Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review by the Law Society of Scotland

When asked, “Why 101 reasons”, Paul Brennan, who is a practising lawyer, explained: “I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.”
Having started life as a blog, this book combines cartoons, satire and anecdotes about our profession. Some of them may even be true. Almost without exception they contain something to make the more self-aware pause and reflect on how we have gone about our business.
Let’s start with the introductory page. Lawyers, we are told, are thought to be arrogant, pompous, aggressive, tactless, confrontational, pedantic, expensive, unscrupulous, ruthless, negative, devious and slow. It is suggested that one of the main causes of stress in the profession is the difficulty many of us have in living up to these expectations at all times. One lawyer, who declined to be interviewed, confessed that on occasion he spoke to his staff in a normal manner: one client, who did not wish to be named, said that he found his lawyer “quite nice.” O tempora, o mores. Rumour has it that some have turned to training organisations which deal with medical receptionists because of their ability to generate aggression and ill will among patients with such minimal interaction.
Nonsense aside, this book will make you laugh out loud. Buy it for your waiting room; buy it for your lawyer friends, or just buy it for yourself. A treat.
David J Dickson
Books Review Editor

Monkey Business and Successful Prosecutions

Dear John

With crime rates falling, we Prosecutors have had to turn to our back catalogue of offences by ageing celebrities but with memories lapsing and witnesses dying the evidence in such cases can be questionable.

Should we just wait and hope that crime picks up, or should we press on and take what we can get?


Dear P.

There is no patron saint of hopeless cases, but there are many examples of Prosecutors pulling some very unlikely convictions out of the hat.

For instance, during the Napoleonic wars a ship’s pet monkey was shipwrecked on a beach in the North of England. The locals captured the monkey mistakenly believing it to be a French spy as it was dressed in military uniform.

The monkey was interrogated, tried, found guilty and hung. 

In that case, the burden would have been on the Prosecutor to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the monkey had an intention to spy-no easy task.

Let us not forget the defence lawyer’s task of taking clear instructions long before the advent of dedicated Animal Rights Lawyers.

All this, on a windy beach, with the constant chatter of the defendant in the background.

It is work like this which is an inspiration to Prosecutors everywhere.

Ed  note: Years ago, I was asked to represent a defendant before a Magistrates Court. I calculated his legal aid contribution, and when I told him that he would need to contribute $2.00 for my services, he decided to represent himself. He gets out next week.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Subway allegedly Held to Ransom

Last year, my son, introduced me to the delights of the Meat Ball Sub. I even mentioned Subway at my daughter's wedding. So, when Channel 7 Breakfast Show "Sunrise" asked me to comment on an alleged threat by a Subway franchisee to expose Subway's recipes on the internet if they did not pay him $35M, I could not here to see the interview.

For advice about legal issues concerning sandwiches or generallycontact Paul Brennan at Brennans solicitors.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Art of War - coping with conflict

Most people engage in litigation only once unless they have a very understanding spouse. At the outset, there is a lot to be gained by reading the Art of War by Sun Tzu, which is not only a manual of warfare, but a sage guide to engaging in conflicts both business and personal.

For those potential litigants who do not have the time to read the Art of War, here is the take home:

Twelve lessons for litigants from the Art of War by Sun Tzu

1.    Do not first fight and then look for victory.
2.    Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting, next attacking in the field, the worst strategy is to besiege as prolonged warfare is expensive.
3.    Rapidity is the essence of war, take advantage of your enemy's unreadiness, march by unexpected routes and attack unguarded spots.
4.    The object of war is peace.
5.    When attacking leave an outlet free to make your enemy believe that there is still a safe road of escape as enemies in desperate straits will show a lack of fear.
6.    If the enemy has achieved an unassailable height before you do, do not follow, but retreat and try to entice your enemy away by threatening another place that he must relieve.
7.    If his forces are united, separate them.
8.    When faced with a superior enemy about to attack, begin by seizing something your enemy holds dear and then he will be amenable to your will (the “goolie manoeuvre”).
9.    Devise unfathomable plans while knowing your enemy’s disposition. Thereby, he must spread his resources whereas you can attack at his weakest point in strength.
10.  Win people over by kind treatment and use them as spies, as intelligence is of utmost importance.
11.  Warfare is based on deception, when able to attack seem unable, when active seem inactive, pretend to be weak so he may grow arrogant.
12.  To begin by bluster and then take fright at the enemy’s numbers shows a supreme lack of intelligence.

