Friday, June 29, 2007

Lame Low

I hope that some twenty years on when I'm in my forties, cruising along/surviving in the profession hopefully in a senior position, I'll retain a normal sense of humour. Not have it warp into some dessicated alien brand that's more huh than haha. It's been my personal observation that the higher up the strata one goes, the greater the likelihood that one's sense of humour morphs into something the average man would neither comprehend nor appreciate. Or worse still, lose it entirely.

It probably has something to do with all the rarefied air up there. I want to be able to look at a piece of crappy work/research/affidavit submitted by a pupil, edit out 90% of the stuff then grin and commend him on how absolutely helpful he's been. Nothing like a few words of encouragement to spur them on to greater heights, a red hot poker not far behind to motivate them further. There are exceptions to that observation I made of course. But like all hypothesis, it remains generally true.

So it was today as we were returning from the Supreme Court in a cab after a hearing in chambers, that the head of the department (Boss) became the newest statistical number validating my observation. Nudging me he said," SC (opposing counsel - another one) said that he has three strings(arguments to bolster his case) in his bow. Well we'll reply he has no arrows. Three strings on his bow and no arrows how to shoot? Pull on them long enough and it'll become a harp!"

Whereupon he burst out laughing and said, "Ha ha ha. So funny!" Upon which my pupil master (who was seated in front) and I smiled and dutifully laughed along albeit in the heh-eh-heh-eh manner. The kind of noise you make when the joke is so lame or incomprehensible but some PC (politically correct) response has to be made regardless of how painful it might be.

In the Boss's defense though, he's basically a nice guy just a little old fashioned, rather long-winded and with a strange and painful sense of humour. Even so, when my turn comes please not let me be so lame.

In other news, bogged down with work, staying back till 10.40 PM but it's more interesting so far; largely centered around the pre-trial research, work and preparation for the upcoming trial next week. So it's been tiring, the weekend's burnt but at least it's not boring.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Call of the Wild

Come away you said. Let's run away, far away from all our troubles. The forest will be our sanctuary, the cool creek our solace. We shall never be for want, You and I, I'll jig through the starry night while you elucubrate a merry song. To be insouciant and carefree, sprites of nature dancing in the silvery moonlight. Heed the call of the wild, you urge, and all your sorrows will fade away.

A mischievous grin you give, teasing yet jocund. The jovial tinkle of golden bells with the wave of your hand in stark contrast to your reconditeness. I feel the overwhelming urge to abandon everything and follow this tiny leprechaun if only to see how it would go. But normality returns and the spell is broken. Fantasy will always be fantasy, a fugacious escape from reality, to which the sane must always return.

Politely I decline and you sag momentarily. But indomitable creature that you are, you give a cheeky wink and a knowing nod. Remember nature's call you say, before disappearing in a blink, leaving me amidst dust, remembering the call of the wild.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lawyers = Whores.

And yes you have it in writing, from two reputable sources no less. We're service providers too. We attend to your needs (granted, certainly not all of them). Service with a smile. And we charge by the hour too. Just a lot more. We're not exactly wanted but we're needed nonetheless. Much like your average nerdy teetotaller at a drinking session whose company is unwanted but whose car... and chauffeuring services certainly are. Only difference is our service comes at a nice tidy sum.

Names have been changed so as not to endanger an upcoming, rising legal eagle's career prospects in the good old public legal service.

DPP says (11:00 PM):
pupils are like prostitutes man
Work Spent. says (11:00 PM):
rofl. i see.
Work Spent. says (11:00 PM):
nvm u r a highly paid one
DPP says (11:00 PM):
customers want, u cant say no
Work Spent. says (11:00 PM):
they call those Escorts
DPP says (11:00 PM):
my mkt price not as high as u la
Work Spent. says (11:00 PM):
And you have only one client too!
DPP says (11:01 PM):
u r an expensive slut
Work Spent. says (11:01 PM):
the government! so no STDs to worry about.
Work Spent. says (11:01 PM):
we are like whores. The highest bidder gets us
DPP says (11:01 PM):
DPP says (11:01 PM):
ya man
DPP says (11:01 PM):
Work Spent. says (11:01 PM):
see and u still need to think
DPP says (11:01 PM):
maybe u can write an entry on lawyers = whores
Work Spent. says (11:01 PM):
DPP says (11:01 PM):
always kenna fucked up down left right
DPP says (11:02 PM):
must always go "faster faster!"
Work Spent. says (11:02 PM):
Work Spent. says (11:02 PM):
cb la like porn movie
DPP says (11:02 PM):
ya lor
DPP says (11:02 PM):
dun u feel violated?
Work Spent. says (11:02 PM):
must be pragmatic about it when you spread your legs.
DPP says (11:03 PM):
... who pays more, u spread for him or her
Work Spent. says (11:03 PM):
rofl. well it'd be easier if the customer is male, cute and/or hot and rich.
DPP says (11:03 PM):
haha. horny bastard.
Work Spent. says (11:03 PM):
ok we are sick
Work Spent. says (11:03 PM):
but that is a good analogy
DPP says (11:03 PM):
hey this is a sick profession la.

