Muttley Dastardly LLP: Law firm overcharged by 1000%

MEMORANDUM

To:  The Partners

From: Dr Strangleove, Senior Partner

Monday 24th October 2016

Gentlemen,

We have a competitor.  I read today in the excellent Legal Futures website that “SDT strikes off partner who faked ledger and “overcharged by nearly 1,000%”

The partner made an error, of course, in getting struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and thereby is not able to do any more billing.  An Amateur.

Dr Strangleove

Strength & Profits

 

Dr Strangleove of Muttley Dastardly LLP has a ‘Billable’ conversation with an Associate at the firm

Dr Strangleove has a billable  conversation with an Associate solicitor at the firm, a young man in his late twenties..

 

Dr Strangleove:  Good morning, young man.  I’m sorry…well not that sorry…but I can’t remember your name.  I tend only to remember the names of partners. Don’t bother telling me your name because I haven’t got my iPad with me to type it down.  Send me an email with your name in it.  Thank you.

Now what do you think about this proposition?  The proposition is this: “I’m not interested in where you come from, whether your father is a QC or a senior partner at another law firm… if, however, your parents are connected with a leading PLC or multinational, we would like to know that.”

The Associate hesitated before reply, conscious that his answer would not meet with Dr Strangleove’s approval.  “I’m sorry Dr Strangleove, my father is a barrister, a Silk as it happens, My Mother is also a Barrister and will be applying for Silk next year.  She has a good chance, she thinks.”

“Good grief, young man.  I wish them both well, of course. May God – a Member of The Law Society and a Past President, I understand, have mercy upon your soul.   The future in law is solicitor led I’m afraid.  We even have solicitors who can perform badly in court as solicitor advocates, particularly in civil courts.  The only real advocates are those who ply their gruesome, but necessary, trade in the Criminal Courts to ensure that we meet International Human Rights standards in relation to the prosecution of guilty people in our criminal courts. ”

Dr Strangleive paused for a moment.  “Can you get yourself adopted by a childless couple in their early fitties who are connected with a leading PLC or multinational?  if you can, your path to partnership will be, shall we say, enhanced…. particularly if we can grab them as clients.  Come back to me young man.  Managed to do 25 billable hours today, yet?”
With that Dr Strangleove repaired to his firm’s large boardroom to make a call to Lord Sugar. to ask him if he could fire US Presidential Hopeless/ful Donald J Trumpenstein for a laugh. He needed a laugh.  It had been a hard morning.

 

 

Muttley Dastardlly LLP senior partner, Dr Strangleove is looking for an SEO consultant

MEMORANDUM TO ALL PARTNERS

Subject: Interweb link Jockey

From Dr Strangleove, Senior Partner
Wednesday 12 October 2016

It occurred to me, while attending to a fully chargeable matter matter this morning in relation to the Interweb, that we need to set up a website and employ someone to buy links from leading bloggers to promote it.

The qualities I am looking for in this Interweb Link Jockey may be summarised as follows:

  1.  An ability to use the web to find known law bloggers
  2.  An ability to send them an email asking for a quote on placing a link on their law blog
  3.  An ability then to lose the reply sent by the enthusiastic law blogger who is keen to do a deal
  4. An ability then to fail to reply to said law blogger at all and thereby irritate the aforesaid law blogger.

It occurs to me that this Interweb Jockey should be aged between 21 and 24, male or female, possibly even with some rudimentary form of education to GCSE level at least    We would not want to employ anyone with a law degree in case they have absurd ideas that they could move from being an Interweb Jockey to a position as an associate in our firm.

Of course, some may take the view that we are a City law firm and don’t really need a website. That I accept, but it might be fun to have one designed for us and then use it and the Twitter to disseminate misinformation about other law practices in The City.

Do, please, come back to me with your thoughts.  We can charge your time on this to any number of clients.

Strangleove

Strength in Profits

 

 

Lord Shagger writes to Dr Strangle-Ove, Senior Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Dear Strangle-Ove,

I discovered while reading Charon’s ‘law blog’ this morning – perusing, I call it – that solicitors at a London City Law Firm are charging clients for thinking while they are on the lavatory or in the bath.  No idea what they are thinking about, the news item does not record this.  Do lawyers really think about law when they are in the bath?  God help us.

It matters not.  I think that you should send a memorandum to all partners, associates and legal executives to start time recording all their lavatory breaks and baths so that appropriate bills can be sent out to clients.

Trust all well at the ranch. Must go, have a lunch to attend  with some tax evaders down in Monaco. I am paying for the lunch – or rather Muttley Dastardly LLP is.  I shall send in a bill by email this afternoon.  Shall we say £500 for perusing Charon’s blog,  £1000 for the advice and £2000 for the lunch?  Excellent.  Please pay by Paypal.  we don’t want HM Revenue & Customs to get excited at the prospect of hauling in some shekels to
HM Treasury.

Be in touch

Shagger

McMuttley Dastardly LLP: The Scotsland Office Plan

scotsflags2Dr Strangleove sat back in his chair, lit a large Havana cigar, sipped a fine Glenmorangie 10 year old whisky and dictated a memorandum:

“I understand that there is a country called Scotsland some distance to the North of us here in the Metropolitan capital and it occurred to me that as we do not have an office up there, we should open one immediately.  It could also be most useful as a device ‘pour encourager les autres’ for those associates who do not meet the monthly billing targets to be sent up there for a period to reflect on the ability to continue to practice law with us and do some law as well.  I am advised that Scots Law is different.  This should not present any difficulty to our associates.  They can re-qualify.  We can give them six weeks unpaid leave to mug up on the law and requalify.  If any of you actually know anything at all about Scots law, let alone where Scots Land is, perhaps you could drop me a line.?

On another matter: I happened to notice that we have a new Prime Minister – one Dartha Vader, according to our Education & Training Guru, Charon QVC.  See: Prime Minister Dartha Vader Speaks  If any of you know anything about her antecedents – I understand that she was farmed out in the last Cameron regime to run the Home Office and spent much of her time deporting people or stopping them crossing the Channel from France.  Why the French persist in calling it “La Manche” I have no idea.  It has always been The English Channel, It is our Channel and always will be – but there we are.”

Memorandum Ends

Dr Strangleove
Senior Partner.

 

 

Muttley Dastardly LLP: This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling …

Matt Muttley, managing partner of Muttley Dastardly, has returned from from a two week business trip to America.  In the partner’s boardroom at their City offices are ten partners and 25 senior associates.  The partners are seated at the boardroom table on a raised dais. Muttley sits in the only chair with arm rests, an affectation he designed into the furniture after being shown The Cabinet Room when Tony Blair was prime minister. This chair is in the centre of the  black polished ebony boardroom table.  The associates stand by the wall facing the partners. Muttley’s PA, Eva Braun stands behind Muttley dressed in a black skirt suit, white silk camisole and five inch heels, her expression impassive.

“Listen up. This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling … I’m pleased to report that the partners have had a good year. In fact we have managed the quite remarkable feat of increasing our profit per partner by 28.5% despite a downturn in revenue of 18.2%.  This is, in part, due to the great cull of last Summer and in part to increasing your billable hours requirement.  Two of you have failed to meet those targets and your desks are being cleared by security now. Levison and Edmondson, I’d be grateful if you would make your way to reception… the game is over for you.”

Muttley paused while the two shocked associates left the boardroom. No-one spoke.

