon” by LawActually... I am doomed…. I’m off to play a few of my old Doors Albums…(Vinyl…naturally). I shall start with Strange Days (1967… if my memory serves me well?) – It is the end ?

Sorry Law Actually… I mean it in jest, of course, … your description of me in your JLD post did amuse me.

But.. you could have left out the word ‘even’ in front of ‘good ‘ol Charon’… surely? How are the drafting classes going?

***

Do you think plastination would suit me? I worry about the corrosive effect of Rioja in the plastination process. After all, I wouldn’t want to be plastinated and then find the Rioja started melting the plastic when people came to see me at the exhibition… I mean.. . I do know a bit about Tort and Post-traumatic stress disorder, nervous shock et al. I’m sure Gunther Von Hagen and Gordon Brown’s nationalised grave robbers will check me over thoroughly to see that I am a suitable candidate for organ donation or plastination.

***

There are times when a problem shared… is a problem halved.

Podcast 36: Katherine Gibson, Chair, Junior Lawyers Division on the new help line for members…

Today I am talking to Katherine Gibson, President of the Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society about the new help line set up to help students and young lawyers who get into difficulty or are suffering from stress and pressure.

The JLD has a website and the helpline number is: 0800 856131

Katherine also has a blog “Voice from the Chair”

***
Listen to Podcast 36: Katherine Gibson, President of the The Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society

Staring into the abyss…

The Times “Water Cooler” column has an interesting piece this week: “In what is destined to become the legal equivalent of The Samaritans, the Law Society is introducing a telephone helpline for junior lawyers starring into the abyss. Law students, trainees and solicitors with up to five year’s experience can use the helpline, one of several initiatives on offer from a new representative body looking after those at the less well-paid end of the profession.”

Well, apart from jokes about all night photocopying and making coffee for the supervising partner, this does seem to be a useful move. Stress and pressure do seem to be rife in the legal profession.

***

As a follow up to this post I did a podcast with Katherine Gibson, President, Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society

Our Compliments to Blawg Review’s Editor ‘n’ Chef

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2008

Delighted to lend my support and thanks to this expression of thanks drafted by Diane Levin and Colin Samuels….. linked below. Blawg Review is well worth visiting. Some very good content and a chance to read some good US and International Blawgs.

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“Blawg Review, the carnival of legal blogging co-founded by its anonymous editor, highlights the best legal blogging each week.

Issue after issue, hosts from across the legal blogosphere (and occasionally beyond it) are selected by the anonymous editor of Blawg Review to present the carnival in their own voices, sharing their personal and professional experiences and interests with the ever-growing Blawg Review audience. In developing each issue, the anonymous editor of Blawg Review guides each host, offering invaluable advice and links to worthy posts. Working tirelessly behind the scenes, the anonymous editor of Blawg Review brings attention to this cooperative effort and to the bloggers who produce each edition of the carnival….

For the full draft – please visit either Diane’s or Colin’s blog..

Cross-posted by Diane Levin at MediationChannel.com.

Cross-posted by Colin Samuels at Infamy or Praise”

***

Delighted to cross-post and add my appreciation. Blawg review is well worth visiting. Some very good content and a chance to read some good US and International Blawgs.

Spam filters…

I just happened to be up, as usual, at 3.30 this morning. Read a few newspapers online for the daily news review podcast to be recorded at 7.00 and turned my attention to the BabyBarista column in The Times. Tried to post a comment – but… I seem to have been turned into a spammer overnight…

This was the message I received after posting:

An error occurred…

We’re sorry, your comment has not been published because TypePad’s antispam filter has flagged it as potential comment spam. It has been held for review by the blog’s author.

***

Editorial note:
Apologies to http://blogs.elpais.com/lacacharreria/2007/05/espaa_sigue_a_l.html

Great pic…

The butler didn’t know who did it…

I survived Monday only to visit the BBC website, upon my return, and find that the tedious butler, Paul Burrell, has told the Diana inquest into her death it is “impossible” that she was murdered on the orders of the Royal Family.  BBC Story

Tedious Butler was then able to assist the Coroner, according to the BBC, by saying: “that as butler to the princess, he connected Diana’s network of friends and had been “at the hub of the wheel”.

“I’m a Butler, get me into everything, Burrell” was also able to opine: “Prince Charles was not capable of murdering the princess – they were cordial towards the end of her life.”

I have no idea why the Coroner bothered calling any other witnesses. Burrell seems to know everything about everything Royal. VeryRichButler has more than enough money now and I really do hope he buggers off after this final (?) inquest.

I rarely express irritation on my blawg. Tonight… I make an exception. Now… I am going to drink some Green Tea.. and I may well have a glass of Rioja… purely medicinal tonight.

Weekend Audio Review Podcast 1: Sunday 13th January 2008

Weekend Audio Review of the Week
Each weekend, we are doing a 35-40 minute netradio programme. This week Charon talks to John Bolch of Family Lore on family law, Carl Gardner, Head of Legal, on the Peter Hain ‘Donorsgate’ affair, Justin Patten, Human Law, on Mediation, Geeklawyer on solicitors wearing wigs and some developments in Intellectual Property Law and we also have a reflective post from Peter Rouse of Advizory.