Your Honours, the Plaintiffs rest their case.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Swim Swam Swamped.

So the record for time of departure from work has been pushed back yet again, this time by another 30 mins to 8 PM. And the sacrosanct position of the First Commandment of Surviving Pupilage appears increasingly untenable. But what are Commandments for if not to be broken? (I'm just comforting myself) So along the way one picks up random pieces of information like how the central air-conditioning stops, with a faint yet discernible whir, at 7.45 PM or how secretaries (those that stay back) become increasingly animated and chatty as the minutes tick by.

As predicted in the earlier post, more work presented itself. Once again exponentially. This other partner is a nice chap, amicable and sociable but thoroughly professional. As in he gives work with a beam and cheerful disposition better suited on a Santa Claus dishing out sweets to little tykes. I should know. That's how he gave out the 'zap 98 affidavits' job.

So he called me into his office today, told me to have a seat and talked a bit about how I was finding Liti like, why I chose liti, my Alma mater, etc. Then he asked," Are you free now? Would you like to help out in the XXX case? We're going to trial at the High Court in a couple of weeks for a week and it'll be a really good experience for you." And as anyone with any cow sense knows, you can't say No when a partner asks for your help, short of being swamped. Which I wasn't, yet. Hence pursuant to the Second Rule of Surviving Pupilage 101, I agreed with a smile.

The first task, updating the Chronology of events from the middle of last year till the current period appeared to be manageable. Until I realised it entailed having to plow through files of correspondences, originating summons cause papers and the criminal revision cause papers files. And the XXX case has an entire room and 2 cupboards devoted to the files and documents with a total of 4 people working on it: 1 SC, 1 senior partner, 2 Associates. So I have 12 ring binder files on my desk now, excluding the three other ring binder files and 4 cause papers files for two other cases that I've resorted to dumping on the floor as the former 12 are promising to be a safety hazard.

Informing the pupil master that I needed to attend the client's meeting for that XXX case tomorrow afternoon, he gave a start and looked at me, "What they asked you to help out in that complex case? That's really throwing you into the deep end of the pool." Thanks. You know you're swamped when your Pupil Master tells you not to take on too much and to inform him if you have too much work. Though he did add at the end that a certain affidavit needed to be embarked upon quickly due to yet another upcoming deadline.

So as of now, I have a Chronology to finish by 9.30 am tomorrow, Court hearing in the morning, Client's meeting for xxx in the afternoon, Client's meeting for yyy the following morning, 2 affidavits to finish, another Summons and as of yet unspecified work for the XXX case.

On the brighter side of things, it is a big case and if anything the week in the Supreme Court should be entertaining if not informative, plus the Pupil Master is treating the liti pupils and a couple of other Associates to a liquid lunch at Brewerkz on Friday. Beer hopefully but not more than 2 pints. Work beckons. Sighs.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Work Woe ho ho.

When it rains, it pours. When work comes your way, it's an avalanche. Just when you wonder what you're gonna do after your current task ends leaving you with one last assignment, work increases exponentially. Perhaps there is an inverse relationship between work received and work expectation. Expect less and you get hit with more. Expect more and you're scrambling to find something to do.

I don't know. I doubt I'd put the latter to test, I mean the whole concept of expecting more work runs counters to my beliefs. Which while non-existent in other areas, are certainly firmly demarcated and entrenched in the area of Work. But I can bloody well testify to other end of the equation: expect less and you get hit with more. Lots more. So as of 18 June 2007 7.40pm, I have a timeline that needs to be done, 2 Affidavits to draft, 1 Writ of Summons to Strikeout to draft and another research issue in the offings.