“We’ve had a change of government and the new clowns have already lost one guy who couldn’t read the rules, or chose not to, or chose to give the rules a different spin to others. This is what happens when people don’t check with lawyers about rules. The new clowns are going to slash budgets, slash spending and in all likelihood there will be strikes ahead.  We’re beefing the Employment division.  There will be some fairly spectacular business failures as well… football clubs and airlines are worth a look and don’t be surprised if BP litigation comes our way.  I’ve been Stateside and I can tell you… it is going to be a turkey shoot.  Big Law are alternately wetting and crapping themselves. One CEO…. their ‘word’ for managing partner, I spoke to was calling for oxygen at one point so excited was he at the prospect of work when he took a call from The White House while I was there.”

Muttley sipped some Perrier from a glass to his right, put his hands together and continued.

Let’s take a look at the markets.  I’ve been doing some key reading, a guy called Paul B. Farrell of MarketWatch.  Let me summarise, using his rather colourful language.   Are we heading for the bear or is the bull going to run? I quote...“…you decide: As you stare from high up in the nose-bleed bleachers watching the game, staring at a Dow that not long ago was above 11,000 and heading for 12,000. Now the Dow’s sitting on the bench, ready for the showers, weak after a couple air balls around 10,000. No more timeouts. “This game’s in the refrigerator……

Main Street lost 20% last decade … yet like sheep keep going back. Yes, if you’re channeling Chick, here’s your “mixed metaphor” cue card: “This game’s in the refrigerator … Wall Street won (proof, Goldman’s $100-million-profit trading days and Blankfein’s $68 million bonus) … Main Street’s headed for another losing streak … Congress’ lights are out … the refrigerator door’s closing on financial reforms … the lobbyists are laying some rotten eggs, poisoning capitalism … the Tea Party-of-No-No ideologies are hardening … the bull’s Jell-O is jiggling to a flat line … and this market’s going into hibernation, with the bears … run, don’t walk, to the exits, folks.”But will Main Street exit? Will we ever learn? No……

Economist Gary Shilling said price-to-earnings ratios are at a “nosebleed 22.5 level.” The Dow was around 11,000. Money manager Jeremy Grantham recently said the market’s overvalued 40%. That could mean a collapse to 6,600. Last week in Reuters’ “Markets Could Be Derailed Again,” George Soros echoed a “game over” warning with a “stark warning … that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.”

Now Dow Theory’s Richard Russell is warning the public of an imminent crash: “Sell … get liquid … by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country.”

So… are you feeling confident that Danny Alexander, a man who has absolutely no experience apart from sending PR bull out about somewhere in Scotland For fuck’s sake and negotiating a coalition with a group of grasping, desperate, politicians who would short-sell their mothers if they hadn’t already done it while in opposition?!  Cable is simmering like a tin of beans on the back burner with about as much effect.  We know nothing about Osborne.  The good news is that they are going to cut legal aid budgets to buggery, slash spending on the courts, and encourage Tesco and the Coop to package and commoditise legal services.  It’ll be a car crash… we’re probably looking at the equivalent of Emmerdale Farm or Pot Noodle… an emollient but hardly exciting.

Muttley paused to look at the sleek iPad beside him.  He looked up and spoke in lowered tones, forcing the associates to lean forward slightly, expectant.

“What does this mean for us..and when I say us, I mean of course the partners of this firm? We gear up on insolvency and taxation – the clowns are going to ‘simplify’ the system.  When governments say that there is always work for lawyers.   We talk to a few senior barristers and get them into our version of a Procureco. Where there’s money there’s barristers as my father used to say.

We’re going to look at buying a few small regional firms, or rather, turn them into an alternate business structure and go for the very lucrative personal injury market.  We’ll use our Megaladon Direct brand for that.   The good news is the idea of banning referral fees has been kicked into touch.  This will give us an edge. This will also irritate the hell out of The Law Society and The Bar Council who have both been pressing for abolition.  This could keep both these august bodies frothing for months. Again, good for us because their eyes will not be on point on other reforms to ‘suggest’ to government.  Our black psyops unit is putting out articles on blogs and in the legal media about  the future of the legal profession…. lawyers love this stuff and it is always good to get our competitors a little worked up and frothing.  I’m pleased to report that our Twitter presence will soon sow dissent in the profession so we may reap the rewards of keeping lawyers busy responding to our nonsense.  It is amazing how lawyers like to engage on twitter when they should be at the coal face digging coal for their partners. We won’t need to trouble any of you with this.  Eva Braun has found five or six people to put the word out and stir things up a bit.

Finally… let’s put the squeeze on the law schools. We are hiring 125 trainees next year.  50 will make the cut, 20 may even survive the first year PQE.  We are paying far too much for our LPC training.  The law schools are getting greedy.  This is fine for law firms, but most inelegant in the public consciousness when it comes to legal education.  We’ll place some psyops about the fact that we’re looking to partner with a law school for our LPC training.  The water should froth a bit at that and then we’ll send in a team to have a look at the facilities, the staff, do a bit of teeth sucking and promise a three year deal on our terms.  As you know, we are specialists in shark repellent, exactitude and ‘zone of uncertainty’ clauses which will deter any law school from suing if we want out.  I would hope for at least a 40% discount against their published rate her head on the LPC.  This saving will, of course, go towards the partner bonuses.

You know what you have to do.  Same time next week. Oh… and remember…. “Sell … get liquid … by the end of this year the clowns won’t recognize the country. That is all.

***

I would like to point out, for members of the public who are fortunate enough not to need the services of  Muttley Dastardly LLP or Megaladon Direct that we are reassuringly expensive…to coin a phrase. 

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Black is the *New Black*

On the third floor of the Muttley Dastardly LLP building in the City is a suite where five highly paid specialists, two men and three women, are paid to think.  Sometimes they think the unthinkable conceptually.  Sometimes they think about doing the unthinkable to get an edge on the competition. For the remainder of the time they  think carefully about the politico-economic drivers which affect our national interest, for this is the interest of The Partners. The Head of the *Unit*, Massimo Charles Lutyens Rutland, graduated with First Class honours in Economics  from Cambridge, went on to INSEAD,  and after a spell at Lehman Brothers – he was fortunate enough to get out intact before the crash – went in for his own interest and joined Muttley Dastardly LLP.

Rutland was admitted to The Partnership, following successful completion of the GDL, which he completed in two months of detailed study while commuting from his Surrey home to the City;  going on then to qualify as a solicitor via the New York Bar examination, the latter taking him but a month to memorise sufficient data to satisfy the examiners. Rutland has the grace, at least, to say to those who ask about his legal background that ‘It is fortunate indeed, that I do not wish to practise as a lawyer in England… the truth is I know very little about English Law… or for that matter…any law…. mind you…they say that this is true of some who actually hold themselves out as practising lawyers.”

His associates, (they are not lawyers)  are never identified by name, not even within the firm.  Their identity is known only to Rutland and the CEO and managing partner, Matt Muttley. The *Unit* works closely with partner and director of education, Dr Strangelove, on psyops – on a project of ‘limited visibility’ with the filename DOH!  This stands for Dissimulation, Obfuscation and Hegemony;  a subtle joke, if of questionable taste, thought up by Dr Strangelove.

***

Below is a transcript of a brief iPhone conversation between Rutland and Matt Muttley

Muttley: Massimo – your thoughts on Osborne’s problem?  Fraser Nelson is saying in relation to the economy ‘things are going disastrously right’.

