Muttley Dastardly LLP: Age is not a factor at The Firm

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Age is not a factor at The Firm

The government is planning to abolish the retirement age of 65. As with many things the government does, this will not affect us. Partners may retire when they wish. If they haven’t retired by the time they get to 50, they haven’t been billing hard enough and, in the highly unlikely event that such a faux pas should be made (and it has not happened to date in the glorious history of this firm), the individual will be invited to visit the library or leave.

Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

To: All staff


1. The government is planning to abolish the retirement age of 65. As with many things the government does, this will not affect us. Partners may retire when they wish. If they haven’t retired by the time they get to 50, they haven’t been billing hard enough and, in the highly unlikely event that such a faux pas should be made (and it has not happened to date in the glorious history of this firm), the individual will be invited to visit the library or leave.

2. My attention was drawn to an article in Legal WeekLocking out older partners? The least-defended minority in the Square Mile:

“Given the level of debate generated by law firms’ treatment of gays, ethnic minorities and women, a neutral observer wandering into the Square Mile might wonder why there is so little comment on the deal dished out to older lawyers.

“After all, many City firms have hardly any partners over 55, law firms are notoriously lax at implementing the employment laws they lecture clients about and the long-hours culture of commercial practice is hardly conducive to career longevity.

“Yet it’s hard to see how the status quo is sustainable. The forces pushing for reform are too many and too fundamental. Aging Western populations, longer life-spans, later retirements, tougher employment laws and changing attitudes to age – it’s all pointing in one direction…”

3. While it is always of interest to me to read and listen to reports of travail, angst and difficulties at other City firms, we simply do not have an issue at this firm with age. Associates destined to join The Partners are selected most carefully and those who do not make the cut, on closer inspection of their own contract of employment with us – what we call a contrat d’adhesion – will discover, if they were not already aware, that they do not enjoy many rights in the event of termination of the relationship. If they did not realise the one-sided nature of the contract, this merely serves as evidence of their unfitness to continue as a member of the firm. For particularly recidivistic associates who have managed to find a copy of a book on employment law, they will face the arcane and complex and obscure world of ‘restructuring’ will stand in their path for a successful prosecution of a claim.

4. As this memorandum raises issues of age and termination of the employment relationship, I would like to take this opportunity of reminding associates about Clause 482 (1) (b) (x1) The Faustian Pact, the contents of which, were inspired by a note I found on Faustian pacts on Wikipedia:

“You undertake, by this pact, to kill children or consecrate them to the Devil at the moment of birth, take part in Sabbaths, have sexual relations with demons, and sometimes engender children from a succubus, or incubus in the case of women. The pact can be oral or written. An oral pact is made by means of invocations, conjurations, or rituals to attract the demon; once the conjurer thinks the demon is present, he/she asks for the wanted favour and offers his/her soul in exchange, and no evidence is left of the pact; but according to some witch trials and inquisitions that were performed, even the oral pact left evidence, namely the diabolical mark, an indelible mark where the marked person had been touched by the devil to seal the pact. The mark will be used as a proof to determine that the pact was made.”

5. Clearly, we do not believe in any form of superstition here. There is no question of the devil, or indeed ourselves sui generis, exacting enforcement, should same even be possible in an English Court of Law. I cannot speak for some courts in other countries, but our contracts are governed by English law.

6. Just see how successful you are at getting a job in The City, if you try and sue us and we make it known to potential employers that you signed a contract which included clauses, inter alia, whereby you promised “to kill children or consecrate them to the Devil at the moment of birth, take part in Sabbaths, have sexual relations with demons, and sometimes engender children from a succubus, or incubus in the case of women.” I rather suspect that this takes care of any age-related discussions?

7. That is all.

Matt Muttley
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

Rive Gauche: Ex-Biglaw Partner Sues Over ‘Destroyed’ Reputation Thanks To Overbilling Scandal

Ex-Biglaw Partner Sues Over ‘Destroyed’ Reputation Thanks To Overbilling Scandal

It’s been three years since DLA Piper’sbilling practices came into question and made big waves thanks to a litigated billing dispute between the Biglaw firm and a former client. Normally, such a pedestrian suit wouldn’t have produced major headlines in the mainstream media, but this case was different — this case involved serious allegations of a “sweeping practice of overbilling,” supported by internal emails from DLA Piper that were peppered with phrases like “[t]hat bill shall know no limits,” and “churn that bill, baby!”

