Showing posts from May, 2011

Free speech, football & how companies think

Time for a quick mid-week post . In the past few days, Twitter has been on fire in the UK with questions about privacy, footballers and court injunctions. The Tweeps I follow are  mostly lawyers in the UK and the US. This group of people has a particular angle on the current debate. Wherever they stand on the individual case in hand, most are horrified by the damage that's being done to the rule of law. So am I. Just to get it out of the way, on the narrow case,  I'm in the camp that declines to name the person in question for so long as the court order is in force. At the same time, I have a great deal of sympathy with those who think the judges in England are a long way past what Parliament envisaged when it enacted a right to privacy. I'm extremely uneasy about sacrificing the privacy of thousands of people on Twitter by revealing their identities to the well paid lawyers for a wealthy adulterer. But nobody with any sense is reading this blog for my views on free spe

Law, Business, Sex and Cookery

Right. This one is going to be a little different, more of a polemic.  Before we get to talking about sex and cookery, let's discuss elitism and intellectual snobbery. Many of those reading this post are lawyers, and, judging by a continuing theme on twitter and in blogs, there are a good number of lawyers who believe that the law is an Olympian construct of the intellect, a triumph of ideas, far above the grubby world of business. This notwithstanding that many of history's eminent lawyers, starting with Cicero, were men on the make.  I'm a big believer in the rule of law.  But everyone has somebody who looks down at them.  I did my undergraduate degree in the physical sciences, trying (only partly successfully) to get to grips with courses like Quantum Mechanics.  My tutor was a genius. I got a decent degree but, at the end of the 4th year, my tutor's career advice was "be a lawyer". You could roughly translate that comment as "You're something

Toyota's production system - even the doctors are using it

Having tried more than once, I can attest that it's difficult to persuade smart professionals, like lawyers, that they have something to learn from the production systems that companies such as Toyota have developed for manufacturing cars. After all, what could possibly be the connection between making cars and giving legal advice?  A few of the people reading this post will be old enough to remember when cars were routinely unreliable, before the Japanese car industry's greatest gift to the world's motorists - reliability as standard. Nowadays, we take it for granted that our cars, whoever makes them, will start every morning and run without breaking down. But that wasn't always the case. The car industry is one of the biggest in the world and it succeeded in making a major transformation in quality. It's worth stopping to ask if there's anything we can learn. You can read plenty of articles on the topic of "legal process engineering", but this po