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

An interview for a training contract at Muttley Dastardly LLP

An interview for a training contract at Muttley Dastardly LLP

bagheadman

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.

“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.”

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner: Brown Suede Shoes – wearing of in office hours

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

It came to my notice the other day, when I made a rare appearance in the open plan work area, that quite a few associates and administrative staff have taken to wearing burqas, skull caps, silver crosses, orange turbans, white druidic robes and various other symbols of faith. I find this pleasing. As I have no desire to see Muttley Dastardly LLP subjected to vilification by bearded Bishops a la British Airways – our official policy on the wearing of religious symbols at work is that you may do as you please and, it has to be said, I would not wish brownsuedeshoesthis firm to be ‘boycotted’ by the bearded Bishops.

The only caveat I enter is that you are happy in your work and do the hours and that you think about the wealth of our firm and your future part in that wealth. Muttley Dastardly LLP is an equal opportunity employer with a structured and hierarchical approach to the distribution of rewards. The restriction on wearing brown suede shoes with a pinstripe suit, or indeed any suit, continues in place – although senior associates may wear shooting tweeds and Plus Fours on Fridays if they so choose, in which case the appropriate footwear is a good pair of Church’s brogues. That is all.

Matt Muttley, 
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

A lawyer everywhere when you need one and even if you don’t they may persuade you that you do

MEMORANDUM TO ALL STAFF

I read with interest an article on the Legal Futures website – a website which is most interesting and has the finger on the pulse.  I quote from the opening paragraphs:

“The barrister and law firm with the top High Court win rates in England and Wales will be named later this month, Legal Futures has learned.

US website Premonition, which has studied the win rates of attorneys across America, is to publish the names after studying 11,600 High Court cases over the past three years.

Toby Unwin, co-founder of Florida-based Premonition, said the report would cover every law firm which instructed a barrister in the High Court in the last three years, along with the 1,500 barristers who had acted for them.

“If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more,” Mr Unwin said. “The top 20 people will get very expensive, but right now some of the best people are not being compensated.”

I have taken the liberty of highlighting in red the most important part of the excellent article – which is entirely consistent with our philosophy at Muttley Dastardly LLP

The photograph shows the amount of money in my wallet this morning, a smaller quantity  than is usual, but I have a fairly large vault at home where I keep a bit more loose change.

We must tell our clients at every opportunity how good we are. We must tell them of our very high hit rate of WINS and we must tell clients how we keep control of brief fees to the other branch of the legal profession who are more than keen to work for our firm just for the prestige, and when I say ‘just for the prestige’ I mean just that.  We don’t actually pay counsel.  We do give them a bottle of tap water and an Egg & Cress sandwich from Tesco (£1.10p)  which they eat in the main hall at The Royal Courts of Justice.

May I suggest that you read the Legal Futures article fully – in your own time, of course.

Dr Strangle-Ove
Senior Partner

Strength & Profits

 

Muttley Dastardly LLP: ANY OF YOU KNOW ANY FAMILY LAW ?

 


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

Matt Muttley
Senior and Managing Partner

Post Script:  I attach a  CCTV photograph of the associates floor in the basement at 5.00  this morning.  Not one associate was at his or her position working.  Would you ‘have an encouraging word’ and remind them that work starts here for them at 5.00 am.

 

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner RE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

Date: 25th December 2010

RE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Gentlemen,
I appreciate that we have scheduled four hours on Christmas Day to attend to matters of family but, as you know, our firm is a 24/7/365 operation and I wish to confirm that we have full cover.  I did, however, last night, have a rather strange experience which I wish to record for the file.

1.  As you know our esteemed co-founding partner, Dastardly, died some time ago.  I use the term ‘died’ in the law firm sense of having retired, but I am advised that he has in fact died in real life as well. He would have approved of the fact that none of us took time off to attend his funeral.  We are pragmatists.  He is dead.  he won’t know.

2.  I was working late tonight.  It was a dark and cold night.  An associate, Tiny Tim, was working late and he rang me, as instructed, to inform me that snow was falling so that I could hedge our power interests while the US markets were still open.

3. At approximately 10.32, I was visited by the ghost of our former Partner.  The meeting, unfortunately, can’t be billed as the Ghost of Dastardly told me that his Amex card did not work ‘where he now was’. I reminded the Ghost of Dastardly that we are not big on pro bono and as the legal press had closed down for two weeks I couldn’t get any leverage on releasing a story about doing pro bono work on Christmas Eve. He understood this (old habits die hard even for ghosts of former partners)  and briefed me quickly on various episodes from my childhood. Fortunately, I was not that innocent when I was a child and I was not moved by his advocacy and plea that we, as a firm, show more compassion.

4. At approximately 11.04, I was visited for a second time by the Ghost of Dastardly.  I misunderstood what he was saying and thought he had returned to give me a present.  This was not the case.  He told me that he was now a Ghost of Christmas Present. He asked me to accompany him to Waitrose where people were buying food for Christmas Day.  I told him that I had an iPad and we could go onto the Waitrose website instead.  Time is money. Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present then asked me to look at a blog written by one of our former associates who ‘we had to let go’. You may remember him – Rob Cratchit. It would appear that Rob Cratchit was not able to get a job after we fired him and now lives in ‘diminished circumstances’. I asked Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present if he would kindly get to the point. He told me that we needed to develop a sense of responsibility for our fellow man.  I was able to confirm that we do not take a stance on the political issues of the day, our amoral apolitical stance, means that we can stand above David Cameron’s notions of ‘Big Society’ and retain the clinical objectivity so prized by our client base.

5.  At approximately 12.05 am  on Christmas Day, I was visited by the  Ghost of Dastardly again. He had a copy of The Guardian.  He placed it on my desk and pointed to a story about the dire future which lay ahead of us and a rather curious story about an Australian who has developed a ‘Messiah’ complex and is leaking secrets all over the place. To my astonishment, he then placed a picture on my desk of a grave in a  rather badly tended cemetery, and told me that it was my grave.  I was able to re-assure Ghost of Dastardly of Christmas Yet To Come, as he was now calling himself, that it was highly improbable that a Partner of our firm would be buried in such a run down place and that he really should not watch so much Sky TV given that the future owners of that television station are Australian. Keeping to an Australian theme, I did say that I had been placing fairly substantial investments with ‘our friends’ in Pakistan on The Ashes and on the evidence of the Third Test in Perth, when England collapsed in a rather improbable way, that we could look forward to additional tax free revenue early in the New Year when England did not simply retain The Ashes, but win them.  The Ghost of Dastardly did not  seem to be impressed by this statement.

6.  Finally, I am pleased to report, when I woke on Christmas morning, I felt no particular desire to spend any time whatsoever with my nephew’s family and had no side effects of feelings of love or affection for our fellow man.

7.  We have a Partner’s meeting at 3.00 today to discuss our bonuses.  It will, gentlemen, be a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Matt Muttley

Strength & Profits

The legal issues about Christmas – important to plan now to avoid costly problems

Memo to all Members of the firm from Matt Muttley
Senior Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Following guidelines issued recently by the Advisory Consiliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), as reported in The Evening Standard , it appears that this firm owes a ‘duty of care’ to our staff and could face legal action if employees don’t get home safely after the Christmas Party.

Further, it is well known that quite a few employment disputes arise over incidents which take place at Christmas parties. Older members of the firm may recall a senior associate, some years ago, being asked to leave the firm for groping the wife of our senior partner in an ‘inappropriate manner’ – which, of course, begs the question as to what would be ‘appropriate groping’. Law Firm, Peninsula, according to the Standard report, has carried out a study and this has shown ‘that most bosses believed their workers drank too much at the annual festive bash.’

What is more worrying is that the ACAS pamphlet identified , and I quote from The Standard, ‘several office party situations that bosses could be held liable for such as staff stumbling out drunk and injuring themselves.’ We could also be held liable if employees are bullied by other employees during the party.

Apparently, we have to be careful about our choice of music at the party. Under new age discrimination laws, music must be chosen to reflect the interests of all people invited to the party. While Led Zepellin may appeal to the more mature (can I say this now?) members of the firm, it may not to the younger members. While X factor wannabe music may delight the younger members, I can tell you that it it does little for me and if it were to be played at a Christmas party I may well be able to sue the firm for discrimination on grounds of age, let alone for abusing my human rights. (Are damages tax free?.. could be something in this… Eva… check this out with Tax people, please) Nor, it is recommended, should we continue our practice of providing bottles of Champagne as prizes for ‘best dressed managing partner’, etc etc on grounds that it could offend those whose religions do not permit the drinking of alcohol.

Although lights and decorations are approved, because they are not ‘inherently religious symbols’, we do, of course, have to consider possible liability in negligence in case any member of staff injures themselves on a Christmas tree, a piece of tinsel or by using a Christmas cracker.

Taking all these things into account; the managing board of the firm has decided to cancel Christmas this year. We would, however, like to wish you a Good (and profitable) New Year.

Muttley Dastardly LLP advises Charon QC on how to deal with law firms that don’t pay

Dear Charon,

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties persuading ‘reputable’ law firms – I am surprised  there are many left – to pay your invoices.

As you have kindly given good service to this firm, we are taking the unprecedented step in the history of our firm – breaking our hearts though it does – to assist you pro bono by throwing the book at the client who has failed to pay.

In fact, to give some comfort to you,  I am dealing with this matter  myself and will pray in aid a number of superinjunctions, winding up orders and general legal mischief to make their position in the market somewhat precarious.  This latter tactic is being handled by our specialist DarknetOps Unit.

I suspect that you will be paid within 5 minutes of the client receiving our email and supporting 200 page draft claim which is being delivered as I type this email to you in my own Bentley.  Don’t worry about paying us back. The law firm will be prepared to settle our bill which is pleasingly substantial.  Meanwhile, I have arranged for our kitchens to send over by taxi, some egg & Cress sandwiches and a bottle of decent Rioja.  I assume you are still amusing yourself by eating aforementioned egg & cress sandwiches?

 

With kind regards

 

Dr Strangle-Ove
Senior Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

 

Muttley Dastardly LLP – “Religious symbols: Wearing of policy”

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

It came to my notice the other day, when I made a rare appearance in the open plan work area, that quite a few associates and administrative staff have taken to wearing burqas, skull caps, silver crosses, orange turbans, white druidic robes and various other symbols of faith. I find this pleasing. As I have no desire to see Muttley Dastardly LLP subjected to vilification by bearded Bishops a la British Airways – our official policy on the wearing of religious symbols at work is that you may do as you please and, it has to be said, I would not wish this firm to be ‘boycotted’ by the bearded Bishops. The only caveat I enter is that you are happy in your work and do the hours and that you think about the wealth of our firm and your future part in that wealth. Muttley Dastardly LLP is an equal opportunity employer with a structured and hierarchical approach to the distribution of rewards. The restriction on wearing brown suede shoes with a pinstripe suit continues in place – although senior associates may wear shooting tweeds and Plus Fours on Fridays if they so choose. That is all.

“If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more.”

I read with interest an article on the Legal Futures website – a website which is most interesting and has the finger on the pulse.  I quote from the opening paragraphs:

“The barrister and law firm with the top High Court win rates in England and Wales will be named later this month, Legal Futures has learned.

US website Premonition, which has studied the win rates of attorneys across America, is to publish the names after studying 11,600 High Court cases over the past three years.

Toby Unwin, co-founder of Florida-based Premonition, said the report would cover every law firm which instructed a barrister in the High Court in the last three years, along with the 1,500 barristers who had acted for them.

“If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more,” Mr Unwin said. “The top 20 people will get very expensive, but right now some of the best people are not being compensated.”

I have taken the liberty of highlighting in red the most important part of the excellent article – which is entirely consistent with our philosophy at Muttley Dastardly LLP

The photograph shows the amount of money in my wallet this morning, a smaller quantity  than is usual, but I have a fairly large vault at home where I keep a bit more loose change.

We must tell our clients at every opportunity how good we are. We must tell them of our very high hit rate of WINS and we must tell clients how we keep control of brief fees to the other branch of the legal profession who are more than keen to work for our firm just for the prestige, and when I say ‘just for the prestige’ I mean just that.  We don’t actually pay counsel.  We do give them a bottle of tap water and an Egg & Cress sandwich from Tesco (£1.10p)  which they eat in the main hall at The Royal Courts of Justice.

May I suggest that you read the Legal Futures article fully – in your own time, of course.

Dr Strangle-Ove
Senior Partner

Strength & Profits

The Managing Partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP considers the problem of ‘Age’

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

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

An interview for a position 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: If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more

MEMORANDUM TO ALL STAFF

I read with interest an article on the Legal Futures website – a website which is most interesting and has the finger on the pulse.  I quote from the opening paragraphs:

“The barrister and law firm with the top High Court win rates in England and Wales will be named later this month, Legal Futures has learned.

US website Premonition, which has studied the win rates of attorneys across America, is to publish the names after studying 11,600 High Court cases over the past three years.

Toby Unwin, co-founder of Florida-based Premonition, said the report would cover every law firm which instructed a barrister in the High Court in the last three years, along with the 1,500 barristers who had acted for them.

If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more,” Mr Unwin said. “The top 20 people will get very expensive, but right now some of the best people are not being compensated.”

I have taken the liberty of highlighting in red the most important part of the excellent article – which is entirely consistent with our philosophy at Muttley Dastardly LLP

The photograph shows the amount of money in my wallet this morning, a smaller quantity  than is usual, but I have a fairly large vault at home where I keep a bit more loose change.

We must tell our clients at every opportunity how good we are. We must tell them of our very high hit rate of WINS and we must tell clients how we keep control of brief fees to the other branch of the legal profession who are more than keen to work for our firm just for the prestige, and when I say ‘just for the prestige’ I mean just that.  We don’t actually pay counsel.  We do give them a bottle of tap water and an Egg & Cress sandwich from Tesco (£1.10p)  which they eat in the main hall at The Royal Courts of Justice.

May I suggest that you read the Legal Futures article fully – in your own time, of course.

Dr Strangle-Ove
Senior Partner

Strength & Profits

 

How to ‘Ace a Skype Interview’ By Dr Strangle-Ove of Muttley Dastardly LLP

How to ace ze Skype Interviews by Dr Erasmus Strangle-Ove of Muttley Dastardly LLP

Normally I would ask the rather tedious training director, Professor R.D. Charon etc etc etc, to write zis articles for ze Charon blogs – but I am ‘overrefreshed’ after learning that our profits have gone through ze roofers of our Pallazzo in ze City of London.  I appear, though zis overrefreshments to have taken on ze comic opera German style of ze writings.  I will stop this soon, be sure. Mein Gott! Meine Großmutter war vom Blitz getroffen

I read on ze Charon QC blogs about how to Ace Ze Skype interviews…. and ..OK… I can write in ze English again… and it is most useful to know that we can do our interviews on Skype.  This has two benefits: 1. That we don’t actually have to meet the prospective employee and pay travel expenses and 2. No need to call security to ask them to leave the interview when we reject their application.

Quite often when we interview prospective trainees, we like them to wear a brown paper bag over their heads – it is mildly disorienting for them, which is better than water-boarding them, I suppose, but it also has the benefit – as we tell them – that we are only judging them on their intellectual abilities and not on their looks, good or otherwise.

My first question to prospective trainee solicitors:  I always like to begin an interview with the question “How many hours will you be prepared to work daily to ensure that the partners of this firm are well remunerated for taking you on?” If the candidate responds by eagerly telling me that he or she will work 24/7, the interview continues.  If the answer is below 18 hours daily, I have to tell the candidate that the interview is over and “With regret, my firm is not for you and you are not for us. Security will ensure that you leave the building. You may, of course, keep the paper bag”
The only downside I can about conducting interviews over Skype is the fact that the prospective candidate may not have a camera on his or her computer so we can’t be sure that he or she is actually wearing the brown paper bag we thoughtfully provided for them, after receiving £5 from them for the bag  through our Paypal account.

Well, there we are.  I do hope the advice I have given you about interviews with law firms has been of use. If we do not invite you to attend for interview, there are many law firms out there. If you have found this advice useful – do, please, not hesitate to send a ‘Thank you Paypal gift’ to our offshore Paypal account.

Dr E Strangle-Ove
Managing Partner

Muttley Dastardly LLP
Strength & Profits

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner on the wearing of religious symbols at work

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

It came to my notice the other day, when I made a rare appearance in the open plan work area, that quite a few associates and administrative staff have taken to wearing burqas, skull caps, silver crosses, orange turbans, white druidic robes and various other symbols of faith. I find this pleasing. As I have no desire to see Muttley Dastardly LLP subjected to vilification by bearded Bishops a la British Airways – our official policy on the wearing of religious symbols at work is that you may do as you please and, it has to be said, I would not wish brownsuedeshoesthis firm to be ‘boycotted’ by the bearded Bishops. The only caveat I enter is that you are happy in your work and do the hours and that you think about the wealth of our firm and your future part in that wealth. Muttley Dastardly LLP is an equal opportunity employer with a structured and hierarchical approach to the distribution of rewards. The restriction on wearing brown suede shoes with a pinstripe suit, or indeed any suit, continues in place – although senior associates may wear shooting tweeds and Plus Fours on Fridays if they so choose, in which case the appropriate footwear is a good pair of Church’s brogues. That is all.

Matt Muttley, 
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

I have been driven to write about law and the profession…or, There’s a plot, let’s go and lose it

Colourful language…

Reading the Legal Week Editor’s blog back in 2007 ago I came across a story about the election of the new Slaughter & May managing partner. For those interested in such matters – see the Legal Week story in full – this quote gives the flavour:

“As numerous law firm elections have shown, there’s always something to be said for being an unknown quantity. Less time to make enemies, less time to get on the wrong side of corporate and less baggage – that most dangerous accessory for any prospective managing partner.”

I was more interested in this pithy comment:

“Or as one Slaughter and May partner colourfully puts it: “Hidden away in Asia, no-one would know if you’re a shit or not.”

I quite enjoy looking at what caught my attention back in the day.  This from 2007 did catch my attention

Giant penis etched into school garden with weedkiller can be seen from space. Sky has the story: “The unnamed pair of Year 11 pupils from Bellemoor School for Boys in Southampton, Hampshire, burnt the 20ft phallus into the grass as an end of term joke two years ago.”

Eye on the ball…

A Police officer, who was supposed to be guarding a wall damaged in the recent storms, was photographed by a passer-by. The officer was sitting in his vehicle playing a football game on a play station. The Metropolitan Police said: “The use of the games console was inappropriate and unprofessional. Senior officers are dealing with the matter.” The Sun has the story and a pic.

And this…

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day.
“In English,” he said, “A double negative forms a positive.
In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative
is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a
double positive can form a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

One for drafting ‘aficionados’…Punctuation is useful
Notice the effect of the following Dear John love letter with different punctuation:

Dear John
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful.
People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.
You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever
when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?