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Listen to the Weekend Review Podcast on Consilio

My thanks to all the bloggers who participated today. If you would like to participate in future episodes, please leave a comment below and I’ll get in touch with you.

Saturday Review: 12th January 2008

Last weekend I was writing Blawg Review #141 for the travelling carnival of the blawgers. This weekend I find myself visiting a Family Law website, The Law Offices of Fetman, Garland & Associates Ltd. I know nothing about Family Law despite my various excursions into the state of holy matrimony – but, thanks to John Bolch of Family Lore, I now know about a hard hitting US Lawyer “Corri Fetman, Esq” who has a direct approach to marketing.

John Bolch writes: “Well, partner Corri Fetman has now found a new outlet for her (indisputable) talents. She now has a column in Playboy as the ‘Lawyer of Love’, answering legal questions for readers. Not only that, she has posed for some quite (ahem) interesting photos for the magazine, and she apparently featured as “Boss of the Month” in the February 2008 edition. Further, she has revealed that the shapely figure in the aforementioned advert was hers (the male figure was that of her personal trainer), and she is now appearing as a dominatrix on the firm’s new advert, with the slogan: “Take Control. Get a Divorce.”

It is a bit difficult to know how to write a sensible review after this information…. so I won’t….

The pics are of Corri Fetman Esq. I have absolutely no idea why a female attorney should wish wish to use the ‘Esq’… but, there again, I don’t know many lawyers, male or female, even in the US, who market themselves in this way and if she wants to use ‘Esquire’…. fine by me. Ever thorough… I have done further research on the curious use of the title “Esquire” in the US. (Two nations divided by a common language etc!) It is, apparently, according to Wikipedia, used for licensed attorneys, male or female. In Britain, it is used as a rather outmoded title for a gentleman who didn’t make it to the inner sanctum sanctorum of ‘partnership’… or the peerage – a bit like ‘of Counsel’ or ‘Director’ are used to fob of associates who don’t make partnership in top law firms these days. [Note: Some associates, after taking independent legal advice, elect not to take ‘partnership’ status. I would like to make that clear.]

Use of Titles in Britain… a brief digression from the main story…

However… I mock not. Marcel Berlins, doyen of legal commentary and analysis, has a wonderfully scathing article in The Guardian about the Ministry of Justice’s stern “guidance on how to address correctly all the country’s big cheeses, to save the rest of us from making monumental faux pas, like addressing the second daughter of the illegitimate archbishop son of a marquess-in-waiting as “Hi babe”.

I have much sympathy, being a republican, with Berlins’ views. Berlins, rightly in my “O so ‘umble opinion”, is particularly scathing about ‘judicial titles’. I do not, fortunately, have to address anyone by outmoded titles. I would not dream of calling someone “Sir Amstrad… etc etc”, “Lord Bufton-Tufton etc etc”… or whatever. I do not practise law… so I don’t need to use ‘My lord”, “Your Worship” etc etc… but if our legal profession gets off on this… does it really matter? If Prince Charles turned up at The Bollo, I would address him by his name..”Charles’ and ask if he would like a glass of Rioja. He probably would not like it… nor my choice of wine… but there we are. We are like that at The Bollo… courteous, polite and welcoming… on republican and equal terms. Regiments have their mottos… so do topers and habitues of modern British pubs. “Without fear or favour”… seems a good principle to me.

And when Charles becomes King…and pops into The Bollo (and, you never know)… I’ll call him George… his likely ‘kingly’ name…given his royal pedigree. It has been suggested that Prince Charles, when he becomes King, as he is not a Stuart, will take on the name ‘George’… like his male ancestors did… even if some of them could not spell their own King name in English.. apparently.

Anyway… history aside… when Charles III /King George VII pops into The Bollo, if I am still hanging in there alive, having ignored The Government Chief Medical Officer’s advice for most of my life, I’ll still offer him a glass of Rioja. I can’t believe he drinks Gin and Dubonnet as the present Queen is reported to do, as did his grandmother, The Queen Mother. Rioja comes from Spain… another country with a royal family. Some of my friends mock me for drinking ‘royalist’ wines. I reply to them by saying, as Tony Blair did in his day… “I’m an inclusive sort of a guy.. all welcome at my table.”]

For those of you who are worried about how to address a Duke, a Secretary of State, a Judge… or anyone else with a gong, title or award… here is the Ministry of Justice “Guidance’ in its full glory…straight from the Ministry of Justice website… unspun and pure.

Anyway… back to the main event of this review… Corri Fetman Esquire….

The guy on the right of the pic (above / Supra) is not another partner in the firm. According to US press reports the firm is an ‘all female firm”. From what I could gather, after a thorough investigation of the website (I had to check my sources), he is Corri’s personal trainer…. whatever that means. CPD points / hours take on a new meaning on this law firm website. Google Images has further ‘corroboration’…. vaguely office safe if you are a lawyer.

My rational mind kicked in… this must be a parody or a wind up?... Corri Fetman (Esq.) has a consultancy role for Playboy writing the “Lawyer of Love” column for Playboy… but further investigation (I was at a loose end tonight) reveals “pictures of Corri” and the fact that should one wish to join the Playboy ‘Cyber Club’ it would be possible to see nude photographs of this law firm principal. At this point, as News of The World reporters say (and I have borrowed the phrase) … “I made my excuses and left the website.”

