Web review of the year 2008: Write to reply

TheLawyer.com allows The Lawyer team to publish news as it breaks, but also enables you, the reader, to have your say. As well as a steady stream of comment from readers, many of the year’s top stories developed into full-blown debates. Here are just a few of the highlights

Web review of the year 2008: Write to reply

The Mumbai terror publicity row

This kicked off after TheLawyer.com’s story on Field Fisher Waterhouse partners Mark Abell (pictured below) and Christopher Jackson, who were trapped in Mumbai’s Oberoi Hotel during the terrorist attacks on 26 November. The same day Abell appeared live on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, where he spoke of his ordeal while trapped in his hotel room with the door barricaded. While many readers expressed ­sympathy for his plight, as many lambasted Abell for supposedly using the interview to name-drop his firm. Below are just a few of the 60-odd reader posts.

“What an embarrassment to the legal profession this guy is. I am a former City solicitor working in-house; I don’t read The Lawyer these days and I don’t ­normally go on comment boards. But the name-dropping of his firm through the Today interview takes the biscuit and has driven me to this site to comment; no wonder people think lawyers are tw*ts. What an inappropriate time to try to ­promote one’s third-division law firm.”
Date: 28 November @ 12:49.
From: Anonymous

“So what firm does Mark Abell work for exactly?! It’s a joke that someone who is in a life-or-death situation would take the opportunity to try to win some work for FFW!”
Date: 28 November @ 10:39.
From: Anonymous

“I personally found his understated, stoic courage a source of great comfort and inspiration at a time when I was very worried for the safety of my near and dear one who was stuck in the Oberoi and was unable to contact me or the rest of our family. To my mind and to that of the whole of my family – and I suspect the vast majority of people – Mr Abell demonstrated great courage and does not deserve to be subjected to your cruel and unjustified comments.”
Date: 6 December @ 09:17.
From: Sarah Wells

“What a lot of pompous, overbearing, self-righteous, cynical bigots you all are. Did none of you actually listen to what this man Abell said? After enduring what must have been unthinkable fear and ­uncertainty for some 40 hours, the first thing he did when he was interviewed by the press was to thank his rescuers, praise all of the heroes involved in this tragedy and say gracious things about the Indian people. Is that the first thing that you would have done after such an ordeal?”
Date: 5 December @ 21:35.
From: Max Arthur

“How one surviving individual conducts himself after such an ordeal and whether or not that is appropriate is largely irrelevant in comparison with the 180 individuals who didn’t make it.”
Date: 3 December @ 07:33.
From: Anonymous

Freshfields feels the pinch

Our story in July about a teenager on work experience at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer who was jailed for five months after ­stealing thousands of pounds from the magic circle law firm attracted angry discussion.

“Magic circle law firms are massively over-subscribed for jobs, so when they offer work experience to middle-achieving candidates put ­forward by diversity ­organisations it is out of ­charity, not necessity. This girl was not a great ambassador for people from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds. “
Date: 10 July @ 11:24.
From: Anon

“What ever happened to basic office procedures? ­Signatures? Counter-
signatures? Who would give a work ­experience intern the ­company cheque book? Who authorised the raising of the cheques? Who is in charge of the accounts? Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee? It ­seriously begs a lot of ­questions and some P45s.”
Date: 10 July @ 14:28.
From: I.D.Spair

“This incident illustrates exactly why firms choose to recruit people with whom they are comfortable. ‘Non-­traditional’ recruitment will come under greater scrutiny.”
Date: 10 July @ 15:29.
From: Anonymous

A&O’s banky panky

Our feature in the 3 November issue on Allen Overy, which is staking the near-term future of its ­banking practice on restructuring work, attracted comment from senior banking in-housers.

“As an inhouse counsel on the lender side, I’d like to make some observations: there’s room enough for all 3 of Links, A&O and CC in the world of big ticket financings and more besides; one of the problems I face is that there are so few firms in a position to act on a consistent basis. Links has a small number of quality partners, CC has many quality partners but is hit and miss on the junior end, and A&O is still our first choice for consistent quality.”
Date: 5 November 2008 @ 16:14.
From: Anonymous

“I am a non-lawyer banking professional in a team with a legal spend in excess of £20m. A&O’s banking practice has one peerless quality which ­others lack – quality. This is the legacy of legends such as Philip Wood and Jonathan Horsfall Turner. Against that, they have many demerits – (i) they are much too big and amorphous, (ii) they have lost their sense of identity, (iii) they are perceived as grey, humourless and ­faceless, (iv) there does not appear to be much quality ­control outside London.”
Date: 5 November 2008 @ 14:01.
From: Anonymous

A blaster from the past

A more jovial thread was the one that emerged on our story at the end of July about ­litigation ­boutique Simmons­CooperAndrew ­striking down film-maker George Lucas’s High Court ­battle for ownership of the IP rights to the stormtrooper ­helmets from the Star Wars films. Apologies in advance.

Teach George Lucas not to go around suing people this will, yes.
Date: 1 August @ 15:34. From: Yoda

If you beat him you will only make him stronger.
Date: 1 August @ 15:47.
From: OB1

George Lucas will probably turn out be Ainsworth’s dad.
Date: 1 August @ 15:51.
From: Michael

Personally I’d be sithing. (Did you see what I did there?)
Date: 1 August @ 15:57.
From: Anon

I doubt the Lucasfilm appeal will get anywhere. Ainsworth’s victory is a Boba Fett accompli.
Date: 4 August @ 16:02.
From: Bounty Hunter

So Lucas’ suit has failed here in Blighty. Why doesn’t he bring it ­somewhere else? Like a galaxy far, far away?
Date: 4 August @ 16:30.
From: Anon

These aren’t the men we’re ­looking for. (‘These aren’t the men we’re looking for…’).
Date: 1 August @ 17:48.
From: Obi

I find your lack of faith ­disturbing.
Date: 1 August @ 17:37.
From: The Great Resolver

It’s a trap!
Date: 1 August @ 17:15.
From: Akbar

Ainsworth won because he SimmonsCooperAndrew-sed the force…
Date: 1 August @ 16:03.
From: Anon

The implications for Lucas are on the dark side.
Date: 1 August @ 17:06.
From: The Great Resolver

He should have hired Ja-Ja Bingham McCutcheon.
Date: 1 August @ 15:58.
From: Anonymous

I have a bad feeling about this…
Date: 1 August @ 17:13.
From: Han