Gloria

Dear John
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful
people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.
You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever.
When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

yours,
Gloria

And then there was this from 28th January 2007

I was amused to find that a blog linking to mine has a description of my blog. When the cursor rolls over the Charon QC link in the blogroll – up pops the tab: “Think Rumpole on crack.” 

***

Allow me to introduce you to Mr Justice X.  He has retired, of course – but he is still thinking, still watching and still has JUDGMENT.

I met Mr Justice X some time ago in the most curious circumstances.  I happened to be having a drink down at El Vino’s in Fleet Street, sitting at the back.  The “Ties Mandatory” rule had gone, and ladies, of course, had been allowed through the hallowed portal.  As it happens, I was wearing a tie…  a drinking society tie… rather exclusive.  I was reading The Times Law section, naturally, when they did a proper law section on Tuesdays.

“Anyone sitting there?”  I heard this deep sonorous voice.  The voice appeared to come from above.  I turned to find the craggy features of a gentleman wearing a pinstripe suit, stiff collar, silk tie.  His black Church’s brogues were over thirty years old but were highly polished.  He had a white handkerchief folded in his top pocket.  A distinguished gentleman.

“No… please do sit down”  I replied.

“What are you drinking?” the gentleman asked.

“A Rioja.”

“What?”

“A Rioja.”

“Good grief… Bourbon wine… very well.”

He got up, walked over to the bar and returned with a bottle of Rioja and two glasses.  I was both delighted and baffled when he poured both glasses.  I enjoy a drink, but I tend not to set one up in advance as a spare.

The gentleman pushed the glass towards me…  “To the King of bloody Spain!” and drained half the glass.  It was then I realised that the second glass was for me.  I picked my glass up, made a circular motion with the glass, and said “To the King across the water… Jacobus.”

The gentleman laughed “You’re a Scot.  Don’t sound like one.  Sound like a bloody news reader… are you a news reader?”

“No, I am not a news reader… I am a blogger… Charon QC.”

“You are a QC?”

“No.. I’m a blogger.  I gave myself silk when The Lord Chancellor stopped dishing them out a few years ago.”

“Excellent… good idea.” the gentleman said, laughing and draining the remainder of the wine from his glass.  “Drink up… we have much to talk about and, I notice from your tie, that you are a Toper.”  With that my drinking companion, as I now viewed him, poured the rest of the bottle into my glass and then his.

“I was a judge many years ago… Henry is the name I use now.  High Court.  Too stupid and too difficult and too often appealed to get any further.  I keep up of course by reading the odd bit of gossip… been looking at all this talk of wigs and gowns… ridiculous, really…. but as my old friend Lord Donaldson said years ago… ” I cannot see the point now of discarding something which has been out of date for at least a century.”

And that is how I met Mr Justice X  … Henry, as he likes to be known, is going to be an occasional columnist.  I have absolutely no idea what he is going to write about.  He promises to write only after a few glasses but may shoehorn in a bit of law. A kindred spirit.

 

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Credit-crunch is for wimps….2007

Matt Dastardly, 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 Clubphoto 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?”

Enough for this post…back later…ineluctably…

PSDon’t hesitate to disturb me…if you would like to have an advert on my blog for £10 for the year…. I enjoy being disturbed in this way. Send a DM on Twitter or email me if you would like an advert slot, surreal or sensible, as you wish . (I can help with artwork if you need it)

Memo to all staff from Matt Muttley

MEMO TO ALL STAFF

From: Matt Mattley, Managing Partner

Re: Inappropriate behaviour

1. On or about Wednesday 14th February I received a Valentine’s Day card from a person(s) unknown.

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? If you have not seen the Peninsula Employment Law briefing, you may view it here

Another day at the coal face: Dr Wolfgang Becker, Rechtsanwalt, solicitor and a partner in Muttley Dastardly LLP

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.  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.

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 …

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 per 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.

Matt Muttley
Managing Partner

 

Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche practice….

Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche practice, founded by two absurdly successful junior partners in a leading City firm who tired of waiting to be elevated to full equity. In the three years since they broke onto to the City landscape in their new offices in Canary Wharf, they have completed a number of very successful lateral hires. By assiduously reading The Lawyer and Legal Week they were able to work out who was doing the big deals with who and then, very subtly, approach the in-house team and poach some very high quality work away; minor work at first which led to much more sophisticated and profitable work later. It helped that Matt ‘Top Gun’ Dastardly had served in the New York office of the firm he had been in. A diet of bagels, 16 hour days and living under the mantra “Bill, bill, bill…” he has developed a focus envied by many corporate finance lawyers in the City.

Muttley Dastardly LLP took a high risk strategy by allowing their trainees to write a blog.

Here is one of the first entries…

It is written by ‘Helena’…

My heart pounded as I arrived in the reception of Muttley Dastardly LLP. There were eight of us, six women and two men. I thought it was exciting that there were so many women among the new intake. We were taken to a beautiful room on the fifth floor – the senior partners’ dining room – exquisitely furnished. It is so important to make a good impression with clients. We were given coffee and pastries and business cards, Mont Blanc pens, inscribed with the name of the firm, a beautiful black leather briefase which was also inscribed with the name of the firm, and a book of vouchers for a nearby hotel.

Shortly before 10.00, we were collected by Matt Muttley’s PA who looked more like a super model than a PA and was dressed beautifully in La Croix and very high heeled shoes. My suit looked dowdy by comparison. A short walk down the corridor, we were taken into a conference room with a raised dais at one end. All very hi-tech. We were asked to sit down.

The PA walked to the dais, flicked a switch and a panel in the wall opened to reveal a wide screen HD TV. She pressed another button and the television came to life. It was startling at first. The music was by Queen. ‘We will Rock you’, I think it was. There were images of fast cars, thoroughbred horses, yachts, private aircraft, oil rich arabs, expensive London apartments and villas in Monaco – all very corporate and inspiring. And then we saw Matt Muttley for the first time – his face dominated the entire screen. He didn’t say much – but I will always remember his words.

“You are fortunate indeed”, he said with a smile “to have been selected by my firm. Your first two years here will be hard and demanding. You will work long hours, you will work hard, you won’t have much time for a social life – we provide a canteen for trainees so that you don’t have the inconvenience of having to find somewhere to eat in your lunch break. We don’t have ‘lunch hours’ here – well some of us do – which is why we call them lunch breaks. I welcome all of you. Only three of you will survive to be taken on as associates. That is the way of our world. We have provided you with vouchers to a new japanese style hotel with sleeping capsules, which is nearby, in the same building, in fact, to save you the inconvenience of having to go home if you have to work late – which may well be fairly often . They have laundry facilities.”

Matt Muttley smiled and continued…. ” You will learn how to be an effective lawyer. You will learn to be a focused lawyer and above all, you will learn to be a lawyer who bills. Right from the beginning you will be making a positive contribution to the firm’s wealth which, one day, you will share in. We work in competitive times. Bill hard, bill quickly and pay late. That is our culture, that is our mantra. Be happy in your work. It is still not too late to back-out. My PA has a briefcase with your signed agreement in it. If you wish to leave now – please give her a cheque as you do so to repay us for your LPC tuition fees and expenses. I wish you well. Your first course will start in 10 minutes, in this room. It is a demanding programme which will take approximately 18 minutes to complete, after which you will start making your contribution. It is called “PAGINATION 101, a cliche, maybe, but pagination is very much a part of our work here and it is this work that you will start your own progression to wealth with. Thank you.”

No-one wanted to leave. It was so exciting. Law School was a walk in the park compared to this. I’ve been here two weeks now and I don’t miss by boyfriend at all.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: 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 Facebook page.  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 say dreadsnought…. 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?”

Back to regular blogging and podcasting and a bit of Wonga greed….

Now that my spine injury is healing well – I will be back to blogging and podcasting from Monday – perhaps…even on the morrow if something surreal comes up – apart from Wonga  paying out £2.6 million quids  to compensate 45,000 customers after it sent threatening letters from non-existent law firms.

Even Muttley Dastardly LLP didn’t manage to think up a stunt like that!   One really has to laugh at the  stupidity and vapidity… greed is good? 

Returning to regular blogging on the morrow

In the meantime… a view from my sardonic past….

Charon QC on Tea Making,  4th Supplement to the 29th Edition (Maninahat Press) £780 + VAT

“This inter-disciplinary and seminally important update to the 29th edition of this internationally acclaimed tractatus from leading and  very contemporary law diva, Charon QC, explores the commoditisation of law students from the academic stage of legal education all the way through to the industrial tribunal when they are finally fired by their law firm as 50 year old partners. Given recent Government reviews and consultations, resulting in access to justice being withdrawn from all save for wealthy injunctioneers and footballers unable to engage their brains before exercising their membrum virilis, commoditisation of law students  is very much an issue exercising the public agenda and ‘direction of travel’ at present. Charon QC deftly  argues that most discourse in legal education, and indeed the profession, is driven by sociological perspectives  involving large amounts of  money.  His aim is to interrogate the supply and demand of paid work for law students through a wider range of disciplines including tea making, flipping burgers, flogging off Olympic memorabiliatat and sandwich boarding. This is laudable, as complex social issues like failed expectation demands a truly interdisciplinary analysis and given the broad range of opportunities now available to law students within law firms, other than actual employment as a lawyer,  Charon QC, remarkably, despite his fondness for the nectar of the gods, has succeeded in producing a largely coherent, integrated and well organised volume that should be of interest to a diverse readership.  We, at Muttley Dastardly LLP, are certainly interested in providing opportunities for highly qualified law students who understand the intricacies of the Japanese tea making ceremony or chadō (茶道) as The Partners at Muttley Dastardly call it.”

I commend this volume to the world urbi et orbi – a bodice ripper of a book from The Diva!

Dr Erasmus Strangelove MA  (Oxon), MBA, Ph.d, FRSA, Barrister, Director of Psyops, Education and Strategy, Muttley Dastardly LLP

 

Personal Statement from Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Senior Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

By popular demand – the return of our very successful Banking course – 2 years CPD

A Personal Christmas Statement to clients from Dr Erasmus Strangelove

I was pleased to see, while casually reviewing CCTV footage of our associates workfloor on Christmas Day, that good legal work was being done.  It was pleasing to note that the security provided by G5S was impeccable. Not one associate escaped during the 12 hour day.

I am able to report that profits accruing to The Partners this year exceeded expectation, despite the best endeavours of the present government which is doing all it can to dissuade people from going to law or, indeed, from going into the law.

The Partners had lunch on Christmas Eve, the cullinary details of which do not need to be revealed on grounds of decorum. We discussed, inter alia, the remarkable appointment of Chris ‘Kill a Burglar’ Grayling as Lord Chancellor.  We marvelled. One of our number marvelled too much and, sadly, had to be given a Heimlich maneuver (sic) to cure unstoppable laughter.  Unfortunately, the procedure failed.  We were, however, able to schedule the funeral immediately as he had no family and he will now rest in pieces rest in peace buried in our new roof garden. As he was not a god botherer there was no need for any religious element to the tasteful funeral we held.  It was a brief ceremony – 2.38 minutes of billable time. He would have been pleased that we were able to charge this as a disbursement to his favourite client as ‘perusal’.

We were able this year, at modest  cost to the client, to wish our clients a Happy Christmas and  a VERY prosperous New Year.  This fee item will show on your personal account as “Christmas Advice”.

If you would like any of your friends in need of legal services to be wished a Happy Christmas by any member of Muttley Dastardly LLP – please log into your personal MDLLP screen.   Christmas messages are very reasonably priced this year.  Your chosen message from us will be billed in the usual way.

I will write again in the New Year, quite possibly on New Year’s day, to see if we are able to assist you with legal issues or, indeed, suggest some.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Senior Partner

“Strength & Profits”

 

 

 

Statement from Muttley Dastardly LLP on SRA scrapping minimum trainee wage and plans for No fault sackings

FROM THE OFFICE OF DR STRANGELOVE, SENIOR PARTNER, MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP

To: All staff
21st May 2012

RE: SRA scrapping of trainee minimum wage and Government  ‘No fault Sackings’ proposals

1. The Partners met for a private lunch at Alan Ducasse’s rather fine restaurant at The Dorchester today to consider the implications of the scrapping of the minimum wage for trainees and Government proposals for ‘No Fault’ sackings.

2.  Consistent with our new transparency policy (Edict 302 14th April 2012 Para 458(a) ) I provide the menu below:

Many of you will know that this was the menu for first class passengers on that ill fated night 100 years ago when RMS Titanic sank- a metaphor for the dumbing down and sinking of the legal profession. Wine was not taken by The Partners as our contribution to the ‘National Austerity’.

First Course
Hors D’Oeuvres
Oysters
Second Course
Consommé Olga
Cream of Barley
Third Course
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce, Cucumbers
Fourth Course
Filet Mignons Lili
Saute of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farci
Fifth Course
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes
Green Pea
Creamed Carrots
Boiled Rice
Parmentier & Boiled New Potatoes
Sixth Course
Punch Romaine
Seventh Course
Roast Squab & Cress
Eighth Course
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Ninth Course
Pate de Foie Gras
Celery
Tenth Course
Waldorf Pudding
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream

3.  RollonFriday.com reports:  “Trainees starting training contracts in 2014 can look forward to earning only the national minimum wage after the Solicitors Regulation Authority took the visionary step of scrapping trainees’ minimum salaries in England and Wales. The minimum wage currently runs to £6.08 an hour. On a standard 35-hour week (clearly pie in the sky for most law firm trainees), that comes to £11,065 a year.”

RollonFriday commented on a quite extraordinary statement from a spokesperson for the SRA : Samantha Barrass, SRA Executive Director (not paid minimum wage), said: “This decision was based on an objective consideration of very full and detailed evidence gathered through a variety of sources“. Although those objective considerations seem to have failed to take into account access, diversity, university fees, LPC oversupply or common decency.

4.  The Partners have voted unanimously to show solidarity with our regulatory masters by fully ridiculing this new policy as soon as the regulation comes into force.

5. While Vince ‘Flip-flop’ Cable is wringing his hands over admirable proposals cooked up by sundry shield munching Tory beserkers to make it easy to sack people at will and in a whim, we are taking close interest as part of our strategic ‘disruptive black psyops operation’ to see if any law firms are daft enough to (a) implement the minimum wage for trainees – pay peanuts, get monkeys and (b) take advantage of this absurd reform of employment law, in the unlikely event it avoids getting kicked into the long grass by the more sensible ‘wing’ of the Tory Party’.

6.  I am pleased to report that one of our disruptive black psyops operations – ‘Operation Kamikaze’ – is going well and we see the first green shoots of collectives of useless lawyers springing up in pop up law firms in empty high street shops which have gone tits up.

That is all

Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Senior Partner

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, CellmarkBPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Press Announcement: Muttley Dastardly LLP take on the new world of legal services with *Lawyerborg 2.0*

PRESS RELEASE

In just seven days Dr Erasmus Strangelove, senior partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP, will reveal Lawyerborg 2.0 – 20% paralegal 80% machine with no inbuilt soul issues.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove said today in Dubai:

“We believe that our new creation will transform the way legal services are delivered in the United Kingdom.  We believe that we have addressed the all too common perception by the public  that legal services are expensive and service levels are variable, at times heading towards incompetent.   Lawyerborg 2.0 comes fully equipped with leading legal databases built in and while taking on a recognisable human form and similar empathy levels found in fully human lawyers, Lawyerborg 2.0 is at the cutting edge of the dawn of alternative business structures ‘envisioned’ in the Legal Services Act. We have accepted the impossible mission to drive down the costs of provision of legal services but retaining high revenues and, even more important, stellar profits.  Lawyerborg 2.0 is virtually maintenance free and will bill 24/7/365.

I read a fascinating article: Training students for the technology infused law practice of the 21st Century recently. It was a Damascene moment.  I quote a passage from this seminal article…

“In light of the technology infuse world where we are likely heading – the training is simply not good enough. The skills that students are going to need to be competitive — technology, computational data analytics, finance, informatics, economics, accounting, human computer interaction, supply chain mgmt, etc. are in limited supply (particularly the technology and high end data analytics). To make our students competitive (hopefully thereby restore the Return on Investment associated with the JD) will require legal education to move away from its significant liberal arts / humanities bent and look more like polytechnic research and teaching operation – or what I have called in other related work “THE MIT SCHOOL OF LAW

It occurred to me, as I read this article, that we could get rid of the essential problem of training through use of the microchip into a human host.  Also Sprach Zarathustra… Lawyerborg 2.0 was born.

Muttley Dastardly LLP will be revealing Lawyerborg 2.0 in just seven days.  That is all. Strength & Profits.

Notes for Editors

1. Dr Strangelove’s name is pronounced Strangle – ove.

2. Muttley Dastardly LLP are a ‘plurality of Partners’ – this is why we “take on legal services’  rather than ‘takes on legal services’.

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With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, CellmarkBPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Abusus non tollit usum… Abuse of a right does not invalidate use

The Partners of Muttley Dastardly LLP meet in closed session each Friday at 10.00 am. 

Following the unfortunate departure from the firm of managing partner Matt Muttley in the summer of 2011, Dr Erasmus Strangelove has taken over the leadership of the firm as CEO and Senior Partner.

A transcript of Dr Strangelove’s speech follows….

Gentlemen,

Good morning. Six months has passed since Matt Muttley’s unfortunate demonstration to a group of RBS Bankers of the toughness of the glass encasing our building and his subsequent departure from the firm abiit ad maiores….he has gone to the ancestors…or by virtue of death,  as our Partnership agreement provides in Paragraph 48 (a)(iii) and The Schedule of Terminating Events. As Quintillian observed… deficit omne quod nasciture …Everything that is born passes away.

I know three of you saw him plummet to the ground from his office as you sat in your offices.  I am pleased to announce that our litigation department has been able to bring successful claims in damages for nervous shock against Muttley’s estate for the three partners affected ….and, most pleasingly, in negligence, Rylands v Fletcher  and economic loss,  for losses sustained by the firm in relation to the repair of the glass and lost billings for our attendance at his funeral.  The claims brought by the three visiting bankers from RBS against the firm have been kicked into the long grass by a most ingenious use of the European Convention and our very own Human Rights Act….  by an associate in the litigation department.  She tells me that Article  8 of The European Convention gives us a right to privacy – which is rather pleasing for our affairs generally – and that her 7400 page opinion on this highly complex matter will tax lawyers acting for RBS for some time…. abusus non tollit usum… or as we say in the modern parlance…. Abuse of a right does not invalidate use .