I had a look at the bottle of Rioja to my right. It still had more than enough wine in it. Although I read tabloids and other newspapers, I felt that I must do some more research on this. Google came to my aid.

Sure enough… there was Steve Patterson, Staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times carrying the same story. As I am British, I am not familiar with all the subtleties of the US press. I did note, however, that The Wall Street Journal and other heavyweights were not carrying the story.

I did discover from the USA Today website that:

CHICAGO (AP) — A racy billboard proclaiming “Life’s short. Get a divorce” caused such an uproar that city workers stripped it from its downtown perch Tuesday after a week.

USA Today reports that other Chicago attorneys were taking the view that this advertising reflected badly on the legal profession and “a city alderman who lives nearby found a technical reason to jettison the sign.”

USA Today reports: “I called the building inspector and told him to do his job and he did,” said Alderman Burton Natarus. “It has nothing to do with content or anything else. They did not have a permit and they were ordered to take it down.”

USA Today were also able to assist me with my thirst for truth… for knowledge… by stating: “Fetman and Garland say they’re upset the sign was removed.

“They ripped our billboard down without due process,” Fetman said. “We own that art. I feel violated.”

Despite its brief run, the sign apparently was good for business. Since it went up last week, the two attorneys said calls to their law firm have gone up dramatically.”

Well… all good stuff. British lawyers, in terms of advertising, are… clearly… behind the curve… but they do say that when America leads… Britian follows. Problem is…I can’t see the SRA or the BSB being particularly happy with this type of advertising and a quick re-read of The Legal Services Act 2007 does not appear to reveal any provision for advertising of this nature.

***

I can’t do a Saturday Review now… but… I am able to report that I’ve decided to start a weekly netradio/podcast review. (It may be too adventurous to do a weekly podcast review – we shall see how tomorrow goes!)…

Tomorrow I am doing an audio podcast weekend review…. a bit of commentary and interviews with Geeklawyer on solicitors wearing wigs, Carl Gardner (Head of Legal) on the Peter Hain Donorsgate affair, John Bolch (Family Lore) on the latest developments in Family Law, Justin Patten (Human law) on whether barristers assist in the mediation process and a bit more besides. Should post the audio review by about 1.00…simply because I have to keep an appointment at The Bollo to meet my old friend Lord Tempranillo and listen to some Jazz…..

We also have a thought for the week, or whatever we decide to call it, from Peter Rouse of Advizory, a lawyer, coach and thinker.

I am now going to light a Silk Cut or two and drink a glass of Rioja…. I may even read a bit of Kafka. In fact, Kafka is perfect… No… I’m going to watch the BBC Parliamentary Channel…Until the morrow.

***

PS. I just had to check these facts and do more research… ABC News had the story as well.

Biographical Note from the Fetman, Garland & Associates website:

“Corri D. Fetman is a self made entrepreneur who elected to limit her practice to primarily family and matrimonial law after practicing in numerous areas of the law since 1988. Fetman worked full time while attaining her undergraduate degree at DePaul University with honors in 1985. After taking several classes in pre-law at DePaul, a professor recommended that Fetman attend law school due to her “tenacious argumentative” skills and “natural ability to present issues in a logical fashion.”

The Feltman, Garland & Associates website also notes: Corri Fetman will appear in the February 2008 issue of Playboy Magazine and on Playboy.com on January 11, 2008.

Today is January 12th… I cannot, of course, research further into this. It would not be right.

Purely in the interests of ‘integrity reporting’ (I am still of the view that this must be a wind-up) I did log on to www.playboy.com. (See pic above from Playboy) I did not bookmark the site, nor did I view any inappropriate material.

***

Was it King George V whose last words on earth were “Bugger Bloggers” ?

I could be wrong…but even famous historian, Sir Hugh Trevor-Ropey, got a few diaries wrong in his time.

 

Defying the law….

I came across this pic on Boreme.com. A comment on the site suggested that the image had been ‘photoshopped’. I don’t care. It appealed to my mood tonight. A rather trying day. Good on the bird.

After a long day, I have a glass or Rioja to hand… just the two today and I have been reading blawgs rather than watch TV. I shall watch Newsnight, of course.

An amusing story from the States: SCARSDALE – A teen inventor and entrepreneur from Scarsdale registered the trademark “Change Rocks” to protect his jewelry and accessories business from rivals. Now he’s facing competition over the name from an unlikely source: the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama.

Stefan Doyno called his lawyers… “and they sent a letter on Dec. 18 to Obama’s national campaign manager, David Plouffe, that points out that the name “Change Rocks” is a registered U.S. trademark (No. 3,266,236) and that if Obama’s campaign sells T-shirts or other campaign memorabilia with the slogan, it could constitute an infringement.”

The story amused me and is worth a quick read.

I think I may be spending too much of my leisure time reading newspapers online – but, tonight, I discovered that the government today ruled out the possibility of allowing elephants to be kept as pets. The announcement came following a petition to 10 Downing Street calling for UK pet shops to be allowed to sell elephants to the public. Guardian

Dear God… is there to be no end to this government interfering in our freedoms?