Rutland: Sure, but that was fairly predictable. Darling is no fool.  He hid £6Bn from Brown’s eyes during the election period to stop Brown spending it. Legacy, however limited, is a powerful driver for all politicians. Even a miserable scrap like that can be worth basing an entire book around.  Osborne has set up the OBR.  This could be a cuckoo that flew over Osborne’s nest and takes a dump on him en route to Tuscany before too long.  Osborne has no room to say that some things are worse than we thought, because the OBR says the economy is doing rather better than Darling predicted.  Sure, there are spending atrocities which The Sunwill push out to their readership, but these are not structural.  They make good copy.  The problem is growth.  The OBR says that growth forecasts are lower than Labour forecast.  Osborne will therefore be able to use that to justify cuts.  There is every prospect, reading the press, that Osborne will make cuts to keep the cavalry twill wearers of Surrey and backbenchers who have been released back into the community happy, but it is unlikely that he will be daft enough to do a Roosevelt and drop us into double dip.  Osborne, and Labour, or whatever they are calling themselves these days,whether they like it or not,  is far from stupid.  In fact, he must be rubbing his hands that Laws has gone and Beaker is his Chief Treasury.  Alexander is expendable and it is a blessing that he is a Lib-Dem.  Yes… the Coalition agreement requires that ‘One out, one in’ but the Lib-Dems only have 50 odd MPs and they are running out of people who can count, let alone run the Treasury.

Muttley: So things are looking good?  I watched the five Labour candidates onNewsnight tonight.  I can’t say that there is much there to discuss?

Rutland: Nothing.  Irrelevant for the moment. Christ… the election runs until the Autumn.  This is good for the government, because there isn’t an opposition now that the Lib-Dems are part of government, and won’t be until the Self Aggrandisement conference season is over in September.

Muttley: Budget next week?

Rutland: Unfortunately, the new government is unlikely to leave it on the back seat of a taxi.  I’m thinking.  I’ll get back to you

Muttley: Anything to trouble us?

Rutland: No.  All looking good.  There is a developing shambles.  Parliament Square being cleared will cause even more confusion.  House prices dropped today by 5%.  BP looks as if it won’t pay the dividend.  That means less money for the pension funds.  This will irritate the cavalry twill wearers and dawn on many others as a ‘bad thing’. Yes… I think we can safely say that there will be plenty of work for us.  Dr Strangelove has started buying BP shares again in a modest way.  I think we should get out of wind farm stock.

Muttley: Ok. Thanks Massimo…. we’ll talk at 6.30 tomorrow morning.  Helpful.

Rutland: Ok…what time will you be getting to The Groucho?

Muttley: I’ve just pulled up outside.  See you in thirty.  Strength and profits.

Rutland: Strength and profits, Brother Matt!

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Done with your wife or your husband?

Dr Wolfgang Becker,  Rechtsanwalt, solicitor and a partner in Muttley Dastardly LLP, was originally admitted to The Partnership to leverage the value of marriage failure among the seriously rich business and celebrity sectors. In but two months he  has billed ‘comfortably into seven figures’.  For reasons of taste, discretion and taxation, The Partners of Muttley Dastardly LPP never reveal financial information to the Press.

Today, I met with Dr Wolffgang Becker in his well appointed office on the fifth floor. I was surprised by the design of the office which  comprises of two staircases leading down to a central hall.  Two high backed Chippendale chairs were placed opposite each other by the wall facing a vase of flowers.  There was no sign of any office paraphernalia, no computers, nothing to give the impression that I was in a leading family lawyer’s office.

Dr Becker appeared from the left hand staircase, dressed in a black linen Nehru suit and a pair of  tassled black suede loafers.  He wore yellow socks.  Clipped and precise, he shook my hand, asked for my Amex card and then remembered that I was not a client, but was visiting for the purpose of an interview to gain an insight into the mind of a man who was at the very forefront of the world of family law in the new era of the Legal Services Act.

“Old habits die hard” he said laconically as he invited me to take the chair opposite.  “Would you like some champagne or coffee?  Tea perhaps?  We have many types of tea here.  It is not a drink I care for myself, but many of our clients are English and they often find  solace in taking tea while they brief me on their ideas for divorce and, more importantly for them and ourselves, the financial arrangements.”

I accepted his offer of a glass of champagne. Within ten seconds a butler arrived with two glasses of champagne. He seemed to appear from nowhere, but in fact entered through the door at the end of the central hall beyond the flowers.

“I’m impressed” I said. “You didn’t appear to give any instructions.”

Dr Becker smiled and waved his hand dismissively. “Everything is recorded here.  My staff are listening in.  It is so much easier to have a precise record on digital file, wouldn’t you agree?

“Your record with high value clients is impressive Dr Becker”  I said, rising to the occasion by not referring to any of the notes I had made earlier. “But tell me, why is Muttley Dastardly LLP entering the mass divorce market at a time when family lawyers are feeling the pinch, when legal aid is being cut, when family law barristers say they can no longer afford to take on cases?”

“You have answered your own question Herr Professor Doctor Charon.” Dr Becker replied, clearly mistaking me for my rather tedious brother, Professor RD Charon PHD, FRSA “It is precisely because the general practitioner in this country is abandoning this sector that we feel we can …. shall we say….. hoover it all up and by using the internet, call centres in India and cheap but highly effective lawyers in India,  who are becoming more and more expert in English Law….maximise the profit.”

“Do you have a brand name for this new divorce service?” I asked, draining my glass.  Within seconds the butler appeared with a second glass of champagne on a silver tray.  I took it without demurring and thanked the butler for his attentiveness.

“Ja!  Of course. Megaladon is the vehicle we use for all our mass market law operations, personal injury, negligence, conveyancing….  I wanted to call it Megaladon with your wife or husband?, but Matt Muttley, our CEO, thought the humour was just too black even for us.  He was probably right.”

I managed to suppress the hysteria rising from the very core of my being, drained the second glass in one and asked “And how do you make your money?”

“We accept a range of credit cards Herr Professor.  Do you have any other questions?”
Before I could reply, the butler appeared with a bill for £52 + 12.5% service.  He handed me the portable credit card machine and smiled.  There is no need to leave a gratuity, Sir.  Service is included.”

Dr Becker smiled “Good champagne, Ja….? I’m sure you will be able to get it back on expenses.   There are no free lunches in life, Herr Professor Dr Charon,  and certainly there aren’t at Muttley Dastardly LLP. As there is not an opportunity to bill for your time with me today, we have to cover the costs.  £52 for three and a half minutes is well below what I would ordinarily charge, of course – but it has been a pleasure to meet you.  Give my regards to your brother Charon QC… Tell him that I was so fascinated with his new iCharonphone and the iDNA app which I saw on his blog only this afternoon that I have downloaded Cellmark’sapplication.  Most useful.  It will be most useful for our work here and, quite possibly for personal use also.  It has been a pleasure to meet you.”

With that, Dr Becker was gone.  He seemed to glide, rather than walk.  I smiled as he went up the staircase on the right and thought to myself… “How marvellously  Germanic… one staircase for down, one for up.”  The £52 I paid for the champagne was worth every penny.  I should be able to recover this ‘disbursement’  from Matt Muttley when we meet as Ascot later this week.  I, too, have one of those portable credit card reading devices. I shall be taking it with me to Ascot.  One must, after all, be prepared.

An interview for a training contract at Muttley Dastardly LLP

An interview for a training contract at Muttley Dastardly LLP

Eva Braun, Matt Muttley’s PA, elegantly dressed as always in a tailored black suit and high heels, led a young man into the Partner’s Boardoom and seated him at the opposite end of the long boardroom table. He had a brown paper bag over his head. Dr Erasmus Strangelove, director of Psyops, Strategy and Education, looked up from his iPad 2, which held the applicant’s curriculum vitae and the security clearance report provided by a leading specialist security firm, and put his first question.

