Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Nightmares Just Won't Go Away.....

Hot off the press, this one. Rick Kordowski, creator of Solicitors from Hell website, is appealing the judgment against him.

So far the Law Society's actions have failed to close the website, which has resurfaced as (see below), and now Kordowski is back to challenge Mr Justice Tugendhat's decision.

Kordowski said, "[he] was tempted to leave it alone and let it go down in  history as one of the most ‘archaic’ judgments of all time."

However, Kordowski further said, "the individuals who accompanied the Law Society on the claim against him failed to follow the Pre-Action protocol code. [He] is also perplexed to why these individuals had not (and still haven’t)  contacted [him] to ask who the authors of the words complained about were."

One other interesting aspect of this is that the Law Society complained to the Information Commissioner (IC) about Solicitors from Hell, but received a less than helpful reply. The IC said although he found some of the comments offensive, other accounts of clients' experiences were credible.

Moreover, the IC can't be expected, nor is it his role, to police websites. And, he says quite definitely, that it isn't his role to "rule on what is acceptable for one individual to say about another, be that a solicitor or other individual. That is not what my Office is established to do." That's where libel comes in if you want to take action.

But accepting that we now live in a socially networked world, the Information Commissioner suggests that the best route is for solicitors to approach Solicitors from Hell directly to negotiate changes where there are factual inaccuracies.

In a final recognition of the new world order that professionals and others have to live within, the IC effectively tells the Law Society "live with it". There are plenty of websites that rate people and products and if you kill one, then it will pop up elsewhere....just as Solicitors from Hell has done.

It is an unwinnable battle.

Given that Hugh Tomlinson QC of Matrix Chambers who is acting for the Law Society can't be cheap, I hope the Law Society has the support of its members for the costs of this litigation. They clearly aren't going to get any money from Kordowski.

I still have my doubts about shooting the messenger. It can make the Law Society look like a bully if it's not careful, no matter how justified it may think it is.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Time to Get Serious!

During the year I've blogged on many frivolous things--ABS, Legal Services Act, legal education and more. But now it's time to reflect, collect one's thoughts, and get serious.

This blog post is about my new coffee machine! Now you see what I mean about SERIOUS.

The last few days have been blissful as I have begun to learn the wiles and idiosyncrasies of my La Scala Butterfly coffee machine and Mazzer Super Jolly Doser grinder. I speak to you from the depths of a hyper-caffeinated soul that sees into the darkness that is great coffee.

This is the La Scala Butterfly coffee machine which Mike at Ideal Espresso Services refurbished for me. I found the machine and Mike on the forum, Too Much Coffee, where I was considering which machine to buy. As Mike said to me
It has had a frame-up rebuild with new gaskets and seals throughout. New ECU (electronic control unit). New pump. New lever micro-switch. New cupholder/drip-tray cover. New double filterholder with 18g Synesso basket.
In other words it had been lovingly restored. Here's the interior. It's a heat exchanger boiler.

Just look at all that brass. You know this is going to last for ever. Oh, it weighs 25kg.... All its parts are from commercial machines so it will be easy to maintain.

The sides are painted and here Mike let me choose the colour. I selected a Turquoise that melded nicely with the kitchen as you can see.

Sorry the kitchen's a mess...You can see the knock-box on the right. La Scala's are heavy. It has an E61 grouphead which itself weighs about 9 kilos. It's this thing which looks like Cyrano de Bergerac's nose. Espresso Passione has a list of E61 machines here. The E61 is to coffee machines what the E Type Jaguar is to cars--no need to say anymore

The La Scala is simple to operate. There's one pressure dial, which when it's at 10 o'clock means it is heated and ready to rock. This only takes 15 to 30 minutes.

The pipe behind the grouphead is the "escape valve" for excess steam to the right of the dial. After putting the portafilter in the grouphead, one flips the lever to the right and the coffee comes forth.

Here's the coffee.

And to get the right grind of coffee? I use my Mazzer Super Jolly Doser grinder. This thing is big also. It weighs 14kg and is about 600mm tall. 

Mike's friend Lawrence brought some coffee for me as well as fitting some new burrs for the grinder. Lawrence runs a company called Dark Fluid which both roasts and blends coffee. And one of his most popular blends is "Schrödinger's Cat". A complex blend of course with superimposed flavour particles all over the palate. Whether you go for the Copenhagen interpretation of this paradox--it's both alive and dead--I leave to you, but the coffee is excellent. Head down to Brockley Market on Saturdays to try.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Your Worst Nightmare is Back....!

In June this year I asked "why does Solicitors from Hell" exist? That post received a comment today from pirate which said, "And back again".

I thought this would happen and that the Law Society's victory in the courts would be pyrrhic. There was a twitter exchange that suggested the legal profession shouldn't be executing Kordowski but dealing with the complaints. We also said the website will come in some form, maybe offshore. Well here it is and this is what it says: is the successor in title to Rick Kordowski’s
Normal service has resumed under new owners. We believe that Kordowski’s legacy must be preserved and continued in this new format. By way of paying tribute to Kordowski we are reproducing the best segments from, particularly past editorials.
To those of you who want to use the official channels of complaint dealing with solicitors’ conduct being the Legal Ombudsman or the Solicitors Regulation Authority then as a first port of call we advise you to do so. This site caters for the disenfranchised legal consumer; in other words, those members of the public who are convinced the official route has not or will not serve their needs or the justice of their grievance.
I think we're in for an interesting ride on this. I shall be very curious to see how the Law Society reacts. I have a feeling that Solicitors from Hell has mutated into the hydra and no matter how many sites the Law Society tries to close it will keep returning to haunt them.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas.....

My favorite is their 4'33'' version of Silent Night

(thanks to New Yorker)


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

My Dog Used To Be Exactly Like This!

I'm feeling a bit dozy as I have just drafted a research grant application but there's a lot more to go yet...

[If you look over to the right there are pictures of my former Pekingese. Pao, the black one, doubtless heard the crowds when chasing his squeaky ball. He made enough racket which sounded like "Plausa, plausa...."]

(Thanks to New Yorker)