Monthly Archives: April 2011

The old order changeth

Of all the poems I was made to learn at school, few have remained with me as much as Tennyson’s Morte d’Arthur. I cannot help but be moved by the opening lines: “So all day long the noise of battle rolled, among the mountains by the winter sea”.

Lovers of legend will remember how the fatally wounded Arthur instructed his knight Sir Bedivere to take the famous sword Excalibur, throw it into the lake and come back and tell Arthur what he saw. The knight was bedazzled by the beauty of the sword and could not bring himself to do as instructed but pretended to the dying king that he had done so and had seen the waters ripple on the lake. The king knew he was lying and ordered him to go again. For a second time the knight could not do as instructed and again told the king that when he had thrown the sword into the water he had heard “the water lapping on the crag and the long ripple washing in the reeds.”

The king was furious and threatened to kill his knight unless he did as he was told and on the third occasion Sir Bedivere flung the sword with all his might out over the waters of the mere. As Excalibur fell towards the water, there “rose an arm, clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, that caught him by the hilt and brandished him three times, and drew him under in the mere.”

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My favourite misquotation is “money is the root of all evil” or for those of you with a Latin bent, “radix malorum est cupiditas.” The correct quotation of the words from the King James Bible, 400 years old almost to the day, is in 1 Timothy 6.10. “For the love of money is the root of all evil;…..” The addition of the concept of the love of money completely alters the usual misquotation.

Now I would not want my reader to think that references in the rest of this piece to the Bribery Act 2010 are all about a failure to quote correctly or accurately. Much has been written about this piece of legislation since it was first passed last year not least because of the furore over the inability of the MoJ to publish the guidance promised by section 9 which in turn has led to the postponement of the date when the Act comes into effect. In fact more nonsense has been written about the Act than on almost any other topic I can currently think of. There are of course honourable exceptions to this broad criticism but when you realise that US business has had to deal with the Foreign  Corrupt Practices Act for over 30 years it is difficult to understand what the fuss is all about.

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A pointless waste of time

One of the wonders of the Internet is that almost anything you care to look for is there, somewhere! Not just historical facts, political articles, scientific treatises and the like but almost anything you care to think about.

Has anyone noticed how many people were away from the office in the past few days? The prospect of the last few days of the skiing season, the start of spring, consecutive four day weekends looming and the start of school holidays must mean that Britain’s productivity will fall by a measureable amount in April.

I have resisted the temptation to look and see if there are statistics about this on the internet but if they are not there now I bet they will be before too long. But while engaged in these ruminations, I have come across the most pointless waste of time, namely a website dedicated to pointless websites.  If you are stuck for things to do you can pass the time by playing with the website which swaps dads’ and babies’ heads around, or forget that time exists at all by spending time on the site which allows you to think about beards – yours and those adorning the faces of other people!

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Spring cleaning

It is that time of year again at Millnet Towers.

Last year, Millnet offered £10,000 worth of processing of electronic documents completely free. As a result, a number of law firms were able to move on pieces of litigation which had previously become stuck because of the costs associated with e-disclosure. Amongst those were two cases with an element of pro bono or charity work involved.

Consistent with our drive to reduce the cost of litigation for our clients, there is now available for a limited period a total  of up to £30,000 of document filtering for relevance, completely free of charge.

Equivio>Relevance is a lawyer led software tool for scoring documents for relevance which can be used at various stages of the litigation process in order to save time and cost. The software was cited recently with approval by Senior Master Whitaker in the Goodale case:

We are just staring into open space as to what the volume of the documents produced by a search is going to be… this is a prime candidate for the application of software, which can de-duplicate that material and render it down to a more sensible size and search it to produce a manageable corpus for human review… Indeed… I am aware of software that will effectively score each document as to its likely relevance and which will enable a prioritisation of categories within the entire document set.

So, don’t delay! Act now and steal a march on others. Your clients will love it!

Offer details: Driving down the cost of e-disclosure

Perchance to dream

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Dreams are like that! Poor Alice was confronted by a dysfunctional tea party where the Hatter ruled the roost, made outrageous personal remarks and asked questions to which there was never an answer and everyone moved randomly around the table trying to disturb the sleeping dormouse in the teapot.

So why is a raven like a writing desk? Of course there is no answer to the riddle!

At any rate, the (Mad) Hatter had not got one although later on Lewis Carroll offered a lame and possibly unlikely solution: “Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front.”

Lewis Carroll is in the news again, this time because of a new book by journalist and author Simon Winchester called “The Alice behind Wonderland.” Many people will remember Winchester’s best-seller The Surgeon of Crowthorne about the origins of the Oxford English Dictionary and one of its contributors incarcerated in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum as well as his tome on one of the largest ever volcanic explosions, the eruption of Krakatoa in August 1883. If those previous books are anything to go by, this one will be worth reading.

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