Briefcase – NBR – Sponsored by Staedtler – John Bowie
Along with planking practices and bum-baring sagging jeans worn by trashy trendies, the “casual friday” practice has threatened rather than enhanced the role of the lawyer. Now it won’t come as any surprise to know that I’m not
one to lecture on anything, least of all fashion, but in the public interest I’m required to outline some key messages for lawyers who have been idntified giving expression to their creative side via casual Fridays.
I’m only talking males here because I would never contemplate telling a woman how to dress. Ever.
But for men of a certain age, let’s say on the wrong side of 50, there is a need to embrace rather than distance yourselves from who you are. You won’t regain lost decades by dressing like the 27 year old snorting, staff solicitor
you once were. So when Friday rolls around avert your eyes from the cheap print Stones tee shirts to be worn under a funky jacket and so too the athlete shoes and cool cap.
Grow up, in other words, and act your age.
I’m driven to this by casual observations made on casual Friday and also by a lunch last week with non-lawyer friends who observed that lawyers no longer look like lawyers. Casual Fridays have transformed some into tragedies of Shakespearean proportions.
That may not be all bad, of course. But, as one of my associates commented, “it doesn’t mean they have to go about looking like they play with a skiffle band.”
While “looking like a lawyer” is hardly an aspirational fashion focus, I thought it important to outline 5 key points to “casual Friday” dressing which, incidentally for many has reached deep into the rest of the week as well.
5 Handy Rules
1. “Casual” doesn’t mean crazy. It’s Country Road with a touch of Barkers. It’s smart-casual. Pretend you’re off to a barbecue at Austin Forbes so check the trouser creases and the dry cleaning. Brush your hair too.
2. Watch the jeans. You can adopt the Jeremy Clarkson slob look if you like, but you’re not rich, powerful or famous, so you’re better to go for darker jeans if they’re you’re preference, well cut if you must. Otherwise see 1, above.
3. Avoid the athlete shoes preferred by the Americans and by out-of-work car salemen. You’re neither a track star nor a 12 year old so go for smart black or brown shoes. Make sure they’re clean.
4. If you’ure not a partner and want to be, then look carefully at the “casual partners” and make sure you’re taking a leaf and not showing them up with funky gear that’s more expensive and looks better.
5. Ask a woman for style tips or, if need be, the HR department. Fact is, women generally have a far better sense of colour and fashion. Besides, if you’re single, you’ll impress with your cute and empathetic request for assistance and may get to enjoy a casual Friday evening too. Maybe even Saturday.
Bungay’s Finishing School
We were recounting various identities, including Mike Bungay who could hold court before succumbing to one single-malt too many. Bruce Davidson, before becoming a District Court Judge could rejoice in baiting the barrister during social sessions, with potentially serious consequences as Bungay fell into his bovver boy persona.
However a journalist friend recalled the women in Bungay’s lives and the numbers who passed through what he called the “Bungay Finishing School,” including columnist Rosemary McLeod and others. One such lady friend once to indicate that Bungay was on the floor making terrible gurgling noises from some undiagnosed complaint.
My friend who appeared to have some medical knowledge, asked Ms Daysh to hold the phone, then a land line, to his chest when he listened with alarm to the sounds, suggesting she immediately request medical assistance.
“I was possibly the first person in the world to practice telemedicine,” he told us.
The withdrawl of the Chinese purchasers from the buying the 10 Northland farms and the judicial review application in respect of their associated company, Shanghai Pengxin, from buying Lochinver Station may be the catalyst needed to put the OIO into working order.
While it is easy to attack the OIO mandarins for failing to act expeditiously in respect of major foreign investment applications, there is more at fault here given the complexities of the legislation requiring a range of factual, legal and economic considerations to be weighed and considered; crystal ball gazing in other words.
Even deals that most would regard as simple, such as the still-awaited confirmation on South African-owned
David Jones’ stores to purchase Kirkcaldie & Stains (largely due to the heritage nature of the Bob Jones-owned
building) are pending when the deal is due to settlement at year-end.
The announcement by Pure 100, the Shanghai Pengxin company that was to buy Lochinver Station, that it is to seek a judicial review of the government’s decision to block the sale after the OIO applied its test as to the benefits of the sale, will focus attention upon both the form and processes involved in foreign consents.
The result of these delays and the gargantuan charges applied by the Office will be a major turnoff for people other than just Chinese billionaire Jing Zhaobai and his fellow travellers. The Office needs more money to do its job properly, but also clarity around what it needs to do and how it needs to apply the spiders-nest of considerations applicable to overseas investors.
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