DLA Piper quickly denied that any overbilling had occurred and denounced the emails in question as “an offensive and inexcusable effort at humor.” The lawsuit between DLA Piper and Adam Victor, an energy industry executive who’d been accused of not paying his legal bills, has long since been quietly settled.

Read the rest…and marvel 


Rive Gauche: It seems that the Trump camp are even more ‘Camp’ than was thought?

It seems that the Trump camp are even more ‘Camp’ than was thought.  This augurs well for the future of the USA if Trump becomes President. A hissy fit?

Twlawyer sleeps…

The cartoonists are not kind to Cameron….rightly.

No idea why Chancellor Osbore looks catatonic…perhaps he had just got back from a visit to Colombia’? Jolly Snorting weather? Who knows? would be rude to leave Ken out….

And a bit of John Redwood MP

Wikipedia entry

And here is this unusual MP trying to sing the Welsh Anthem – and failing spectacularly.  Never tire of seeing this



Consider the Next First Lady

Consider the Next First Lady

By Michael Cavendish

The Republican half of the American primaries for President has turned against women.

Against two women, Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz, in particular. They are the women married to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the—as of mid-March—two Republican party frontrunners.

A spat of misogyny erupted against Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Cruz after a Cruz-friendly political committee put a photo ad onto social media showing Mrs. Trump in a shot from her pre-Donald days.

It is a barely-short-of-Playboy Magazine skin shot of Mrs. Trump, from a feature in a British ‘lad mag’ from 15 years ago. She was formerly a model. The photo was accompanied by blocked white meme letters asking, ‘is this who you want as your next First Lady,” or something like.

Two days later, the Trump camp shot back at Cruz with a split-screen image of Melania Trump in perfect golden ratio / high-cheekboned facial repose, next to a video capture still of Heidi Cruz making a hideous grimace. An old trick from an episode of The Simpsons; grab the worst, least flattering shot of the takedown target and make that your news agency’s “file photo.”

Democratic processes being what they are, courtesy of Trump and Cruz’s shared lack of maturity, taste, perspective, and statesmanship, one of these fundamentally decent, respect-worthy women might ascend to the position of First Lady of the United States. With instant baggage and unwanted notoriety.

When Bill Clinton emerged to run for President in the 1992 primaries, Hillary Clinton got misogynist attention as ‘the candidate’s wife.’ She was criticized for being too un-wifely, un-motherly, political, assertive, and arriviste. But that was only an attitudinal misogyny—basically a set of gripes over the fact that the nascent First Lady tied to the male candidate with momentum was an assertive professional person with independent opinions.   

This month’s misogyny is not attitudinal, the husbands are attacking the looks of their counterpart’s wives.

The Cruz allies messaged ‘this woman is a sex pot, look at her, how can she host a state dinner?’

Trump counter-messaged, ‘I think Mrs. Cruz can be made to look like a howler monkey, and howler monkey First Ladies are for losers.’

Attacking someone’s physical features, part of the universally shunned form of disputation known as ad hominem, is misogynist when the target is a woman.

Donald Trump would not dispute that in her worst photograph, Heidi Cruz is light years more attractive than Trump himself. But to Trump men get to be ugly, homely, or lacking aesthetic charms. And women?  No, if a woman can be criticized for looks, that becomes her failing, it is her shortcoming, her disqualification.

It doesn’t matter that Trump’s ‘looks’ slur on Mrs. Cruz is incorrect (most people find her attractive) and the result of photo-trolling.  The clear subtext of Trump’s comparison shot was that her visage in this one photograph is a weakness, a disqualifying, unforgiveable weakness.

The Cruz-for-Prez-PAC was up to the same tricks with the Melania Trump bedroom photo. That group just went misogynistic from a different angle. ‘Too sexy!’ ‘An attractive woman is not a respectable woman, so a really attractive woman is really embarrassing.’