Turning now to matters of import and our future.  I sent you all a copy of Professor Richard Moorhead’s excellent article in Legal WeekThe minimum salary for trainees: in real trouble this time.  Professor Moorhead is a professor at Cardiff University.  Cardiff is in Wales.   I quote the opening passage for your consideration…

Every time there is a recession, the solicitors’ profession likes to reconsider minimum salaries for its trainees. For a while this was a kind of annual sport. Chairs of the Trainee Solicitors’ Group and the Young Solicitors’ Group Lawyers (I did both jobs back in the days when the Law Society Council was busy tearing itself apart) would be invited into the Law Society equivalent of smoke-filled rooms (biscuits and too-strong, rather rank coffee) to be told that they were standing between hundreds of new training contract places and they should allow the abolition of minimum salaries.

At some point (usually at the then well-lubricated Council dinners) they would be approached by the Law Society Council member they were most friendly with to be told: don’t ask for an increase and everything will be alright. They duly, usually, did that and everyone claimed common sense had prevailed. We know what both Len McCluskey and Ed Milliband would say.

Gentlemen, please cast your votes to approve my memorandum to all trainees: Don’t ask for an increase and everything will be alright.

(The Partners vote using electronic keypads)

Thank you Gentlemen for your unanimous support.

I turn now to the second item on the agenda which will be of particular reference to our Corporate partners.  Legal Week reports this morning that former Mishcon de Reya property partner Kevin Steele has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail after being found guilty of forgery and fraud offences in a €22m (£18.5m) loan scam.  Given the current agitation on twitter about bankers’ bonuses, government cutting legal aid and a 36% reduction in government  legal spend – adroitly seeded by our Social Media Psyops unit –  it may be an idea for corporate partners to pass this information on to clients with a complimentary copy of our Briefing Paper on The Bribery Act and suggest a client site visit to enable us to do a thorough compliance audit. If you approve, I shall draw up a suitably frightening client letter… pour encourager les punters…as I like to call these communications.

(The Partners vote using electronic keypads)

Thank you Gentlemen for your unanimous support.

Finally…. a bit of light relief.  RollonFriday.com reports…. Norton Rose sends clients home after training cock-up… I quote…

There were red faces at Norton Rose this week when clients who had turned up for a training session were left waiting around before finally being sent home.

It seems no one had told the firm’s admin staff that the event had been cancelled before Christmas. So they had sent emails to the clients reminding them to come along, and a group of around 20 of them arrived at the firm’s London Bridge offices on Tuesday morning, looking forward to a briefing on contract terms. Usually clients would be ushered into a swish conference room and fed coffee and bacon rolls before a sales pitch masquerading as a training session. But instead they were left waiting for half an hour until a shame-faced member of security staff finally ushered them out.

I would like to reference this story as an “And finally”  in the firm’s weekly newsletter to corporate clients.

(The Partners vote using electronic keypads)

Thank you Gentlemen for your unanimous support.  That concludes the business for today’s meeting.  Strength & Profits.

(The Partners rise and respond….”Strength & Profits”)

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, CellmarkBPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Breaking News: Matt Muttley DEAD!! – Dr Erasmus Strangelove takes over as CEO, Muttley Dastardly LLP

STATEMENT FROM THE DESK OF DR ERASMUS STRANGELOVE,

CEO AND SENIOR PARTNER

It is with deep regret, see above, that I announce the death of Matt Muttley.  I have known Matt for many years  Together, we built profits, capital reserves and tax efficient schemes only dreamed of in some law firms.  Matt Muttley, inspired by a report in Wikipedia some years ago

The building made headlines around the world in 1993 when Garry Hoy, a 39-year-old lawyer, fell 24 floors to his death while demonstrating the strength of the windows to a group of visiting law students by charging into the glass.

had developed this as a ‘party trick’ when advising visiting bankers. Yesterday, unfortunately, it was a charge too far – as one banker described it, sardonically – and Matt Muttley crashed through the plate glass, falling ten floors onto the spiked railings below.

We will be making a further announcement.  Matt Muttley left no family but he did express in his will that there be a memorial service.  No flowers.  Cash, Paypal, Visa or Amex donations will be accepted by The Partners’ Benevolent Fund.  If you would like to sponsor a  Partner to attend the service (Three hours, including disbursements and travel time) the fee will be £4500 + VAT)

 

Note for Editors

1.  Dr Strangelove is pronounced Dr Strangle Ove

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With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Just Go Direct

Muttley Dastardly LLP (22): A trainee is interviewed for a training contract

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?”  Dr Erasmus 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 psycopath 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 lupiA precipice in front, wolves behind.  I want to be a wolf”

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

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With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Just Go Direct

Dr Erasmus Strangelove records his address to #UKLAWBLOGS 19th May 2011 – a Transcript

Guten Abend meine Damen und  Herren.. und… even…  Juristen… . aber die Zeit  ist Geld … so I will keep this brief.

It is with regret that I cannot join the distinguished panel of pundits, mavens, prognosticators und blawgers at ze #UKLAWBLOGS Convention at The Law Society on 19th May 2011.  I am Dr Erasmus Strangelove (no relation), as some of you know, Director of Psyops, Strategy and Education at niche boutique firm Muttley Dastardly LLP in The City.  Our motto is ‘Strength & Profits’.  Each day I have to make complex and even minor calculations as to how I allocate the 20 hours of billable time – available daily  to the modern day professional lawyer –  to the future of The Partners…. of which I am one.  More often than not this consists of monitoring a bank of television screens in my Psyops room in the basement,  where we are able to monitor (and direct) the productivity of our various departments or…as we call them at Muttley Dastardly LLP… ‘revenue generation units’.  We like a neo-post-modern joke at our firm… or, at least, The Partners do.

I came to ze conclusion that while blawging und flawging is a most worthy and profitable activity for other lawyers to engage in… the more so if these same people can be encouraged to waste industrial amounts of time on twitter und Linked-In – the profit comes from taking advantage of the lack of productivity from our competitors and not in engaging in these activities ourselves. This explains why I am allocating time to a specially televised broadcast, delivered to you by courier using a USB device to connect with a PC at an internet cafe ‘somewhere in Abbottabad”, rather than expend Zeit  ist Geld by attending in persona.

It distressed me to hear this morning  that ‘persons unknown’ sought to obtain an injunction from Mr Justice Spank-Farquhar ,  a superinjunction contra mundum and against twitter and Facebook,  to restrain publication of my address to you urbi et orbi.  Fortunately, our recently knighted managing partner, Sir Matt Muttley, was able to use his considerable expertise to brief counsel to turn over this injunction on  the sole ground that all matters, save those which The Partners of Muttley Dastardly LLP do not wish to be made public, are in the public interest.

Spank-Farquhar J said “I have known Sir Matt Muttley for many years.  We were in The Bullingdon together and what happened at that club in London we trashed all those years ago, stays at that club we trashed in London all those years ago. When Sir Matt Muttley tells me now, through counsel, that he believes something should be made public, I can only reach one conclusion: It is in his interest, and therefore in the interest of the public and the ‘public interest’,  for it to be made public. I therefore order contra mundum spiritus et fillii et Spiritus Sancti exorciso te Romanum that this notice be published everywhere – with a bit of added SupraMandamus just to chill the breast of the tardy.  Make it so Mr  Sulu and let these words boldly go.”

I am much encouraged that a renegade blawger in Kent has addressed the real issue of law blogging.  I refer to Mr John Bolch of Family Lore and his brief, but nevertheless precise and excellent, treatise on the subject:

Has blawging become ‘establishment’?

Lord Bolchdidit goes to the very foundation of the rot which may pervade, pervert and pollute blogging – and which we may sleep walk into – if we are not very careful.  I quote:

“When I began writing this blog, there weren’t that many other legal blogs around. Law blogging was still a relatively new phenomenon, not taken seriously by the legal establishment. OK, there were certainly some serious legal blogs about (IPKat comes to mind), but there was definitely a higher proportion of more personal law blogs, with their own unique styles, such as Charon QC and the much-missed Geeklawyer.

Gradually, however, the establishment began to realise the potential of blogging to promote businesses and further careers. More and more blawgs began to appear, from the tedious “here’s a topical legal story – if you have the same problem, we can help” type, to the rather more subtle providers of detailed legal analysis, thereby demonstrating serious expertise.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that law blogs should be restricted to one type. One of the beauties of blogging is that there are (virtually) no rules as to what format a blog should take. The problem, however, is that the establishment thinks it knows best and inevitably tries to take over the medium. Before we know where we are, we have blawging mavens making their pronouncements to the minions from on high, telling us all the right and the wrong ways to do things.

Worse than that, the establishment likes order. Blawgs have to be listed and rated. Now, I have nothing against personal opinions, but if the rating is by committee or vote, then you can count me out. You can also count me out of any annual award ceremony for the best blawgs by category, even if the winners are announced in reverse order.

I do recommend that you read the rest of it.

I concur.  If I have any advice at all for law bloggers… it is this.. you have a duty to stir.  My colleague and consultant to Muttley Dastardly LLP, Charon QC,  will be attending #UKLAWBLOGS if he is sober – and he may well appear roaring on arrival in any event.  I suspect he will be putting his “Doctrine of The Duty To Stir’ (Self Aggrandisers Monthly April 2011)  before you for your delectation and delight.  He may listen to reason – and he does a most passable imitation of appearing to do  so and be affable at the same time – but he certainly does not feel it necessary to abide by reason.

That is all.  May the law have mercy upon your soul and keep you safe from flawgers and establishment blawgers. Read their marketing schtik instead.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

Muttley Dastardly LLP (21): Monthly Psyops Report to The Partners from Dr Erasmus Strangelove

EYES ONLY

To: The Partners

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner, Director of Psyops, Strategy and Education

RE: MONTHLY PSYOPS REPORT

***

1. “Many reasons for solicitors to start using social media”

There are many reasons why we would encourage other solicitors to use social media.  I select but two:

(a) Tie up of competitor human capital on Twitter. It is now proven that lawyers can (and do) waste industrial amounts of time on Twitter.  Some, obsessed with ‘engaging’, are now forming breakaway groups to share their broadcasts and knowledge with other solicitors on Linked-In and sundry other ‘networking’ sites. It would appear, from the reports of our ‘operatives’ on the ground, that these lawyers appear to be talking to each other, rather than fee-paying clients. This is a remarkable phenomenon.

An article in the Law Society Gazette dated 6 May by David Laud noted, inter alia: “But a word of caution – not all who speak with marketing tongue can walk the social media walk.”

David Laud notes, and I quote verbatim:

‘I just don’t get it, everyone talks about it, but no one has the time to do it. Even when I do spend time on it, I’m not really sure what I’m doing.’

Views that may well resonate; but what is the answer?

Put simply, law firms have five main options. First, if they have not started to use social media, they could opt to just not bother.

Second, if they have made an attempt by, say, opening a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account, they could stop right now and do no more.

Third, they could hire someone to do their donkey work and outsource the firm’s social media activity.

The fourth option is for senior management to instruct all fee-earners to embrace social media and open a variety of accounts, throwing the firm headlong into all things ‘social’.

And fifth, firms could introduce a workable approach to using the most appropriate platforms for the firm by setting a plan and working to it.

I particularly enjoyed this statement from the article: “The statistics are impressive: with millions of ‘friends’, ‘followers’ and contacts to ‘link to’, we ignore social media at our peril and risk being left far behind.”

And this comment raised a smile at my meeting with my BlackOpsDEVGRU as we put together our latest free “Social Media for Law Firms in 2011” newswire – under a different ident;  which we know is being widely read by our competitors:

What makes social media so appealing, but also introduces the element of risk, is that you can genuinely enter into a dialogue with your stakeholders.

(b) Needless to say, we are encouraging competitor lawyers to *engage* – a word for our times –  on twitter et al and, using the #FF hashtag our operatives have suggested quite a few serial tin foil hat wearers for our competitors to follow – with remarkable take up. The danger, of course, with engaging with ‘Followers’, is that one runs the risk of (a) wasting even more time and (b) being ridiculed for trying to uphold the system of justice we have in our country and the ‘Rule of Law’ by the aforementioned tin foil hat wearers.

This latter is, of course, not a problem Muttley Dastardly LLP will experience directly as we do not have a ‘direct’ presence on twitter.  For security reasons, I have not provided The Partners with the tin foil hat wearer account details we have established on this medium to ‘engage’ with competitor law firms.

Mr Laud encourages readers of his article in The Law Society Gazette:  “Please don’t worry about how you become a trusted, entertaining broadcaster. “ and then goes on to observe: “The vast majority of Twitter accounts are run by ordinary people, who have simply spent time understanding the language, tone and appropriateness of the medium. “

I suspect this latter observation will not sit well with the many on twitter who take a great deal of time to enjoy tweeting, do not like ‘broadcasters’  and would not consider themselves to be ‘ordinary people… blah blah..blah.” I do however, agree with his advice that competitor solicitors contemplating a twitter presence should not  worry about becoming a trusted, entertaining broadcaster… they should just become a serial broadcaster and I shall be recommending an *App* to enable them to pump out tweets overnight as they sleep, which will go down well with their ‘followers’. As to the ‘Entertaining’ element of tweeting:  It can, as the old saying goes, “be difficult to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.

We are encouraged by Mr Laud’s Suggestion Three (supra) that law firms ‘hire someone to do their donkey work and outsource the firm’s social media activity’.  This advice presents us with a number of commercial opportunities to ‘assist’ our competitors ‘understand’ social media and get paid for it. My team is setting up an agency as I write.   Using the vernacular of a young trainee operating one of of our document shredders the other morning as he successfully disposed of some unprofitable client files… “Result!”

2. Competitor news

RollonFriday.com reports:

Taylor Wessing has introduced a new policy of disseminating details of its associates’ recorded hours internally.

With effect from March, associates have been told the hours recorded by each colleague in their team for the last month and for the year-to-date. So those at the top of the scale can smugly strut along the corridors and sneer at their humiliated, under-achieving friends as they desperately beg partners for work and the chance to put in an all-nighter.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims Latimer Lee LLP Solicitors Manchester solicitors

 

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Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 20): 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.

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode) 19: Retention of staff and human capital maximisation

MEMORANDUM EYES ONLY

To:  The Partners

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops

RE: Retention of staff and human capital maximisation

Gentlemen,

1. I am reviewing currently our human operational asset base for the purpose of refreshing the stock. This also ties in with an assessment of productivity of junior associate staff.  I was much taken by an article in the Law Society Gazette of 30th inst by Tessa Armstrong, a Careers and Performance Coach, amusingly titled: Junior solicitors create more value, and make firms happier places.

2. Ms Armstrong clearly has the right attitude. She writes: “Increasing profitability is currently a number one priority. Everyone is pulling out all the stops to bring in work – and junior solicitors are an important resource who can help too, if attention is paid to their performance and motivation.”

Ms Armstrong then goes for it with this wonderful sentiment:

Through improving the productivity of junior solicitors, firms can achieve some great things including:

  • Accelerated progression of junior solicitors through increased resilience.
  • Increased commitment from staff.
  • Increased profitability through reduced risk of poor performance.

All that’s needed is to ensure the challenges your junior solicitors face are identified and resolved straightaway.

3.  Losing just an hour a day of a solicitor’s time at only £150 per hour for four years costs approximately £135,000. This caught my eye.  Our charge out rate is, of course, rather more generous to us, but the idea of such a loss over the four years we aim to retain newly qualified staff for, before assessing how ‘sticky’ they are in our terms, is a matter of some concern.   Ms Armstrong rehearses issues of feedback to staff and comes up with a list of stratagems for success: The usual guff about making lists, doing the least attractive task first, turning off mobiles etc etc etc.  This advice  is counter to our Blackops on twitter where we are  encouraging as many of our competitors as possible to waste industrial amounts of billable time by tweeting and faffing around on Linked In;  let alone our encouragement and promotion of RollonFriday.com – a wonderful resource, where young lawyers can really be distracted and, in some cases, even lose their sanity.   Ms Armstrong does, however, show qualities worthy of Muttley Dastardly LLP where she states “The outcome should be that junior solicitors will be happy, motivated and focused, the number of chargeable hours recorded will increase, and profits will rise.”

4. Retention of staff:  We have 12 associates in PQE4 coming up for review. Unfortunately, all of them are showing promise, all are performing to targets – our stratagem of having a P45 blown up to poster size, framed, and placed in the PQE4 Bunker, seems to have had a subliminal effect in these ‘difficult days’.  I plan, therefore, with your blessing, to cull this down to 8; to allow us to bring fresh and less expensive blood in by using a device (pictured above) which I recall using at school as a child.  To ensure fairness I shall make four such devices, to accommodate the names of the twelve associates, and I shall pick, at random, passages from Lord  Denning’s judgment in Hightrees, and when I get to the end of the passage – using one word for each hand manipulation of the aforementioned device –  for each of the four ‘devices’,  the name on the left quartile shall be the one chosen for dispersal to the legal diaspora. To ensure that this process is even more random, I shall close my eyes when I pick the device up to start the process of selection.

5.  May I remind Partners that we meet this Friday to consider our policy on No Win No fee in the light of the shocking news yesterday.  In case you missed it, here is an article in The Guardian which explains all: The cost of clamping down on ‘no win, no fee’ legal arrangements

Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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Dr Erasmus Strangelove of Muttley Dastardly LLP is interviewed by LegalBrick Road… (It was billable)

Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops at Muttley Dastardly LLP is interviewed by Just Go Direct’s Legal Brick Road…. do not fear… it was chargeable….

“Law is a business like any other these days. We have the knowledge. You have the money. You give us the money. We give you the knowledge.”

Read…

Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 18): No repudiatory breaches with our client engagement letters

MEMORANDUM

From:  Matt Muttley, managing partner

To:  Partners and fee earners

RE: MOST IMPORTANT – FEES – ENGAGEMENT LETTERS TO CLIENTS

1. Perusing The Law Society Gazette this morning,  I came across a report of the ‘utmost importance’ and I write to ask all partners and fee earners to ensure that clients are ‘fully appraised’ of our terms and conditions in the letter of engagement.  I have asked Dr Erasmus Strangelove to address the issues raised by Mr Justice Cranston’s attack on our branch of the legal profession with the utmost haste.  I am advised that a revised ‘Letter of Engagement’ will be ready to send out to clients today enabling us to unilaterally vary our original terms of engagement with immediate effect.  Fortunately, we had the presence of mind to slip into Paragraph 4128(1)(c)(iii) of our Standard Terms of Engagement a right to unilaterally vary our contracts with clients at will and, even, on a whim.

2.  Mr Justice Cranston’s judgment

I urge you to read the report in The Law Society Gazette immediately (Another advantage is that this may well count for CPD points).  I quote from the most important and salient sections of this report:

Mr Justice Cranston dismissed an appeal brought by north London firm Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor (CKFT), against a costs judge’s ruling that no fees were payable by their former client Gary Minkin after the firm refused to carry out more work until he had paid his bill.

