Corporate lawyers pride themselves on being able to swan into work late. The trade off, of course, is that they tend to leave late. Unfortunately for Hogan Lovells' Shanghai-based lawyers, this is a state of affairs that enrages the punctual Brit at the office's helm...
Solicitor Jonathan Lea makes the short trip up from Bargate Murray HQ at Shoreditch’s Silicon Roundabout (pictured below) to Legal Cheek’s Dalston studios. There, he is greeted by a deeply-tanned Kevin Poulter (freshly back from his hols in California) and the distressingly pale Alex Aldridge (who hasn't been on holiday since 1997).
In the last six years, Lea, who started out at Clyde & Co, has worked at a variety of law firms and done a spell as a freelance lawyer and social media consultant before arriving at Bargate Murray, which does a lot of work advising tech start-ups. He reckons lawyers these days need to be flexible and willing to "hustle" if they’re going survive in an often cut-throat market.
Look upwards when you’re walking along the street these days and chances are you’ll see several solicitors abseiling off buildings.
Some law firms like Hill Dickinson and Hogan Lovells have their solicitors do it out of their office windows. Others pick big-name regional attractions to descend, like the Forth Road Bridge (Dundas & Wilson, Gateley), Somerset's Uphill Quarry (Ashfords) and Reading’s The Blade building (Blandy & Blandy)...
The recently released testimony of dodgy American lawyer Scott Rothstein – sentenced to 50 years in jail for a $1.2bn (£770m) Ponzi scheme fraud – puts events at Hogan Lovells, where partner Chris Grierson amassed £1m in false expenses, firmly in the shade.
His now defunct firm, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, was at one point spending $60,000 (£39,000) a month on escorts and prostitutes for its lawyers and clients - with the encounters taking place in a flat paid for by the firm across the road from its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Weed was routinely smoked by lawyers at the firm, with some partners getting stoned "in the office, in the garage, outside the office." Rothstein added: “I had some partners that couldn't come to work without smoking pot."
Here's a chunk of the amazing transcript:
As the Christmas party season gets underway, Alex Aldridge is expecting great things from the litigators
Everyone knows it’s the litigators who are the crazy ones. A quick browse of the Bar Standards Board’s wonderful rogue gallery of barristers confirms that millimetres below the respectable surface of the Inns of Court reigns barely-containable anarchy.
Recent highlights include the barrister suspended from practising for two months for maliciously ordering advertising material for sado-masochistic equipment, cess pits, and cosmetic surgery on someone else’s behalf, and another who defrauded two children's charities out of £85,000.