Friday, December 22, 2006

Break in!

The other night my house was broken into. Back door lock barrell was snapped in half and knocked thru ( a process which takes 30 seconds apparently) but they failed to release the lock and so instead threw a brick through my kitchen window.

My pooch was in the next room happily snoozing whilst I got robbed. Good job I love the bitch

Never encountered this situation before and so absolutely shat myself on the night. Its pretty scary stuff when you are the ones affected. Apprently they saw my car keys hidden behind the fridge - you can see them from one of the kitchen windows. How stupid am I?

Ive since learned that the average lock on the average door is useless unless it is of a specific design and unless your door also has secondary security accessories such as sash jammers or mortice type locks.

I dont want to worry anyone (and its not a well read blog so the ripple this causes will be modest to say the least!!) but the chances are that your house is pretty vulnerable.

These tossbags do not care about alarms. They will break in and risk capture without a second thought. They will kick your door in or break the lock and Ive seen how easy it is to do the latter. Then they'll run for the hills and you either smack them or let them escape.

Its a terrifying ordeal

There are two things I would recommend to anyone who might wish to improve their security

1) Fit "snapsafe" lock barrells which cannot be snapped in half like the standard lock. Instead they break in layers so that the internal lock remains intact.

2) Fit Sash Jammers - even if the fuckers get thru the lock they wont get in with these babies fitted.

Its the doors that you should worry about not the windows. Start with the door and then fix the rest. Dont be a victim like I very nearly was.

Here's some more tips from relevant webpages:

Oh - and a merry christmas to all!!

(I feel better already now Ive blogged and got this off my chest)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Christmas Party

Your average law firm xmas party is an event not to be missed. I speak from experience having enjoyed around 20 previously. They never disappoint.

You can profile most people as follows:

The senior men
The Men with power generally stay sober
They ogle / letch
They swap private jokes with "safe" peers about other partners, subordinates or big breasts
They keep an eye on the free bar tab
They prepare their 1 minute "thank you for all your efforts this year" speech
They watch

The Middle ranking men
This is a confused bunch - some are aspirant, others are on the way down
The aspirants work hard at greasing the main players whilst staying cool with their peers
Those on the way down couldnt give a toss and are looking for a) Beer b) Totty c) both
Some will have niggles about pay rises, poor bonuses or lack of recognition
Others will be cockahoop having just been handed an associateship or decent bonus
Most will not enjoy the party - they cant - too much to lose if they over do it
This is by far the worst group to be in

The Juniors
This is by far the best group to be in
They dont give a toss because theyre young, free and horny
They dont care if things go pear because they will just move on - theyre young and will survive
There is free beer on offer and they are going to enjoy it
There are women (or men) on show and they are going to select who, how and where
They may make a move on a senior, they may not
They are unlikely to make a move on a middle man because - whats the point

The Trainees
Poor sods - they get abused all year and tonight is no different
Some clean up
Some carry bags or walk round with champagne topping up glasses
The lucky ones can let their hair down
But beware the predators - Trainees are ripe for harassment and are less likely to react
Most will be on duty first thing tomorrow but theyre too daft to go easy on the booze
Law school doesnt prepare you for this but you will survive and most have a whale of a time

The support staff
My favourite group
They just dont give a shit
Short of punching a senior bod - they have nothing to lose, nothing to gain
Theyre in a safe job, probably like their boss and have no intention of rocking the boat
That said they are here to enjoy themesleves
Theyve worked hard all year and tonight is payback time

This year we had 3 arguments in full view of everyone. One punch thrown (it missed the target)
4 people vomiting, 3married men leave with women who were not their partners (sharing a taxi home? who knows) and one God awful speech.

And that was just the senior men.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Christmas "Personal Injury" Carol......

Im feeling quite festive today, mainly because I unwittingly discovered my secret pressie from the missus hidden in the wardrobe. It was poorly concealed under a mountain of ironing, three cardboard boxes and behind a secret panel. It only took three hours to dig out and Ive told my other alf that she really shouldnt leave things lying around like that.