Hillary Clinton and Gordon Brown do have something in common.  Pic  from Political blogger Guido Fawkes  

And finally for tonight… The Sun reports: “Controversial performance artist Jordan McKenzie, 40, has made 55 images by ejaculating over canvas and sprinkling carbon over the results to immortalise them.”

It is amazing that people will spend good money on any old toss these days.

Tomorrow is another day… as they say.

Audio NewsBrief in 4: 10 January 2008

Today’s Law newsbrief from Consilio

Downloadable version: Right Click here.
If you are using a Mac: hold down ‘ctrl’ key and click link

Planning to include news from UK Blawgs. Today, I refer to Carl Gardner’s, Head of Legal, story about the US Supreme Court. Happy to include items from bloggers. I can be contacted through: mikesplaw at mac.com.

This idea is still experimental. May / may not work.

Scam U… and other matters….

The BBC has an extraordinary story about a bogus university: “The bogus Irish International University (IIU), which offers sub-standard and worthless degrees, has been allowed to flourish in the UK – virtually unchecked by the government….” BBC Story

An extraordinary tale of bogus degrees, awards ceremonies being held at Oxford and Cambridge to bolster the illusion of respectability, College principals awarding themselves knighthoods, degrees and an independent  ‘quality assurance” agency which turns out to be bogus as well. The BBC reports: “The university’s Honorary Chancellor, His Excellency Baron Knowth – real name Professor Jeffrey Wooller – a successful chartered accountant from London….” and when confronted by BBC reporters, Wooller is reported as saying to the BBC actor posing as an academic IIU was not “recognised anywhere”.

He admitted to our actor that the website was an illusion: “When you look at the website, it’s a figment of someone’s imagination. Someone’s dreamt up what a university should look like, and that’s what’s on the website.”

Mr Wooller admitted the whole thing was ‘dodgy’.

And… on to Jeremy Clarkson  who ridiculed the idea that anyone would be a victim of identity fraud after data went missing from H M Revenue & Customs. Although Clarkson is not to everyone’s taste, he is an amusing writer and I enjoy his presentations.  Clarkson decided to back up his claim that the lost CDs story was a ‘lot of fuss about nothing’ and published his bank account details in The Sun. He even told people how to find out his address.

The BBC reports:

“All you’ll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not take it out. Honestly, I’ve never known such a palaver about nothing,” he told readers. But he was proved wrong, as the 47-year-old wrote in his Sunday Times column. “I opened my bank statement this morning to find out that someone has set up a direct debit which automatically takes £500 from my account,” he said.

Most amusing… a bit of ‘epicaricacy’ does one good on a wet January morning.

Blawg Review # 141

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred

[Blawg Review 141 was published slightly early after email exchange between myself and Ed of Blawg Review]

Welcome Bienvenu Wilkommen Benvenuto Bienvenido to Blawg Review 141. I was passed over yet again for a Knighthood this year, but as “Cash for Honours” is ‘so last year’ and as I would not wish to be the cause for yet another serving British Prime Minister to be interviewed by the police, I can live with it.

I am delighted to be hosting the first Blawg Review of 2008 from my Staterooms in West London, Britain. Human Law, Corporate Blawg and Nearly Legal, of course, paved the way for a UK Blawger to host… Ruthie follows in May and, with delicious irony, Geeklawyer in the week before the US 4th July Independence Day celebrations. We do have some very serious, law rich, blawgs in the United Kingdom… and, indeed….one, Conflict of Laws, is sponsored by the Death Star. I will refer to other UK law rich blawgs seriatim and infra.

I have noticed the literary bent of many of the hosts of Blawg Review…. the elegance of Dante, the earthiness of Shakespeare…. but this is hardly surprising; lawyers use language, words, psychology, pathos, emotion…. as arrows of desire and bows of burning gold… our stock in trade.

I use the word ‘trade’ with some degree of care. There are barristers in England & Wales for whom the word ‘trade’ conjures up the image of solicitors, feasting on the many provisions and opportunities in The Legal Services Act 2007, destroying The Bar’s green and pleasant land.

For those of you not familiar with my blawg… I’m afraid I fall into the Charge of The Light Brigade category of blawging… not entirely sure why I am doing it, not entirely sure if it needs to be done, not entirely sure what I am doing or where I am going… but… it keeps me at the bar…. the one with the red bottles breathing nicely before the gentlemen topers arrive.

Such is my disclaimer, for as in life, even Second Life, one must disclaim as best one can… and on that basis, should you wish to proceed, you do so on that basis.

And so… for a short time… we move away from the blawgs of the United States of America…. to those from the British Isles; a land of turbulent history, a land shaped by time, glaciers, the wind…and the rapacious colonial greed of Romans, Vikings, Normans, Victorians… and Chavs [ASBO peasant underclass] … a land now governed by New Labour and an un-elected Prime Minister [a **** from Fife according to leading Scots blawger and Edinburgh advocate, Reactionary Snob] who wishes to curtail our freedom and ensure that everyone in Britain has an equal opportunity to be a victim of identity theft by introducing ID cards, the data on which can then be lost by a government department.