Not to forget good ole sai kang (literally translated as shit work): 98 Affidavits to photocopy by noon tomorrow and an urban marathon of serving notices at a certain big condominium under the blazing hot afternoon sun, door to door. But that's life isn't it?

Everyone sing along now. "...I'm only happy when it rains. You wanna hear about my new obsession? I'm riding high upon a deep depression. I'm only happy when it rains...."
Only Happy when it Rains - Garbage.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Power Tools and Silver Studs

Today, on one of our once-in-a-blue moon Dad & Son outings, we went to catch Fantastic Four at the newly opened Cathay Cineplex at AMK Hub. Mainly due to the fact that the mother was out of town (And the house remains so quiet and peaceful) and we both wanted to catch the movie. Dad because he seldom gets to watch movies these days and me cause I'm broke and I wanted to watch it at Cathay where the seats are good and the sound system excellent as compared to the neighbourhood Eng Wah Jubilee Cinema.

AMK Hub was packed as usual and dinner was a crammed, hurried affair at the food court. The cinema was great: nice comfy seats, big cinema hall and an excellent digitalised sound system. Even though Dad was rather clueless and got the couple seats, which meant we were sitting right smack between two pairs of love birds, the position was excellent. I'm catching all my movies (if not in town) at AMK Hub's Cathay in the future, big, comfy and convenient. No more crummy theatres at bishan! Plus the crowd's similar to what one gets in town anyway, so no big deal.

Fantastic Four turned out to be enjoyable: light-weight plot but that's to be expected from your average comic blockbuster movie, loads of action plus I got to feast on more of Chris Evan's gorgeous pecs. The Silver Stud while nicely chiseled, looked just too metallic and Andro to warrant more than a couple of hard looks. Chris Evans's glorious pecs and that equally enticing package of his as emphasized by the body hugging suit proved to be just like I remembered it to be much more entertaining. More mug shots on those prized assets and that bubble butt would have been nice though, so it's not surprising that he's lusted over by many in the gay community.

Before the show though, we walked about a bit and I spotted one of my extremely few favourite heterosexual vices: the Homefix DIY shop. Alright I must confess. Every time I step into the DIY shop I always end up wanting to buy/leave with some of the numerous, handy bits of equipment and stuff they have for sale. Even though I'm not always sure I'll end up using it but the stuff always looks so cool! So maybe there's that tiny bit of the conventional guy in me, you know where DIY shops are the male equivalent of a mega sale at some reputable fashion outlet. Shopping for clothes can be fun, though that tends largely to be a I see it-I like it-Buy it-Get out of here kind of approach.

But I guess where your conventional hetero male would drool over power-tools like what Borsch power driller sets, screwdrivers, car kits and other terribly boring stuff, I find things like that automatic vacuum cleaner, air cleaners/humidifiers/ionisers, stain removers, locks and other functional, non-tool like appliances highly fascinating. I can't quite explain the allure of an electric steam mop or that of air cleaners cum ionisers (hey fresh air!) but..erm.. they're cool! Even if not terribly useful, it doesn't detract from that shiny eyed-I-wish-I had-those wonder.
Today at the tiny outlet at AMK hub, I got hooked on this.

A mini portable Ultrasonic Cleaner that cleans everything from jewellery to DVDs to watches and Coins. All that's required is a little tap water. Only for $89.90! For all that potential! And It's being sold for 30 Pounds in UK. I know, I know. I don't have much jewellery or watches to clean for that matter. But I have a shit load of old dirty coins to clean!!

Seriously, I was so tempted to swipe that and charge it to the card(well debit the campus account actually) while Dad was paying for the leather cleaner.....But I know I'll get a earful from someone. Sighs. I'll just treat it as two weeks of lunch+dinner money saved. But it's sooooo cool... and er.. useful. Siiiiigggghhhh.

Now, if only they had some Take-All-You-Want-in 5 Mins from our DIY home Improvement store contest. The first thing that's going is that Ultrasonic Cleaner, then that Panasonic Air cleaner cum ioniser, followed by the Dunno-What Brand Automatic vacumn cleaner and the........ Dammit just give me the keys to the store ^^.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Tarot Card are you?

You are The Devil

Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession

The Devil is often a great card for business success; hard work and ambition.

Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. This is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remember that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

So Why am I not surprised? I'll settle for the material and obsession bits, the allure of pure drive or lack thereof depending on how you look at it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Midweek Gloom

People suffer from Monday Blues, I get the Midweek Gloom, Wicked Wednesday, not quite the Monday Mood: resigned but relatively recharged to face the week ahead; most definitely not Friday Fervour where the upcoming weekend fills one with feverish joy. Wednesday is always the longest, getting up the hardest and the day passes with a great deal of anticipation towards the various meal times and more importantly, the magical 6.

And all at once, when the day at work is over, 6 come and gone; the Gloom fades, replaced slowly but surely by that growing quiet anticipation of a Weekend soon to bloom.

Ere the night, as darkness falls,
Cling not to thy ancient walls.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Lords of the Rings

So Sean and I went ring hunting today. We'd always wanted to get a pair of rings for some time now but had been putting it off for a while for a variety of reasons ranging from plain inertia to our ever-present financial woes. And as we wanted the rings to be something that we'd wear and would last, those tacky cheap stainless-steel couple rings you see on sale at your average small booth were out of the question.

Naturally, the added mental obstacle of two guys stepping into the branch of a branded jewellery chain and asking to see and try on the various men's' rings from the wedding rings collection was already a little daunting to me. To Sean, the usually more thin-skinned (regarding such matters) of the two of us, the prospect must be well nigh terrifying. Though he'd never admit that fact.

Anyhow, we decided to do some real shopping today, since the horrendous queues at the various food outlets at AMK Hub around eight at night promised to make dinner a tiresome affair. SK jewellery got firmly ruled out (don't ask why-I'm clueless); Citigems had one miserable crummy booth, right smack in the middle of the teeming mass of human traffic, a definite no -no. We settled on Lee-Hwa, which looked nice and presentable sans the bevvy of sales attendants that plague the entrances of other chains, most notably Taka Jewellery. Shudders.

So steeling ourselves, we walked in and when approached by the sales attendant asked to see the men's' rings upon which she immediately directed us to the wedding rings collections. She was chatty, showing off the various rings and explaining the difference between the styles and different precious metals used. Sean remained awfully quiet for the longest period of time so I was basically just talking to her and pointing out the various rings which I thought he might like.

The poor girl must have thought Sean was totally uninterested cause he remained relatively mute even after she'd taken out about 4-5 different rings from various shelves, that she kept asking ," So how? Any style you prefer?" I got a little worried too because frankly the prices of $600 and above were a little startling and the combined sum of my current bank accounts couldn't even pay for one ring let alone two; plus I had no idea if he was just window shopping first- he had that bloody mask on his face again.

It was only after the girl left for a short while to get yet another design when he suddenly turned to me and asked, "So which one do you like? Hurry up decide, how about this? (the ring we settled for)" that I knew he was serious about buying the rings. It's strange but throughout the entire course of 1.5 hours from when we first walked in to when we left the shop after making the purchases, the sales attendant never figured out that we were a gay couple.

One would have thought otherwise and indeed I thought she knew and was simply conducting business on a 'I know, you know, who cares' basis. I mean I would think it's pretty obvious when two guys walk into a jewellery shop, ask to see men's rings from the wedding rings section, want the same ring, try it on the same finger of the same hand and pay for the rings together; that they're not your average buddy/pals simply looking for the same ring.

It was only when she was going through the discounts and other payment details that I realised she remained utterly clueless as to our status even going as far to mention that " can decide to give the free wedding ring pillow to your girlfriend or female friends.." So anyway, because my ring finger is apparently just one size above the largest female size (sad but true... his ring finger size is my middle finger size, about 4 sizes bigger ^^), mine needs to be custom made which means a 3 month waiting period.

3 months before we officially seal our commitment to each other and this eventful relationship. In the meanwhile, we're really broke, Sean for footing the close to $1300 bill for the rings while I'll need to find half that sum to pay for his. Else it won't make much sense, would it? Or maybe not. Grins. I'm kidding, I'll pay for yours dear. Now, along with the astronomical prices I've been spending on food at work thus far and the upcoming PLC, all I need to do is to eat grass for a few more months than originally planned.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Surviving Pupillage 101.

Welcome to the impromptu guide to surviving Pupilage. As depicted by a friend's (future DPP ^^) explicit list of grievances, Pupillage can be a most unpleasant and unenriching experience for some, wherein, true to the aforementioned DPP friend, the highlight of the day(s) is fantasizing of hooking up with a secretary who happens to be sweet, young and a thing. Not necessarily in that order. Failing which, settling for her name will be a sufficiently titillating experience.
Anyhow, this entry I promise shall be shorter than the other two. In fact, in the spirit of the last post, this too shall be a list. But mainly because I have less than 30 mins left to midnight and Bleach to catch.