The costs judge held that the firm’s refusal to continue to act without payment was a repudiatory breach of contract. He said the firm was not entitled to any costs, and had to refund all the fees that Minkin had paid so far, except for counsel’s fees.

Dismissing the firm’s appeal, Cranston said: ‘The outcome may seem harsh. But the fact is that it should have been made clearer in [the] retainer letter as to the nature of the engagement.’

He said the firm should have complied with the terms in its retainer letter and standard terms of business, and informed the client in writing that the costs estimate may be exceeded.

3.  You will note that some comfort may be taken from the passage “and informed the client in writing that the costs estimate may be exceeded.”

As we always plan to exceed our estimates, even under the new Platinum Service scheme where we take 150% of our fee on account, we are unlikely to run into ‘problematic issues’;  but it is our practice to be most observant on the matter of fees and cover the position and all eventualities, including force majeure and exclusion of act of god, death or other incapacity, when it comes to fulfilment by the client of the obligation to pay fees, disbursements and ‘uplifts’.

The idea that  refusal to carry out further work until fees are paid could amount to a repudiatory breach of contract on our part – and worse, having to repay fees –  is not just ‘harsh’, it is too awful to contemplate.

4.  The firm expects you to do your duty, this day

Matt Muttley

Strength & Honour

PS:  RollonFriday.com has a most excellent piece on claiming CPD points by going skiing.  Taking the Piss or what?

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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The lives we are now leading….

 

All a bit embarrassing that the Libyan School of Economics took the money….. but hey…. still time to fund other more peaceful organisations?

Bit busy on a project… back later…..

And… just as you thought it was Assange to go back into the water…… Julian Assange is, allegedly, reputedly and, possibly – indubitably…trade marking *Assange*… at least…. according to this report in The Register….

And… David Allen Green has a very good post in the New Statesman on why Assange lost last week… it is worth reading…

 

We discussed the judgment in our first “Without Prejudice” podcast if you haven’t heard it David Allen Green, Carl Gardner and Joanne Cash discuss the verdict  in robust terms.

 

And… Twitter does throw up some wonderful nonsense….. this from my fellow tweeter… @Wibblenut… who, like me, keeps unusual hours.

 

And…these…

anne_f_ Anne Fay…asks….
@Charonqc Will I be allowed to assange if he gets his trademark? Am making no claims that I *want* to, it’s a theoretical question.
BillfromBendigo Bill from Bendigo
@Charonqc What about the legendary egg and bacon Assange!
@chuzzlit Alison Charlton…responded by saying….
@Charonqc I Assange you in the name of the law.
Meanwhile…as our Tory-led Coalition government wonder if they should hire ships and planes from Weapons R US…… I do think they may need to  re-consider the resources  (Harriers / aircraft carriers etc)  available to this country for his plans to go to war in North Africa….. but..hey… what do we know….?
Watched BBC Newsnight…..
AND… I love the fact that twitter is truly international… this> ……..
GADDAFIDUST…
And… of course….no sooner do I do this tweet……  the talent on the net has got the picture before me and everyone else   (via @Wibblenut)….. this  from those lovely people at b3ta.com.

Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 17): Dr Erasmus Strangelove reveals… his plan for domination of the legal market.

Can you imagine a situation where there are so many lawyers qualifying  each year through the law schools that we have an endless supply of ‘enthusiastic and able’ young freelance lawyers clamouring not to get into the profession – there is is no room at the Inn or in the big City firms – but to join  our new paralegal division, branded under a quite different and non-attributable name.

Can you imagine a situation where the rates we charge are so low, through volume and efficiency, that we can drive down costs in the profession and then disseminate information through the trade and related press and subtle advertising on the GoCompare model that prices in the traditional profession are, shall we say, ‘pacy’?.  And, what if we were to set up our specialist division of solicitor-advocates; perhaps even luring a few renegade silks to front it?  It would not be that difficult to build a ‘Stable’ (they call barristers chambers ‘stables’ in Scotland, I understand) of say 1000 solicitor-advocates, specialist in a very wide range of legal disciplines, and undercut the market.  We could take on The Bar, and we could take on some of these enthusiastic and able young people who can’t get work in the traditional profession and we could grow to perhaps 10,000 solicitor-advocates in a few years and take over the entire legal profession’s representation in the courts of this country.  In time, some of our Partners will be judges…who knows…perhaps, one day, even Supreme Court justices……”

Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops, Muttley Dastardly LLP,  speaking at a recent meeting of The Partners.

Truth is often stranger than fiction… because, curiously enough…… the rise in power of the paralegals was being discussed by former Bar chair, Nicholas Green QC,  and the idea of solicitors taking on the Bar by setting up solicitor-advocates on the chambers model was being mooted by Guy Berenger QC, a solicitor and a former senior partner at Allen & Overy,  only last Saturday…as reported in an excellent article in the Law Society Gazette.

***

With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 16): Partners [Eyes Only] General Counsel taking an interest in how law firms manage their firms

MEMORANDUM – EYES ONLY

To:  The Partners

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops

Gentlemen,

In keeping with our tradition and work best practice ethic,  I am assuming that you will all have been too busy to read the legal press this week. My earlier memorandum on competitor activity this week, not unduly alarming, revealed a few possibilities for proactive approaches.  There were, however, two articles in the legal press this week, one of which is so potentially dangerous in its thinking that it could threaten the very foundation of our great firm. I shall deal with this matter first.

1.  I refer you to an article by Legal Week editor Alex Novarese dated 18th February 2011: Mind your own business – should clients be telling law firms how to run their shop?

2.  Briefly: Mr Novarese is putting into the minds of general counsel some fairly dangerous and subversive thinking when he states: “A recent article on Legal Week about an adviser review at Deutsche Bank reminded me of a concept that has gained traction in recent years: the notion that clients should get actively involved in the business model and inner workings of their external counsel.” I have added italics to draw attention to the salient point of concern.

3.  Even in these dark days when general counsel are taking work away from firms in The City, I am advised that many still have time and the inclination to read The Lawyer and Legal Week and, I am advised, some have even taken to tweeting away on twitter – something which our Pysops unit (See: Operation Twitter Storm of October last) is particularly proud of on the premise that they may become addicted and, ergo, have less time to do valuable legal work themselves and pass it back to us.

4. Mr Novarese continues with a further subversive notion: “On one level, such a stance is taken as a sign that clients are finally taking a proactive approach to securing value from their advisers. And, to a point, there are good reasons to go down this road. For a client to insist on something as cosmetic as moving their work to fixed fees by implication will force changes to law firms because the industry’s infrastructure is so wedded to time-based billing.”

5.  We do not have any issues with our clients on hourly billing since we moved to our Platinum Value Bill service with 150% of our carefully judged ‘bunce’ being paid on account, but it is the first part of the paragraph which is of concern: It would be most awkward if clients started to investigate our workings to determine whether they were getting value.  The whole idea behind value billing is that we get value, not the client,  and for the editor of a respected legal weekly to put these ideas out into the public domain is, frankly,  (borrowing from the style of our revered leader, Prime Minister Camerondirect) ‘absolutely appalling’  and, almost certainly, a breach of our human rights.

6.  Mr Novarese continues his crusade to demystify the dark secrets of our glorious profession with this remarkable statement: “And it would be ludicrous to suggest that clients shouldn’t take any interest in how law firms run their business. You would want to know that your go-to adviser had rigorous systems to maintain quality and solid standards of ethical behaviour because major short-comings in this respect would probably impact on you as the client.” I really do not need to add comment to this.  Res ipsa loquitur. The man is absolutely right, of course, but being right doesn’t mean he should tell everyone? I shall agenda this for dissection at our next Partner’s meeting.

7. I turn now to an absolutely splendid article in The Lawyer from David Mandell, founder, Mandell Corporate: Opinion: Private clients may be profession’s new sugar daddies.

Unfortunately, The Lawyer, is also widely read in the profession and there is a danger that competitors will pick this up.  I extract and quote the most dangerous idea:

But after a recession more horrible than any other recent example, the dotcom bubble included, what is today’s big puzzle for our profession, ­specifically in relation to the positioning of private client work? For years lawyers have been weaned on a business vocabulary comprising ’core and non-core’, ’objectives and ­strategies’ and ’key performance indicators’. The mantra of grow or shrivel; merge or ­meander; or go small, niche and powerful is ingrained. Private client teams have become second cousins and non-core to the ­corporate focus, and shed.

I never fully understood that reasoning. Why send your firm’s best private clients to another firm when they get ’the Knock’ (or, more likely, divorce papers), which is exactly when you want you and your business to look after them.

Distress buying is where client relationships are formed (and broken). And it is not a revelation to say that the most durable client relationships are borne out of crisis purchases where there was no beauty parade or ­presentation- probably no more than a phone call and a recommendation to the client along the lines of, “See this lawyer – they won’t be cheap but they’re seriously good and will look after you”.

8.  We have, of course, formulated much of our growth on aggressive poaching and by doing our best to create distress to allow us into the distress buying market –  with some success, I add, mindful of my part in the bonus discussions – item 1 on the agenda for Sunday.

Gentlemen, we meet at 1.00 on Sunday to consider our bonuses and stratagems for the following week.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

***

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Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 15): Vultures in Togas and ‘the cattle of the courtroom’

MEMORANDUM

To: All Associates

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops

RE: VULTURES IN TOGAS

Obiter, writing in  in The Law Society Gazette, refers to a speech by the Master of The Rolls, Lord Neuberger, where he considers, inter alia, the topic of why lawyers are so unpopular.

Lord Neuberger stated:

‘I don’t intend to try to discuss the correctness of that analysis or to answer that question… [but] whatever they have been getting wrong, lawyers have apparently been getting it wrong for quite some time.

‘Around the second century AD, Apulieus, having referred to lawyers as “cattle of the courtroom”, then expressed the view that they were no more than “vultures in togas”. While Ammianus Marcellinus, two centuries later, took the view that lawyers were “a greedy and debased lot, who conspired with judges to rob the people of justice”.’

1. Associates with Muttley Dastardly LLP, as you know from your own induction, are put through a series of ‘desensitisation exercises’ of my devising based on my ‘consultancy’ work for our more secretive cousins across the pond some years ago, to handle negative imaging and stereotyping. The result of this programming is that we feel no slight, angst, guilt or tension when faced with the chatter of the chatterati of Hampstead dinner parties or, in more recent times, the liberal twitterati.  We do not rise to the bait. We are trained to be impassive in the face of criticism of our profession and to respond with the principle based response  that it is not the lawyers who are bad, it is the clients. We, the lawyers, are merely the architects of the client’s desire.

2.  Recently, this firm, as with many others in The City, participated indirectly in trashing the entire global economy with our skillful drafting of new instruments of securitisation for our most favoured investment banking clients. In fact,  so skillful were we at this firm, and law firms in The City generally (it has to be said), in drafting instruments for ‘Toxic Debt’ et al,  that the bankers have taken the hit in the public mind and we have escaped free of legal liability, public opprobium and moral obloquy. We were merely ‘obeying orders’.

3.  In our highly successful new Drive-thru Divorce Lawyer division, a service delivered under our MegaladonLLPdontcompare.com online brand  – it is not we, the lawyers, who are the villains. It is those who choose to get married where one or both of the parties fail to sort out their affairs in a civilised manner. I seem to recall a case where the Court of Appeal expressed consternation that there was no money left for further appeals work or, indeed, left for the parties themselves, because such money as the parties had enjoyed in their marriage had been consumed by the legal process.

4. I need not labour the point.  The principle holds true for many spheres of human behaviour, fortunately. We know that it is the clients who are ‘cattle of the courtroom’.  We are, however, too discreet, professional and polite, to let on;  save in the exceptional circumstance where a client should ‘wilfully, negligently, recklessly or with malice aforethought’ (Clause 1782(a)(ii) of our Standard Terms & Conditions), fail to settle their bill promptly and in timely fashion.  This latter ‘difficulty’ is rare at Muttley Dastardly LLP, of course.  Our policy of taking at least 150% of estimated costs on account gives us the flexibility to ensure we are compensated for the work that we do and award ourselves a little bonus without all the fuss that bankers are getting in the national press at the present time.

I trust that you will take comfort from my memorandum should you find recidivism and liberal tendencies creeping back into your psyche after reading the always excellent Obiter in The Law Society Gazette on this matter.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

***

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Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 14): Operation Pharaoh – Positioning for the new Egypt

TOP SECRET / PARTNERS ONLY

BRIEFING PAPER

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner, Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops


RE: OPERATION PHARAOH – POSITIONING LEGAL SERVICES IN THE NEW EGYPT

1.  In the wake of events unfolding in Egypt in the last week, from intelligence received from the many, varied and newly minted Egyptologists now broadcasting their views, opinions and thoughts about developments in Egypt on Twitter, I have employed a specialist in information dissimulation and he will be deployed ‘undercover on our behalf’ (Pictured right)  to offer advice to US and UK law firms in London  on the opportunities available to lawyers in what may well turn out to be a new Egypt.  The reasoning behind this deployment is straightforward: The less well informed other law firms are about Egypt, the more likely our own offerings to the Government of Egypt, however constituted, will, be.   We have been fortunate in being able to take advice from an ex-television station reporter  on the traits, knowledge and, most importantly, the dress effected by expert media Egyptologists,  to ensure that managing partners of London firms will feel ‘comfortable’ with their decision to take advice from our operative on matters relating to Egypt. At the moment, we are calling our operative Jamie Ramses; the ‘Jamie’ element providing the right class note and, ‘Ramses’ providing that subtle  Egypt credibility touch.

2.  At this stage, our Psyops unit has not been able to determine (a) whether President Hosni Mubarak will be turning up in Knightsbridge to open a department store with the $25 Billion he is reputed,  by the United Kingdom  free Press,  to have salted away or (b) will continue to govern.  Curiously, not even the United States State Department or, indeed, our own Foreign & Commonwealth Office, were able to give any guidance on this – although The Foreign Office spokesperson at their outsourced call centre in India, who had a very curious nasal Yorkshire accent, did tell us that the prime minister said it was not in anyone’s interest that people are being killed in Egypt ( which they discovered via @Piersmorgan on twitter – a verified personage) and that we should not travel to Egypt unless it was absolutely necessary for us to do so to interfere in the sovereign affairs of an emerging democracy.

3.  Partners may find some comfort, in terms of our dealings with US law firm competitors here in London, that our cousins across the seas do not have a particularly strong grasp of geography according to a Fox News map from 2009 – so we shall do all we can to encourage our competitors to go to Egypt, as depicted on this map, so they can enjoy a warm welcome from the Iraqis. While I appreciate that Partners will be well aware of Egypt’s geographical location, I do like to leaven my Briefing Papers with a bit of light relief,  and the Fox News map is pictured below.  It may be a hoax net post, of course, but I hope that some of our competitors will accept the provenance.

4.  Events continue to unfold.  I don’t think we will see, however, a repeat of the British Government response to The Suez Crisis in 1956.  That would be too much to hope for.  I shall keep you informed

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

***

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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 Facebook page.  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 say dreadsnought…. 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?”

***

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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 12: Age is not a factor at The Firm

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 Week by the editor, Alex Novarese:

Locking 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

***

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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 11: Not Dead yet? We have the Will for you!

MEMORANDUM

From:  Henry Offthewall, Director of Marketing

To: The Partners

RE:  OPERATION MORITURI TE SALUTANT – WILLS: THE NEW PARADIGM IN DEATH

1.  Please find attached a draft advertisement to attract a new client base. 

2.  I read this in The Law Society Gazette and I quote it in full for your attention and perusal

Good will hunting

Law Society Gazette: Thursday 13 January 2011As any wills and probate solicitor knows only too well, a shocking proportion of the population has never made a will (two-thirds of Britons do not have a valid will according to a recent survey by unbiased.co.uk). So law firms will be only too pleased that a new BBC documentary fronted by a City solicitor is set to raise the profile of this issue. Withers partner Sue Medder (pictured) will be presenting Can’t Take It With You, with business expert Sir Gerry Robinson (also pictured), a six-part series revealing the emotional human stories stemming from intestacy. The first episode will be aired tomorrow on BBC2; solicitors can expect the phone to start ringing in the wills and probate department next week.

3.  I understand that The Firm does not have a general will drafting department; but having spoken to James Rutland-Cayman of our Monaco office, who heads the Tax Planning Unit for The Astonishingly Wealthy,  it does seem that there may be opportunities for The Firm to provide a general service to members of the public who are thinking of dying in the not too distant future.

4.  It seems that the matter or Wills (and/or lack of) is attracting interest at the highest levels in the legal profession and, indeed, from the Regulator of regulators for the legal profession, The Legal Standards Board.  I quote from this snippet of intelligence from The Law Society Gazette dated Thursday 09 December 2010 by James Dean:

Mystery shoppers to test will-writers

Mystery shoppers will test the service provided by will-writers early next year, as part of a Legal Services Board project.

Research agency IFF Research has been commissioned by the LSB, the Legal Services Consumer Panel and the Office of Fair Trading to recruit individuals to report back on their experience of getting a will, which will then be assessed by a panel of solicitors and will-writers.

IFF will select 100 consumers looking to obtain a will. Of these, 40 will use a solicitor, 40 will use a will-writer, and 20 will write their own will using an online provider or paper-based DIY will.

5.  With all the free publicity being generated by television, radio shows and even sundry and  itinerant law bloggers, it seems to me that we could outsource much of this work to an agent, brand it under our general purpose vehicle Megaladon LLP and make a killing, if you forgive the metaphor.  There are opportunities for a Death Planning Black Card service for high net worth individuals who, as yet, have not drafted their will because they believe that they can ‘take it with them’.

6.  I welcome your thoughts on the matter

Henryoffthewall, Director of Marketing

Strength & Profits

***

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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 10: RE – A Christmas Carol

MEMORANDUM TO PARTNERS / EYES ONLY

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

Date: 25th December 2010

RE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Gentlemen,
I appreciate that we have scheduled four hours on Christmas Day to attend to matters of family but, as you know, our firm is a 24/7/365 operation and I wish to confirm that we have full cover.  I did, however, last night, have a rather strange experience which I wish to record for the file.

1.  As you know our esteemed co-founding partner, Dastardly, died some time ago.  I use the term ‘died’ in the law firm sense of having retired, but I understand that he has in fact died in real life as well.

2.  I was working late tonight.  It was a dark and cold night.  An associate, Tiny Tim, was working late and he rang me, as instructed, to inform me that snow was falling so that I could hedge our power interests while the US markets were still open.

3. At approximately 10.32, I was visited by the ghost of our former Partner.  The meeting, unfortunately, can’t be billed as the Ghost of Dastardly told me that his Amex card did not work ‘where he now was’. I reminded the Ghost of Dastardly that we are not big on pro bono and as the legal press had closed down for two weeks I couldn’t get any leverage on releasing a story about doing pro bono work on Christmas Eve. He understood this (old habits die hard even for ghosts of former partners)  and briefed me quickly on various episodes from my childhood. Fortunately, I was not that innocent when I was a child and I was not moved by his advocacy and plea that we, as a firm, show more compassion.