Having said that even a small homily from Sun Tzu within marriage is dangerous ground.  For instance, it is difficult to explain to a wife that the “object of war is peace” especially where a daughter in law is concerned.

This is an extract from the second edition of Unleashing the Dogs of Law which the author intends to get around to but for now the 1st edition is not bad. Click here to view the 1st edition.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Hong Kong Handover 1997

At midnight on 30 June 1997 I was standing in Central, Hong Kong (HK) with my wife, Diane.
The weather was miserable; it was raining. Except for the temporary stadium nearby hosting the farewell for Chris Patten with Prince Charles in attendance, the streets were empty. Either there was something good on TV or the local Chinese had decided it was not a good idea to be seen taking to the streets.
In 1990, when we arrived in Hong Kong the local Chinese were clamouring for overseas passports (moving their families overseas to achieve residency status). Large crowds demonstrated angrily about democracy and June 4th. Confidence in the economy was low. There were bank runs. As the decade moved on, confidence was restored and there was frenzy on the stock and property markets,
The power visibly shifted from London to local wealthy Chinese and then to Beijing. By 1997, there was an air of acceptance, local Chinese had rediscovered their mainland roots, and everyone seemed to have a mainland cousin. The order of the day seemed to be to keep their heads down and maintain business as usual.
People worried about the mainland bringing lawlessness to Hong Kong.
One lunchtime, I heard bullets being exchanged in a running gunfight between mainland robbers of a gold shop and the HK police on the streets of Central. The HK police soon discovered that ex PLA (People’s Liberation Army) soldiers had been recruited by local Triads to carry out gold shop robberies in Central. It is rumoured that the Triads were told to knock it off. The robberies stopped.
A few months before the handover PLA troops had been stationed in Hong Kong. They were paid very little and people were concerned that they would get into mischief as soldiers do. In fact, they were locked inside their Central barracks and did not seem to be allowed out.
The Basic Law was implemented, and Human Rights legislation was introduced. However, Beijing was to call the shots in Legco (HK’s parliament). As the handover came near supporters of the mainland government surfaced, becoming vocal and dominant. The parties supporting democracy under Martin Lee became beleaguered.
Chris Patten advocated democracy for the HK people a little bit too rigorously, and Beijing dubbed him a “prostitute” and “man of eternal guilt."
It was against this background that on 19 June 1997 Diane and I sat in Legco for the Last Question Time of Chris Patten. Some Pro-Beijing councillors were openly hostile towards him asking questions such as, was he ashamed of what he had been doing.
Chris Patten gave the most brilliant of performances. He wiped the floor with hostile questioners. Everyone else enjoyed the event immensely. We were all aware that this was a historic occasion.
So that is how I found myself in Central at midnight on 30 June 1997 singing “Rule Britannia." It seemed the right thing to do. A few people joined in. Others watched on in silence.
We then walked to the harbour and watched Chris Patten sail away on the Britannia, its light ablaze.
On our way to the harbour we chatted to a HK Chinese policeman. He gave us a button from his uniform; the crown was not required anymore.

© Paul Brennan 1997. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ombudsman - The Great Pretender ....sometimes

Dear John

As a reward for long government service, I have been offered the job of Ombudsman. However, it sounds a little bit too challenging this near to my retirement. I am concerned that it may be too taxing and argumentative.


Dear O.

In days of old there were knights who were bold, but also there were many knights who just pottered around their castles and occasionally girded their loins to attend banquets. Whether they lacked inclination or funds, they were still knights; such is the power of branding.

The Ombudsman is not an advocate for complainants nor is he there to stick up for government departments. He is somewhere in the politically correct but potentially ineffective middle. Doing anything while maintaining your independence with both sides can be difficult, therefore, doing nothing can be an attractive and sensible option for some Ombudsmen bearing in mind that most complainants could be classified as last resort crackpots.