So after using my new superduper braun multi functional shaver I sat and thought about what xmas means to your average web hungry PI lawyer. I stress the web hungry bit because those that operate on the internet and rely on same for business tend to have a slightly different outlook to those gifted work from "traditional" sources. Here's what December usually holds in store for those with a high ranking PI website (and no doubt a million other business websites):

The first 10 days of December are pretty normal - business as usual you might say. Silly season gearing up but not yet in full swing. Enquiry levels are at usual levels and everythings hunkydory

Come the middle of the month and things start to slow. Less phone calls, less online forms being completed. You still get your nutters who want to sue their employer for a slip on a greasy floor 20 years ago but generally there is a tail off.

So you get your team to dig out their diaries and do a bit of housekeeping. There is a lull in CFA discussions and advice on how we dont charge a client but have to say in writing that we will charge because otherwise we breach the indemnity principle which has to be the biggest load of bollocks ever cooked up even by lawyers. I could go on about the CFA and all its failings but wont.

Come the 20th of the month you really are scratching your arse and trying to keep busy. Post slows down so you have less to browse thru and respond to. Less letters going out, less coming in = less to do across the department. The cunning members of your team look busier than they actually are. The numpties dont know any better and sit there messing around until you clip them. By now youre ready for the final bell

You then crawl towards xmas eve, still a trickle of enquiries and the usual "didnt know lawyers worked on xmas eve" comments - dont worry pal were off for a nice ten day break anytime soon

As the final bell approaches you break the news to the poor sod who is manning the helpline during the holiday. The face drops, the eyes roll as they realise they have been handed a job that will totally screw their holiday. But its necessary and as luck would have it - there will be two hand picked individuals selected for the task. So the poor guy (or gal) can gain a crumb of comfort in the knowledge that some other sucker also has a fcked up holiday.

You hand the mobiles containing the main office redirects to the lucky twosome and then you sod off on your holidays - grinning as superiors often do to themeselves knowing they just dealt a savage blow to a junior. Ok its not savage but it aint nice and they wont be thanking you for it (not until next year when they realise it was a learning experience and they gained some vital brownie points)

xmas day comes and goes and with web traffic down to a trickle - usually oddly enough - an American trickle. Boxing day equally neutral.

Now the 27th comes and THINGS START TO GET INTERESTING. Here's why.

The poor sods looking after the helpline suddenly get busy. I know theyre busy because I got MI - thats management information to you unitiated folks out there and its bleedin good. I know when they fail to respond to a call over a period of time and even when they take a poo. Our website says open for christmas and we most certainly are. Or rather THEY are

The phones go mad because there is no other firm open and the guy that fell on boxing day just has to deal with his case now. He cant wait one week for the new legal year to begin.

I kid you not - there is absolutely huggins of legal business to be done around the 27th - 30th December yet for some reason few firms bother to open or have a skeleton staff on to accommodate the prospective clients. These people are so damn happy to get a lawyer over the phone during the holiday that youve nailed them. They aint going anywhere else.

By the time the 30th comes around the support staff are so pissed at how busy theyve been that they start ignoring a few calls and delay responding to emails / forms etc. Only I know theyre doing it so I send a mail. They have one more miserable day before finally on the 31st Dec it all goes quiet again.

New years Eve and New Years day are dead. This year I see we are back on the 2nd Jan so once these poor guys get to 31/12 theyve made it through to the other side.

So the moral of the story is:

PI on the internet dont stop for christmas - nor do most other legal business areas in my experience. The difference is you probably dont know how much your missing out on.

Go on - be a scrooge - have a junior work xmas for you. It will be an experience they will never forget and they will hate you for life. But believe me you WILL get business and give your New Year volumes a much needed boost

more xmas ramblings to follow - its our party next week.

Dont you just love this time of year?!!