 Eva Braun, Matt Muttley’s PA, elegantly dressed as always in a tailored black suit and high heels, led a young man into the Partner’s Boardoom and seated him at the opposite end of the long boardroom table. He had a brown paper bag over his head.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove, director of Psyops, Strategy and Education, looked up from his iPad 2, which held the applicant’s curriculum vitae and the security clearance report provided by a leading specialist security firm, and put his first question.

 “Forgive the rather theatrical paper bag over your head. At Muttley Dastardly LLP we operate an equal opportunities policy. We are not swayed by good looks. I will allow you to remove the paper bag when you have answered my first question; assuming that your answer is to my taste.

“If you don’t, my colleague will take you to a waiting taxi, an idea I came up with after watching SurAlanLord Sugar’s reality TV programme The Apprentice the other night. This has the advantage that candidates who I reject do not recognise me should we happen to meet socially or in a nightclub in the West End.

“Contestant… are you ready?” Strangelove shouted.

“Yes, Dr Strangelove” came the slightly muffled reply from the young law student seated twenty-feet away at the opposite end of the table.

 “If you were on the menu in a two-star Michelin restaurant in London, what dish would you be?” Strangelove asked as he glanced at the cricket score on his iPad 2.

The young man, smartly dressed in a newly purchased suit, hesitated and said “I haven’t eaten at a two-star Michelin restaurant.”

Strangelove considered the reply for a moment, sat back in the high backed leather chair and smiled. “At Muttley Dastardly LLP, we assume that our future trainees hold a first from Oxbridge or Russell Group university. We assume, having paid a risibly high fee for your LPC at a purveyor of legal education, that they will be sensible enough, and have the grace, to ensure you leave with a creditable result in that course. We are not that interested in the grade.

“We prefer to teach you how to be a practising lawyer ourselves, but we do like you to start from the entirely reasonable base of actually knowing some law from your university.

“We have a diversity policy here and we expect our future associates, men and women who we rely on to add to the capital value of the firm and a year on year growth in billings of 20%, to have the flexibility to be able to think on their feet.

“That you have not eaten in a two-star Michelin restaurant troubles me not, but there is no phone a friend or fifty-fifty at our interviews. I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but you are one down. We have a ‘three strikes and you’re in that taxi’ policy rule here – a wonderful concept which I seem to remember our current prime minister, Mr Camcorderdirect, coming up with before he became Prime Minister and wanted votes. Let me suggest another line of enquiry.”

Dr Strangelove flicked back to the applicant’s file on his iPad 2.

 “I see, from your Facebook page, that you have a talent for drinking and gurning. Three photographs of you in a file captioned “Future Employer’s… f*ck ‘em” – I will overlook the apostrophe solecism – shows you dressed in what I am advised is tight spandex gear worn by militant cyclists, flicking a V sign at motorists. Do you consider that to be conduct becoming of a future associate at Muttley Dastardly LLP?”

The young man leaned forward. He was shaking slightly. “I thought I had erased those files”

Dr Strangelove smiled. “Fear not. We are specialists in ‘reputation management’ here. One of my ‘black hat’ departments is most expert at erasing information from Google and replacing it with a more ‘positive’ message. We prefer that more subtle approach to the bludgeon of a superinjunction. After all, we don’t want our clients to be all over Twitter, do we? The question is important. Think carefully.”

The young man sat bolt upright. “Yes… frankly. If I want to go through red traffic lights, cycle on the pavements, and assert my libertarian rights, I shall damn well do so.”

“Correct answer. Well done!” Strangelove said, banging his hand down on one of those old bells found on hotel reception desks in 1950s American movies used by guests to attract the attention of the psychopath who ran the joint.

“Finally… our maxim at Muttley Dastardly LLP is ‘Strength & Profits’. How do you feel about lawyers making exemplary amounts of money during their careers?”

The young man, more confident after his last answer, replied “A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi – a precipice in front, wolves behind. I want to be a wolf.”

 “Young man,” Stranglove replied, a hint of amusement in his voice. “Welcome to Muttley Dastardly LLP. You may remove the paper bag.”

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Preparation for Valentine’s Day 2017

sharklawMEMO TO ALL STAFF

From: Matt Mattley, Managing Partner

Re: Inappropriate behaviour

1. On or about 14th February I received a Valentine’s Day card from a person(s) unknown.  Although signed ‘Eva’ it was not from Eva Braun, my PA.  She is far too professional for such frivolity and would never reveal that we are having an affair, which we aren’t.

2. The envelope, addressed to me personally, had been franked, using the firm’s franking machine. There is no record in the new electronic fees system of this postage cost being attributed to a client of the firm.

3. The card was inscribed with the message “Hi bigboy…. we know you like to give the opposition a hard time. Would you like to give me a hard time 2nite?”

4. The card was accompanied by a bunch of roses and foliage of varied types.

My response to this is as follows:

We have spent a great deal of (otherwise chargeable) time and money positioning ourselves in the market with marketing and what some of our competitors are now referring to as ‘piracy’. As you know, it is my practice to read The Lawyer to see who is acting for whom and then pop over to ‘whom’ and do a bit of negotiation on fees. We have also invested heavily in our innovative and highly popular ‘Trainee Blog’ – which, I am bound to say, while not meeting with universal approval, is very appealing to prospective applicants to our firm and, therefore, ensures that our firm is able to compete with the other leading firms and recruit suitably educated trainees who will contribute to the wealth of the partners. Please bear this in mind. We have to set an example. I would not wish to get up on a Friday morning and find our firm being mocked on RollonFriday.

As to point 2 of my memo: The cost of the postage of the card, while modest, has not been ‘attributed or allocated’ to a client. The cost is, therefore, a drain on the wealth of the partners. This is an important principle. It is also theft under s.1 Theft Act 1968. There is a difference between a ‘toppy bill’ and downright dishonesty in appropriating property belonging to the partners with the dishonest intention of permanently depriving the partners of that property.

As to point 3 of my memo: While I take no personal exception to the statement recorded in the card and may well follow up on the invitation when our internal security unit find the originator of the card, it is important to bear in mind the free advice provided by competitor firm Peninsula in their illuminating Valentine’s Day briefing (we are always grateful when rival firms provide us with knowledge which we can then re-sell. ) Peninsula point out that such a remark could well be construed, to those of a sensitive disposition, as ‘an unwanted sexual advance from a colleague.’ and amount to harrassment – which can be very costly these days – quite rightly. You will, through our excellent CPD programme, be familiar with the right of Employment Tribunals to make ‘uncapped awards’. I also quote Mr Mooney’s comments from the Pensinsula briefing – which sent a shiver down my spine: “And the cost of losing a High Court case for harassment can sometimes run into the millions.”

As to point 4 of my memo: The sending of any product likely to result in physical or psychological injury could well lead to personal injury litigation. I quote from the Peninsula briefing: “In the most extreme example, bosses can even get into trouble if one worker is sent a large bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day.

The leaflet says: “If you have one employee who has bad hayfever, or a similar allergy, sat next to a member of staff who receives a lot of flowers, the employer could be in breach of their duty to provide an amenable working environment.”

I hope that I have made my point?

Muttley Dastardly LLP (13): MD are hiring and Dr Strangelove is in the chair – The Trainee Contract Interview

Muttley Dastardly LLP interview once each year for eight trainees.  One will make the cut. Retention rates published in the legal press are of no concern to the firm’s enigmatic Director of Education, Training, Strategy and Psyops – Dr Erasmus Strangelove LLB, JD, BCL, MBA,  Ph.D, Barrister

Dr Strangelove took his seat in The Partner’s boardroom,  positioning himself not at the centre of the twenty-five feet long black polished marble table, but at the head of the table on the left hand side of the room. Five of the more senior partners had gathered in the boardroom to witness the interview. They stood, as is the practice at Muttley Dastardly LLP should Partners wish to observe, behind Dr Strangelove; their features reduced to  silhouette by the dim and carefully constructed lighting. It was still dark outside, the dawn just breaking over The City of London.