Do you remember when Nicolas Sarkozy took office in France, and his wife Carla Bruni—another former model turned ‘first spouse of a republic’—was treated similarly?

Here’s the definition of the term misogyny at Wikipedia:

Misogyny (/mɪˈsɒdʒɪni/) is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, hostility, male supremacist ideas, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.

Sexual objectification. Belittling of women. There is no question that this is what Donald Trump’s and Ted Cruz’s camps just unleashed on the other’s spouse—even as Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Cruz are potential next first ladies of the United States.

You can say, ‘what a tragedy of civics, this hurts America.’ And perhaps this ‘let’s humiliate the wives’ episode will.

But consider, the vote hasn’t happened yet. November is seven months away.

America is hurt far, far less if the vote happens and the losers include any candidate who gleefully shames role models (and what is an almost-First Lady if not a role model, given the dignified and virtue-laden history of that role) in a way that denigrates their base humanity.

‘Too ugly.’ ‘Too hot.’ That is what the anti-Melania, anti-Heidi photo-strikes conveyed this week, to as many potential primary voters as would look.

So both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have made the noticed—now widely reported—error of reminding us that in their worldview, a view so real and personal and foundational that they will allow it to be politically messaged, a woman can’t deserve our approval if we don’t approve of her looks, one way or the other.

Trump and Cruz, these two men, these two candidates for the Republican Party nomination, they can demean themselves all they want if they desire it.

But should the next President be a man, that man is weak, stupid and unfit if he fails to consider the basic dignity of the next First Lady, and anyone who identifies with her.

Michael Cavendish is an American trial lawyer appearing specially for Charon QC.  He lives in Florida.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Hugo de Vertback on the Vickers Report for Reform of the Banking Sector


Hugo de Vertback, Partner and Head of Capital and Private Wealth, Muttley Dastardly LLP – The Vickers Report for Reform of the Banking Sector

In the early morning of Monday 11th April, a group of hitherto unknown men and women – unknown outside City circles – filed into a room for a press conference and released a document which could, in time, be as subversive to the interests of bankers and City lawyers as Gallileo Gallilei’s  championing of Cupronickelism: when a large majority of philosophers, noble statesmen and assorted money launderers still subscribed (rightly in the view of the Partners at Muttley Dastardly LLP)  to the Citycentric view that lawyers and bankers are at the centre of the universe.

Students of law, philosophy and fundamentalist capitalism will recall that when Gallileo Gallilei later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two World Banking Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found (pleasingly)  “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

It is a matter of some regret that his thought descendants, among them one Sir John Vickers, will not be subject to a similar fate for this latest report into reform of our revered and world class banking system.

I read the article in Legal Week with mounting dismay, which turned to anger when I looked at some of the ‘extraordinary comments’ appended to this ‘article’.

I quote the apostasy and heresy put forward by Legal Week  for analysis:

“City lawyers have reacted critically to the Vickers report’s proposals for reform of the UK banking sector, highlighting the potentially damaging impact on the City’s status as a global banking hub.

Key proposals contained within the interim report from the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) include the suggestion that UK banks should ring-fence their retail divisions from their investment banking arms and that there should be increased capital requirements for “systemically important banks”.

The report also concludes that a higher level of competition is required in retail banking, and in particular urges Lloyds to sell off further branches.

The report’s proposals are designed to reduce risk in the banking sector, mitigate moral hazards, decrease the likelihood of future bank failures and promote competition in retail and investment banking….”

While a competitor (and ordinarily I would not, of course, do anything in public to advance the cause of a fellow lawyer),  I find myself almost in full agreement with Nabarro corporate partner Alasdair Steele who said: “The ICB acknowledges that implementing its reforms will cost the banks. Shareholders and investors are unlikely to bear the full brunt of these changes so, if they are followed through, we can all expect to pay more for our banking through higher costs and fees and lower returns on our savings.”

These are dark days for bankers and City lawyers. While bankers can f**k off to other countries to ply their profession;  global mobility isn’t quite as easy for City lawyers, despite the best endeavours of our empire building forbears.  For one thing, the Chinese have cottoned on to how easy it is to train lawyers and are producing millions of them.  India already has several million lawyers and appears none too keen to import any from London or even let us in as ‘tourists’.

