In search of the missing link

By | 27th September 2011
Earthquake in Indonesia: thousands die, no Britons involved

This kind of laconic if self-centered headline has always amused me. We tend to think things are important if they affect us and less so if they do not. On that basis I wonder if we should have been concerned about the recent report from NASA that preceded one of its satellites falling to earth. The agency did not know when or where the satellite would drop but in order to assuage the fears of the populace at large said that it will be somewhere between Alaska and the tip of Southern America, it would be in late September but could be in October and, doubtless, we were all pleased to learn that there was only a one in 3,200 chance of satellite parts hitting anyone.

If ever there was a piece of more useless headline information, I have yet to see it. Presumably, the inhabitants of the whole continent of America would have been taking precautions for an event that had a real chance of catastrophe. After all, a one in 3,200 chance spread amongst about 500 million people is still a 0.000006 chance that someone might suffer from a severe headache when hit by part of the stray satellite falling out of the night sky, clobbering them on their way to work.

This event has now happened [NASA Satellite Falls to Earth… But Where Did It Land? SPACE. com, 24th Sep, 2011] and, as far as I know, nobody was hurt. Panic over. Frankly it would have been just as useful if they had said that they had not the foggiest notion where or when the satellite would fall to earth or even better, had said nothing about it at all.

But I must be careful because I have been taken to task in the past for (so the critics say) reporting ungrammatically and ambiguously about being struck by goats spotted over Bishops Square (round the corner from Allen & Overy) so I am very aware of the need to take care when describing any strange phenomena that I may occasionally see on my travels.

What can I report? It is just possible that I have seen a report of the fabled Missing Link.

The Missing Link was a being of a ferociously unfriendly nature often depicted as the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman in boys’ books at the time I was a child. I then came to understand that scientists were keen to find a link between the ape and its evolution into a human being, apparently being unwilling to accept the natural evolution which Darwin suggested was the norm.

Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is less in the news these days than 12 months ago but I have to assume it is still flourishing as I have seen no reports that Exigent or CPA Global or Pangea have gone out of business. I assume therefore that they are still making money and indeed, as if to confirm the health of the sector, The Lawyer recently published a report of a new kid on the block (not another story about goats!) [In a ‘Galexy’ far, far away The Lawyer, 25th Aug, 2011]

Revelling in the name of New Galexy Legal Process Outsourcing is a joint venture between New Galexy partners and M V Kini, an Indian law firm. I understand that the slightly odd spelling of the word “galaxy” is to distinguish the new entity from the universe around us and/or a certain well know brand of chocolate, although, if I may mix my nutritional metaphors, that may well just be pie in the sky!

I recall attending a lecture by Richard Susskind where he was asked to speculate about the sort of legal grouping, if any, in which he would consider making an investment. I was initially surprised to hear him say that he might consider a well run set of barristers’ chambers and that he would not consider investing in a traditional law firm.

I will try and explain what I think he meant and how this ties up with new legal structures, technology, LPOs and dead satellites falling to earth in my next post.

So, if you have been, keep on reading and look out for the Missing Link!

Photo credit: NASA