4. At approximately 11.04, I was visited for a second time by the Ghost of Dastardly.  I misunderstood what he was saying and thought he had returned to give me a present.  This was not the case.  He told me that he was now a Ghost of Christmas Present. He asked me to accompany him to Waitrose where people were buying food for Christmas Day.  I told him that I had an iPad and we could go onto the Waitrose website instead.  Time is money. Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present then asked me to look at a blog written by one of our former associates who ‘we had to let go’. You may remember him – Rob Cratchit. It would appear that Rob Cratchit was not able to get a job after we fired him and now lives in ‘diminished circumstances’. I asked Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present if he would kindly get to the point. He told me that we needed to develop a sense of responsibility for our fellow man.  I was able to confirm that we do not take a stance on the political issues of the day, our amoral apolitical stance, means that we can stand above David Cameron’s notions of ‘Big Society’ and retain the clinical objectivity so prized by our client base.

5.  At approximately 12.05 am  on Christmas Day, I was visited by the  Ghost of Dastardly again. He had a copy of The Guardian.  He placed it on my desk and pointed to a story about the dire future which lay ahead of us and a rather curious story about an Australian who has developed a ‘Messiah’ complex and is leaking secrets all over the place. To my astonishment, he then placed a picture on my desk of a grave in a  rather badly tended cemetery, and told me that it was my grave.  I was able to re-assure Ghost of Dastardly of Christmas Yet To Come, as he was now calling himself, that it was highly improbable that a Partner of our firm would be buried in such a run down place and that he really should not watch so much Sky TV given that the future owners of that television station are Australian. Keeping to an Australian theme, I did say that I had been placing fairly substantial investments with ‘our friends’ in Pakistan on The Ashes and on the evidence of the Third Test in Perth, when England collapsed in a rather improbable way, that we could look forward to additional tax free revenue early in the New Year when England did not simply retain The Ashes, but win them.  The Ghost of Dastardly did not  seem to be impressed by this statement.

6.  Finally, I am pleased to report, when I woke on Christmas morning, I felt no particular desire to spend any time whatsoever with my nephew’s family and had no side effects of feelings of love or affection for our fellow man.

7.  We have a Partner’s meeting at 3.00 today to discuss our bonuses.  It will, gentlemen, be a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Matt Muttley

Strength & Profits

***

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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 9: Position paper on The Bribery Act

SECRET (NO FOREIGNERS)

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

To: The Partners

RE: BRIBERY AND HOW TO GET AWAY WITH IT

Gentlemen, I write on a matter of some importance to those of our clients who have interests in the aerospace and arms industry and a side interest in what I shall loosely define as ‘football related activities’.

1.  You will, of course, be fully familiar with the provisions of the new Bribery Act and all corporate partners should now have downloaded a new ‘app’ for your Muttley Dastardly iPhone giving you a fool proof guide to these provisions should you need to give advice quickly to clients who are unable to resist the urge to bribe an overseas government or, a member of FIFA or indeed,  if recent Wikileaks revelations about Prince Andrew are to be believed, you are acting in France and Kyrgistan.

2.  I draw your attention to a most excellent briefing in OUT-Law ( so useful to have competitor firms provide briefing papers of value to us in these dark days of cuts and profit maximisation).  I quote the salient passages…

“The Law Society has responded to a consultation on (the government guidelines) and has called for more detail.

The Law Society considered that the guidance is helpful. However, there were specific areas where more detail and clarification would be helpful,” said the Law Society’s response (4-page / 45KB PDF). “The Law Society recognises the importance of prosecutorial discretion in legislation such as this. However, this does mean that there will be a lack of certainty in the early days of implementation and this is a concern for many of our Members and their clients. Clear and swift guidance from the prosecuting authorities would, in our view, help to allay fears and assist firms to ensure compliance with the new Act.”

The Law Society said the approach taken by the Ministry of Justice’s guidance is too vague.

3.  Having examined The Law Society response, a short and pithy paper, I note their concern….“The Law Society also said that the guidance should advise on how companies can deal with bribery that is ongoing, and how they can deal with bribery that occurs in the UK.

“[The guidance’s practical examples] are overly complex; they only consider overseas bribery, which may cause firms to overlook the fact that bribery can occur in the UK,” said the Law Society response.”

4.  The Ministry of Justice appears to be reluctant to explain how the legislation may work in any more detail for fear of restricting the discretion of the prosecuting authorities – in this case, the Serious Fraud Office – thus upholding a fine tradition of obfuscation in our laws to allow ‘wiggle room’ should any future prime minister or attorney-general wish to step in at the last moment and stop investigations on grounds of ‘national security’.  Not that one could ever imagine such a thing happening in the United Kingdom.
I think we can safely assume that none of our clients would engage in activities coming within the Bribery Act, as currently understood and implemented by the prosecuting authorities and, I understand, there was much banging of tables and cheering down at the old “Dog and Very Rich Duck’ last night at a meeting of tax avoiders, hedgies, bankers and entrepreneurs and a general feeling that business may proceed as usual and that the new legislation will deter the faint hearted but not unduly restrict those of a more, shall we say, bold disposition who don’t approve of the SFO,  [Expletive] journalists and sundry other traitors sticking their noses into business which is of no concern to them.

It may be wise to download The Law Society response for ‘best practice’ compliance purposes. Law Society’s response (4-page / 45KB PDF) You may even be able to claim some CPD points if you read it.

We meet this Friday to consider our weekly business.

Matt Muttley

Strength & Profits

***

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 8: India bites back

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

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With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 7: The Partners meet……

PODCAST VERSION OF MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP 7

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 or Damascene 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 Gazette article….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.

PODCAST VERSION OF MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP 7

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With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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We are the wills and probate dispute specialists.

.

Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 6: Report on the state of legal education in England & Wales from Dr Erasmus Stranglelove

*PARTNERS: EYES ONLY*

Report on the State of Legal Education in England & Wales: Legal Practice Course

Dr Erasmus Strangelove LLB, JD, BCL, Ph.D, Barrister
Partner and Director of Strategic Development

Gentlemen,

I have been asked to brief on aspects of legal education in England & Wales and advise on a number of opportunities which may present in the light of the state of the market and the current economic climate.

The Legal Practice Course

Figures released recently for 2009 show that 9,954 students enrolled on the LPC. Of those that took the final examination, 5,824 passed, a 75% pass rate.  No-one seems to have a clue how many training contracts there are for 2010 yet (5809 for 2009 is given), nor the precise figure backed up in the system for students in the last two to three years who failed to secure a training contract. No-one seems to have a clue as to how many ILEX students  are obtaining contracts. There are no figures available for students passing the LPC at a second sitting.  Rachel Rothwell, writing in The Law Society Gazette, states…“The Law Society’s annual report does not specify how many traineeships were available in 2009, but in the previous year (August 2009 to July 2009), there were 5,809 new traineeships – almost exactly the same amount as the number of LPC graduates who passed first time last year.”

Ms Rothwell adds: “Kevin Poulter of the Junior Lawyers Division estimates that there are now between 10,000 and 20,000 LPC graduates currently looking for training contracts, although a letter in this week’s Gazette suggests that the real figure is lower.”

My observations on this may be summarised thus:

(a) With 10,000 students annually chasing 6000 training contracts (A figure which may well reduce as Tesco Law reduces the need for ‘lawyers’ with ‘sophisticated’ or, indeed, any legal qualification) there is, clearly, an over supply of young potential lawyers.  The law schools appear to be doing their bit by failing 25% of LPC candidates reducing numbers to a ‘politically acceptable norm’. It is surprising that the fail rate is so high.  The LPC is by no means an intellectually demanding course, the candidates are law graduates and they have paid (or firms have paid) fees of £8000 ++ for the privilege.  From this, I conclude that the university law schools and LPC providers are taking on too many students – I haven’t been able to find any pass/fail statistic on leading law school websites although, I understand, students are given some mumbo jumbo about ‘Things being difficult’ – fail rates ‘may’ be being made clear to students before they part with their money? I suspect that this may not, however, be the case. Further investigation is needed on this point.

(b) Traditional universities, newly keen to get into the very lucrative post Browne fees feeding frenzy (Law is a popular cash cow with Vice Chancellors) will not be too keen to have publicity on an over supply of law graduates because this will impact on their own law student recruitment.  An astonishing number of universities – some I have not even heard of until recently – are now running law degree programmes.

(c) Given that students have to get a minimum of  a 2.2 (although, frankly, this is a certificate of incompetence) to get into a Legal Practice Course Farm  these days –   the chance of a student getting a training contract with a 2.2 from The University of Lakeside Thurrock and Bluewater et al is remote. It would appear, given degree inflation and the entrance requirement of the aforesaid LPC providers,  that the chances of not getting a 2.2 are remote.  Ipso facto, it follows  that some not terribly bright law students are getting degrees which are not worth that much in practice and are then going on to LPC providers and handing over substantial sums of money only to charge  into the valley of examination death to be cut down in their prime by the examiners.  Some survive this horror only to re-take (at a fee, one presumes?) and leave their provider with another certificate of incompetence.  Who, after all, will employ a person who passes the LPC  on a re-sit when there are so many people who pass first time to choose from?  I understand that students who secure 2.1 degree passes from the top universities tend not to fail the LPC and, not surprisingly, are better placed to get training contracts.

(d)   BPP Law School is opening three new centres: Cambridge, Liverpool and Newcastle.  This could well put further pressure on the public sector LPC providers who can’t compete with BPP at present on money resources and may also encourage The College of Law into a tactical retaliation on  the old “me too” school of management thinking. And so the continuing tactically applied pressure on the public sector continues.

(e) As we only take people from a very select group of universities, specifying a minimum of a high Upper Second,  and play the LPC providers off against other to get the best fee deals because we don’t actually care who teaches our trainees the LPC –   it only take us a month to unteach them and train them ‘in our ways and means’ when they arrive here – I can see no immediate risk to us in the light of this latest information on the parlous state of legal education.

(f) Amusingly, it would seem from Rachel Rothwell’s article  that the SRA does not have power to limit LPC places.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

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With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 5: Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

MEMORANDUM

To: The Partners

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

WEEKLY BRIEFING

Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.
Hunter S. Thompson

It seemed appropriate, given the extraordinary events of last week and the events to come this week in terms of Osbore’s Spending Review, to quote the great Hunter S Thompson.

1. George Osborne takes spending axe to prisons and legal aid

The Guardian reports: Leaked documents show Ministry of Justice will lose 30% of budget in comprehensive spending review.

There are two issues here of relevance to The Partners:  The first is the possibility that we could buy a prison and turn it into bijou studio flats for young professionals who can’t get onto the housing ladder.  There is a suggestion that some prisons will be sold off.  I have asked Dr Strangelove, our Director of Education and Strategy and a fellow Partner,  to review this matter most carefully.  Secondly, given that the government can’t actually seriously reduce the legal aid budget in terms of crime, but can in terms of family law, there is every prospect that our Megaladon LLP division could get in on the act and offer No Divorce No Fee offers.  As the prospect of the courts actually declining to divorce people is very remote, we will get our fee and there may well be some mileage in the ‘financial arrangements’ inter partes? We need to review this.

2. I thought The Partners might enjoy a laugh this week – so you might find this nonsense amusing

Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly on pro bono and the Big Society

The Law Society Gazette: “While prime minister David Cameron’s idea of the ‘Big Society’ has left many people unclear as to what their own role or contribution to it could be, for lawyers the answer looks fairly simple: pro bono work can use lawyers’ skills, knowledge and professional standing to meet unmet need. The legal profession has much of the infrastructure in place to help lawyers play that role.”

Please note that I am all in favour of lawyers in other firms doing pro bono work.  I am also happy to applaud the work done by lawyers who do pro bono for altruistic reasons.  The government is not going to plug the legal aid *HOLE* through the kindness of lawyers.

I do find it amusing, however, gentlemen, that a government minister thinks he can fool our profession with this nonsense…

The coalition government is keen to show its support for pro bono work, and Jonathan Djanogly, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, will speak at the launch event on 19 October. He will not be a lone representative of government there, with the attorney general Dominic Grieve QC and solicitor general Edward Garnier QC likely to attend to hear speeches from Djanogly and the lord chief justice.Djanogly takes the view that pro bono work is not just good for the public interest, but good for the legal profession itself. ‘Pro bono work provides lawyers with a sense of community,’ he argues. ‘Lawyers get quite easily “silo-ed” – whether that’s as a high street conveyancer, or a commercial lawyer sitting on the eighteenth floor drafting euro bonds. Pro bono can take them out of their specialism and into other areas – some of those areas they may want to return to later in their career.’

I leave to you to make of this what you will.  Interesting to note that The Gazette describes Djanogly as …“…every inch the City lawyer – neat, smooth, friendly and to the point.”

Silo-ed?  I do wonder, sometimes, about the education system in our country. I suppose that if Djanogly had been at the Department of the Environment’ he would be banging on about people being *windfarmed* or*Severnbarraged*?

I seem to recall a Telegraph story on the matter of MP expenses.  I supply the link  for your delectation and delight…

MPs’ expenses: Tory MP Jonathan Djanogly claimed almost £5,000 for automatic gates

The Telegraph: “Jonathan Djanogly, the multi-millionaire shadow business minister, claimed almost £5,000 to have automatic gates installed at his large home in his Huntingdon constituency.”

Automatic gates at his house…?  Gentleman..I ask you…. . why would a smooth, friendly, to the point, multi-millionaire, successful EX-City lawyer needs such a device?  I can well understand why we do, but we are not friendly.

Matt Muttley

Strength & Profits

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
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Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 4: Thinking of a Career in Law? Hahaha!

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

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
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Muttley Dastardly LLP EPISODE 3: Human Rights – Memorandum to The Partners from Dr Strangelove

MEMORANDUM

To: The Partners

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove MA(Oxon), BCL, Ph.D FRSA, Barrister
Director of Education and Strategy

POSITION PAPER ON HUMAN RIGHTS

1.  Gentlemen – I have been asked to set out by way of review, as far as this is possible given the vacillation and lack of principles in political circles, the position currently being taken on Human Rights by leading members of the three political parties. [I have included the Lib-Dems for the purposes of this memorandum as a political party, but judging by YOUGov polls it may cease to exist and simply become the tree hugging wing of the Conservative Party with other Lib-Dems going over to join the Ambassador from Planet F**k in what he is now calling Optimistic Labour]

2.  Human Rights is important to this firm – not, of course, in terms of our observing same with our employees – but in terms of maximising and leveraging fees, profit and revenues.  I believe that there are many opportunities ahead for significant billable work in this field in the next five years.  Our forces, unions, police, riots, cuts, government incompetence et al will and ‘should’ provide some fairly good abuses and we must be ever ready to assist our clients with claims and litigation.

3.  The Tories: Before the election, David Cameron, who, it has to be said does not appear to have law (Rule of or otherwise) uppermost in his mind, declared that the Human Rights Act was the creature of evil and had to be replaced with a Big Society BRITISH Bill of Rights.

Partners may well remember Cameron’s speech where he came up with this bollocks.  I quote by way of reminder…

The fact that the murderer of Philip Lawrence cannot be deported flies in the face of common sense. It is a glaring example of what is going wrong in our country. What about the rights of Mrs Lawrence? The problem for this government is that the Human Rights Act is their legislation and they appear to be blind to its failings.”

Lord Howard QC – that well known hanging and flogging Home Secretary,  still appears to have something of the night about him and has called for the HRA to be replaced.  Now that he has been shunted upstairs we do not, fortunately, have to consider his views at all, let alone seriously.

One advantage of Coalition government is that the extreme right tin foil hat wearing members of the Tories have been reined in and an excellent article in The Guardian has noted…

Lord McNally is one of a number of coalition outriders for the retention of the HRA. Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve QC is “broadly comfortable” with the Act. In 2006, Ken Clarke branded the move to a British bill of rights “xenophobic”. Nick Clegg, the deputy PM, has even claimed this year that he will lead the charge for the Human Rights Act, although when this campaign is due to start in earnest is unclear. A band of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have clearly influenced the government’s climbdown on the Human Rights Act, but this change must not be a silent one.

4. Views from Planet F**k: The new Leader, Ed Miliband, who destroyed his brother’s political career with the panache and skill worthy of a Partner at Muttley Dastardly LLP, gave a rather weird speech at ‘Conference’ the other day when he declared himself all in favour of criticising the Labour government of the past – despite his writing the last manifesto – and declared that Labour had to be the party of Civil Liberties.  This latter was rather ironic as I seem to recall that the largest erosion in civil liberties in history came in the twelve or so years of Labour government.  Red Ed is in favour of civil liberties – without explaining to his Red Flag singing sycophants what they are –  but wants to retain CCTV and DNA.  This tends to indicate that he hasn’t really understood what civil liberties are and his thoughts are a *work in progress*.  They may continue to be for some time until he fucks the leadership up and we get another lengthy leadership election.  We are *monitoring* the new Labour Party most carefully and Psyops18, our covert dissimulation unit, are (sic)  on twitter 24/7 both monitoring and sowing dissent under the guise of Libertarian ranters.

5.  Conclusion: I shall continue to review – but the prognosis for good fee earning looks good

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
for free expert compensation advice.

Making a will is simple with diy will packs.
Make a legally valid will from the comfort of your own home.

If you are contesting a will we can help.
We are the wills and probate dispute specialists.

Legal profession responds to hard times…. auction site for work!

The latest idea from the febrile minds of those who work in or around the legal profession is AUCTION for Work!  My fellow blogger: The Utterant has a wonderful piece on this development on his blog and an excellent cartoon.

Next week Muttley Dastardly LLP is organising one of those dance competitions they used to run in the Great Depression in America.  A sort of Strictly Come Dancing meets Desperate Lawyers.  The prize is a juicy personal injury law suit and the lawyers left standing at the end of the marathon dance will be awarded the work.  Muttley Dastardly LLP will, naturally, be taking a facilitation and services fee of 25%.  We don’t watch the Dragons’ Den for nothing at Muttley Dastardly LLP

Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 2: Procureco Wars

PODCAST EPISODE 2: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP – PROCURECO WARS

MEMORANDUM

To: The Partners

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

RE: PROCURECO WARS

Gentlemen, I write from our Caribbean island with news of an opportunity which I think we should give some attention to.  As you know, it is 24/7/365 at M&D LLP.  I have a lunch engagement, so I shall be brief.

1.  Barristers’ chambers could provide a ‘lifeline’ to small criminal law firms, Bar Council chairman Nick Green QC has told the Gazette

2. I quote from the Gazette: “Green said that when the Legal Services Commission next tenders for criminal contracts, likely to be next year, he expects to see barristers’ chambers putting in bids for work using the model procurement company devised by the Bar Council, known as the ProcureCo.”