  1. Proportion of pay received = Amount of time spent working. Let this be your mantra, repeat it in your sleep and be secure in the knowledge when you leave at 6 sharp while other friends may be slogging to 8, 9,10 PM; it's cause your substantially lower pay entitles you to do so.
  2. Service with a Smile. And we're talking of those of the above the board, good ole plain hard work variety. If you can do the stuff that needs to be done behind closed doors and/or curtains, good for you. But otherwise, accept those tedious, boring tasks cheerfully even if that smile is plastic. Then you go back to your desk and msn about it.
  3. Work smart, Plan well. That includes prioritizing tasks, interspersing the mentally taxing (research, drafting kts, etc) with the physically tedious ( sai kang, data entry, admin crap) and maximising the full use of your deadlines. Due Friday? Hand it in on Friday, not Wednesday. A Quick Worker gets the most jobs. A Punctual Worker gets the job done. A Slow Worker gets the boot.
  4. Tactical Knowledge essential to Work Control. An art to master but one you pick up quickly if you want to keep the amount of work received at a controllable and manageable rate. This includes combat skills like Stealth: not walking about aimlessly (Hey you, you're a pupil right? Got work for you!); Logic: not walking about finding out if anyone wants anything done - includes asking for more work after a task is finished; and Camouflage: Doing research at the library rather than at your desk.
  5. Coffee is your Friend. One big mug in the morning before work and another big mug in the afternoon (courtesy of the coffee machine- if applicable, instant coffee if not) an hour after lunch keeps that otherwise unbearable urge to nod off, away.
  6. So is the Pantry Auntie. You find better stuff in the pantry plus the Auntie shows you how to use the coffee machine to make espressos.
  7. Let's not forget the Secretaries. Because you'll need them in the very near future and even if you don't, you still need them now. For a variety of reasons. Which does not include the DPP's Dream. So be nice and if you have one sitting nearby with a radio that plays your favourite Classics station, Gold 90 FM, more power to you.
  8. Web Messenger it. Stressed? MSN it. Feel Cheated? MSN it. Bored or just wanna bitch about work? MSN it. Gotta stay back late for work? MSN it and we'll laugh at you.
  9. Look Busy. Must I say anymore? You may be busy, really busy in which case it won't be a problem. Or you have a shitload of boring tedious stuff to do. Technically, you are busy but you're bored. So you appear to be constructively busy while actually remaining terminally bored. It is an art.
  10. Snack Attack. When all else fails munching on something, helps to keep the blues away. If only for a while, and even though those snacks inevitably settle comfortably on your girth, increasing the rate of that already expanding waistline. And snacks always help to add brownie points with your neighbouring colleagues/secretaries and pantry auntie. I doubt they'd function as a useful bribe for tardiness in work. You try and let me know.
  11. Dream. If nothing inspires you any more and work is a veritable nightmare. Dream, baby dream. Of the weekend, dinner, sex, whatever. Or you can take a leaf from the DPP's book and fantasize about secretaries.

Good luck surviving. Bleach beckons.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Work Wear Tear

I've been bogged down with work. From a nice one research task due sometime tomorrow/Friday, I suddenly found myself offloaded with more stuff to do with a tight timeline in the space of a few hours. 2 pieces of admin crap which is basically tedious data entry for the massive en-bloc sales projects and 2 more research tasks to do, one promising to be a veritable monster with the added promise of more work 'coming right up'. If there's one thing I detest more than loads of work, it's tight deadlines. There's a reason why it's 'dead' not date; don't have it ready by that date and you're dead.

And I got hauled off to court to boot. Not that I'm complaining about that bit, it provided a welcome relief from the hectic office environment plus on the bright side, affording me the opportunity to escape from any potential work that would very likely have come my way. And trust me, they seem to like to find me at my seat. Only the girl sitting near the corridor has it worse. The con is of course that you have less time to rush the stuff you already have but it's a small price to pay IMO. Still the court trip was fun if not a little hot (bloody suits in the afternoon) and rather informative cause the lawyer I went with explained a lot of stuff and procedures and even gave a brief tour of the place.