Here are the seven habits of highly ineffective Ombudsmen:
  1.   Try to close complaints without doing anything at all. This is easier that you think.
  2.  Increase complaint numbers by accepting complaints by telephone, email, website, even twitter, anonymous or otherwise. Vague complaints are easier to close.
  3. Do not identify and properly resource complaints that have merit, treat them all the same and spread your resources thinly so that you can be seen to be fairly dealing with each one, albeit ineffectively.
  4. Leverage complaints. If the complaint is made too early, it can be opened, and then closed and then reopened again, once the time has arrived for the complaint to be received. So that one complaint becomes statistically, two complaints.
  5. Do not have customer satisfaction surveys unless you are forced to do so. Put testimonials on your website and issue loads of statistics.
  6. Offer training to government departments on how they can deal cheerfully but not too effectively with complaints. This will create further statistics and keep your staff fully occupied.
  7.  Some ungrateful complainants may complain about you too, label these as vexatious so that no one takes any notice of them.

As a safe, reticent bureaucratic pair of hands you may be considered perfect for the position.


Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Note: if you are an Ombudsman and can answer “yes” to any one of these habits please consider moving over and letting someone else have a go.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Legal Advice about Sons to Mothers

Q. I have always been very proud of my son but now he tells me that he wants to put me in a home. 

A. You are not alone. Sons often egged on by wicked daughters-in-law start to give hints about retirement homes at any time after their mother's 55th birthday. 
Your lawyer will advise you of the 5 point  “We Are Staying Put, Son” (“WASPS”) strategy.  Use this to make your son’s interjections into your life a less pleasurable experience for him until he backs off.

  1. Hide all family heirlooms, rings, carpets, watches etc., to stop him visiting you just for the pleasure of inspecting them and declaring which ones will be his.
  2. If you cannot bring yourself to find an outspoken lesbian lover, invent one.   
  3. Adopt a poison Will clause.  This is similar to the “poison pill” strategy which companies use to avoid takeovers.  You  incorporate a clause in your Will which leaves you son’s share of your estate to someone else.  Even rich sons will baulk at the thought of their inheritance being left to say a donkey sanctuary.
  4. Stop taking hand outs from your son.  Bolster your income by taking in washing, playing more bingo, seeking out senior bargains or by simply taking a rich and preferably childless lover.
  5. Avoid displays of aggressive hatred especially those that lead to police involvement.  Any sign of mental instability may enable your son to take over your affairs.  Psychiatrists may be on your son’s side, they have mothers themselves.
As one godmother said “keep your enemies close and your adult sons even closer”.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Father of the Bride Speech

"Despite it being unusual for anyone to throw anything and the only requirement is to get through it without being embarrassing the Father of the Bride Speech is tough. If you have a daughter my advice is to start preparing now or at least before you stand up”   Paul Brennan

The stress, the expense, the worry, the upset, the tears…and that was only the engagement party.
Welcome to you all, especially our overseas guests or blow ins as you are affectionately known. Ben’s family have so many friends and our family so few, but our friends are prepared to travel a long way. Of course, that is because they have no friends either.
Those of you who have not been to Australia before may have preconceived notions about Australians. Apart from the Queensland contingent, these are refined Australians. For instance, the booze ran out half way through the engagement party but the sherry went first.
Welcome to Ben’s colleagues from the NSW government. After being the butt of so many jokes over the years, a table of government employees is a welcome relief to all the lawyers in the room. When Ben first joined the NSW Government, they saw a need in him that no one had seen before - Tai Chi training. It may have been part of the NSW Government induction program. Alice says that when he got home from the first lesson it took him 5 minutes to open the fridge.
We have always said that we loved our four children equally. We lied. Alice is the no. 1 child. She was always there to strap on her sister’s Wiggles tail, which for many years was a daily occurrence. She introduced her own library system into the house, issuing each of us with library cards and causing us to queue by the door to have our books stamped in and out.
Ben and Alice met in a gym. Thirty years ago, to meet a girl you had to trawl pubs, discos, and parties. Frankly, it was difficult to find a sober one. A pick up line would be - step away from the bar, ma ’me. So if you have wondered about your parents that may be the missing piece of the jigsaw.
That leads me Ben, to tell you how I met your mother-in-law. It was midnight at a New Year’s Eve Party. We kissed. I was beneath the mistletoe with another attendee when I felt someone fiddling with my trousers. I looked down, and it was Diane. As we had kissed, her woollen dress has become entangled in my fly, and as I had moved away, a woollen strand had stretched out across the room. Of course, when that sort of thing happened in those days you had to get married.
Dating is different. Thirty years ago, we would try to take our girlfriends somewhere nice.
Where did Ben take Alice? Up a volcano. At the top of the volcano, Alice twisted her ankle. Ben picked her up in his strong arms and carried her all the way down. After 25 years of marriage if you are up a volcano with your wife in your arms, you are up to no good.
Ben, I am sure you have noticed by now that there is something different about your new mother-in-law…..She has a sense of humour. Every married man here will tell you that is very unusual. For example, our family went to see the movie, the Titanic. Being Hong Kong, at the end of the movie everyone surged for the exit. I heard your mother-in-law shout, “Women and children first”. It was one of the only times that an audience left the Titanic laughing their heads off.
Diane, your new son-in-law thinks before he says something. Ask any mother-in-law in the room, and they will tell you that is very rare.
Alice and Ben, there are many people in this room sharing your journey. Above all Ben’s grandparents, celebrating 56 years of marriage. Do you know what you get for 56 years? Titanium. A titanium hip. It is something you will always have. You are not going to leave it in the back of a taxi after a drunken night out.
Married life gains subtlety over the years. Alice, when you make a sandwich for Ben, you make it with love, and he knows that as your kitchen top looks like a branch of Subway. After 30 years of marriage, it is different. For instance, the other day your mother said to me, “Do you want this or shall I give it to the dog?” I thought, I know what you mean baby. You mean that you love me more than that there dog.