3.  I rather like this bizarre word ‘procureco’ – pregnant with all manner of meanings, some possibly  sinister.  The idea is that Barrister chambers will rush into the market to mop up criminal work and provide a full service  through a Procureco bolted on like a shed to the side of their practice – as is required under The Dragon’s Den rules – sorry, that should be, under LSA rules. This means that in addition to providing advocacy services which they can, clearly, provide, they will have to provide all the back up services as well currently being done by solicitors.  This means they will have to do deals with solicitors and the minutiae of commerce – a prospect some at the Bar may not enjoy, or even, in the case of some of m’learned friends, positively recoil in horror from.

4. Unfortunately for Mr Green and his vision of a land of milk and procurecos – there is a rather large fly in the ointment.  The fly is the plan by solicitors to blacklist any set of chambers setting up a procureco and bidding against them for work – resulting in those same barristers not being instructed by the firm or firms doing the black listing.

5.  I would like to propose two alternate plans:

Plan A would involve encouraging as many sets of chambers in this field as possible to set up Procurecos, encourage – through twitter and articles strategically placed in law publications – solicitors firms to blacklist them – and set up our own Criminal Division to deal with criminal work and use the barristers who can’t get instructions from other criminal firms because they have been blacklisted.  This should result in some satisfactory fee discussions with the clerks.

Plan B is that we buy a range of small criminal law firms – or enter into ‘affiliation’ arrangements with them providing our infrastructure and ‘ethos’ rather along the lines of claim farms in personal injury –  and use the combined muscle of collaboration to create a large (and, ultimately, monolithic criminal law firm) and exercise a very real influence and control in and of the market.  The latter plan is, of course, more expensive and for the longer term.

6.  I end with a few choice points in the Comments section of  Catherine Baksi’s excellent article for your perusal, delectation and delight:

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 13:07.

Can the Bar not see that by entering into direct competition with solicitors they will potentially reduce those who will instruct them…….. If the bar secure a contract in one area, they will get at most an eighth or a tenth of the work in that area, based on the reduced number of suppliers suggested by the MOJ. That means that the rest of the work in the area is undertaken by people they are now competing with. That could seriously limit the work they have coming in.

They need to think this through again.

Collaboration between specialist criminal legal practices

Submitted by Allan Carton on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 13:40.

Solicitors should be taking the lead here.

Gentlemen – please note that Allan Carton seems to favour our Plan B option.

And, finally – I rather liked this comment:

Submitted by Pete Balchin on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 21:41.
Ah, luverly…. We now start to see the real results of ‘franchising’ unravelling…

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PODCAST EPISODE 2: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP – PROCURECO WARS

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
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Making a will is simple with diy will packs.
Make a legally valid will from the comfort of your own home.

If you are contesting a will we can help.
We are the wills and probate dispute specialists.

Muttley Dastardly LLP Episode 1: Deoxyribonucleic Acid

PODCAST VERSION: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP – EPISODE 1

Eva Braun walked into the waiting area outside Matt Muttley’s office on the top floor, elegantly dressed in a dark tailored suit and black court shoes. “Mr Muttley will see you now.  I will show you in.”

James Harrison, confirmed as an associate with the firm only three weeks before, walked into the large darkened office and was invited to sit in a high backed chair facing Muttley’s desk, but set back exactly ten feet away. The chair, inspired by art nouveau concepts, was made of metal with a curious curved back which made it difficult for the person sitting in it to sit comfortably or with any degree of elegance.  Harrison decided to perch on the front section of the seat and put up with the discomfort.

“Well, good morning James.  Do the names Friedrich Miescher, Francis Crick or James D. Watson mean anything to you?  If I was to  tell you that polymerases are enzymes that synthesize polynucleotide chains from nucleoside triphosphates,  would you find that inordinately fascinating or even know what I was talking about?”  Matt Muttley sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his neck, his expression expectant.

“I do not know the people you mention.  I am certainly not dealing with their files at present.   And I would have to say that I would not find the information you have given me on polymerases of any immediate interest, simply because I have no idea what they are and they are not germane to any of the files I am working on currently.”

“If I was to say….. Deoxyribonucleic acid… would this assist you in your thinking….? thinking in relation to a personal matter which has been drawn to my attention by our covert surveillance unit headed by Dr Erasmus Strangelove, our esteemed Director of Education and Strategic Information.

James Harrison paused before answering, glanced upwards, noticed a discreet cctv camera pointing straight at him and answered “You are talking about DNA, but how is that relevant to my work here?”

“Spot on James.  Let me tell you where I am coming from on this, to borrow from the well worn phrase used by James Caan on Dragon’s Den.  We routinely monitor the internet traffic of all members of the firm.  This is covered in clause 1441 of your employment contract. We chose 1441 as the clause for this as a bad joke to reflect our view that it was our ‘weapon of mass destruction’.  We issue iPads to all our employees not because we are philanthropists, but because we want you to work, work and work some more.  We want the first thing you reach for in the morning to be your iPad and the last thing you touch at night to be your iPad. I understand that Eversheds have taken a similar policy of issuing iPads to all their fee earners – but I rather suspect that their intentions are honourable, while ours are not.  This is covered in Clause 1441(d)(viii) of your contract of employment.  Dr Strangelove, during his routine sweep of Facebook accounts, noticed that a woman by the implausible name of Squirrelnutkin 4 wrote on your ‘Wall’.  This is what she wrote…”

Muttley flicked his fingers over his goldplated iPad – a gift from a company one of the Dragons had invested in, but not signed, fortunately,  by Frank Lampard on the back.

Muttley quoted: “Hello Bigboy Jimmy Babes…. Have I got NEWS for you!  You remember that night of erotic passion and entirely random sex we had after you took me to that nightclub?  Well…. I am pregnant…. seriously pregnant….and it is yours!!  I hope you are earning a lot of money at that crazy law firm you are working at… because Jimmy Babes… you are going to need it.  I have engaged the services of JAWS, one of the most famous family lawyers in Britain… and, boy… is he coming after you… big time.!”

The colour drained from Harrison’s face and his forehead went clammy.

“A glass of water, James?”  Muttley asked, a dry smile playing on his lips.

“Er… no… not thank you Mr Muttley”

“We look after our staff at Muttley Dastardly.  We also look after ex-staff.  Clearly, it cannot be acceptable for a firm of our stature and reputation to employ lawyers who randomly impregnate people, and even if you are found ‘not guilty’ as we say in our business, we certainly can’t employ someone who goes around on Facebook calling himself BigBoy Jimmy Babes. Do you watch the Dragon’s Den, James?”

“No… I don’t have time.”

“But you do watch The Apprentice. We know this from your internet traffic records.  Well…as SurAlan, now Lord SurAlan, would say… You’re Fired!  Eva Braun will give you a black bag with your belongings, your severance pay and the telephone number of Cellmark – the DNA testing specialists.  We use them all the time here… for our clients.  We didn’t imagine having to use them for one of our staff…. or, indeed, ex-staff.”

Harrison stared at Matt Muttley, puzzlement clear in his eyes… “You mean I’m out?”

Muttley smiled.  “Yes… you’re OUT!  Goodbye.  Oh….do look at the section on the Cellmark website What is the process for DNA testing – a most useful video. The baby, after all, may not be yours. We would, of course, be happy to represent you if you fight.  I regret that we do not do discounts for anyone – although Partners get all our services free. ”

***

PODCAST VERSION: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP – EPISODE 1

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors ,
Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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Muttley Dastardly LLP seek only the brightest of the bright

From The Desk of The Director of Education and Strategic Information
Dr E Strangelove LLB, BCL, MBA, Ph.D, Solicitor

21st August 2010

INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE TRAINEES

We  at Muttley Dastardly LLP appreciate that you come from a generation that has had everything served up to you on a plate by angst ridden middle-class parents who may well have sent you to ballet or music classes when you were a precious six year old. We know your parents pressure cooked you through your mollycoddled lives at prep and public schools – we do do Grammar (at a pinch) but not ‘State’ at Muttley Dastardly – and we are always amused at what you ‘say you did’ on your ‘Gap’ year.  We are not employing your parents, so please warn your parents that if they try to ring up our HR department to ‘exert a bit of influence or pressure’ we shall take the call as ‘instructions’, charge them for listening and send them a bill.  We will not, however, take a blind bit of notice, even if they start crying.  We are not like a British university admissions department at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

We also accept that you probably think that our generation – The Baby Boomers – have trashed the place and left you with a mountain of debt to cope with for  your entire working lives. You are right.  We have.  Live with it, as our American partners say.  If you cut it at Muttley Dastardly LLP, you won’t ever have to worry about debt or, indeed, anything –  ever again.

We are only interested in taking on the very best of the best. You will note that we only practise law in London and New York.  We do this for a reason – there is just not enough money to interest us elsewhere.  So you won’t be exiled to some godforsaken place, or worse, a forsaken place with a different god.  You will be joining the finest law machine in the world, honed by self interest and ruthless billing targets to a point that our clients value that they can simply  print our name on their prospectuses as legal advisers.  We do, naturally, charge a licence fee for this

If you have had the misfortune to be poor, or attended a university other than Oxford, Cambridge, or London, please do not apply. Some of you may think…”Well, I went to Durham”.  You can think that, by all means, but it won’t cut it with us.  We don’t do *Second* here.  If you think that you will get some kudos by saying you went to X or Y Law School to do your LPC – forget it.  You won’t.  We do not care which law school you went to to do your LPC.  We admire their capacity for rapacity in terms of fees charged, but it really doesn’t matter to us where you went for the LPC.  This allows us to say how *diverse aware* we are and say we take trainees from all walks of life.  It is a PR lie, of course, but we have to show willing on the diversity issue before some interfering busybody at the Law Society or DEFRA writes to us taking up valuable billing time.  Christ knows what DEFRA have to do with diversity apart from cloned animals… but that could be why, come to think of it.

There are many opportunities out there in the law. If you can’t join us, you could become an over worked family lawyer, a duty solicitor, or even work for local government or another law firm.  The Police service will, I am sure, suit those of you who managed to get a Desmond. If you managed to astonish even the most PC lecturer at your university and got a Third then, armed with this certificate of incompetence, there will be difficulties ahead for you and we won’t even get the benefit of having you as a client in our new criminal fraud and money laundering unit – because you simply won’t be bright enough to commit the upscale frauds we are looking for at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

What will your life be like at Muttley Dastardly LLP?

It will be short if you aren’t any good. If you can bill when all about you have lost the will, you will progress through the ranks and, one day, become one us – we happy few, we band of Partners.

I look forward to meeting you at interview.

I won’t say good luck.  Life is not a matter of luck – nor is getting into Muttley Dastardly LLP.

Dr E Strangelove

Strength & Profit

We will check Twitter and Facebook. Contrary to the attitude taken by other employers – we are looking for people who got pissed at university.  We are looking for people who nicked police helmets, dressed up as pirates and behaved badly. We find that they tend to be more interesting, adventurous and have the irreverent and anti-establishment qualities needed to be a truly independent legal professional.

Muttley Dastardly LLP launch law management consultancy

PRESS RELEASE

Matt Muttley, the charismatic and astonishingly wealthy managing partner of specialist City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP, announced today the launch of their new management consultancy specialising in giving advice to law firms.  The management consultancy will trade under the Megaladon LLP name.

“Realising how badly a lot of law firms are managed, particularly smaller law firms where the lawyers, completely untrained in finance, management, IT, risk management or HR, believe, bizarrely, that they can actually run a business, we saw an opening to offer advice to ensure they go bust even more quickly than they would be able to do by their own endeavours.”

From today, any law firm which wishes to go bust, get involved in the latest social media nonsense, buy self help courses or manuals, or just continue to work ineffectively – but with our ‘seal of approval’ –  may do so with the advice our specialist team of consultants –  all of whom have  had three weeks of intensive training as consultants.

We can offer you advice on:

1.  How to really use Twitter to piss off your clients and put off potential clients.  For a modest ‘uplift on our fee’  we will reveal the secrets of the Twitter *DM* function so you can really *get to people*.

2.  How to write seriously banal articles for placement on law blogs worldwide or in your new ‘Newsletter’.  If you don’t have a newsletter we can provide a suitably bad one for you so you blend in with much of the rest of the legal world.

3. How to motivate your staff with our NEW! *5 point Work Them To Death Tough Love* programme

4.  Teach you the secrets of SEO so you get banned by Google

5. We can even design a truly horrific website – although we accept that we may not be able to improve on the truly horrific website you already have.

Overstaffed?

Not a problem! – our consultants will come in, watch you work inefficiently for a week and then go away, pretend to do a lot of work and come back with some fantastically complex charts, algorithms and incomprehensible explanations as to why you need to shed at least 30% of your overhead and staff immediately.  We may even pray in aid some techniques from the mystics and bring along some quartzite and a psychic octopus – at no extra charge!  We may even suggest you fire your accountancy firm or back office so that  our team of trainee accountants  can take over.

We are committed to a smaller, but more professional, legal profession. We will ensure you help us achieve our aims and yours.  Our fees are eye watering – basically we ask you how much you charge your clients and then treble the hourly rate. Disbursements are randomly generated,  but we will provide full supporting receipts for your talk with the Official Receiver.

Don’t delay – act now – you can’t afford to lose time…time is money… and it is OUR money you are spending once you engage us.

Note for Editors

Matt Muttley is available for interview – but a fee of £850 will be charged for this.  You will not be permitted to take photographs or actually be in his presence.  The interview will be conducted by video – we will see you, but you will not see him.  For an additional £150 Mr Muttley will personally arrange for his secretary to sign a copy of his new book The Journey to Astonishing Riches – A manual for those who want to be as good as he is!

[I had rather a good lunch – eating some filo pastry with soft white cheese, parsley, mint and onion.  Lebanese.  I enjoyed them so much I ordered three platefuls of them – baffling the waiter – and washed them down with some superb Lebanese Rose.  I took two glasses.  The fact that I now feel slightly bilious because 12 of these filo pastries is rather a lot, is neither here nor there.  My post was inspired by a superb article in The Independent by….. ]

Johann Hari: The management consultancy scam

“We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along”, he says. “It’s like robbing a bank but legal”

I hope Mr Hari does not object to my being inspired to produce the nonsense above… or borrow the strapline for the Megaladon LLP advert above.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Get your ass out there!

MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP GUIDE TO ADVERTISING FOR LAWYERS

Get your ass out there!

This guide, prepared by our internal marketing team, is intended to be a helpful guide to law firms unfortunate enough not to be able to afford their own marketing team.  Muttley Dastardly LLP believes in the hand of friendship.  We hope you will find our guide helpful and that your practice reaps what it sows during these dark and difficult times.

1. Tesco is coming to get you…yes, YOUR firm, YOUR clients, YOUR profits. If you are really unlucky, the Co-op and ASDA will also come to get YOU!  You can’t stick your heads in the sand and expect to make big money…. you have to husssle, hussle and hussle and get your ass out there!

2. You will read a lot about building trust and relationships. This is all very worthy.  Look… the public hates lawyers, they may even hate you personally…so why waste time building trust… they don’t trust you now…why spend money trying to get them to trust you?  The client doesn’t want you to be a friend…the client wants you to put the boot into the guy down the road whose hedge is too large or who keeps parking in ‘his’ parking space.  The client wants you to sue the ass of his employer who sacked him unfairly. The client wants you to screw as much money out of the supermarket which washed their floors and then made him fall over because they didn’t warn him.  The client has seen those ads on TV about big fat cheques coming for a broken leg..and…believe me… he wants a piece of the action!  This is where you come in.  He doesn’t want you pitching up at the pub in your Vauxhall Astra claiming to be his ‘mate’. He wants a big fat cheque and no legal bills because the schmucks on the other side will be paying.

3. SO… how are you going to get your ass out there?!  Here’s how:

(a)  Write articles: This is a very effective way of showing off your expertise, if you have any – if you haven’t got any expertise do a lateral hire. When you write, you aren’t boring the arse off some academics who hyperventilate when they see The Law Quarterly Review.  Speak direct to the client in language they understand.  Think Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror. The problem here is that tabloid writing is difficult.  It takes real skill to terrorise entire sections of Middle England.  It take real skill to reduce complex ideas to easily understood fear concepts.  Bin The Guardian style. Don’t be too clever with some Independent style analysis of the legal problem.  Think EPIDEMIC OF ACCIDENTS…. think MAN GETS £100K FOR 3RD DEGREE BURNS AFTER DRINKING COFFEE AT STARBUCKS. Think… OSBORNE IS TAKING YOUR JOB – DON”T WAIT FOR THE AXE – CONTACT YOUR LAWYER NOW! Above all, play on the innate prejudices and fears of the client when you write your article.  Keep it really simple.

(b) Website: Get a decent website…pepper it full of pictures of injuries, happy smiling clients with cheques, wonderful cliche photographs of lawyers – preferably get a good racial mix…and put them on a beach.  Don’t sit back and think (a) our lawyers don’t look as good as that  or (b) what the F**k are lawyers doing on a beach…. think client!  Clients want to see thrusting young lawyers on a beach.  Remember, if you have got your practice well sorted, the client isn’t ever going to meet the lawyer.  Think OUTSOURCING and lawyer farms.

When you design your website…think…ease of use… keep it really simple… one form for the client to use to send in the details.  Don’t forget the PayPal or Visa button if the work isn’t contingency fee.  You don’t want to waste money suing the client once you have won or lost their case, do you?  Above all…under no circumstances give a telephone number.  The last thing you need in a busy day is a client phoning you – it is just not cost effective and clients don’t like being charged for phonecalls.

Don’t worry about keeping your website up to date.  The client isn’t interested in legal news.  The client is interested in the pay out!

(c) Twitter: This is an invaluable tool for reaching people.  A lot of people on Twitter drink heavily at night.  Think ACCIDENTS!…think…MARITAL DISCORD…think…DRINK DRIVING…think…LIBEL, BREACH OF CONTRACT, …think the unthinkable…some of these guys on twitter get so pissed…you could even think ARSON or RYLANDS v FLETCHER when they set fire to their own house and it spreads to the neighbours.

The way to use Twitter effectively is – use your firm’s real name…..produce a tweet about once every five minutes..use capitals and randomly spam people.  There are a lot of well known law bloggers out there…follow the people they follow and then follow the people they follow and so on.  GET AS MANY FOLLOWERS as you can… they could all be CLIENTS!…you will soon build up a good relationship with them..and they are friendly.. they want YOU to make a lot of money representing the downtrodden of Britain.  Get to know THEM… be THEIR FRIEND… flatter them… comment on their blogs…not forgetting to add the URL for your CLAIM page!