Eva Braun, the managing partner’s PA, elegant in a black tailored suit and black high heeled shoes,  walked into the darkened boardroom followed by the first interviewee of the morning, a young man with glasses who peered, slightly nervously, down the length of the  twenty-five foot long black marble table at Dr Strangelove.

“Please take a seat Mr Cholmondely-Rotherhythe… I had the opportunity of watching and hearing you….on our high definition security cameras…  introduce yourself in reception to Ms Braun when you arrived, so I trust that I am pronouncing your name correctly….in the English manner…. Chumley?”

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe sat down in the high backed Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair at the opposite end of the table.

“Yes…Rather!”  Cholmondely-Rotherhythe replied, with the enthusiasm of youth unburdened by the cares of modern legal practice.

“You have made a good start Mr Cholmondely-Rotherhythe by not making any inappropriate sexual advances to Ms Braun on arrival, you were on time and you were sober.  You would be surprised what some who apply here do at interview.”   Strangelove said, drily, tapping on his iPad to bring up Cholmondely-Rotherhythe’s Facebook page.

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe said nothing, but was clearly flustered by the question…or was it a statement?

Strangelove looked up and smiled “On the 24th December 2010, at 03.15 hours GMT, you uploaded a number of photographs of yourself onto your Facebookpage.  Is it a hobby of yours to dress as Dr Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Show or was this just a social event where you wished to express your inner rebel?”

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe shifted in the chair, his mouth dry.  He hesitated for a moment “Ah!  That was a Christmas Eve party…the theme was Rocky Horror.  It was my only evening off from studying law all year.”

“Excellent… that you cast yourself as a principal in that wonderful show demonstrates leadership, confidence, style, elan and……. a disregard for the mores and conventions of conservatism.  I note you went to Winchester, took a First at Oxford…you would not be here had you not….and endured the Legal Practice Course, coming first in your year at your provider of choice..and all without trying to persuade a City firm to sponsor you.  This, we take as a positive at Muttley Dastardly.  Now…tell me…. what is your view on the Court of Appeal, yesterday, removing Peter Smith J from the Mills & Reeve negligence case?  Peter Smith J fears nought…or should I saydreadsnought…. but this is not the first time he has got himself into difficulty?”

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe smiled.  He had read about the case that very morning when he got up at 3.00 am to do some final preparation on the legal news of the day.   “Fascinating case and, indeed, I believe his last tussle with a law firm was in relation to Addleshaws.  I was reading The Lawyer earlier and as far as I recall with my eidetic memory..”Peter Smith J made an unfortunate remark about abuse of process and, The Lawyer reported: “Lord Justice Lloyd made it clear that any comments made about the firm’s alleged abuse of power were “altogether unjustified” and that the firm’s “application cannot fairly be regarded as having been launched only in order to delay the resumption of the trial…..When the trial resumes, Lloyd LJ stated, it should do so under a different judge and directions should be also provided by a chancery judge other than Peter Smith J.”

Two of The Partners standing behind Dr Strangelove broke into applause and one observed “Bravo….. not to you for recalling a report in The Lawyer, young man…we expect that… but bravo to the Court of Appeal.”

Strangelove looked up at the young man twenty-five feet away. “Know any law?  At least you have been taught by people who have Ph.ds and academic experience in their subject…the modern tendency is to fill undergraduate minds with practice and business contextualisation…whatever that is,  from people who may not have actually done any business themselves or, indeed, have practised at the cutting edge of modern legal practice in a top City firm.”

“Yes, I know a fair bit of law.” Cholmondely-Rotherhythe replied confidently.

“Good.” Strangelove said with a smile “You will have an opportunity to demonstrate this to two of our Partners shortly.  They will be most interested to hear of your observations on the new Bribery Act…. a statute of some importance in The City and, certainly, to some of our more adventurous clients.  My final questions are these…. do you understand the culture of our firm? Do you understand the meaning behind our motto…Strength & Profits… in other words, do you feel you have what we will happily take from you for ten years with a view to your joining the Partners one day and enjoying those profits which form the latter part of our motto?  We insist that all our trainees join us knowing what is ahead of them….as  my Tort colleagues…. in those dim distant days when I taught law… would say… “are you Volens?”

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Credit-crunch is for wimps….

Matt Muttley, managing partner of leading City boutique law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP, is working late in his office in the City. His PA, Eva Braun, has chosen an elegant pair of Charles Jourdan high heeled shoes for the meeting this evening and is, as always, dressed in a well cut black skirt suit.

***

“So… I see from the Lawyer that yet more law firms are re-structuring, declaring redundancies and ditching cost centre oriented associates and partners and that there is the usual journo guff about law firm mergers.?”

Eva Braun looked at her notepad and said briskly “Yeah…. Clarke Willmott Chief executive David Sedgwick said in The Lawyer today“These steps are being taken in direct response to lower demand for legal services being felt by all firms at the moment and we don’t take them lightly.” Apparently they are juicing 40 fee earners and support earners.”

“Usual commercial prop or is it wider?” Muttley asked, his eyes flicking between three computer screens on his desk and the bank of CCTV monitors on the wall to his right.

“Wider.” Eva Braun replied “Although the CEO went on to say ‘The numbers of people affected by this programme represent a very small proportion of the firm, and our priority must be to safeguard the long-term interests of Clarke Willmott.’

Matt Muttley sat back in his chair, laughed and said “Hey… at least the guy understands the need to protect the firm.  How many associates are we saying “Ciao” to this week?”

“Two who didn’t make the cut at last review and one guy you felt was not made of the ‘right stuff’ because he was critical of The Bullingdon Club.”

“Ah… yeah… I listened in on one of his calls to a client…. for training purposes, of course, and heard him say that he thought that the guys in the Osborne Bullingdon Club photo were all tossers.  Well I’m sorry, Eva…. six of the eight senior partners on our special executive board are members, as indeed was I, so….. if we’re not good enough for him… he can bugger off and work elsewhere. I’ve half a mind to trash his room with Dastardly later.”

“Yet another of your good ideas, Matt….. save it for your next trip to Corfu…. we don’t need the publicity”

Muttley laughed, lit a cuban cigar, downed a shot of ice cold Absolut vodka and said “Cameron was a member of the club you know. No idea whether he did the drugs.  He never comments on his  post Eton spliffing days…. but, in any event, The Bullingdon didn’t really approve of cannabis and other happy drugs… interfered with the desire of the chaps to trash restaurants….. so not ‘de rigeur’.”

“So… Matt.. how do you think we are shaping up with the credit-crunch?”

“Good, Eva…. good.  We’re picking up CDS stuff, good quality Lehman fallout, a high level of good quality insolvency work, our banking partners are working their associates into the ground….. and we got out of property and low end private client work some time ago.  Need to build up litigation for a few years… but some good lateral hires coming out of New York… so no problem.”

Matt tapped the keyboard for the computer screen on the right, read intently and said “Eva…. this is is great…. Law Schools are being flooded with bankers… and finance people re-qualifying.  Didn’t Dr Strangelove tell us that law schools could be in trouble in the next few years… doesn’t look like it from this.”

“The crazy Dr did say that and he’s right…. this is just the GDL, Matt… the BVC is a different matter altogether… and there is no way the profession can sustain present levels of recruitment in the short to medium term…. so  young lawyers are going to be flipping burgers again soon.”

“Excellent” Muttley shouted…. “Bloody marvellous….. maybe we should look at setting up a law school  ourselves? Some law schools are raking it in.”