No volcano high enough.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Give me liberty from completing an Advance Health Directive or give me death

An Advance Health Directive (“AHD”) sets out your wishes in the event that you are incapacitated, for instance, “Do Not Resuscitate”. The admirable self-sacrifice of issuing instructions to spare your relatives the expense and anguish of prolonging your life after you have reached your “Sell by Date” is ruined for some by the length, detail, and turgid nature of the AHD form which runs to 24 pages.

Whereas Mafia victims are given every assurance before being unexpectedly garotted in the passenger seat of their car, the AHD requires you to choose the method of your demise, be it lack of oxygen, starvation or thirst, or an “OST combo”. Many find it difficult to tick the box which provides that they are to be denied food and yearn for an option of “SAVE FOR the occasional light snack”.

The AHD form includes sections which allow you to:
  • expound on your spiritual and religious views as if your relatives had not heard enough already.
  • list people who should not be consulted on your condition. For instance, an evil twin, ex-wife, or mother in law.
  •  choose someone to agonise over these decisions for you although it is difficult to find someone who can do it as well as yourself.
As a safeguard, there are dire warnings to doctors and nurses not to depart from good medical practice e.g. by accelerating or assisting death especially in the case of less agreeable patients or at the insistence of pushy relatives.

Finally, the AHD form is to be taken to your doctor who is required to witness your signature and answer your many questions. Be careful to keep the AHD form out of sight while in the doctor’s waiting room to avoid being lynched by the other patients. An unintended form of euthanasia.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Other Peoples' Children

Q. Parents are so boastful of their childrens’ achievements. Does such irritating behaviour offend against any law? I do not say this just because my own childrens’ achievements have been modest.

A.  My wife and I attended a parents’ evening where one mother was concerned that the curriculum would not extend her child as he was gifted, later she questioned the adequacy of the sports facilities as he was a natural athlete, finally her hand was up again to question the music teacher as her son was also a talented musician. He was 7 years old. As my wife later commented, “it is amazing that the most gifted children have the most stupid mothers”.

It may not be specifically mentioned in any declaration of human rights but being irritating is an inalienable right of man and womankind. But the irritating are the first to go in any revolution, or at least that is my plan.

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lawyer Tease

Q. I have not made a will as I am too embarrassed to reveal how little I have got. I have always hoped that something would turn up, but time is running out.

A. It took me a few years to realise that my clients did not have more money than me; they just said that they did.

Over the years they have:

  •          Invented rich uncles poised to leave them a fortune.
  •         Made out that they had so much money that they had no need to work.
  •        Claimed that they had given substantial sums to charity.

Some clients got carried away, hinting at expensive mistresses and rich, generous mothers-in-law.

All fantasy, of course.

Therefore, your claims of exceptional wealth will leave your lawyer unmoved. Unless, you give your lawyer even  the slightest reason to suspect that the claims are true. For instant, a $10.00 tip to his or her secretary on the way in, followed by claims of anything over $10M is likely to cause a complete melt down.

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why are lawyers not as popular as doctors?

Q. Why are lawyers not as popular as doctors?

A.  If there were another set of doctors on the other side of the operating  table trying to kill the patient, doctors would not be so popular either.