Twitter has a #hastag system…. make a point of reading the newspapers carefully.  If you see a major disaster..this is an opportunity for you to write:  WE CAN HELP YOU IF YOU CRASHED AT HEATHROW TODAY #AirdisasterHeathrow.    WE ARE EXPERTS IN OIL SPILL COMPENSATION #BPGulfspilldisaster. Always use capitals. There is a lot of traffic on Twitter…and you have to make sure your MESSAGE gets out there!  People on Twitter always admire lawyers who selflessly try to help VICTIMS… even if you make a bit of money out of it.

In Part 2 we will try to help you even more.  We hope this helps you develop your practice

Fraternal greetings…get your ass out there!

Jamie Cadogan-Howard OE Bt
Director of Marketing
Muttley Dastardly LLP
London

Strength & Profits

Muttley Dastardly LLP: I talk to Matt Muttley about career opportunities at his law firm

I arrive at the London office of Muttley Dastardly LLP in The City on time and I am taken to the Muttley Dastardly LLP Partner’s room – now  dramatically re-named ‘The Star Chamber”.  Eva Braun, the elegant Thierry-Mugler suited PA to the charismatic CEO of Muttley Dastardly, Matt Muttley, had already served me with a non-disclosure agreement and a draft superinjunction at reception where I was searched for knives and other weaponry and put through a new money scanning device, so I am not able to describe the changes to the room after the recent announcement in The Lawyer that Muttley Dastardly LLP has confounded expectations by not only increasing revenues but also the all important PEP by a significant 78% over last year.   I am at liberty to reveal my brief talk with Matt Muttley about his recent advertising campaign and the prospects for young lawyers at his firm.

Matt Muttley: Good of you to drop in.  It is always a pleasure to be asked to give my thoughts and vision on matters legal by hacks from the legal press.

Charon: I am not a hack and I am not from the legal press

Matt Muttley: Really?  What are you doing here?  Are you a client?  If so…. welcome… how may we assist?

Charon: I am here to talk about your recent advert in the legal press…and your trainee recruitment plans….. and your thoughts on legal education generally.

Matt Muttley: Of course….  Yes… Dr Strangelove, our Director of Education & Training,  mentioned that you were popping over…. good to meet you.  You have nine minutes.  I try to do at least 25 minutes Pro Bono work a year.  This will be marked down for 10 of those minutes.

Charon: A rather unconventional approach to advertising?

Matt Muttley: Really?  I would have thought rather more honest than all the happy clappy stuff cluttering up law school websites and law firm recruitment pages showing happy smiling students?

Charon: Well… yes.. you have a point.  I can’t really disagree with you there.

Matt Muttley: Excellent.  Next question… you have seven and a half minutes.

Charon: What is your key point to recruitment?

Matt Muttley: Our raison d’etre and the maxim we operate by and under is Strength & Profits.  Honour went out of law some years ago.  Law is a business..not a vocation and business rules should and, here, apply.  Partner wealth, Mr Charon…that is the alpha and omega.  It is remarkably straightforward.  We recruit those who share our values.  We do not ask those who do not share our views to share our views…we are a principled Libertarian law firm in that regard  – and we certainly won’t employ them.  Fortunately, despite the appearance of sundry clowns from the Liberal-Democratic party – a party which may well cease to exist in as little as six months –  we have a government which understands the need to build strength through profits – hence the deficit cutting.  We applaud those who want to build a fairer society.  I, personally…and through our black psyops Twitter and Facebook unit run by Dr Strangelove,  know many people who waste fantastic amounts of time twittering and blogging to achieve their aims.  I marvel.  That is their choice.  I am the last person to criticise them for their beliefs and views. I am an anarcho-liberal capitalist. That is just fine and we would not dream of interfering with them, largely, it has to be said, because they are unlikely to be clients of this firm…or, indeed, trainees at it….. – but, by the same token, we must be free to pursue our goals and I am grateful that some right wing political  blogs are putting sufficient pressure on the government, even this government, to remind them that we can go elsewhere to ply our trade.  The internet has given lawyers and bankers the freedom to give advice anywhere and take our revenue generating capabilities and tax revenues with us.

Charon: And your thoughts on legal education?

Matt Muttley: We plan to buy a law school – there are good revenues to be made. We may even buy a university, can the unprofitable stuff and go from there…but we may have to buy a law school first.  I’m sorry… I really have to go.  Goodbye.

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’s application.  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.

***


Cellmark supports the Insite Law free student resource, so I am more than happy to punt their new iDNA app!  If you are a family lawyer – it could be most useful! I’m going to download one myself and see what happens!

,

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.

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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 Sun will 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 on Newsnight 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: Dr Strangelove briefs the Partners on Wind Energy.

MEMORANDUM

EYES ONLY PARTNERS

1. Wind Energy: It is unfortunate that none of our all male partnership is married to Nick Clegg or, indeed, any member of the Coalition largely all male Cabinet.  I can report that Miriam González Durántez, wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has been appointed to join a leading wind-farm company.  There is, obviously, no connection between her being wife of the Deputy Prime Minister and the, reportedly, lucrative appointment with Acciona.  I was talking to a friendly MP the other day and he observed that Miriam González Durántez is into wind in a big way and living with Nick Clegg gives her an opportunity to study the many different and subtle qualities of wind on a daily basis – which, no doubt, is of considerable, but purely coincidental and ‘unintended consequentially’,  value to Acciona.

Be that as it may – wind energy is the future, not in terms of the energy it generates (25% operational value at best, experts say), but in terms of the work which it will provide for lawyers. Iain Dale, writing in his affluential blog today makes a compelling case for tearing down all the wind farms and he quotes Andrew Gilligan’s seminal article on the issue in the Telegraph.   Those who wish to erect wind farms – and they are legion and are being encouraged by wish-washy tree huggery of the best kind by the Lib-Dem members of the coalition –  will need highly complex legal advice.  There are many and varied issues – environment, planning permission, European Law, tax write-offs. I do not need to labour the point.

1.2. Those who wish to tear down wind farms – and they are legion – will also need legal advice. There are many and varied issues – environment, planning permission, European Law, tax write-offs. I do not need to labour the point.

1.3.  I have deployed three associates to examine this issue and to report back. If we need to do a lateral hire, I am sure that it will not be an insurmountable difficulty to find a partner at a competitor firm of sufficient standing to meet our world leading standard of venality and personal greed.

2. The Labour Leadership contest: I have advised The Partners on this issue using classic SWOT analysis. It seems that Diane Abbot has been fed into the mix by ‘ways and means’ which Partners of this firm will approve and, indeed, practice regularly when dissimulating with our own employees. I refer Partners to the many revisions of the Employees Handbook in the last three months, all of which, by inclusion of an expertly drafted provision,  are designed to take effect and be incorporated into the contract (and agreed to)  as if they had been present in the contract when the employee was originally engaged. Freedom of Contract is a wonderful concept.  On this, I am sure we are all agreed. There is little prospect of Diane Abbot becoming the next Leader of the Labour Party.  If there was, I am fairly sure that Mr Fawkes would be mounting a ‘Diane Abbot for Leader’ campaign.  (See below – or as I prefer, infra)

2.1 The difficulty we face is that if David Miliband is elected as Leader of the Labour Party there is every chance that Labour will be able to re-form under sensible, intelligent, and thoughtful leadership and be able to present to the country an entirely credible alternative government.  This would not be in the short to medium term interest of The Partners.  We must do all that we can to ensure that Britain continues to be governed by a curious mixture of members of The Genghis Khan Appreciation Society and Tree Huggers Anonymous.

2.1  Fortunately, assistance is available at absolutely no cost to ourselves: Guido Fawkes has started a ‘Vote for Ed Balls for Leader’ campaign.  I have every confidence, given his significant readership figures – some of which is made up of  Tourettes sufferers – that efforts on our part to promote this are simply redundant. I am, of course, aware of the ‘tastes and interests’ of all The Partners.  Some of our members may find the picture on Mr Fawkes’ blog post of particular interest.  Because of the curious voting methods of The Labour Party, the first past the post does not usually win.  It is, more often than not, the second or third placed candidate who ends up winning the coveted post of ‘Beloved Leader’. I am, therefore, confident, that we shall have no effective Opposition for some time to come yet, and certainly not until the Autumn.

2.2  This will allow Danny Alexander to demonstrate beyond peradventure that he should have paid more attention to his economics studies and he may well be replaced. Theresa May is already struggling with the Gary Mackinnon case.  One minute the government is saying that nothing can be done.  Today the government is saying that Cameron can intercede.  This gives them the worst of all worlds, of course.  Do nothing and they will be seen as ineffective and pusillanimous – especially after Clegg stood shoulder to shoulder with the Asperger sufferer’s Mother and said it was simply not good enough that Alan Johnson could do nothing to stop the planned extradition.  If Cameron intercedes it risks the possibility that Obama will kick off  and start calling ‘Bungling Petroelum’, ‘British Petroleum’ again.  My assessment is that The Partners will win either way.

2.3 Further to my last briefing memorandum, The Firm will be proud owners of BP shares again very soon and a decent return on our recent naked short selling.

Dr Erasmus Copernicus Strangelove
Partner and Director of Education, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

Regular readers of Muttley Dastardly LLP briefings will be aware that there is no similarity whatsoever between Dr Strangelove of Muttley Dastardly LLP and the Dr  Strangelove of ‘Dr Strangelove’ the film.  It is pure coincidence that our Dr Strangelove looks like the Dr Strangelove character in the Dr Strangelove film. .

Readers coming across these posts from the internet should be advised that Muttley Dastardly LLP never gives any legal advice for free on their blog, or at all, and if you wish to get legal advice that works, pay for it.   We are very selective in the clients we take on.  If you are rich, we will take you on . If you are not fortunate enough to be sufficiently rich to seek our counsel – and those we hire in – please accept our condolences and  contact your local Law Society.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Weekly Briefing to Partners from Matt Muttley

MEMORANDUM

PARTNERS / EYES ONLY

From: Matt Muttley, CEO and Managing Partner

To: Partners

WEEKLY BRIEFING
1.  America: The BP saga continues and with it I am pleased to report that  our growth will continue on the back of this most unfortunate and tragic man-made disaster.  The CFO, Dr Hans Calculus, advises that our holdings in BP were sold at a pleasing price and on behalf of the partners I have sanctioned a naked short sell on the BP position which should net further profits, allowing us to increase our holding in BP at a future date – which I suspect will not be long in coming. President Obama appears to share the confusion which many Americans have about England, Britain and United Kingdom.  He now appears to be confusing BP with Britain.  Anti-British sentiment in the United States can only serve our interests at the firm however and our psyops unit will continue to ferment discord on twitter to further improve this position.  I have written to President Obama to this effect…

Dear Mr President,

BP is an oil company.  Britain is the schmUK  helping you with your war mongering in Iraq and Afghanistan.  You will note, being a lawyer yourself, that the words ‘helping’ and  ‘with’ predicate that we are your ally.   Our country is next to Europe on Google Maps. You may recall our former prime minister, Mr Gordon Brown,  referred to Obama Beach at a recent memorial  to celebrate the memory of those who fell in battle on D-Day.  You were there. That is Europe.

Kind regards

Matt Mattley,
CEO and Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

2.  Government: I note with pleasure that Mr Cameron gave short shrift to President Rumplestiltskin of Europe on the matter of our European friends having a look at our budgets in advance.  I am pleased to report that consultancy advice we gave to the Prime Minister – for which we charged a deficit friendly fee, by which I mean the same fee but dressed up to look like a discount – went down well and that Europe is now to see the budget the moment the Chancellor stands up in Parliament.  The fact that everyone in Britain will be able to do the same on  BBC television  did not occur to The President of Europe, so Mr Cameron was particularly pleased at the humour in our advice and promises to consult again when he is troubled by the Europeans.

3. Law & Order: There have been some pleasing developments.  It is always a pleasure when government starts looking into Law & Order.  With the Human Rights issue being kicked into the long grass with a Commission, and confusion reigning at the Home Office and The Ministry of Justice on the ‘Kill a Burglar’ project it shouldn’t be difficult to ferment some discord on the issue of legal aid, extradition, rendition and the like to force some good old fashioned knee jerking changes in the law to benefit us and the legal profession generally.   I have asked our esteemed Director of Education, Dr Strangelove, to distribute some articles throughout the blogs and post on twitter about US use of torture, rendition and other matters which can only lead to further advice being requested of us by government ministries; impacting as it does on the role of our own government in such matters in the past.

4.  Politics: The Labour Party has saved itself from general ridicule by coming up with a plan to bring it further ridicule – by manipulating the rules and persuading MPs to nominate Diane Abbott so there is at least someone who doesn’t wear a navy suit, a white shirt and a red tie, standing for leader.  It would be most advantageous to us if Diane Abbott became shadow home secretary.  She knows a great deal about civil liberties and is better placed than anyone else on the Labour opposition front bench to give the government a hard time on civil liberties reform and secret evidence and the like.  Partners may have missed the election of Simon Hughes as deputy leader of what is still, bafflingly, called the Liberal-Democrat Party.  The implications are that Hughes will be a de-stabilising influence in the coalition.  This together with the ever simmering Vince Cable can only ensure a gradual parting of the ways and the beginning of the end for the coalition.  It is likely that an election will be fought not in the early part of 2011, but in the Autumn.  Labour may well be in a position to take advantage of the general ridicule of the electorate for the flawed policies of the present government as they start to reveal very real pain to many and general dissent and alarm in the land.

Partners will be interested in this observation by Guido Fawkes….in connection with Mr Hughes:

It looks like tuition fees, which Willets is less than subtly hinting are rising, will be the first coaliton dividing battle. Funny how obvious the correlation is between being disgruntled and being a failed former leadership contender. Ming, Kennedy and Hughes could whip up quite a yellow rage about this one, and many more to come…

I look forward to our lunch in the partners dining room at 1300 hours.  Eva Braun is laying on some entertainment for us.   I believe that she has found a dog which can sing Italian Opera and dance at the same time.

That is all.

MM

Strength & Profits

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Dr Strangelove, Director of Education asks….Diversity – an exercise in global hand wringing and waffle?

MEMORANDUM

EYES ONLY PARTNERS

To: Partners

From: Dr Strangelove, Director of Education

RE: DIVERSITY – OUR POSITION

1.  I have been asked to provide a position paper on Diversity, the need for it and, in particular, the public PR stance to be taken by Muttley Dastardly LLP.  There is also the matter of the present government’s softening up of the British public as a prelude to Operation Blitzkrieg to close down some universities and raise the fees to sensible and acceptable levels. This will be considered, in preliminary form, in a further memorandum.

2.  I shall also take opportunity in my next memorandum to update partners on progress in relation to our discussions with law schools on the matter of a tailored LPC for our next intake of cannon fodder.

DIVERSITY

1.1  Clearly, we are not at all interested in diversity.  Our view has always been to recruit the best; over recruiting to take the very best out of the gene pool and, thereby, inconvenience other law firms.   Prudence dictates that our private practices remain private and, indeed, all trainees sign a marvellously incomprehensible non-disclosure document when they join which takes care of any ‘leakage’ to the press.   We have had no resistance to this NDA;  the trainees are easily bribed with  an extra £2000 and the prospect of a lunch with the managing partner at some point during their period of training.   We do have to have a public statement on diversity which will satisfy hacks from the law magazines and the more serious law bloggers.

1.2 Consistent with our practice of getting others to work for the greater good of our partnership, I would like to refer you to a piece I found on Lawyerwatch only this morning, while I was dissumulating and putting “psyops black tweets” out on twitter – a daily routine agreed at the last partner’s meeting…

The Bar Standards Board has “adopted” (their interesting turn of phrase) and published the report of a major review of pupillage training for the Bar The press release marking this occasion trumpets pupillage as the “best and fairest way of preparation for the profession and there are no plans to change its fundamental nature.”  Much is made of its fairness on the basis that

  • The numbers of men and women undertaking pupillage are nearly equal. Sometimes the proportion of women slightly exceeds that of men.
  • 22.4% of pupils were drawn from a very wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, exceeding the proportion of ethnic minorities found in other professions.

To be sure to ram the point home the press release further adds, “The Bar is proud of the diverse nature of the new entrants and the fact that access to pupillage appears based on ability and merit.”

The Lawyerwatch post goes on, interestingly, to make this point…

The report’s own research makes the point rather more clearly than the BSB appeared inclined to do(at p. 37):

  • “The profile of pupils tends to be less diverse than the profile of university students, with a significant drop in representation of working-class students.
  • “There are proportionately fewer female pupil barristers than there are female university graduates.”

A little ‘adjustment’ of the above, replacing ‘pupillage’ for ‘training’ and ‘trainees’ for ‘pupils’ should do the trick…and, after all, how long is a piece of string? and, as for the definition of ‘nearly’?!

We are, of course, ‘immensely proud of the diverse nature of new entrants and the fact that access to Muttley Dastardly LLP is based entirely on merit and ability’.  Only schmuks hire losers.  Fortunately, there are a few law schmuks out there. The fact that there are more women than men graduating makes it fairly clear that it is more difficult for women to get pupillages if the numbers are roughly equal, and it would appear that those from working class backgrounds continue to have a problem fitting in at the Bar.  I suspect the same is true for many City Law firms.  Fortunately, we could not care less here, so long as they have a work ethic and understand that they work for the greater good of the partners and not their self aggrandisement or career advancement.  The latter comes (in time), of course,  if they are made of the ‘right stuff’.

1.3  I think that addresses the diversity issue.   I can have this printed up, distributed and get it out on the usual press guff run.  Consistent with our ‘best practice’, I shall assume that if I do not hear from you, I am authorised, as a partner with you, to issue this on our collective behalf.

Dr Strangelove
Partner Muttley Dastardly LLP, Director of Education

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.

Megaladon LLP (Formerly Muttley Dastardly LLP) – Law Firm directories

Statement to staff  from Matt Muttley, senior partner, chief executive, managing partner and president of Megaladon LLP

RE: LAW FIRM DIRECTORIES

It would appear, yet again, that Megaladon LLP does not feature in the latest Chambers & Partners directory or, indeed, The Legal 500. It is with regret, therefore, that I have to announce that our former Director of Marketing, David ‘The Airbrusher’ Cholmondely-Cameron-Smythe, was escorted from our premises at 4.30 am this morning by Megaladon LLP security operatives.  I know that some of you may have found this distressing, working as you were on our new and exciting plans to set up our own outsourcing operation in the East Indies  –  but in these dark days of the Jackson report, credit-crunch and the ever present threat of over regulation by sundry regulators, needs must.  Mr Cholmondely-Cameron-Smythe is an enthusiastic gardener, which is fortunate, because he will now have an opportunity to ‘engage’ with this interest and ‘transition’ from employment to a less stressful lifestyle.