British blawging is at an early stage of evolution. There are, in Britain, blawgs living in the canopy: discursive, analytical, erudite and contributing to legal practice and scholarship. Opening batsman for UK Law Blawging, Nick Holmes of Binary Law, has catalogued them in detail with the precision of a test match scorer. For those who want to know about UK Law resources on the net – just go to Delia Venables. Delia is not a blawger but she has been in from the beginning and sees all. She is also, clearly, interested in tradition, so don’t be put off by the Netscape 1.0 graphics. Believe me, her website has everything known about UK law sites on it.

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I. CASTING AN EYE OVER THE LAW RICH BLAWGS OF BRITAIN

John Bolch of Family Lore keeps an eye on the development of Family Law on almost a daily basis, but occasionally goes off piste; particularly if a judge of the Family Division is able to provide some light entertainment. Earlier in the year, Mr Justice Singer told a sheik in a family case that he could depart on his flying carpet to escape paying costs and that his evidence was “a bit gelatinous … a bit like Turkish Delight”.

Another serious blawger, Nearly Legal, a specialist in housing matters, was able to take time away from such matters to report in his own Blawg Review 115 on the extraordinary episode of the flashing Court of Appeal judge and the evidence given about his choice of underwear. It was the Lord Justice Richards flashing case which led David Fisher, QC, in defending Sir Stephen Richards, acquitted of flashing at a woman on a crowded commuter train, to ask “the question of 2007″: “In order to remove your penis when you are wearing your Calvin Klein briefs, is it necessary to use one or two hands?”

Bystander JP, author of The Magistrate’s Blog is one of the most prolific blawgers in the UK with a strong following. He provides analysis and insight into the workings of the criminal justice system but, he too, is able to enjoy a moment away from serious criminality. On 20th December 2007 Bystander JP noted: “A Minister has floated the idea of banning payment for sex.” He asked Harriet Harman QC MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party: “Firstly, Ms Harman, have you ever read about King Canute?
Secondly, As a lawyer you will be aware that you belong to the world’s second-oldest profession. What chance have you got of outlawing the oldest?”

Simon Myerson QC of Pupillage and How to get it provides useful free advice to prospective barristers about their chances of success. An excellent resource – but he too cannot resist a swipe. In a recent post he considers the position of those who want to go into Media Law – an amusing piece and sums up ‘Advantages’ as follows: “Advantages. Daaahhhhling. This is where it’s at sweetiepie. Whichever way you look, you’re defending freedom so there’s a real feelgood factor here.”

And then, of course, we had a barrister being accused of exposing himself at a wedding and then punching the person who complained. The barrister was acquitted. Not to be outdone, former TV media mogul turned barrister, Bruce Hyman, became the first barrister in 800 years to be sent to jail for perverting the course of justice. Pink Tape, another serious blawger on Family Law, reported the story – with some justification. It was a family law matter.

Overseas readers may be wondering, at this point, if The Bar and the Judiciary of England & Wales are stressed, haven’t got their work life balance quite right and are working too hard. So… to calm things down, I am able to state that there are no known ‘unusual antics’ being reported by Martin George and colleagues at Conflict of Laws.net, by Jeremy Philips and colleagues at IPKat (Intellectual property) or Alex and his colleagues over at IMPACT; an excellent law rich blog by leading Midlands firm, Freeth Cartwright. And…. we must not, of course, forget that immediate past Chairman of The Bar Geoffrey Vos QC paved the way for future Chairs of the Bar to blog.

There are many useful UK law rich blogs. To name a few: The source of useful news and latest reports, Current Awareness, the blog from Inner Temple Library, Head of Legal on EU and Constitutional Law matters, Justin Patten of Human Law who writes extensively on ADR and Mediation, and, from just across the water in Ireland, Cearta – a mine of information on matters of law in Ireland and rights.

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II. NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT MADE GLORIOUS SUMMER….

It is at this stage that I place on record my plea of diminished responsibility and throw in a bit of automatism for good measure. For now I move to those UK blawgs, freed from the shackles of having to report on matters legal, the blawgs with a parental guidance rating and, sometimes, it has to be said, ‘Not office safe’…

As life on earth began… the soup of life created many living things. One of these life forms has survived to the present day and when he is not holidaying in a Bavarian castle with his mates and drinking mead, he is Geeklawyer. Geeklawyer, an IP lawyer, does manage to slip in a bit of law from time to time – but, mercifully, his blawg provides, for me, other attractions. I hang out there if I am at a loose end on a Friday evening with a glass of Rioja to my right, Silk Cut cigarettes to my left…

Geeklawyer is a man who can describe J Dan Hall of award winning What About Clients? as “…a depraved evil sociopathic neocon…beast pretending he loves his clients merely to get into their wallets.” – and get away with it. I commend, unreservedly, this blawg… but with the judicial caveat “and may god have mercy on your soul’. Res ipsa loquitur.

