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Showing posts from November, 2014

Pringle Criminal

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From BBC News 07/11/14: A man has been ordered to pay almost £500 in fines and costs for dropping a snack lid on the ground in Bristol. Gareth Daniel, 31, of Humberstan Walk, was seen by a PCSO dropping a Pringles lid in Lawrence Weston, in April. Bristol magistrates heard he failed to pay a £75 fixed penalty notice, so a final warning was sent. He was taken to court and the fine was raised to £200. Mr Daniel must also pay costs totalling £298.75. The council said it "would not tolerate littering on any scale".Well said that man. Littering is a slippery slope towards certain ruin and it represents so much of what’s wrong with modern society. Incidentally, don’t you think I’ve done well to avoid any references to ‘popping and stopping’? I suspect Pringles have got a more twenty first century slogan now – probably with a wretched smartphone app to boot. And talking of litter, whatever happened to the humble litter pick? As a primary school kid in 1990s, I remember them b…

Wine Fraud: An Escalating Problem

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Guest Post
Wine fraud has been a problem for about as long as wine has been produced and enjoyed. Even Pliny the Elder, the Ancient Roman philosopher, complained about it – there was so much fraudulent wine that even the nobles couldn’t be sure what they were drinking. And the problem has only got worse as time has gone by. But what exactly is wine fraud, and can it be combatted? What Is Wine Fraud?There are a few different varieties of wine fraud, but they all involve the same outcome: the customer ends up paying well over the odds for a wine of a much poorer quality than they’d expected. Sometimes, the wine is adulterated – cheap products like fruit juices, chemicals and sweeteners can be added to the wine to help improve the substandard colour or flavour. Some instances of wine fraud are even simpler than that: the label of a cheap wine will be steamed off, and replaced with the label of a much more expensive variety. There have even been a few cases in which an entire auction c…

Billing is killing

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Literally. From Roll on Friday 03/10/14: A report by the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has revealed the key causes of stress and mental illness prevalent amongst lawyers are their working conditions, in particular, intolerable billing targets or working 80-hour-weeks. Oh, you do surprise me. The work, work, work culture that seems to have crept in to so many areas of legal practice today is stupidly short-sighted and symptomatic of so much that’s wrong with modern life and society as a whole. Work is important, clients’ needs are important, but none of it is worth making yourself ill over. But, when you’re trapped working in a firm which doesn’t take that view, life isn’t that simple. I consider myself incredibly lucky that I’m in a firm which recognises there’s more to life that work. But by taking a more reasonable and a pragmatic approach, I think the firm gets more out of us. Let’s face it: fee earners working 80 hour weeks aren’t exactly going to be on sparkling form.  Belie…

Passive aggressive lawyer tactics

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Over the last few years, I’ve noticed some really super passive aggressive tricks commonly used by lawyers in communications with ‘the other side’. Used in the right way, these tricks can send the blood pressure of your fellow professionals sky high. Better still, the recipient might be sufficiently provoked to come back with a return serve of barely-disguised nastiness. Those kind of ‘back-and-forths’ can be looked back on fondly in the autumn of your career, or, if you’ve got a real corker, printed, framed and proudly displayed on your office wall. Here are some of my favourites: Snarky and patronising comment balloons. Yeah, I know we’re all guilty of those from time to time. Prefacing comments with the words “of course”, “obviously” or “clearly” are particularly prone to enrage. However, just because I complain about it, doesn’t mean to say I’m not also guilty. Ahem. Eschewing email attachments and insist on sending a hard-copy travelling draft.  Heck, why let technology help y…