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Criminal Shortage Prompts Prison Reform

Q. With falling crime rates and the creeping de-criminalisation of drugs, will our prisons be almost empty soon?

A. There has never been a shortage of people to persecute and incarcerate. I am sure we will think of something. For instance, many in the legal profession have always felt that children, especially teenagers, would gain from a custodial sentence. I am not suggesting long sentences (except in certain cases). Sentences would mostly take place in the school holidays so as not to interfere with school work. There would be no criminal record as the Child Custody (“CC”) System would not deal with crimes but everyday family irritations such as talking back and eating with elbows on the table. Not every infraction would result in imprisonment. For instance, what teenage son would refuse to put out the garbage if he had a suspended sentence hanging over his head? Only the consent of the parents would be required, and I expect that, in most cases, this would be enthusiastically given, especially for Holiday CC.

Once the principle had been established it could be extended to other troublesome family members such as mothers-in-law. Forcibly sending your mother-in-law to prison may be a breach of her human rights. However, human rights’ lawyers have never defended mothers-in-law in the past, and I suspect that they will not start now.

Once the criminals were cleared out of the prison system, wives could be attracted by a Hi-Security diet that really worked. Fathers may seek some solitude especially leading up to Christmas, birthdays or weddings. No more household chores, fielding requests for money, or going shopping for even short periods may be a welcome respite.

Include a “Throw Away the Key” option for spouses and we will need more prisons not less.

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2005-2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Glossy but Dull

Q. The glossy information sheet which accompanied my new driving licence warned me to “try and keep it flat”, “not to deform it by cutting or hitting it” and “not to soak it”. Increasingly, my attention is being diverted by pointless information packaged in a way that invites attention. The duller the message, the greater the marketing subterfuge. Can the law offer any solution to these time wasting antics?

A. All content should be colour coded - red, white or blue. Red being worth reading, and blue being not worth reading. For instance, all legal documents produced by banks would be defaulted to blue with occasional white and red streaks to enable customers to hone in on the important parts and disregard the rest. Productivity would increase dramatically.

Then we could colour code our politicians and have three parliaments, blue being not worth listening to. Materials - red, white, or blue produced by politicians of any hue, would be removed to the appropriate parliament.

With colour coded TV channels, all the films and shows which receive bad reviews would be shown on a blue channel giving us all the opportunity to have evenings free of the usual rubbish.

There would be anomalies. For instance, some blue jokes may need to be reclassified as red, and red herrings would become blue. Brides may aspire to red weddings.

In order to enforce these laws, white and blue judges would be appointed to join the red judges. Cases would be allocated red, white or blue status purely on entertainment value.

This is not a new idea; the US Federal Courts have been colour coding their attorneys for some time. Submissions from blue attorneys are dismissed without a hearing. It has saved a lot of time and is being considered by courts all around the world. 

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO, lawyer to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Lawyers in Love Cartoon Slideshow - St Valentine's Day Special

Legal Cartoons for lawyers dating, living together, engaged, married, separated or divorced. Or anyone thinking about it.

Click here for the Lawyers in Love Cartoon Slideshow 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Losing your inheritance - the smart way

Q. A court has ruled that a will can be made on a smart phone. How do I stop my inheritance being tweeted away?

A. It used to be that thieves were branded on the cheek, murderers were hanged, and if a will was not signed at the bottom or foot thereof in the presence of two witnesses present at the same time, it was not valid. We all knew where we stood, and although it was difficult to get a will executed without someone inadvertently trying to leave the room, or wanting to sign in the wrong place, we managed. Now, if a Testator had a clear intention of creating a will, despite not observing the legal niceties, a judge may allow it over the line.

Once a Testator is deceased it is no longer his wife who decides his intentions for him, it is a judge, so it can still go either way. This means that if those in charge of your inheritance are unreliable (and let’s face it, we are dealing with your parents here) you may need to have an entire court case to beat off the other claimants, and that can be expensive.

Therefore, it is best to pay for your parents to make their wills properly and then wipe them out before they change their minds. This is not without risk and care must be taken to avoid suspicion of patricide, matricide or the ever popular, step-matricide. However, no one is surprised by what parents get up to these days. Accidents involving Bucking Broncos, parachuting and microlights seem commonplace for the over 70s. 

But, tweeting is just one of the ways to lose your inheritance, so be vigilant and proactive it may not be enough to support your parents’ extreme lifestyle choices and wait. 