Charon Podcast with Geeklawyer

To another UK Blawg with a literary and surreal bent… the blawg started by Ruthie after resigning / being sacked from the Geeklawyer blawg. Ruthie intended to design a blawg to comment in detail on the development of the criminal law and jurisprudence relating to villains and those who need ASBOs. Ruthie’s Law is a curious mix of erudition, comment on the criminal laws of England, corsets, naked cowboys, heaving bosoms and an underlying sexual tension born of desire by an upper class maiden for the earthy pleasures of Tucker. A real QC has joined Ruthie to post as Victorian Maiden. The result is always enjoyable because the ‘mystery QC’ and Ruthie have the knowledge to comment amusingly on the shortcomings of our criminal justice system. Ruthie’s Law: This blawg is a good read. I quote from Victorian Maiden: “I have let go of Tucker’s enormous box and he has gone off to stroke it lovingly before getting his hand on what is inside.” Perhaps you would like to see what is inside Ruthie’s Law?

A question often mooted down at The Bollo is: “What did the Romans ever do for us?”

As it happens, I am partial to a bit of latin and in my youth taught two people a bit of Roman Law. Despite the best endeavours of Lord Woolf to remove Latin from the panoply of legal life, we have two former blawgers, unable to take the withdrawal pangs of giving up blawging, who have returned with a new blawg. Lex Scholasticus et Caput Stercoris and Advocatus Diaboli bring us Reductio ad absurdum. I remember saying quite often to one of my wives Nemo dat quod non habet and the equally useful Non haec in foedera veni.

No review of UK Blawgs would be comprehensive without mention of the Babybarista blog in The Times. This blawg, written by a barrister, reveals the underlying villainy and skullduggery of a pupil’s quest for tenancy and fame. An enjoyable romp and read, a subtle satire with much in it.

AND there are quite a few blawgs out there being put together by prospective barristers. Not many, it has to be said, by prospective solicitors. The pupil/BVC blawgs are: The Pupillage Chronicles, Legal Lass, Law Minx, Paranoid Pupil

and… some good student blogs I enjoy reading: the Diaries of UK Law students, Law Actually, Law Girl, Susie Law School: Legally blonde in London

There were more student blawgs. One can only surmise that the authors are now being worked to death by their law firm or law school and do not have time to blog?

***

III. POLITICS

Politics and government in this and many other countries is crawling with lawyers. I read quite a few political blogs and mention two: Guido Fawkes and Reactionary Snob; the latter penned by an Edinburgh Advocate who has a dislike for governments encroaching on his liberty and frittering his money away.

It is election season in the U.S. and the US law blogs are sharpening their knives….

I have boned up on my knowledge of the US political system by listening to Noam Chomsky’s lecture on the system – fascinating

LawPundit gave me an insight into the importance of the Iowa caucus. IntLawGrrls is for Obama for President… and the post was a goood read… in fact I read on…

Prawfsblog (“Where intellectual honesty has (almost always) trumped partisanship since 2005) had an interesting post on New Year’s Day about Perception and Reality in polls and worries about whether, given that ‘people like to go with a winner’, polls become self-fulfilling.

Of particular interest to Britain and Europe is whether Obama has any interest in Europe. The Atlantic Review has an answer. I quote: Obama, however, is trying to get votes from Americans, who are increasingly less interested in (or have less faith in) transatlantic cooperation.”

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, Gordon ‘Newcastle bottled it” Brown is unlikely to call an election now until 2009. We did, however, have a completely unfascinating election for the new leader of the Liberal-Democrats, after their end of pier Autumn pantomime production Mingius Caesar.

We also have WebCameron in this country, now moved to pride of place on the official Conservative website. As Charon QC I receive regular emails. I may well exercise my democratic right to post on WebCameron if the Rioja takes me that way.

It seems that David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is solving all Britain’s international problems and is back blogging. He tells us that five good things happened in 2007 and he has another list of five good things to happen in 2008. Which StarTrek commander used to say “Make it so” ?

The Prime Minister of Great Britain also has a blog… of sorts. A bit one sided, I grant you…. The 10 Downing Street website.

David Maister, always a good read, deserves the last word in this section on politics with a post on ‘Ruthlessness and Charity”
I quote:

“In an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal, Lawrence B. Lindsey, author of a new book “What a President should Know … but Most Learn Too Late” gives the opinion that we (the electorate) should seek (as our president) an individual who is ruthless about protecting us against others, but (who) acts with charity towards all and malice towards none at home.” Maister reflects on this.

And so…we move away from politics and the law… to the law itself… in the penultimate section of this blawg review.

***

IV. THE LAW….

First the good news…

I am grateful to Leon Gettler for letting me know that ‘Lawsuits are on the increase, up 43 per cent on last year. And the combination of subprime and market volatility is driving that increase.’

The news just gets better. Eric Turkewitz of the NY Personal Injury Law Blog has a great story: “After a colossal screw-up with the July 2007 New York bar exam — in which some of the essay answers were lost for hundreds of people who had typed them into laptops — the New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) is taking action. Now they will demand a liability waiver that protects them from future screw-ups.”

What About Clients? wins the ABA Journal Award for leading blog in the All Business category. Good stuff Dan and all at WAC?