“No, Matt… that is another of your not so good ideas…. I’ve already called several law schools to look at their pricing structures.  They seem a bit high to me….. buyer’s market now…. we pay the piper, so they can play our tune… and our tune is “Birdie, birdie, Cheap cheap.”

“Jesus… Eva… you are right.  We should make you a partner.”

“I am a partner, Matt. I do banking work here and that includes our banking. I know every detail of the finances here, as do you.”

” Eva…. only joking…”

“We understand one another, then…” Eva said with an amused smile

“We do.  Fancy dinner in The City…somewhere exuding style, sophistication and dribblingly delicious concoctions?  See if anyone is jumping tonight?”

“Let’s go.”

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.

STATEMENT FROM MATT MUTTLEY
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

To: All staff

RE: AGE

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

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

PRESS RELEASE (EMBARGOED UNTIL YOUR FEE PAYMENT CLEARS FOR VALUE)

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.

Muttley Dastardly LLP – from 2010

MEMORANDUM TO PARTNERS

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

To: The Partners

It is with pleasure that I report this day that plans by other law firms to ‘Take The Indian law market’ may have been stymied by the quite brilliant idea cooked up by our esteemed fellow partner and Director of Education and Strategy, Dr Strangelove;  that I visit India last month to seek to set up Muttley Dastardly (India) LLP. I thought it tasteless that I arrive on an elephant, wearing a pith helmet, because I felt fairly certain that Indian lawyers are really rather shrewd and could see no particular advantage to themselves in having a ravening horde of English law firms competing with them.  Strangelove was right.  It did irritate them.

We shall continue to co-operate with our best friends in India as before – but secure in the knowledge that our competitors in London are probably displeased.

I reference the article in The Law Society Gazette for your delectation and delight. James Dean has excelled himself with this raportage.

Indian legal services market to stay closed

The Indian government has no plans to allow foreign law firms to practise in the country, it said in a statement on Monday.

Veerappa Moily, minister of law and justice, said in response to a question in the Indian parliament that ‘at present there is no proposal to allow foreign law firms into the country’.

 

I particularly liked the text I have put in bold in this extract…

A statement on the Indian government’s website read: ‘Dr M Veerappa Moily, minister of law and justice, in the Lok Sabha in a written reply that under section 7 of the Advocates Act 1961, the Bar Council of India is responsible to lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates; to safeguard the right, privileges and interests of advocates; to recognise on a reciprocal basis foreign qualification in law obtained outside India for the purpose of admission advocate and to manage; to exercise general supervision and control over state bar councils and invest the funds of the Bar Council.

We meet this Friday to consider our weekly business.

Matt Muttley

Strength & Profits

 

Why Does Everyone Want to Go to Law School?

Why Does Everyone Want to Go to Law School?

For some reason people in America and the UK people have come to regard Law School as some sort of panacea. The pinnacle of academic learning and the route to meteoric career earning: the ultimate career backstop that offers glamour, big respect and guarantees a bulging bank balance.

Let’s call this ‘Law School Think’: the reason why everybody wants to go to law school.

However it’s all a myth.

The idea of Law School being a panacea is a perception ingrained so deeply that young men and women enrol in the face of hard facts that scream out: “Don’t go to Law School!” Slate writer Eric Posner provides a great prefatory note here.

A MESSAGE FROM DR ERASMUS STRANGELOVE
Senior Partner and Director of Education, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Dr Strangelove wrote this some time ago.  It still seems to reflect the current state of affairs?

Dear Prospective Applicants,

It is that time of year again.  You are back at university.  The long summer holidays are over.  Binge drinking in Cornwall is a long distant memory.  Your *Gap Yah* is finished and your parents are now able to get on with what is left of the rest of their lives knowing that you are safely on the treadmill called life.  Now you are back at your cash poor universities or are attending one of the shiny new reassuringly expensive law schools doing your LPC.  If you haven’t already been snapped up by one of the big law firms,  sponsoring you, you are probably sick with worry about your future prospects – and, frankly, you have every reason to be.  We are not out of the bears shitting all over the credit crunch woods yet… Lord Browne is about to release his entirely predictable report to allow the Vice Chancellors to increase their fees, law firms are still reeling from  the credit crunch… well…some law firms are…we at Muttley Dastardly LLP are not..in fact, to be honest, we are rather enjoying it.

Over the next few weeks, on The Lawyer, Legal Week and LawCareers.net websites you will be able to find lots of shiny brochures to download from BIG law firms and BIG law schools – implausibly showing pictures of glossy potential lawyers smiling away….possibly even sitting on the grass…although why they should be sitting on the grass when they should be inside working is a matter of some surprise to *US* at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

There will be lots of pictures of young people in suits, carrying briefcases, looking busy and important. Our Psyops team has replicated the genre below…. we’ve gone for the lawyers happy on a beach look… (right).

OK… we talk straight… expensive… but straight at Muttley Dastardly LLP.  Listen up…. and, I cannot resist using that dreadful phrase so beloved of cliche ridden writers…and smell the coffee.

1.  The economy will improve

2. Law firms will recover

3. Universities will raise their fees – and so will the BIG law schools for you (although not for us!)

4.  The Legal profession is changing – read the journals and keep up to date.

5.  You have to get a 2.1 to even stand a chance of selection for a decent law school at LPC level and, being honest, a decent university if you are going to get into a City law firm or any major commercial firm.

6. Being really honest… you haven’t a chance of getting into Muttley Dastardly LLP unless you went to Oxbridge or a top Russell Group university – why would *WE* take second best?

7. Be realistic… City practice is not for everyone – there is a wonderful world of law out there for lawyers who don’t want to be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, who don’t want to be movers and shakers in the City and business world, who don’t want to rub shoulders with the likes of Duncan Genocide from The Dragon’s Den. [Good one, Harry & Paul] We don’t have a clue what these lawyers do… but hey.. there must be a Facebook group.. or Twitter hashtag… and you could always Google?!  FTW!…as, I believe, some say…..  LMFAO, ROFL  etc etc etc…..

8.  We will always be honest with you…. if we take you on as a trainee, you will be worked beyond the limits of The Human Rights Act, you will learn a great deal about *OUR* type of practice and if you don’t cut it… we will give you a black plastic bag to take your belongings away in and that’s it.

Good luck with your studies this year.  I look forward to hearing from you… if you think you are hard enough.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

Muttley Dastardly LLP: This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling …

Matt Muttley, managing partner of Muttley Dastardly, has returned from from a two week business trip to America.  In the partner’s boardroom at their City offices are ten partners and 25 senior associates.  The partners are seated at the boardroom table on a raised dais. Muttley sits in the only chair with arm rests, an affectation he designed into the furniture after being shown The Cabinet Room when Tony Blair was prime minister. This chair is in the centre of the  black polished ebony boardroom table.  The associates stand by the wall facing the partners. Muttley’s PA, Eva Braun stands behind Muttley dressed in a black skirt suit, white silk camisole and five inch heels, her expression impassive.

“Listen up. This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling … I’m pleased to report that the partners have had a good year. In fact we have managed the quite remarkable feat of increasing our profit per partner by 28.5% despite a downturn in revenue of 18.2%.  This is, in part, due to the great cull of last Summer and in part to increasing your billable hours requirement.  Two of you have failed to meet those targets and your desks are being cleared by security now. Levison and Edmondson, I’d be grateful if you would make your way to reception… the game is over for you.”

Muttley paused while the two shocked associates left the boardroom. No-one spoke.