The fact, as reported in The Times, that barely 5% of in-house counsel even look at law directories is irrelevant – a fact put ably by Mr Cholmondely-Cameron-Smythe when I held a special ‘closed’  session of the Megaladon LLP Star Chamber shortly before 4.00 am this morning.

I would like to re-assure you all that I was much comforted by a comment in The Times report on the launch of the new Chambers & Partners directory by this viewpoint..and I quote it in full… “Lisa Hart, the chief executive of Acritas, says: “General counsel are in specialist buying roles and they don’t normally need a directory to see who they are going to use.” She maintains that it is only in the rare circumstances when in-house departments are confronted with an out-of-the-ordinary matter that they will resort to looking at a directory.

That said.. we, at Megaladon LLP, must be ever vigilant to all marketing opportunities… and as you know, I shall be going on a Twitter course early next week with a famous celebrity chef, to ensure that we are at the forefront of modern social media tecniques.

That is all.  Be happy in your work and…remember our mantra… one day, you could be a partner at Megaladon LLP.

***

Note to Editors: Megaladon LLP is the new trading name of Muttley Dastardly LLP following the unfortunate ‘departure’ of name partner Dastardly in late 2009

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Memorandum to all staff

MEMORANDUM TO ALL STAFF

From: Matt Muttley, Senior Partner
Date: 3rd November 2009

1.  It is with some regret that I have to tell you that the other name partner of our firm has had to hand over the reins to me.  I know that there has been speculation from the ‘lower deck’, as we like to call our junior associate team,  that Mr Dastardly had been extradited to the United States to answer to charges related to the Ponzi scheme initiated by Bernard Madoff.  This, I can tell you, is not the case.

2. Mr Dastardly has been arrested by officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.  It seems that he was on Twitter the other evening and was upset by what he saw – lawyers from this country, the United States and other jurisdictions wasting valuable billable hours twittering away to each other in what he told the SOCA agents, who accompanied officers from a London armed response team,  was an ‘unconscionable and unseemly manner’. Some of these twitterers were even subverting the course of British justice by expressing support for the evasion of superinjunctions.

3. It would seem that this was just too much for Mr Dastardly and, using skills  developed over many years at this firm, hacking into employee email and Facebook accounts,  he hacked into a number of computers at a rival law firm, which shall remain nameless, and caused to be sent from a computer therein,  belonging to a well known partner at that firm, an email to Gordon Brown with a faked superinjunction, purporting to come from the High Court in London. The superinjunction warned Gordon Brown that his support for former prime minister Tony Blair as a candidate for the post of European President could lead to charges being laid against Mr Brown for crimes against humanity and  to cease and desist from such support and, further,  that there was an injunction upon this injunction preventing publication by any means the existence of the first injunction. For good measure, the letter warned Mr Brown not to discuss this with his wife Sarah, who is a well known Twitterer.  The course of history would have been so very different had Gordon Brown not been making a film for his YouTube website when the email came in. The email was read by The Minister of Justice, Jack Straw, who recognised, immediately, for the law was fatally flawed in two respects – respects which are just too embarrassing for me to mention given our reputation for legal excellence – that the email was a forgery and the work of a desperate hacker.

5.  The partners met this morning and unanimously decided that Mr Dastardly had brought the firm into disrepute by making errors of law in his faking of the superinjuction and,  for that reason, he is “Out” and  he has been removed as senior partner and as a partner of this firm. Attached to this email is a superinjunction which, of course, because it has been properly drafted by me, prevents you from discussing this matter.  This email will, of course, be removed from our server within 20 minutes of receipt. You do not need to click the message received window which pops up when you click the email.  We will know when you read it and records of this will kept for the usual training and  termination of employment purposes, as with all electronic and voice communications at the firm,  consistent with the firm’s handbook.

6.  I have decided, under the  executive powers given to me under the new deed of partnership, that the name of the firm shall be changed, with immediate effect, to Megaladon LLP with a new logo;  which I believe better reflects our reputation and standing in the legal profession both in this country and in the United States.   I have attached a working draft of the new logo for your information.

Human Rights SWAT group

I  would like to meet with the members of the Human Right SWAT group to discuss a rather curious case, details of which have been reported today, about a man who was able to claim that his beliefs about climate change entitled him to protection under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003 that covers “any religion, religious belief, or philosophical belief”, forbidding employers to persecute staff on religious grounds.

“Essentially what the judgment says is that a belief in man-made climate change and the alleged resulting moral imperative is capable of being a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by the 2003 religion or belief regulations.” Report

Matt Muttley
Senior Partner, Megaladon LLP

PS: The observant among you will have noted that there is no Paragraph 4. This paragraph has been redacted because it is so secret that I cannot even tell you and I drafted it.  The firm is working on a new ‘Hyperinjunction’ and I am pleased to tell you that I was able to telephone a high court judge only this morning to get an injunction against myself. As you know… at Megaladon – We do the business…every time.

The end of Nepotism?: A statement from the managing partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP

A Statement from Matt Muttley, managing partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

This morning, I read in the Financial Times, courtesy of a Twitter friend of Charon QC’s (@clarinette02),  that the senior partner of Allen & Overy, David Morley,  has called for an end to nepotism. I spoke to my fellow founding partner, Dastardly, who just laughed and said… and I quote “If David Morley wants to stop thick kids spawned by his rich clients getting internships at A&O that is just fine by me.  Get Eva onto finding out who A&O are acting for, ring them up and tell the MDs that we’ll happily give their idiot children a place on our internship scheme if they see their way to passing a bit of decent high end work our way.”

The Financial Times reported Mr Morley as saying…”Mr Morley said Alan Milburn, the former health secretary appointed by Gordon Brown to advise on social mobility, had “really struck a chord” in his comments last week that some professions were becoming more dominated by people from privileged backgrounds.”

I have no idea what is in the bottled water over at Allen & Overy – but I have given Banqueting instructions to have all our water supplies thoroughly checked lest we suffer from an outbreak of rationalism and common sense here… that would not do at all.  That is all.  Back to work…. for the greater glory of the partners.

Christmas draws closer…

As Christmas draws nearer day by day I thought a touch of festive spirit may be appropriate.  As an atheist, baptised with the wines of the old and new world over the last thirty years,  I don’t celebrate Christmas. I thought I should adapt a Christmas song to get myself in the mood for not celebrating Christmas.

Christmas is coming…

“Christmas is coming, the lawyers are getting fat, please put a fifty, in the senior partner’s hat.
If you haven’t got a fifty, a twenty will do, if you haven’t got a twenty, our firm is not  for you.”


Wonderfully absurd quotes?….

Mumbo jumbo, management speak, meedja speak – all have contributed to the richness of our language.

Below is a quote from  DLA Piper Joint Chief Executive Frank Burch. DLA Piper are reducing their exposure to bank credit by suggesting that income partners contribute capital and get a slice of the pie.

“Everybody who is a partner in the firm will have some skin in the game, and as you evolve and progress you will contribute more capital and have more skin in the game.”

Can’t say fairer than that….

Worthy of Matt Muttley, managing partner Muttley Dastardly LLP.

***

PRESS RELEASE: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP ARRANGES REALITY CHECK TRAINING FOR ASSOCIATES

Matt Muttley, managing partner of niche boutique City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP, said today that a number of associates within the firm were taking an ’employee attitude’ to their work rather than thinking of the long term prosperity of the partners.

Matt Muttley said today:

“I discussed this problem with my partner John Dastardly.  As a result of this discussion, over a glass or two of Chateau Talbot 1982, we now have a number of our associates going through some specialised training.  The idea is simple.  We have rented a small allotment.  We gave each associate a 2p coin and some vegetable seeds, asked them to plant the 2p and the seeds in the ground and see whether a money tree springs up in three to four weeks time.  We believe that this training will re-focus our associates to think in tune with the partners and understand the realities of life at the top of a law firm in these difficult times.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Matt Muttley is managing partner of leading boutique City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP

2. Interviews with Mr Muttley can be arranged.  The fee for each interview will be variable depending on what you want him to say but prices start at £5000 for a short sound-byte.

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

Matt Dastardly, 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: Tough lawyer….

MEMORANDUM

To: Partners

RE: TOUGH LAWYER

I’ve just had my attention drawn to the Toronto law firm of Irving Solnik through a post in the news section of RollonFriday today.

***

1. The approach to business of law taken by Solnik is on point. I draw your attention to a statement on his website:

WHEN LEGAL MATTERS ARE TOUGH THEY BECOME GRIST TO HIS MILL AND HE BECOMES MUCH TOUGHER — TOUGHER THAN HE USUALLY IS!

“He is an aggressive no nonsense lawyer who can remedy legal problems or matters that trouble you and rid you of the pain, often quickly and easily.

No matter what your legal problem may be Irving Solnik can invariably and often solve it, at times quickly and easily too.”

Worth checking the front page of the website out.  Straight, tough, talking.

2. Solnik takes a pragmatic line with clients:

“Truth is vital to the administration of justice and according to Irving Solnik, “There are many gray areas in law but in my opinion there is no gray area about the truth.” Yet it can be questionable if all clients tell the entire truth at all times. An absence of truth has the potential to seriously hinder the legal process and a client’s ability to receive the justice they deserve.

Before he accepts a new client, Irving Solnik, always advises the client to be totally truthful with him and if he finds otherwise, he immediately resigns as counsel for his client.”

3. If we have any Canadian based issues – this may be our man.

Matt Muttley
Managing Partner

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Carbon footprint…

PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL

To: Partners

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

RE: CARBON FOOTPRINT

Dr Strangelove, our new Director of Research & Education, has forwarded an email from The Law Society – a rare survivor of our new spam and junk mail filter systems. I was, of course, aware that polar bears are now floating around on small chunks of ice off the coast near Scunthorpe because of global warming, and, I am told, one has even passed the LPC and been admitted, but until I read this paper from The Law Society I had absolutely no idea that the legal profession was responsible for doing something about it. It seems that The Law Society is most active on the matter and that law firms must do their bit to promote and further global warming.

The task, fellow partners, is to reduce our carbon footprint. Apparently, according to The Law Society press release, “an alliance comprising law firms and organisations has announced plans to develop a carbon footprint measuring tool for firms across the sector.”

The news release states, solemnly: “The LSA Carbon Footprint Protocol is being developed by the sector for the sector in recognition of the fact that many law firms have not yet begun to measure their carbon footprint. Early results from an LSA survey reveal that many firms have not measured their carbon footprint because they do not know where to start.”

I enjoyed the bit where Law Society Chief Executive Des Hudson states: ‘You can’t manage what you haven’t measured, so calculation of your carbon footprint is absolutely crucial before you take action to reduce it.

He would definitely get three Yes votes on Britain’s Got Talent.

Dr Strangelove advises that quite a few serious law firms have already signed up for this alliance, so there must be advantage in this for us and I plan to see if we can jump on board as well. The good news, reading the small print of the press release, is that when (a) we have discovered what carbon foot print is in relation to the activities of this firm, (b) used the tool to measure it and (c) worked out a plan to reduce it, we don’t have to publicise our results – so no need to worry about implementation costs or engaging our clients to participate in this with us (by accepting our costs under disbursements) at this stage.

I would be grateful for advice on this issue at your lesure.

PS: Would you be kind enough to let my PA, Eva Braun, know how many of you want to go shooting in Scotland this year so that she can book the Lear jets and the fleet of Range Rovers. I know that some partners, because of our increasing presence in the lucrative Japanese market, are keen to sponsor a japanese whale fishing expedition but this may have to wait as costs to sponsor the Chinese athletes escorting the olympic torch around the world were rather higher than we anticipated. But… hey… Beijing… here we come!

Muttley Dastardly LLP: “A wholly unfamiliar level of fees”…

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner
To: All fee earning staff

RE: FEES

My attention was drawn to a piece in the Financial Times today about the level of fees being charged at Allen & Overy:

“A High Court judge has blasted a top City of London law firm for charging nine years’ worth of man hours on a five-day trial over BlackBerry patents, in a judgment that will fuel the growing controversy over lawyers’ billing practices. Lawyers from Allen & Overy racked up nearly £5.2m in costs representing Research in Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry device, in a dispute with Visto, a US-based wireless technology company.”

The fee of £5.2m is not, of itself, eye watering – but there were, clearly, presentation issues. Please note the words of the judge in the case on this matter: “The picture summoned up by this bill of costs is one which is totally unfamiliar to anyone who has been involved in economically conducted patent litigation,” the judge said. In refusing to award Research in Motion its full costs, he said he was bound to prevent a party from recovering “unnecessary and unreasonable’’ expenses.”

Apparently, Mr Justice Floyd said he would expect the firm’s associates to be able to recite “all the documents in the case by heart” given the amount of time they claimed to have spent on the dispute. Eva Braun told me that The Evening Standard were also referring to A&O charging 9 man years of time for the five day case. It is important that we ‘leave no stone unturned in litigation.’

There are far too many people interfering now in the matter of solicitors’ fees. £600 per hour? Amateurs! Even Tim Dutton QC, Chairman of The Bar, has weighed in telling the FT that this should be read as a “warning sign” to solicitors about their billing practices. One expects clients to raise their eyebrows occasionally upon receipt of a fee note, but it really is the end when lawyers start talking to the hacks about matters like this.

At least no-one here has managed to bill 28 hours in a single day, as apparently happened across the pond. Have they / you?

.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: You’re hired!….

Transcript of telephone conversation between Eva Braun, PA to Matt Muttley, and Matt Muttley. Friday 28th March 0630 hours.

Braun: Hi Matt… how ya hanging?

Muttley: Good, Eva… in fact… very good. Excuse me darling, I have to take this call from my PA, Eva…….. Eva… sorry… my Mother decided to come over for breakfast and some advice on offshore trusts.

Braun: Yeah right… so since when do you call your Mother ‘Darling’? Another Estonian lap dancer needing urgent advice on tax planning? Do you want me to record the time?

Muttley: OK…OK… not billable…. so what gives?

Braun: Matt… I was watching ‘The Apprentice’ last night. Fantastic barrister… got fired by the garden gnome, but exactly the right socio-psychopathic profile for us. Have spoken to Dr Strangelove about him and he agrees. We should bring him in with a view immediately.

Muttley: Usual First, top law school, no failures, arrogant, dysfunctional?

Braun: Not sure about the dysfunctional bit, but he can’t talk about football and appears to have a supersized ego and opinion of himself. He can also paint, so could be put to work doing artwork for reception at quiet times. He has his own website – this guy has it all and he is not shy about telling everyone.

Muttley: OK… send me the URL and info and I’ll get a memo out. If you could arrange a taxi for Mother… I’ll let her out by the partner’s lift.. I’ll be out in five.

***

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner
To: All Partners
cc: Dr Strangelove, Head of Training
Date: 28th March 2008
HIRE THIS GUY

Eva has sent me the cv of a young recently qualified barrister who appeared on BBC reality show ‘The Apprentice’ the other night. This young man appears to have all the qualities we look for in our trainees and staff. We also need to harden up our advocacy unit as well.

As you know, I am a keen supporter of law blogs and Victorian Maiden at Ruthie’s Law has a most useful analysis:

“Nicholarse has the lot. From the time at which he put the boot into his team leader and allowed Raef to take responsibility for it; to his last-ditch insistence that being unable to work out 30% of a total and then add it on to the original price to produce a profit was not his fault but someone else’s, Nick was supreme. Never mind that commercial work would appear beyond our boy – Nick can sneer with the best. And, of course, Nick ensured that the viewer knew he was a barrister. This, apparently, gave him an edge. Other contestants quailed at the thought of facing Nick in the Boardroom. ”

Partners may wish to view Mr De Lacy-Brown’s website – a monument to himself.

De Lacy-Brown writes… “It was Virgil who stated in his Ecologues: ‘Non omnia possumus omnes’ (We can’t all do everything), a statement which many have been happy to oblige. In Nicholas de Lacy-Brown however, there lies a man who is prepared to question such apathy. Undoubtedly a man of many talents, he has lived his short twenty-four years with a vivacity and boldness which few could achieve in a lifetime…”

He has appropriate academic qualifications – usual first, decent university and an ‘”Outstanding on the BVC”. Of rather more importance to us, is not the objective judgment of academics and purveyors of BVC courses, but his own assessment of himself. (See above)

He can paint as well – so could be very useful, at quiet times, doing a bit of decorating around the office and, of course, adding to our extensive library of artwork displayed in reception. He speaks Spanish – do we have any Spanish clients?

As he managed to get himself fired in Episode 1 of The Apprentice – he may well be available. Let me know your thoughts on this. My only concern is that he may be a figment of imagination and may not actually exist. Research on Google does not appear to reveal which set he is a pupil at. Eva is on the case.

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Curious LPC examination procedures

From the Office of The Training & Recruitment partner

Subject: Curious LPC examination procedures

We at Muttley Dastardly LLP have, as you know, come to a most profitable arrangement with a purveyor of LPC course services to train our future trainees in the values and mores of our firm. This has worked to our advantage providing significant discount to the market rates for the training of students to get through the LPC in readiness for taking on the yoke and responsibilities of joining a modest cost labour force for our important work in The City… and, indeed, elsewhere now that we have developed expertise in handling high value family law cases.

I was advised earlier today by our IT department, whose responsibilities include the monitoring of Facebook, blawgs and Rollonfriday.com, that RollonFriday have a story about the curious examination procedures at BPP Law School.

I commend the news item on RoF to you, and summarise the salient points below. I do so, because this initiative on the part of BPP Law School may well cause us to look with favour on their methods when we come to review our contractual arrangements with our current LPC purveyor.

1. BPP appears to have issued a directive to all LPC students that they must erase vertical pen or biro marks on textbooks or other printed materials taken into the examination hall and must also remove, from printed materials, sticky bookmark tabs which were found to be the wrong shape.

2. That students found that Tippex leaves white marks on paper, and therefore previous blue or black vertical pen lines are now white tippex lines, is neither here nor there. The fact is that BPP, in directing students to undertake this completely pointless task, are preparing their students to accept orders and are conditioning them to the realities that paperwork has to be right.

3. In directing students to remove green rectangular tab bookmarks with pointed ends, yet accepting green rectangular tabs of the exact same size with blunted ends”… BPP is seeing if students are able to think out of the box. The dullards, it could be argued, would simply remove the tabs – and, in so doing, would pass the ‘obedience’ test – but would fail miserably the ‘initative’ and ‘thinking out of the box’ test. We want the type of student who would simply cut the pointed end of the tab off and leave the bookmark in position to allow themselves quick access to the relevant information in the textbook.

4. The RoF report also revealed the BPP Student Finance Office (SFO) sent an email to their LPC students wishing them every success in the examination – with the added note that those who had not paid their fees would have their examination results witheld. This reflects, very much, the values and mores of our own finance office here at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

We have no way of checking on the story published in RoF – but it is our experience that they tend to get the right end of the stick…