***
Serendipitously, or perhaps a car crash of timing, given that I am trying to present to the world of US and other World Blawgers that UK Blawgers are trying to do their bit and are not all binge-drinkers ‘orf their heads’ on Rioja, Mead et al when they blog…. WAC? notes on Saturday 5th January“American wank-fest, eh? GeekLawyer’s podcasts are always worth hearing. Around Christmas, lamenting a lull in Brit lawyer blogging, and likely in his cups, the genius barrister noted, among other things:

“The UK blogosphere is dynamic–and it’s interesting. The Yanks’ [blogs] are full of boring old farts, wanking on all about their professional careers….academic debates about this that and the other….frankly, the UK blogosphere is comprised of characters.”

Ah well… at least I know, now, how Tony Blair felt when George W Bush said something inappropriate or at an inconvenient time during tense international negotiations. I must take a pause now in the writing. After reading this… I just need a glass of Rioja. I have taken the liberty of posting a picture of a glass of Mead – the drink of Geeklawyer. I have no idea how many glasses, if any, he had consumed when he did the podcast referred to by WAC?

Maybe I should do a Captain Titus Oates and say “‘I am just going outside and may be some time.”?

I will be back.

***

Restored by lunch ….

Having taught law in my other guise for nearly thirty years I was very interested in Professor Ann Althouse’s excellent post and analysis of the differing teaching styles of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Both Clintons are lawyers and both did their tour of duties as law professors at the University of Arkansas Law School. While “Hillary’s style was confident, aggressive, take-charge, and much more structured than Bill’s. “All business,” a colleague said. Her questions to students were tough and demanding. Bill almost never put his students on the spot; rather, he maintained an easy dialogue with them. His conversational approach often gave students the run of the class, and he let them filibuster.” The post is detailed, the comments amusing – and worth a detour even if you are not a law don or student.

The virtual world…
I’m a bit behind the curve when it comes to Second Life. Perhaps I am having enough difficulty with my First Life… although I did, after reading that Blawg Review was making announcements on Second Life, download the software needed. I found myself, with a very curious avatar, wondering around a shopping mall near the coast. I didn’t have any Linden dollars and did not feel that I wished to buy any or even buy my own island at that point. I did feel like throwing myself into the water and succeeded.

Benjamin Duranske of the Virtually Blind blog offers a number of predictions concerning the direction of law in virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft.

Duranske makes a number of predictions. I quote one: “The IRS or a foreign tax collection entity will issue a bulletin, notice, or written determination that income made in virtual worlds is taxable”. Mon dieu… Second Life could offer untold opportunities to our own HM Revenue & Customs… not least in data management.

I am on Facebook, qua Charon QC, so Michael Rice’s post about the furore this week caused when Facebook at least temporarily cut off the account of blogging, vlogging, and podcasting notable Robert Scoble was of interest to me. Worth a read if you are a Facebook addict.

I received information by email about ‘Brain Fitness’ the other day. My first inclination was to take it personally. I know that SAGA, insurers of coffin dodgers, personal injury claims farmers, vintners, and others get valuable information by looking at websites and blogs, but I had no idea my writing style and blawg content was so bad I needed ‘brain training’ exercises to see me through the onset of senility. Actually, the information was most useful. I did a test. I’m OK… I have one.

It seems that US lawyers are also capable of behaving in a bizarre and criminal fashion

UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge has a post about a US attorney who allegedly keyed a car belonging to a US Marine reservist. (It was a pretty serious act of destruction… much of the car was scratched.) Surely, he could have chosen a better target for his ire? He must be crazy. I’ve seen those war films where US Marines do the business. It is a great story, but I particularly liked the comment by Bainbridge: “I just don’t get it. I wonder if the Illinois Bar could go after Grodner’s license under a broad catchall like Illinois Rule of Professional Responsibility 8.4(a)(3), which makes it actionable misconduct for a lawyer to “commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.” Probably not, but one can always hope. Anyway, it makes you proud to be a lawyer, doesn’t it?”

Australian jurist explains sleepy judge phenomenon…

Ashby Jones, writing in the wall Street Journal, tries to explain why judges fall asleep, citing a a senior Australian judge who “blamed the sleepy judge phenomenon on lawyers who, by asking “useless” questions that send judges into dreamland, undermine the legal system.

The judge continued to explain: “The potential boredom is exacerbated by the fact that a judge has to keep making comments to show that he or she is following the case and has to look at each document as the witness is looking at it. At the same time, the judge needs to make sufficient notes to enable him or her to recall the strong and weak points of the respective cases if the case does not finish in a day.”

Colin Samuels of Infamy or Praise, author of the elegant Dante themed Blawg Review 137 has not come across robot bailiffs, virtual reality juror goggles, floating cameras, and computerized judges. He notes in his post that The Los Angeles Times thought these might be featuring in Californian courts some twelve years ago: Worth a look!

And…finally… in this section: Howard J Bashman of How Appealing asks on Friday 4th January… “If Clinton wins, would (Supreme Court) Justice Clinton be far behind?”

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V. URBI ET ORBI

While I have no papal intentions or ambitions, but not above issuing a bit of bull through my blawg, I use ‘urbi et orbi ‘ (to the City [of Rome] and to the World) in the Roman sense. It was, of course, used in roman proclamations long before the God squad got hold of it.