As to the preposterous suggestion by Robert Van Persie in the comments section in the Legal Week report where he wrote: “I think that City lawyers are the last people who should be moaning about this since they were partly responsible for causing the financial crisis and have never been punished for it. The law is not just something for partners to make money out of – it was designed as a system to govern and protect society. That includes lawyers involved in corporate and banking law.”
“The law is not just something for partners to make money out of”  – Good grief. Does Mr Van Persie think that City lawyers studied so hard at university and later on the LPC to NOT make money out of law?

Some will be attracted by Mr Van Persie’s apparently sensible analysis. This is why such thinking is so subversive.  There can only be one response to this.  Lawyers are merely the instrument of the client’s desire – so long as such action is within the code of ethics, best practice and, of course, we should not forget,  ‘the law’.  To suggest that we lawyers were in any way responsible for the collapse of the  Western banking system and be held accountable along with bankers is, quite probably and possibly, actionable.  I have asked my fellow Partner – Dr Erasmsus Strangelove, our Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops –  to log onto Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw and refine his thinking on defamation.

As for the totally absurd idea, advanced by Mr Van Persie, that we City lawyers would buy a holiday home in Cyprus on the back of our billings to our revered banking clients – Cyprus?  Ludicrous. Cyprus is for holiday makers.  City partners do not buy villas in Cyprus.  We might try to buy Cyprus – but we would not be interested in the modest returns a villa would bring.

I rest my case.  We were only following orders.  We have not been punished –ergo, we are not guilty of anything at all.  Editors of national newspapers and the legal press should be most careful in publishing any subversive material which suggests that we are in any way complicit in anything. That is all.


Note to Editors:

Hugo de VertBack was educated at Eton, and Oxford.  He took a First in law and would have taken more, had he developed the skills for taking more in those early days of his career.  Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche boutique City firm.  WE are known as ‘the Silent service’ because our clients know that we say nothing about anything at any time in public about them and regard it as failure to end up litigating commercial contracts or banking documentation in court.

If you would like a picture of Hugo de Vertback – please contact Eva Brown, PA to Matt Muttley, Managing Partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP.  We shall do our best to accommodate your request to have a non-exclusive temporary lease of the photographic rights.  We take Amex.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: The Partners meet……

A group of 24 suited men are seated in the Muttley Dastardly LLP boardroom next to the penthouse office of Muttley Dastardly LLP managing partner, Matt Muttley.   There are no women partners at Muttley Dastardly LLP. It is unlikely that there will be in the  future.  There are no female solicitors at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

Time is money and money is time. There is a hissing sound.  A panel in the wall opens.  Matt Muttley walks into the boardroom, followed by his PA, Eva Braun. She is dressed, elegantly as ever, in a Thierry Mugler suit and black court shoes.

Below is a transcript of the Partners meeting….

Muttley: Gentlemen, good morning.  Turmoil continues in the legal world, to our advantage.  The Coalition continues to scythe through perfectly sensible ideas in their ideological quest for small government.  The Supreme Court, once ‘under review’ as a quango, appears to be spared.  Legal Aid is a shambles and Ken Clarke may well preside over the biggest release of prisoners since The Great Escape.

“Law firms need to be ‘porous, virtual, multi-sourced, adaptable and agile”. – Gentlemen…these words were not spoken by some professorial guru on the make for his next gurubook on how to run law firms.  These words were spoken by the Linklaters’ head of strategy and business transformation Rupert Egerton-Smith

I have spoken with Dr Strangelove, our beloved fellow Partner and head of strategy, and I agree with his analysis that these words mean that the big law firms are also concerned that the gravy train of the last decade, the stampeding bull run where even the most mediocre lawyers In The City could bathe in champagne, is coming to an end.   Some of the leading law firms are even warning…. more of an apostatic gnashing of teeth than apostolic conversion orDamascene revelation… that there are too many lawyers.  We would never suggest such a thing…. the maxim ‘never apologise, never explain’, is always a wise one when it comes to talking to the legal press.  The fact that law firms are suffering will not gain much sympathy with the public.  We do not give the public any information apart from strategically prepared disinformation and we only give people satisfaction when they pay for it… preferably on account or in advance.

