Web week

•Courtly love

THE COURTS not only serve as a good place to get the odd judgment or two, but also double up as a handy dating centre if you’re having trouble meeting people at your local pub.

A revealing post from James Woolf at the Bar Council blog (http://blog.barcouncil.org.uk/) told it like it is.

Woolf said: “[Some jurors] seem interested in the personal attractiveness of particular barristers. Positive ratings in this respect might be accompanied – jury expenses allowing – by a small gift, such as a bottle of champagne.”

Apparently not all jurors are focusing on the case in hand.

He adds: “It’s not unknown for jurors to also issue a lighthearted ‘summons’ to attend a restaurant or wine bar. Those who are au fait with the lingo may make reference to ‘continued professional development’ [CPD] after the conclusion of the meal.”

That gives a whole new meaning to CPD points. Presumably the next question is: “Your chambers or mine?”

It’s not all Barbara Cartland and obscure double entendres though. Any naughty business between jurors and barristers while on a case could jeopardise its outcome.

Woolf says: “In one particular case – Regina v Dennis Raymond Alexander and George Steen – the communications from one particular juror raised questions regarding whether the trial had been prejudiced, which resulted in an appeal. The Court of Appeal upheld the conviction.”

You have been warned.

#•Progress retort

THE PAST few weeks have seen a flurry of activity in the UK legal market, just in time for the holiday season. So much so that a number of the US press have featured stories from The Lawyer.

The Wall Street Journal blog (http://blogs.wsj.com/law) has reported on both the growing concerns of lawyers wanting to leave the law and the decision by the Lord Chief Justice to remove wigs in court.

Both stories prompted a lot of comment from US posters. On the subject of unhappy lawyers, one person posted: “Everyone hates the lawyers, until, upon meeting us for the first time, you have a ‘quick question’ about your nephew’s landlord or boyfriend’s employer. You hate us until you need us. Then you want us for free. No wonder we’re miserable, all over the world.”

The wig debate made for more humorous material. “Huff! I feel naked unless I don the hallowed hairpiece. Methinks the wig makes me look quite fit to boot! What sayeth you?”

That comment came courtesy of someone calling themselves Sir Eugene Snidley Goldfarb IV, but he neglected to give the name of his chambers. Meanwhile, Solomon Grundy asked: “If they can give up wigs, can we give up neckties?”

Finally, a poster called Conservative predicted a dark future: “This is bad. The next thing you know, they’ll be removing juries since they’re awfully inconvenient. After that, they’ll think carefully about removing judges.” We’ ll let you know if it comes to that.

•Wee fees

NOW FOR something completely different. Wired GC (http://www.wiredgc.com/) reported that New York firm Smith Dornan Dehn has established an affiliate in India.

The firm focuses on media work, advising clients such as HBO, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and MTV. It carried out a range of litigation work on the Borat film release.

Firm president Russell Smith is reported as saying: “We pay $2,000 [£976.20] rent per month for a threestorey building in Mysore. For that kind of money we won’t get anything in New York.

“Mysore is over five times cheaper if you consider legal services fees. We charge $30 to $90 [£14.60-£43.90] per hour compared to $200 to $700 [£97.60-£341.70] per hour in the US.”

£15 an hour? Even Borat himself could afford that. I like!