I am free, in this final section, to wander as lonely as a cloud… sling a few arrows of outrageous fortune around and say “Alas… poor Geeklawyer (Supra), I knew him well.”

Well… well.. well. US blawger, Instapundit, has picked up on a most interesting story: “FREE SPEECH? WHAT’S THAT? British blogger to be arrested for inciting racial hatred. What, are they channeling the Saudis in Britain? If you’re interested in supporting free speech rights, the British Embassy’s contact page is here. As with the Saudi case I don’t know much about the blogger, but I don’t need to — people shouldn’t be arrested merely for blogging things that the powers-that-be don’t like.”

I shall investigate further when I have completed this Blawg Review.

And then there is RollonFriday.com…

RollonFriday.com has been around for many years now. The discussion board, populated with some quite extraordinary people, is a source of solace and relief for busy UK lawyers during their billable working day – but the News section, almost invariably, comes up with something to please even the most caustic.

This week is no exception. RollonFriday has a story about a partner from newly merged Dewey & LeBoeuf’s Washington office. According to RoF, a German translation was required. The translation was done and Ralph C Ferrara, managing partner of the Washington office (I checked), sent an email thanking those involved for their help.

RollonFriday reports: “After two minutes’ intense thought, another partner, Stephen Best (I checked the existence of aforementioned) came up with the following gem, which he copied to all of the firms’ US lawyers:”

RoF reports:Dewey & LeBoeuf does not condone any type of offensive language or conduct. Comments of this nature are inconsistent with the firm’s values and are taken very seriously. This has been dealt with internally and both the Chairman, on behalf of the firm, and the individual involved have apologised.

And… there is also the famous US tabloid blawg… which I always enjoy… Above the Law

They have a story in their ‘Non-sequiturs’ section: Hot lawyers make more money. And we needed a study to tell us this?

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.

I am certain that I have not added to legal scholarship. I have read a great many blawgs over the past two weeks. I’m only sorry that I have not been able to mention many of the blawgs I visited. That may well be to their advantage. I have, however, been educated, informed and delighted by all the blawgs I was able to visit in this over-long blawg review and my blogroll will, in due course, be updated.

I end with a Churchill quote: “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”

***

It only remains for my cousin, Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo, to give his blessing to you all for managing to survive. I add, of course, my own non god-deluded best wishes and regards for a good 2008 and my thanks to the mysterious Ed of Blawg Review for giving me the opportunity to keep away from bars this weekend. I was, however, able to replenish the stock of Rioja taken by burglars unknown from my Staterooms over Christmas… my explanation for rapid depletion … and I’m sticking to it.

The Blessing: Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo

May God the Son,

who turned water into wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana,

transform your lives and make glad your hearts.

Amen.

***

Charon is blawger in residence for online magazine Insite Law and his ‘About’ section reveals all

***

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Time to write a letter to the Police?…

The Times has a fascinating story today: “The Liberal Democrats’ main corporate backer is a care home business that has been giving the party nearly half its profits and whose ultimate ownership is secret.”

It appears that a businessman who sits on the board of all the sister companies of donor firm Alpha is recently enobled peer Lord Hameed, proposed for elevation by the Liberal-Democrats.

The Times reports that Alpha Healthcare has donated £395,000 to the Lib-Dems – prompting a spokesman to say “Why not?”. The Times reports that £125,000 of the £395,000 was transferred when the Hameed peerage was confirmed.

BUT… the amusing part of this story is not the peerage… but the exchange between The Times and Lord Clement-Jones, the Lib Dem treasurer, who did his articles at Clifford Turner (now Clifford Chance) and who, when not preparing for the onerous task of preparing to prepare to govern Britain, says on his web entry for the Lib-Dems: “I am now the Co-Chairman of Global Government Relations, the government and media relation’s practice of DLA Piper the major law firm.”

Apparently, Lord Clement-Jones was, initially, unaware that he had proposed Lord Hameed for a peerage

The Times Story is worth a read… but here is an extract from The Times:

Lord Clement-Jones, the Lib Dem treasurer, said that he had “no idea” who had proposed Lord Hameed. After The Times said it had evidence that it was him, he said: “I couldn’t remember that. That’s fine. I thought he was a very upstanding member of the Asian community and somebody who would make a very good peer.”

The Times also reports that ” Lord Hameed insists that he has never given a penny to a politician and knew nothing of the payments until contacted by The Times. “

Read the Times Story – the “What the Party told the Times” bit at the end of the articles is most amusing – and it gets even more bizarre.

Hat Tip to Guido Fawkes – and, as Guido suggests…. perhaps Chris Huhne could write a letter to the Police asking for their assistance in sorting the confusion out?

Pic: Prolific letter writer Chris Huhne as he might look knocking off a quick letter to The Commissioner.

Happy New Year

Fresh as a daisy this morning… managed to watch the new year arrive on TV. Impressed by the London fireworks and usually I have no interest in fireworks.

Made no resolutions… so none broken or to break. Haven’t managed to rejoin a gym or buy a sofa. Why is everyone buying sofas this Christmas / New Year? … adverts for them everywhere.

Happy New Year