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Life in the law

28 April 2014

Sydney lawyer Denis Anderson, 78, is possibly facing disciplinary action after he was allegedly caught using a dead client’s Melbourne Cricket Club card to gain entry to the prestigious Members Reserve at the 2013 AFL grand finals. The client died in 1997 and it is alleged that Anderson may have used the membership to watch the grand final for a number of years. It appears the deceased’s annual membership fees were paid each year following his death. There are over 230,000 people on the waiting list for membership of the Melbourne Cricket Club. Those who became top tier MCC members in 2013/14 had apparently joined the waiting list between July and December 1989. Full members can use the MCG Members Reserve for all cricket matches and AFL fixtures. The club says it was tipped off that a man was using the membership card of a deceased person and it has reportedly referred Anderson to the New South Wales Legal Commissioner. If found guilty of professional misconduct he could be struck off or suspended.

A law firm in Iowa, United States, has launched version 2 of its Oh Crap App! which is designed to advise people what they can and cannot do if stopped for suspected drunk driving. The firm of Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm PLC specialises in drunk driving, personal injury and criminal defence, describing itself as employing “aggressive, painstakingly detailed attorneys”. The app lists basic legal rights and has a blood alcohol calculator. Anyone who is stopped hits the emergency “Oh crap” button and receives advice such as “the less you say the better” or “lawyer up!” The button also turns on the phone’s voice recorder to record discussions with the law enforcement officer. The audio file is sent to a secure server. Another function sends a quick emergency message to Kenny’s Bail Bonds to assist with being bonded out of jail after arrest.

If you felt slightly uneasy at the “aggressive” claim in Grouley, Rehkemper & Lindholm’s advertising, check out the video clip which Pittsburgh criminal defence lawyer Daniel Meussig has released on YouTube. The clip states “this is a dramatization” and then shows various crimes being successfully committed. All the perpetrators stop, face the camera, smile and give a thumbs-up, saying: “Thanks Dan”. After a while Dan himself appears under the caption “Real Defense Attorney”. “America was built on freedom; not on a bunch of people with more money than you, telling you what you can and cannot do with all their stupid [fingers in the quote position] ‘laws’,” he says, before proceeding to state that he stands “ready, willing, able and committed to defend you on all manner of criminal charges”. “Trust me. I may have a law degree but I think like a criminal,” says Mr Meussig. While there has been some debate about the intent behind the advert, Meussig himself told Reuters that he wanted to connect with his potential clients in a way that people from his generation could understand. The clip has been viewed well over 200,000 times and a Pittsburgh bar association has expressed its disgust.

Jokes about lawyer charging have emerged with the launch of the LexisNexis “Money Finder”. This is part of the newly released cloud-based Firm Manager application. A press release from LexisNexis says Money Finder is an “elegantly simple” tool for discovering unbilled hours for work an attorney may have completed. “The Money Finder tool automatically searches and sorts through tasks, meetings and documents created in the Firm Manager application and flagging those that have not been associated with a client bill for review.”

Last updated on the 17th March 2016