“We’ve had a change of government and the new clowns have already lost one guy who couldn’t read the rules, or chose not to, or chose to give the rules a different spin to others. This is what happens when people don’t check with lawyers about rules. The new clowns are going to slash budgets, slash spending and in all likelihood there will be strikes ahead.  We’re beefing the Employment division.  There will be some fairly spectacular business failures as well… football clubs and airlines are worth a look and don’t be surprised if BP litigation comes our way.  I’ve been Stateside and I can tell you… it is going to be a turkey shoot.  Big Law are alternately wetting and crapping themselves. One CEO…. their ‘word’ for managing partner, I spoke to was calling for oxygen at one point so excited was he at the prospect of work when he took a call from The White House while I was there.”

Muttley sipped some Perrier from a glass to his right, put his hands together and continued.

Let’s take a look at the markets.  I’ve been doing some key reading, a guy called Paul B. Farrell of MarketWatch.  Let me summarise, using his rather colourful language.   Are we heading for the bear or is the bull going to run? I quote...“…you decide: As you stare from high up in the nose-bleed bleachers watching the game, staring at a Dow that not long ago was above 11,000 and heading for 12,000. Now the Dow’s sitting on the bench, ready for the showers, weak after a couple air balls around 10,000. No more timeouts. “This game’s in the refrigerator……

Main Street lost 20% last decade … yet like sheep keep going back. Yes, if you’re channeling Chick, here’s your “mixed metaphor” cue card: “This game’s in the refrigerator … Wall Street won (proof, Goldman’s $100-million-profit trading days and Blankfein’s $68 million bonus) … Main Street’s headed for another losing streak … Congress’ lights are out … the refrigerator door’s closing on financial reforms … the lobbyists are laying some rotten eggs, poisoning capitalism … the Tea Party-of-No-No ideologies are hardening … the bull’s Jell-O is jiggling to a flat line … and this market’s going into hibernation, with the bears … run, don’t walk, to the exits, folks.”But will Main Street exit? Will we ever learn? No……

Economist Gary Shilling said price-to-earnings ratios are at a “nosebleed 22.5 level.” The Dow was around 11,000. Money manager Jeremy Grantham recently said the market’s overvalued 40%. That could mean a collapse to 6,600. Last week in Reuters’ “Markets Could Be Derailed Again,” George Soros echoed a “game over” warning with a “stark warning … that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.”

Now Dow Theory’s Richard Russell is warning the public of an imminent crash: “Sell … get liquid … by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country.”

So… are you feeling confident that Danny Alexander, a man who has absolutely no experience apart from sending PR bull out about somewhere in Scotland For fuck’s sake and negotiating a coalition with a group of grasping, desperate, politicians who would short-sell their mothers if they hadn’t already done it while in opposition?!  Cable is simmering like a tin of beans on the back burner with about as much effect.  We know nothing about Osborne.  The good news is that they are going to cut legal aid budgets to buggery, slash spending on the courts, and encourage Tesco and the Coop to package and commoditise legal services.  It’ll be a car crash… we’re probably looking at the equivalent of Emmerdale Farm or Pot Noodle… an emollient but hardly exciting.

Muttley paused to look at the sleek iPad beside him.  He looked up and spoke in lowered tones, forcing the associates to lean forward slightly, expectant.

“What does this mean for us..and when I say us, I mean of course the partners of this firm? We gear up on insolvency and taxation – the clowns are going to ‘simplify’ the system.  When governments say that there is always work for lawyers.   We talk to a few senior barristers and get them into our version of a Procureco. Where there’s money there’s barristers as my father used to say.

We’re going to look at buying a few small regional firms, or rather, turn them into an alternate business structure and go for the very lucrative personal injury market.  We’ll use our Megaladon Direct brand for that.   The good news is the idea of banning referral fees has been kicked into touch.  This will give us an edge. This will also irritate the hell out of The Law Society and The Bar Council who have both been pressing for abolition.  This could keep both these august bodies frothing for months. Again, good for us because their eyes will not be on point on other reforms to ‘suggest’ to government.  Our black psyops unit is putting out articles on blogs and in the legal media about  the future of the legal profession…. lawyers love this stuff and it is always good to get our competitors a little worked up and frothing.  I’m pleased to report that our Twitter presence will soon sow dissent in the profession so we may reap the rewards of keeping lawyers busy responding to our nonsense.  It is amazing how lawyers like to engage on twitter when they should be at the coal face digging coal for their partners. We won’t need to trouble any of you with this.  Eva Braun has found five or six people to put the word out and stir things up a bit.

Finally… let’s put the squeeze on the law schools. We are hiring 125 trainees next year.  50 will make the cut, 20 may even survive the first year PQE.  We are paying far too much for our LPC training.  The law schools are getting greedy.  This is fine for law firms, but most inelegant in the public consciousness when it comes to legal education.  We’ll place some psyops about the fact that we’re looking to partner with a law school for our LPC training.  The water should froth a bit at that and then we’ll send in a team to have a look at the facilities, the staff, do a bit of teeth sucking and promise a three year deal on our terms.  As you know, we are specialists in shark repellent, exactitude and ‘zone of uncertainty’ clauses which will deter any law school from suing if we want out.  I would hope for at least a 40% discount against their published rate her head on the LPC.  This saving will, of course, go towards the partner bonuses.

You know what you have to do.  Same time next week. Oh… and remember…. “Sell … get liquid … by the end of this year the clowns won’t recognize the country. That is all.

***

I would like to point out, for members of the public who are fortunate enough not to need the services of  Muttley Dastardly LLP or Megaladon Direct that the event described above was, in ‘its entirety’, a fiction.

Rive Gauche: A look back a few years….

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An amusing story from The Water Cooler in The Times today about a reception held at Inner Temple to mark the 45 year old career of Sir Ivan Lawrence QC. A judge remarking of his career as a Recorder: “Justice had not only to be done and seen to be done — in Sir Ivan’s court it had to be seen to be believed.”

Another…the rather better known story: I quote from the piece in The Water Cooler:

“Sir Ivan also recalled Judge Maude sentencing two homosexuals for an act of gross indecency. “It is not so much the enormity of the crime itself that appals one,” he said, “it is the fact that you chose to do it under one of London’s most beautiful bridges.”

Attitudes and times have changed…

spy27decThe Modern Attorney-General

“I am the very model of a modern Attorney-General,
I’ve information political, immoral, and analytical,
I know the judges of England, and I quote the laws historical
From Domesday to Archibold, in order categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters apolitical,
I understand donations, both the simple and problematical,
About restraining injuctions, I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
With many cheerful facts about who is going to lose.”

With sincere apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan.

With not much else to do, I decided to report my own death back in the day on Saturday, March 10, 2007

charonferrymandec27

I’m afraid that Charon died this afternoon.

The Bollo had run out Rioja. Scotland failed to beat Ireland at Rugby. England lost the friendly cricket match against Australia yesterday, The Lord Chief Justice had to give a speech (because useless interfering politicians who know little about law, penology or the criminal justice system, have been interfering) complaining about the fact that judges have lost their discretion to sentence criminals and that we have far too many people serving indeterminate sentences, Jade Goody refused to answer Police questions and the Police could do nothing about it, Patrick Mercer MP was sacked by WebCameron for making unfortunate remarks, the cafe where he usually has breakfast ran out of eggs and, therefore, he could not have the breakfast he has had for 23 years without interruption, someone sent him James Joyce’s book, Finnegan’s Wake, and he tried to read it, Lord Jeffrey Archer is still a member of The House of Lords, TV companies have stopped running phone-in competitions so he has nothing to do now late at night, banks are being criticised for making stealth charges on customer accounts, the viagra pills he bought off the internet didn’t arrive, The Bollo has introduced a ‘no-smoking’ policy on Sundays so that people can bring their absurd children in for lunch and let them run around screaming, The Bollo seems to be encouraging people who talk about ‘hice prices’ in West London to come into one of his favourite pubs, he could not face looking at any more trainee blogs… It was all too much.

