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Sir Terence O'Rort
6 May, 2008  
Are you still with me Bruce?

Solicitor’s email shows how the new “culture of doing law” has caught on in Brisvegas. Dangerous global life force in hot-headed missives

imageI am pleased to report that the campaign run by CJ Daphnis de Jersey and chief plod of the Bureau de Spank John Britton finally is bearing fruit.

Britton has been banging on about the need to improve the way lawyers conduct not only their practices, but their entire way of life.

According to Britton:

“Ultimately legal ethics is about how lawyers go about ‘lawyering and doing law. It’s about their-your-conduct and customs and culture as lawyers; it’s about how you lead your lives as lawyers, make decisions about your clients, your opponents, yourselves and your families, in your search to be ‘good lawyers’ and ‘good people’.”

Ever since language monitor Marty Moynihan wiped out Rhino Baker for, among other things, his potty mouth, Brisvegas lawyers have been watching their Ps and Qs.

The winds of change are howling through the place to such an extent that not standing-up for old ladies on the bus can precipitate disciplinary investigations.

imageAn example of the new caution that infects the profession can be found in an email from the principle of Russell and Company, Stephen Russell (pic), to a bloke named Bruce Martin.

Russell was a former partner of Brisbane law shop Clarke & Kann but left the partnership in circumstances that gave rise to much litigation.

He applied to join the bar but after inordinate delays at the hands of the Bar Association and Justice Williams he decided to set up his own shop in 1992.

You’ll note how straight away in his email Stephen sets out to build a personal rapport with Bruce:

“Hi ‘Bruce’

“Great to hear from you (whoever the fuck you are).”

If Bruce didn’t start to feel warn and fuzzy, he would certainly have got a sense from the next paragraph that at least his professionalism was esteemed.

“You are obviously another of the useless Riverside Centre managers/hangers-on who think that the tenants care a nanosecond what ISS or GPT does. You seem to think that I would prefer to contact you. Well, you’re (perversely) right.

“I do.”

Steve then cuts to the chase, which involves a complicated scenario – the demolition of a building, a bank guarantee, his exclusion from the building, a pencil and a penis:

“I’d like to know, Bruce, why your company is demolishing the building I used to rent; why your company is excluding me from access to that building; and yet why, at the same time, Bruce, your pencil dick company thinks I still owe it money, and why, therefore, your company refuses to return my bank guarantee for my rental default.


I’m not sure whether the “dick” remark passes the Bureau’s sensitivity test, but the balance is sublimely restrained:

“Clearly, I’m not as rich as you Bruce. I now have another tenancy in the city Bruce. But your company’s refusal to return my bank guarantee, Bruce, has somewhat stifled my banking facilities, Bruce.

“Are you still with me Bruce?


“Stephen Russell
Managing Partner
Russell and Company”

One of the marvels of the age of electronic communication is the way emails take on a life force of their own.

Russell’s missive had a recipient list of 300 names, and now a global audience of tens of thousands has been able to marvel at the merits of blasting off a message when you’re all hot and bothered.

Sir Terence O’Rort reporting


Reader Comments

Posted by: Anonymous
Date: June 2, 2008, 10:53 pm

right...obviously has to much spare time..