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO, lawyer to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. Author of The Legal Guide to Dying...Baby Boomer Edition 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Falling crime rates

Q. Are falling crimes rates just another sign of the unreliability of this generation?

A. A growing number of prosecutors blame computer games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, which have enticed the young to play out their violent, rapacious fantasies in the comfort of their own bedrooms rather than misbehave on the streets. One Attorney General told me “We were against violent computer games when they were first introduced, and we are against them now, we are just less sure how to explain why”.

Psychologists argue that it is the increase in One Parent Families which so often lack the presence of a violent father as a role model, also, that working mothers are just too tired and no longer at home to terrorise their teenage children and drive them out onto the streets.

While authoritarian governments see the absence of youth on the streets as a good thing other governments have coped with the decline by pretending that crime rates are going up in keeping with the public’s perception.

Parents who in the past have relied upon their teenage children to bring home the bacon and anything else that they could lay their hands on are facing financial hardship. The issue is compounded by their own parents who are retiring earlier and earlier; demanding attention and financial support. The solution is for retired parents to undertake shoplifting and mugging duties. Governments could set a generous limit to the amount that retired parents could steal before their Age Pensions are reduced.

Falling crime rates could be reversed by the adjustment of existing laws. For instance, change “threatening behaviour” to “looking at me in a funny way” and leave the rest up to police discretion. Who would not applaud the application of the terrorism laws to telemarketers?

By combining these simple changes with an increase in police numbers and a return to trumped up charges, the courts will be as busy as ever and no longer reliant on jobless youth.  

Extract from - My card "without prejudice" -advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO, lawyer to be published later this year.

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Life Going Nowhere?

Dear John

My life is going nowhere. Do I have a claim?


Dear PB

It is only when Life Going Nowhere (LGN) Non-Activists become radicalised that they discover that it is not their fault after all. After years of self-blame, they are ready to identify and denounce those who are really responsible e.g. parents, government departments, ex-girlfriends etc. 

My advice is to choose one or more abusers and if you are wrong you can always change later. Your therapist can assist you through this process and help to apply an appropriate label such as LGN Abuse.

Although a lone voice, can generate some sympathy, to mount a legal claim you will need to encourage others to join you. With a subject such as LGN you should have no trouble, I feel like joining you myself.

Your motive must remain selfless. It is best to describe fellow sufferers as 'Survivors' which suggests overcoming adversity rather than malingering. The Survivors mission should be to assist other Survivors and prevent our children (especially the teenagers) from becoming victims. Remind them to remain humourless and easily offended at all times.

You will need a website, a trademark, t-shirts, posters, ribbons, social media consultants, but most of all, a generous travel allowance to organise the World LGN Abuse Summit. The prospect of foreign travel possibly in Bali should secure the support of family and friends who may have been sceptical up to that point.

Although the lawyers at the Legal Aid Department may empathise with you, legal aid is unlikely to be available initially anyway. Therefore, it will be necessary to raise money for necessary legal fees and other expenses.

It is important not to beg. Offer sponsorship, membership (platinum, gold, silver) and seek celebrity endorsement. There will be those who refuse to give. Rather than listing the people who give you money, list the people who do not.

Finally, find an LGN lawyer (there are no shortage) and select a jurisdiction with imagination such as America’s state courts.

John Fytit A.O.

(c) Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved. Extract from John Fytit’s International Legal Problem Page. For more go to

A book of advice given by John Fytit A.O. over the years will be published next year.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Death of social media

To manage your social media commitments when you have a business to run is difficult but when you are dead it becomes almost impossible. However, with the right social media strategy your Virtual Assistant in Mumbai will live on and continue to send out your posts at one o’clock in the morning and could even change your status to “PO” (“passed on”).
Your On-line assets e.g. photographs, videos etc. will pass in your Will as these digital assets are intellectual property. You do not need to name each item, unless you want to give the asset to a particular beneficiary; otherwise, your digital assets will be part of the residue of your estate. This could mean that the wrong beneficiary could inherit, so if an item is important or valuable (e.g. business logo, business website content) you could make specific provision in your Will.

Nowadays, people having so many Friends that they do not know from Adam, creates special challenges for the executors who feel that they must ensure that  friends are aware of your death and also that they have access to your profile to discover who you were. Therefore, the executors need quick access to secure, control and utilize your on-line information. Leaving a Digital Register of all your assets and passwords to access the assets would be useful, or even just a list of the passwords to your social media accounts, but as you cannot remember the passwords yourself, it is probably not going to happen.

