Monthly Archives: February 2011

Out of kilter

Have you noticed how Network Rail persists in the use of the unfashionable word “alight” when talking to its “customers” ( I always think of myself as a passenger) about getting off a train? Have they got a secret supply of 1920s signs or tapes recorded in a different era which they continue to use despite the fact that no one I know has ever used the word “alight” in common parlance?

Strange isn’t it? It must be something to do with the railways because another instance of what you might call inappropriate use of the English language also occurs on the railways, specifically at King’s Cross Station and for all I know at other stations around the network. You have only got to have a hint of mist or rain or faintly damp conditions resulting in platforms and concourses being ever so slightly less dry than normal ( I cannot understand why they don’t just mend the roof) and the ‘Elf and Safety Brigade are talking about “today’s inclement weather.”

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Me Tarzan, you Jane

It’s a jungle out there.

Where does most of a company’s electronically stored information (ESI) reside? If you need to retrieve ESI for the purposes of litigation where do you turn?

In the days before electronic documents, lawyers and their clients would ferret about in old files, even older filing cabinets and possibly in warehouse storage in some ill lit, damp building often surprisingly on the banks of a river prone to flooding. In my own experience this was true of remote buildings on the banks of both the Thames in London and the Ouse in King’s Lynn to name but two such locations.

Some clients and their lawyers were of course relaxed to discover that the documents diligently stored were either flood damaged or so damp as to be unreadable and therefore useless for any probative value.

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A dance to the music of time

Visiting museums and art galleries is an essential part of the experience of visiting new places. That is not to say that I do not from time to time visit museums in this country with which I am already familiar but the collections which tend to stand out in my mind are those which are housed in a building either especially made for the purpose of displaying the paintings, furniture and sculpture or are even in the artist’s own house or the house of a major collector. I visit these more often in a town or city in a foreign country because while visiting foreign parts it is likely that there is more time available “to stand and stare”.

The Sorolla Museum in Madrid and the Jacquemart-Andre Museum in Paris, “the passion of Edouard Andre and Nelie Jacquemart,”  are collections housed in the artist’s and the collectors’ houses respectively, whereas the magnificent Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid is in a refurbished palace designed to show off the fabulous collection of pictures collected by the late Baron Thyssen which he gave to the Spanish nation in honour of his Spanish wife Carmen.

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John Wayne never had to put up with this

Two Red Indian braves are pictured standing on a rocky outcrop looking over a scrubby cactus strewn expanse of desert towards the horizon where four puffs of smoke rise steadily in procession towards the sky. One brave turns to the other and says: “It says that someone has hacked into my emails!”

Matt’s cartoons for The Daily Telegraph have for a long time been favourites of mine so I was particularly amused to see this apposite offering a few days ago as I settled into my seat on the BA flight to New York where I was to attend Legal Tech 2011. As a Legal Tech virgin I was determined to make the most of what is probably the pre-eminent gathering of the Legal Technology industry each year. And I did!

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Bribery, corruption and the free lunch

It is nigh on impossible to open a serious newspaper or magazine these days without finding an article on the Bribery Act 2010 which was supposed to come into force in April 2011, after publication of the guidance promised by the Government. I recall that such guidance was to be published three months before the legislation comes into force and now we learn that it will not see the light of day any time soon and it will  be much later in the year before the Act  takes effect, if ever.

There has been so much commentary on the Act and its likely effects that I hesitate even to mention it. Many organisations, and not surprisingly a number of law firms, have posted articles and commentaries on the internet.  These firms include Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Norton Rose and you can access their views by clicking the appropriate link above.

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You are old, father William…

How many partners do you know in law firms who are aged over 55?

The editor of Legal Week, Alex Novarese, in a recent post in the Editors’ blog speculated that there were a number of factors militating in favour of a review of the former destructive practice of law firms in this country to pension off partners as soon as possible after 50 and certainly by 55.  [Locking out older partners? The least-defended minority in the Square Mile, Legal Week, Jan 14th, 2011.]  He argued that the imminent abolition of the default retirement age of 65 with effect from April this year will force law firms to revise their employment policies as they concern “older talent.” He also argued that older partners may not in future “go quietly” as they have done in the past particularly after a number of internal restructurings and reduced loyalty as a result and if the forthcoming battle between by Leslie Seldon and his former firm over age discrimination ends in a victory for the claimant.

I found myself thinking of Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, published in 1865) and in particular of Old Father William. You will remember the poem!

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