Other than work, the whole work wear concept hasn't been very fun either. When briefed on proper attire the other day, the Partner delighted in informing us that 'Pupils in the Litigation Department should simply wear White and Black to work all the time. After all you never know when some one wants to bring you to court.' And then he looked at me in my conspicuously non-White deep maroon shirt. 'Ya like that cannot go to court eh.'

Which thereafter entailed a quick trip after work to the nearest G2000 shop and having to rack up slightly more than 100 bucks for another 4 White long sleeved shirts to supplement the one lonely piece hanging in the cupboard. So 4 years after last wearing uniform, I'm back in it. White and Black, 5 days a week, 365 days a year. Well until the middle of next year. So much for staying modern and fashionable in the workplace. How fashionable can White and Black be?

'Oh look! Today my shirt is striped!'
''Can you see? Here here!"
''Where? Wasn't there stripes on your shirt yesterday?''
"Those were vertical. Today's is at a cool angle of 45' to the right!'
Right.... And let's not even have to go into the issue of ties, which I just discovered to my utmost horror upon gentle prompting by my pupil master, have to be worn in the Liti department all the time.

As the week goes on, we wear.. and tear a little. 2 more days to Saturday and oh such woefully short rest.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ironclad Ready-made Contracts for Sale! Anyone?

Well, not really (No, don't ebay it) but read on. My life as a Pupil in the Litigation department of a certain Law firm got off to a decidedly strange start last Friday when my Pupil Master directed me to another Partner for my very first task which turned out to be decidedly 'Corporate-y' in flavour: drafting limitation of liability, Delay in adhering to schedule and Force Majeure clauses.

As the Partner was explaining the rather strange processes of the service the client company provided for customers (ship purging), he paused for a bit and voiced exactly what was on my mind, "Now, you must be wondering why you need to draft contract clauses when you're in the Liti department. The truth is this is only a $10,000 contract and we don't want to pass it on to the Corporate department in order to save on costs. So we just do a little value-added service for them and draft the clauses they want." (Read: Pupils are cheap. Get them to do it for free.) Then he sent me off to do 'lots of research' as he put it, because the service provided by the client company was unique and it'd be a 'lot more challenging than law school'. Sadly, he was right on both counts.

So the large part of Friday was spent fumbling through books in the library and zapping copious amounts of clauses that seemed remotely useful before stumbling on the heaven sent volume 4(3) of Butterworth's The Encyclopedia of Forms and Precedents. Sunday service was spent reading the researched stuff and highlighting important parts and the first half of Monday spent drafting the various clauses that consisted of a lot of selective editing from the various precedent clauses, improvisations and a good deal of tweaking.

And after Lunch, I returned to the Partner who had assigned me the clause drafting task. He took the Agreement draft as I attempted to explain my choice for making the Force Majeure clause one that provided the client with the power to suspend the Agreement at their discretion with an auto-termination option instead of the usual dual-party right to suspend option (cause that gave me a bloody headache researching it), flipped through it a couple of times and nodded before asking, "Alright, can you draft a proper full contract with these clauses inserted?"

I seriously doubt he read through the clauses properly, let alone listened to the explanation. Not that I would have done any different if I were in his position. Basically, as long as the wording of the clauses/contract looks legalistic, sounds legalistic with the ability to make the average legal eye glaze over (if they're not litigating over the damn document) when perusing the above-mentioned clauses, it's good enough.

And you wonder why your average man/woman on the street hates having to plow through pages of legalistic, archaic language that leaves the head spinning and eyes watering. It's so that you sign on the dotted line without plowing through the entire she-bang. Plus it's our job to make you miserable. Really.

Anyway, before I get lynched. Drafting a proper full contract with terms and conditions replete with an acceptable format is very different from sticking a bunch of clauses together, numbering them and dumping it under the heading: Final Agreement. Which was basically what I did.
And when a Partner, someone near the top of the Law Firm food chain, phrases a task/order as a query/ request to a Pupil, someone at the very bottom of the Law Firm food chain- behind your Pantry Aunty, you say," Alright, no problem." If you want your job that is. Which I do.

And hence commenced another frenzied hunt for acceptable Supply of Service terms and conditions and a good contract template at the library. Which was where volume 3 of Longman's Commercial Law Precedents came in handy with a nice nifty template that needed some tweaking and improvising. If there's anything I've learned so far, it's that Butterworth's The Encyclopedia of Forms and Precedents and Longman's Commercial Law Precedents are kick-ass books to have around for drafting contracts. God knows how anyone would be able to draft a decent, enforceable contract entirely from scratch without 'em.