If, executors are ready to do battle with privacy issues they can increase your likes but do not expect to attract many followers.

To paraphrase Johnny Carson - for three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but tweets taper off.

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Modern Partnership

Dear John

I chose my partners at a time when “partner” meant “business partner”. We all knew exactly where we stood. Now, the situation is regrettably confused.


Dear DT

As the use of the word “partner” has expanded to suggest romantic attachment many single business partners clearly hoped that this would be the solution to their lonely lives, especially the ugly ones. It was subtle at first, just hints that there was something more than a business relationship such as the use of the word “darling” or love” at the end of sentences, but soon it became “where were you last night?”, “You never listen to me” and even “Where’s my slippers?”. Many partners could not stand it and stormed out slamming the door.

Such was the concern in legal circles that lawyers have been permitted to incorporate, and we were immediately relieved that we no longer had to use the word “firm” as that seemed to have gone the same way as the word “ripe” let alone the word “member”.

It was a useful reminder to us that words that were regarded as perfectly innocent before the war are now a mine field. We immediately embarked on a review of our precedents deleting reference to words and phrases which could cause offence such as briefs, discharge, hung jury, motion, bond, age and restraint.

This is not to criticise those lawyers who have decided to remain in traditional partnerships. For the first time, many have been able to discuss their true feelings. Late nights at the office instead of going home to their spouses were not quite what they had seemed after all.

John Fytit AO

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Awardless

Dear John

As much as I try, why does everybody win business awards except me? 
RM, Sydney

Dear RM

Such is the proliferation of award ceremonies, I know of lawyers who are more decorated than Audie Murphy* and even though they readily admit that it is not a reflection on their abilities there is increasing pressure on we the “Awardless”. It has even been suggested by one client that I merge with a serial Awardling to “fill the empty shelves in my reception”.
I have never sought any recognition or praise for my work, which my wife says is probably just as well. However, my principled non participation is now characterised as “Award Denying”.

You could sue the judging panel for being bias which may have the added advantage of discouraging future award panels from rejecting your award nomination without some consideration, however it may lead to accusations of sour grapes.

My advice is to join one of the many organisations offering awards and create your own category. For instance, an award for sober librarians or humble senior partners would certainly limit the legal field.

In awards, as in life, 85% success is turning up but it is possible to achieve a further 15% by changing the rules.

 John Fytit AO

*The most decorated soldier of WWII who was still receiving rewards in 2013 (30 years after his death).

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Click here for a preview and to order 101 reasons from Amazon for the special price of $14.53 (usually $19.99) while stocks last. Also available as an eBook from Amazon.

Click here to order an autographed copy with a personal greeting at $19.99 plus P&P. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Review by the Law Institute Journal

For a profession known for taking itself rather seriously, lawyers are also exceptionally good at seeing the funny side of the practice of law.

There are few better at the art of skewering the pretensions and idiosyncrasies of legal practice than Queensland lawyer Paul Brennan, author of the Law & Disorder website which, for years, has been dispensing useful legal advice heavily disguised as comedy. As well as tips on topics such as “The 10 greatest legal mistakes in business . . . and how to avoid them”, the site is host to caustic and comic legal cartoons, an ezine and more.

Those readers familiar with the comic Queenslander’s books, including The Law is an Ass . . . Make Sure It Doesn’t Bite Yours, can now add to their collection with the latest Brennan book 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers.

The book grew out of Paul’s blog of the same name. He said he decided on 101 reasons as he didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1001.

But there’s nothing depressing about 101 Reasons, with its advice about the things lawyers should know about but might not, such as the secret of enjoying committee meetings, how to field complaints, career planning and dealing successfully with their own legal problems. It is also about things Paul says lawyers are not expected to know about but probably should such as change, innovation, emotions, relationships and sex.
Law Institute Journal (Victoria)
September 2013 87 (9) LIJ, p.86

LETTER TO EDITOR OF Law Institute Journal
Sir: Your review article (With Due Respect September 2013 87 (9) LIJ, p.86) implied that solicitors have a good sense of humour.
I have had a sense of humour for over 30 years. However, I have not used it and do not intend to start now.
John Fytit AO  
Solicitor, Sunshine Coast, Queensland