We regret his passing. It was quite a moving ceremony. ‘Hello’ magazine covered it. At 8.45 this evening he was ferried across the Styx, a silver coin in his mouth, by a member of the family.

Rest in peace, Charon….

No flowers. Charon was a nihilist. At a quiet dinner the other evening he told a group of us that he had many lives and death was but a temporary inconvenience – a bit like your internet service provider [ISP] ‘going down’ for a while, or losing signal on your mobile [Cellphone for non-UK residents] (yes… Charon had an ‘Orange’ phone and it did not always work in Chiswick – another ’stress’ he had to bear). He told us that he believed he would defeat medical science and be blogging again within 24 hours. We now have an opportunity to see if he was right.

And… on that note… I wish you all… “Good Nietzsche.”

***

PS… at least he asked us to use some punctation before he took the ferry….

The Diary of Barrister A: Saturday 3rd March 07

But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;


Richard III. 1. 1

Danielle asked me over dinner the other night why the papers were full of senior lawyers having affairs. I’m afraid the subject does not interest me that much. I am not a voyeur. I replied as follows: “Opportunity, Motive, Ability and Mens Rea”

“By which you mean?” she asked, sipping a glass of Chablis.

“Many of these lawyers are in their late forties and early fifties. They are absorbed by their ability and power. I suspect, in the back of their minds, they wonder whether they can still hack it. They work long hours – and opportunity is there. Another late night is easily explained away – as is a trip out of town. As to motive – they probably have children and may well not have had any exciting sex for some time. There is a darker side, of course. It may well be that in the back of their minds they know or believe that their sexual prowess is waning. Power can, after all, only go so far as an aphrodisiac or attractant.”

“And… mens rea?”

“Oh yes.. plenty of that. Lawyers are a secretive bunch. Some of them are Masons… although not as many these days. Their skills of advocacy are often brilliantly demonstrated when they get caught.”

Danielle smiled, tapping her nails on her glass… “You wouldn’t do anything like that, would you?”

I was ready for the question. I had been ready for it when she asked the first question. “Darling… I am not shaped for sportive tricks… dogs bark at me as I halt by them”

She laughed… We moved on to discuss John Reid. Later, it occurred to me that she may have been asking if I am a Mason.

***

What – with The Attorney-General, the DPP and sundry other QCs and senior lawyers exercising their rights under The Freedom of Fornication Act (nicked from Private Eye – could not resist it) to have ‘have it away days’; we have now got the surreal and, frankly, absurd situation of a Court of Appeal judge being charged with flashing at women on a train on two separate occasions – a charge which he denied when first questioned about this some months ago. Guardian [The BBC story mysteriously disappeared from their website last night – cannot be connected with being gagged below, of course]

The Attorney-General, rather than gag over his breakfast as he reads about his extra-curricular activities being reported in the Sunday tabloids, has now gagged the BBC to stop them reporting a story about the cash for honours business. It seems that prosecutions may be on the way. Guardian

Nearly Legal has found an extraordinary statement by Law Society President Fiona Woolf – worthy of Matt Muttley.

“Thought Leadership”: I quote from Nearly Legal’s blog… and repeat his comment – you will have to visit his blog for the rest of his excellent commentary on this! And here is Fiona Woolf:

“And so, given its ever-increasing importance, the Law Society has taken the bold decision to enter, for the first time, the territory of thought leadership – to facilitate a better understanding the issues around staff retention and job satisfaction by exploring factors that help to meet the needs of not just fee earners but their supervisors and employers too. “

firewallofchina27dec

Friday, March 2, 2007

Charon banned by Great Firewall of China!!

I regret to inform you that my blawg has been blocked by the Chinese authorities. It may be that the Chinese authorities do not care for human rights, Rioja, excessive smoking and references to scandal – cash for honours, gigolo lawyers, senior lawyers having affairs etc etc. It is, of course, possible that my taste in UK blogs (as evidenced in my blogroll) does not meet with the approval of 中华人民共和国主席@greatfirewallofchina.

This is a great honour… and I am pleased to be in the UK, a relatively free (if ponderously overgoverned) country, to hear the news of this award.

 

My cousin Tom turned up to pick our Grandmother up with a spade…

There is a picture of me as  an eight year old (one front tooth missing from an accident) eating an ice cream… in short trousers, prep school cap, with a parrot on my shoulder. My Grandmother is standing beside me – looking strangely “amused.” [May her God have mercy upon her soul] I remain convinced to this day that my Grandmother put the parrot on my shoulder when I was not looking to make me look absurd. She was like that. A curious and demanding woman. She used to stand up and wail…calling upon God to take her – at various intervals, usually after a Sunday lunch – prompting my cousin (10 years older than me) to turn up to collect her for the ‘Sunday lunch’ one week, with a spade, and ask her if ’she was ready for God.’ Yes… I enjoyed that. She never did it again.

***

Thick and brick, paired, is most appropriate in the case of a new motorist, a brickie, who got a drink driving ban 38 HOURS after passing his test. Apparently the born-again pedestrian, as he know is, went out to celebrate passing his test, got pissed on six pints, went to bed, got up a few hours later and drove. The Sun reports “The cops stopped him for driving without lights.” Yes… not really surprising at night.

Police Inspector Eric Robinson expressed the view “It’s possibly the shortest time anyone has held a licence.”

I am gladdened by the news, again reported in The Sun, that thousands of children think that cows lay eggs. Apparently, many of these children also believe that bacon comes from sheep. The children were eight years of age. At that age I was about to qualify as a Master of Wine…. OK… I may be exaggerating…

Prince Charles, on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, has managed to irritate a lot of people by calling for a ban on McDonalds. Excellent. Glad to see he is keeping busy.

Jesus’ bones found: The news that Titanic film director, James Cameron, and his co-director on the Lost Tomb of Jesus(Discovery Channel) have found the lost tomb of Jesus has irritated priests, god-botherers and archaeologists who did not make the discovery themselves. He appears to have also found the tombs of the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and Joseph – so a full house then. An american news reporter (Video) tells us that this story comes from the Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones school of archaeology. Not good news for the Resurrection theme in christianity? A bit irritating for agnostics as well.

***

Associates Office – Lower ground floor 

From: Matt Muttley
To: All Partners
cc: Dr Strangelove

Date: 24th May 2007

ANY OF YOU KNOW ANY FAMILY LAW ?

Eva Braun has just put the Evening Standard in front of me. A woman has won a £48 million divorce battle. Do we have anyone who knows any Family Law? If not, can we do a lateral hire? Approach a Silk who is into Family Law and bring him/her into the partnership?

If we only handle high value cases, what would the downside be? Cross-fertilisation into asset management, trusts, tax, off-shore, private equity, hedge fund?

Eva sent me this from a blog: Family Lore“Needless to say, Mr Charman does not accept the words of the President of the Family Division, and has indicated that he intends to appeal again to the House of Lords. Oh well, more money for the lawyers and legal analysts, and more copy for the media…

By the way… one of our associates is sitting at his desk with a Bluetooth earpiece in his ear. I’m looking at him on CCTV now. Looks ridiculous. Think he is in Trusts…. can someone tell him that if he wants to look as if he works in a call centre, we have vacancies in our Mumbai office.

Get back to me if you have any thoughts / ideas

MM

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

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

old-man-door

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.

STATEMENT FROM MATT MUTTLEY
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

To: All staff

RE: AGE

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