So the bunch of clauses basically transformed from something like:

Force Majeure.

1. ‘Force Majeure Event’ means an Act of God including but not limited to fire, flood, lightning strikes, windstorm or other natural disaster; act of sovereign including but not limited to war, invasion, act of foreign enemies, hostilities, insurrection, destruction or damage to property by or under the order of any government or public authority; labour dispute including but not limited to strike, lockout or boycott; or any event beyond the reasonable control of either party.


XXX shall be entitled by notice to the Customer to suspend (name of service provided/ performance of the agreement) for so long as the Force Majeure Event renders performance of the Agreement impossible.


All money due to XXX shall be paid immediately.

2. If and when the period of incapacity to perform the Agreement due to the Force Majeure Event exceeds (X) months/ continuous days then this agreement shall automatically terminate unless the parties first agree otherwise in writing.

3. Neither party shall be liable to the other party in contract, tort, negligence, breach of statutory duty or otherwise for any damage, costs or loss of property suffered or incurred by that other party arising out of or from a Force Majeure Event



3.1 Subject to any special terms agreed, the Customer shall pay the charges as shown on the Quotation Form and any additional sums agreed between the Company and the Customer for the provision of the Specified Service or which, in the Company’s sole discretion, are required as the result of the Customer’s instructions or lack of instructions, the inaccuracy of any Representation(s) or any other cause attributable to the Customer.

3.2 All charges quoted to the Customer for the provision of the Specified Service are exclusive of any Goods and Services Tax, for which the Customer shall be additionally liable at the applicable rate from time to time.

3.3 The Company may invoice the Customer following the end of each month in which the Specified Service is provided, or at other times agreed with the Customer.

3.4 The charges as shown on the Quotation Form and any additional sums payable shall be paid by the Customer (together with any Goods and Services Tax, and without any set-off or other deduction) within [30] calendar days of the Company’s invoice.

3.5 If payment is not made on the due date, the Company shall be entitled, without limiting any other rights it may have, to charge interest on the outstanding amount (both before and after any judgement) at the rate of [__] per cent above the base rate from time to time of [______] Bank plc from the due date until the outstanding amount is paid in full.

Which at any rate is only half complete, cause I only intend to finish the contract by Lunch on Tuesday. Ho ho. So chatting over Web MSN messenger with CS, who had just been given some new Memo & Assoc to do, I mused, " You know, we could make a tidy sum by selling our ready made contracts on E-Bay. Just picture this, Ironclad, Ready-made customizable contracts for sale at a fraction of the price you'd need to pay at a law firm!!! Tried and Tested in Court!"

To which he enthusiastically responded, " Yah man! That's a very good business idea! We could make a shit load of money that way. Ha ha." Though I'm pretty certain that there are a boatload of ethical issues surrounding that innovative arrangement, else someone would have done it sometime ago. And the thought of being the subject of a restitution law suit where one's "illegal profits and unjust enrichments are disgorged." is not in the least appealing. When it comes to the subject of personal financial health, it pays to be on the very safe side.

But it remains a pleasant dream nonetheless, one of many needed to while away the time while drafting contracts and other legal thingamajigs that will eventually come my way.

Back to the remaining 22 episodes of Inuyasha before midnight comes. If there's anything good about having to work, it's that I'm forced to keep more earthly sleeping times.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Day 1..

And I survived. Rather shag (tired) and glad that the weekend is here but still alive. Even though I got thrown into the deep end at the very beginning. Having to research and draft an agreement with liability exclusion and Force Majeure clauses for a company that provides 'Ship Purging' services (Don't ask. I'm too tired.) while the other three female pupils in my department get to do stuff like sit in for 30 mins video conference calls or cut and paste labels onto envelopes is not my idea of fun. I rather settle for boring but less demanding tasks. Like sticking labels onto envelopes.

In other news, more great tidings. Pupilage will be back to back with the Practical Law Course which means no break, nothing, not even a chance to get sick for more than a couple of days till the middle of next year. Something to do with the date one gets called to the Bar. So no Japan trip nothing. Bah.

Ah well now to reward myself with a couple of episodes of Inuyasha, and I'll call it a night. Even though it's only 11.50pm. Sad life of a salary worker.