Law & Disorder

Legal cartoon, john fytit, Paul Brennan

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Volume 86 - November 2013

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In this issue:

  •   Social Media and Death

  •   Modern partnerships

  •  How to win awards.

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101 reasons to kill all the lawyers +You

Paul Brennan
Editor and Author of The Law is an Ass...Make Sure it Doesn't Bite Yours!

Death of social media

To manage your social media commitments when you have a business to run is difficult but when you are dead it becomes almost impossible. However, with the right social media strategy your Virtual Assistant in Mumbai will live on and continue to send out your posts at one o’clock in the morning and could even change your status to “PO” (“passed on”).
Your On-line assets e.g. photographs, videos etc. will pass in your Will as these digital assets are intellectual property. You do not need to name each item, unless you want to give the asset to a particular beneficiary; otherwise, your digital assets will be part of the residue of your estate. This could mean that the wrong beneficiary could inherit, so if an item is important or valuable (e.g. business logo, business website content) you could make specific provision in your Will.

Nowadays, people having so many Friends that they do not know from Adam, creates special challenges for the executors who feel that they must ensure that  friends are aware of your death and also that they have access to your profile to discover who you were. Therefore, the executors need quick access to secure, control and utilize your on-line information. Leaving a Digital Register of all your assets and passwords to access the assets would be useful, or even just a list of the passwords to your social media accounts, but as you cannot remember the passwords yourself, it is probably not going to happen.

If, executors are ready to do battle with privacy issues they can increase your likes but do not expect to attract many followers.

To paraphrase Johnny Carson - for three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but tweets taper off.

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Modern Partnership

Dear John

I chose my partners at a time when “partner” meant “business partner”. We all knew exactly where we stood. Now, the situation is regrettably confused.


Dear DT

As the use of the word “partner” has expanded to suggest romantic attachment many single business partners clearly hoped that this would be the solution to their lonely lives, especially the ugly ones. It was subtle at first, just hints that there was something more than a business relationship such as the use of the word “darling” or love” at the end of sentences, but soon it became “where were you last night?”, “You never listen to me” and even “Where’s my slippers?”. Many partners could not stand it and stormed out slamming the door.

Such was the concern in legal circles that lawyers have been permitted to incorporate, and we were immediately relieved that we no longer had to use the word “firm” as that seemed to have gone the same way as the word “ripe” let alone the word “member”.

It was a useful reminder to us that words that were regarded as perfectly innocent before the war are now a mine field. We immediately embarked on a review of our precedents deleting reference to words and phrases which could cause offence such as briefs, discharge, hung jury, motion, bond, age and restraint.

This is not to criticise those lawyers who have decided to remain in traditional partnerships. For the first time, many have been able to discuss their true feelings. Late nights at the office instead of going home to their spouses were not quite what they had seemed after all.

 John Fytit AO
© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

The Awardless

Dear John

As much as I try, why does everybody win business awards except me?

RM, Sydney

Dear RM

Such is the proliferation of award ceremonies, I know of lawyers who are more decorated than Audie Murphy * and even though they readily admit that it is not a reflection on their abilities there is increasing pressure on we the “Awardless”. It has even been suggested by one client that I merge with a serial Awardling to “fill the empty shelves in my reception”.
I have never sought any recognition or praise for my work, which my wife says is probably just as well. However, my principled non participation is now characterised as “Award Denying”.

You could sue the judging panel for being bias which may have the added advantage of discouraging future award panels from rejecting your award nomination without some consideration, however it may lead to accusations of sour grapes.

My advice is to join one of the many organisations offering awards and create your own category. For instance, an award for sober librarians or humble senior partners would certainly limit the legal field.  

In awards, as in life, 85% success is turning up but it is possible to achieve a further 15% by changing the rules.

 John Fytit AO

*The most decorated soldier of WWII who was still receiving rewards in 2013 (30 years after his death).

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

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Disclaimer: The content of the Law & Disorder eZine is to give you legal basics and in some instances, included unashamedly to try and make you laugh. In law, it is sometimes difficult to work out what is serious and what is just for fun. Therefore, if you plan to do anything legal, rely on your own lawyer's advice or instruct me to look at the particular facts of your case. Not only will I deny responsibility for the legal content but also for some of the jokes. 

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