Inevitably, the new sharp MBA suited brigade in  the Law Schools are onto the matter…. never let it be said that we at Muttley Dastardly would be critical of law schools et al finding rich new sources of highly paid course design and consultancy work. The Law Society Gazette…I read it so you don’t have to…. reports…  that these ‘porous’ law firms… whatever a porous law firm is….will have to develop a whole set of skills apart from law…..and I quote…“Their skill-sets will need to include people skills, coaching, mentoring, leadership, delegation, project management, sound financial acumen, time management – to name but a few, says Jason Maley, director of professional development programmes at BPP Law School: ‘They will also need the ability to think strategically and laterally to take advantage of new regulatory flexibilities and opportunities offered by technology.’

Given that many lawyers, let alone law students,  are not known for their mathematical abilities, think that management is done in some back office by *Untouchables* and many have the bedside manner and communication skills of the lead character in “One Foot in the Grave”, this could be a most amusing entertainment to watch.  The good news for us is that this will put further pressure on law firms at a time when money is tight because they will have to pay fantastic fees for this latest ‘gurudom’ and it will also cut into their billings time.

Gentlemen…. as you know, we have a very simple strategy at Muttley Dastardly LLP…  Partners supervise, associates work, trainees assist and my team does the management.  We call it ‘Focus on the Bottom Line’.

Gentlemen…, let me quote another passage from The Law Society Gazettearticle….which, I hope, will give you comfort for our future….

For those who feel their prospects are poor, training in business development and marketing skills is essential, says Professor Penny Cooper, associate dean of the City Law School: ‘The more clients you win and keep, the better your prospects, while knowing how to market yourself will ensure your prospects remain good.’

Other critical areas are strategy, people management and managing risk, says Colin Davey, director of business development at the College of Law: ‘They are potentially a passport to work elsewhere. Those who have had good incomes during better economic times may need to dig into their own pockets for worthwhile training.’

Is this not wonderful?  Students are going to be encouraged to train in additional fields, lawyers are going to be spending time, at great expense, developing their skills, so they can work elsewhere when they get fired…as, ineluctably, will happen if the law firms can’t afford to keep them on.  Think about it, Gentlemen… if you were running a serious business, would you want to hire a lawyer to operate in your business division who has half baked skills in business, who can barely count, and whose head is full of ‘guruspeak’?  If we want our people to learn about business, we’ll buy Lord SirAlan Sugar’s new book and require them to read it on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Gentlemen… a pleasure as always.  That is all. I know that you have no questions…so all that remains is for me to bring proceedings to a close.  Gentlemen… Strength and Profits!

Muttley turns and walks towards the wall.  The hidden panel opens with a hiss and Muttley walks back into his office.  His PA, Eva Braun, smiles at the Partners, turns and follows Muttley.  The hidden wall panel closes with a hiss and The Partners return to supervise their divisions in the light of this latest Intel briefing.

Man arrested over ‘mealy mouthed’ Brussels tweet

A man has been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after allegedly posting a tweet in response to the Brussels attacks.

The BBC reports: The tweet read: “I confronted a Muslim woman yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said ‘Nothing to do with me’. A mealy mouthed reply.”

Matthew Doyle, 46, was arrested on Wednesday night in Croydon.

He remains in custody at a south London police station, according to a spokesman for the Met.

Police would not confirm whether the arrest relates to the tweet which went viral or to other statements on social media posted by the same user.

At least 31 people were killed and scores injured when bombs went off in the Belgian capital on Tuesday.

The post was widely mocked on social media and spawned a wave of parodies.

One man wrote: “I confronted an Irish women yesterday in Camden. I asked her to explain Bono. She said ‘Nothing to do with me’. A mealy mouthed reply.”

Lisa Holdsworth wrote: “I confronted a woman in Croydon and asked her to explain shredless marmalade. ‘Nothing to do with me’. A peely-mouthed reply.”

Marvellous responses….