Monthly Archives: March 2011

Dines with dinosaurs

On 12th March 1829 undergraduates at the University of Cambridge sent a challenge to their counterparts at Oxford and started a tradition which continues in more or less the same form to this day.

If you missed it last Saturday, imagine 16 heavy athletic men, plus a smaller man and a girl, afloat on the Thames in two boats so flimsy that the slightest mistake will result in thousands of pounds worth of boat having a large hole in the hull and everyone getting rather wetter than they had hoped or in the case of the winning crew’s cox, as wet as he knew he would become once the race was over.

The 157th Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race was rowed in near perfect conditions and Oxford’s impressive win means that they have now won 76 times to Cambridge’s 80 (one race was a dead heat). This is significant, because if you are an Oxford man, as I am, you have spent all your life seeing Cambridge’s once commanding lead in the overall statistics dwindle to almost parity. Dare I dream that in the not too distant future Oxford will overtake their rivals in the total number of wins? If so, I will have to make a real effort to attend a Dinosaurs’ Dinner again; for those unfamiliar with the Dinosaurs it has nothing to do with prehistoric times and everything to do with eating and drinking too much at my old college where the rowers’ dining club is called the Dinosaurs!

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At the Frontline

Pen Hadow, the polar explorer kindly entertained me to dinner recently at the Frontline Club. Pen and I share an ancestor way back in the 19th century but until last year I was only dimly aware of his existence and had no idea we might be distantly related. I knew, of course, that he was the first man to walk unaided to the North Pole but that was it. I certainly do not share his proclivities for cold, dark and rather frightening loneliness! 

My ignorance extended to the Frontline Club too. In fact I had never heard of it such is my parochialism in such matters. What I discovered was that the club operates out of the first floor of the building in Paddington where there is a restaurant of the same name and where I sat for 30 minutes nursing a warming glass of red wine instead of making my way upstairs to the club premises where Pen was patiently waiting. “Not much of an explorer then,” I hear you mutter… and you would be right. 

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Minority report

I am now in a minority in my own country! Some people would say I have been heading that way for some time! However, it is now official.

If you are a fan of Tom Cruise, or possibly Samantha Morton, you will remember the 2002 film, Minority Report, where, in the future, criminals are caught before they can commit their crimes. One of the officers in the special crime unit is accused of a crime and sets out to prove his innocence.

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The hokey cokey

You put your left leg in
You put your left leg out
In, out, in, out
Shake it all about
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That’s what it’s all about.

First there was outsourcing. You know what I mean. Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) in exotic places like the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India.

Then there was insourcing. Something of a Millnet idea but more of the Smart Insourcing team in a moment.

Now there is Near Shoring.

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The face that launched a thousand quips

A young man, about to leave his current employer and embark on a new career, posed an interesting question last weekend. As a result, the assembled company, duly fortified with a large jug of pre-prandial Bloody Mary, spent some time considering who owns an employee’s LinkedIn contact network, doubtless compiled with the knowledge and encouragement of the employer and in the employer’s time, when the employee decides to move to pastures new.

Leaving aside express provisions in the contract of employment, the “legal” view was that, in all probability, the employer owned the network on the basis that it is generally accepted that work created during employment belongs to the employer and not the employee who created it.

The “other” view was that, if that were the case, the law lagged behind the reality of modern usage of social networking sites such as FaceBook and MySpace. These sites are in the public domain (subject to password protection in the main) and the courts, at any rate in the US, have tended to agree that the contents of such sites are not confidential and are potentially disclosable in litigation. (See Macmillan v Hummingbird Speedway Inc.) It seems to me that that view presupposes that the networks created are the property of the individual and not that of their employer.

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Retrospectives, past and present

We humans are good at retrospectives.

We delight in looking back and celebrating anniversaries. I indulge in this practice as much as anyone and readers will know already that 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Sticking with the godly theme, this year is also the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul’s Cathedral following the Great Fire in 1666 in which the earlier cathedral had been destroyed.

This week sees the 20th anniversary of Ryan Giggs’ debut for Manchester United. In 1991 Nelson Mandela was released and Anthony Hopkins first appeared as Hannibal Lecter.

It seems appropriate therefore to inform readers that they can catch up on all the goings on in New York at last month’s Legal Tech 2011.  Andrew Haslam produces his potted commentary on the various happenings at LTNY each year and as I (and others) get a mention I thought you would like to see it by clicking the link below. 

LegalTech 2011 – Allvision Review.