Advice on not thinking about law all the time

It’s important to have a life outside law.

Take up a sport.  Tennis at least means you won’t spend your whole day at court.  In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone.  If sailing is your thing then you can find a place to partake with a simple dock identification.

Update your wardrobe.  Take a tailored discovery.  If you have four pairs of flat-fronted pants then pleat the fifth.  Change to boxers; amend your briefs.  Re-examine that old attaché and patch up the holes in your case.  If you have veils, pierce them.

Philosophy is another refuge.  I may not qualify as an expert but here’s my opinion.  If you focus on the leading questions the answers will soon be suggested to you.  Recall your wrong judgements.  Mistakes are common, and seldom unilateral.  True meaning cannot be found by only having regard to extrinsic things.

Give back.  Service can seldom be substituted.  An exchange of value is something you should at least give consideration.  Be the beneficiary of trusty companions.

If you can’t find a cause of action then strike out on your own,  even when it seems like there is little prospect of increased security.  And when you develop an interest, work to perfect it.  You’ll soon find yourself speaking in circumstances that attract confidence.  Set aside others’ caveats.  When you find yourself at a crossroads, be sure to look around, because after all it’s always best to observe in junctions.

If things look like they’re going to run away on you, don’t bail.  Turn to religion if you have to; plenty of people have been restored by the accounts of prophets.

There will be times when mercy won’t be your prerogative.  When people plead poorly, you do not need to respond.  And when things turn to custard, well, we’re not concerned with trifles.

It’s quite the undertaking.

But be unwaivering.

And above all stop thinking about law all the goddamn time.  It’s not healthy.

The highest court in the land

This tiny picture of the Ohakune District Court hearing centre is the only picture that Google offers.

One of my aspirations as a young advocate is to one day have the opportunity to make submissions in the highest court in the land.

By which I mean the court that has the greatest elevation above sea level.

According to a highly scientific free online website that lets you type in addresses and tells you the altitude of a point, I can confirm that the highest court in the land is the Ohakune District Court hearing centre.  Of course, it’s only a hearing centre which means it isn’t open all the time.  But no one said appearing in the highest court would be easy.  It’s like that old how do you get to Carnegie Hall joke: except for a lawyer it’s practice of a different kind.

My innovative new juridi-geographical hierarchy of courts heralds a new way of conceiving the relative status of our courts and definitely warrants a hefty grant from the Borrin Foundation.  As an initial proposal, I call on the Supreme Court to immediately begin hearing cases in Ohakune.  The slopes of Turoa and Whakapapa will make excellent locations for Supreme Court Judges to take skiing holidays with counsel after the hearings.

Notable findings of my initial survey conclude what we have known all along, like the fact the Court of Appeal is a higher court than the Supreme Court.  It also reveals surprising findings such as the fact that the Auckland District Court is the highest court in Auckland.  In this, I haven’t factored in the Court of Appeal hearing centre in Auckland, which is halfway up a tall office building and the subject of previous comment.

The results are below.  I haven’t done every court because I have some submissions I really need to finish…  I am quietly sceptical of some of the precise readings (Is the Supreme Court really 22 metres above sea level?  And does the Hutt Valley District Court have a lower altitude than central Wellington courts?) so don’t @ me to quibble about the  results of the ultra-precise methodology I have used!


(Partial) Hierarchy of the highest courts in the land

585 metres – Ohakune District Court hearing centre

440 metres – Taihape District Court

373 metres – Taupo District Court

324 metres – Queenstown District Court

186 metres – Kaikohe District Court

146 metres – Alexandra District Court

104 metres – Ashburton District Court

59 metres – Te Kuiti District Court

43 metres – Auckland District Court

39 metres – Auckland High Court

37 metres – Palmerston North High/District Court (this really doesn’t seem right?!)

36 metres – Manukau District Court

33 metres – Levin District Court

26 metres – Court of Appeal of New Zealand

25 metres – Tauranga High Court

24 metres – Tauranga District Court

22 metres – Supreme Court of New Zealand

22 metres – Kaitaia District Court

19 metres – Papakura District Court

18 metres – Chatham Islands District Court

11 metres – Hutt Valley District Court

8 metres – Opotiki District Court hearing centre

8 metres – Blenheim District Court

7 metres – Dunedin High/District Court

Nonsense on Twitter – week of 1 April 2019


Template statement for law firms on innovation and legal tech

Version One

Strictly Obiter and Associates are excited to announce a new collaborative development with literally every legal technology start-up in the world.  This will position Strictly Obiter as a dynamic and future-focused incubator of agile and engaging workflow systems.

We are motivated to centre ourselves as a change-agent for innovation; seeking synergies as we strive to be a catalyst for groundbreaking, cloud-based paradigms that will produce operational efficiencies for our clients.

In addition, internal processes will see us partnering with clients to augment an experiential and design-driven, user-centred approach to our work.  We will streamline,  and be an agile new player in sectors such as fintech.

Machine-learning will position us as a market leader through a transformational approach to understanding our metrics.  We are pivot-ready.  This is an audaciously non-linear approach and the sense of intentionality that we bring to this disruption of our legacy systems is second to none.

We will cast off the chains of pen and paper and bind ourselves with blockchain.  Our peer-to-peer systems are peerless.  Blue-sky thinking has led us to the Cloud.  We are replacing our sense of discovery with a sense of e-discovery.  Every man must have a code, and ours is Code.  We are making a hard drive towards the future.

Aggregated experiential platforms will transform our networks.  Non-static will be our watchword as we seek efficiencies in an iterative way to overcome our clients’ lived problems.  Smart analytics and algorithms will see us metamorphose into an agile firm, supplemented by automated cybersecurity protocols.

The future is now, and Strictly Obiter and Associates is proud to lead the way.


Version Two

We started using Dropbox for our client documents.

Opera singer or lawyer?

I’ve always been amused by the moody lawyer profile shot, sometimes accompanied by  shadows playing across the face and a gaze fixed squarely on the middle distance.  They aren’t just lawyers, they are Cool Guys (NB people of all genders can be Cool Guys).  Below are ten photos.  Five are New Zealand lawyers, and five are opera singer profile photos.  Can you pick which is which based solely on the style of photography?

Candidate 1


Candidate 2
Candidate 3
Candidate 4
Candidate 5
Candidate 6
Candidate 7
Candidate 8
Candidate 9
Candidate 10

Answers below!











Baritones and sopranos: 2, 5, 7, 9, 10.

Barristers and solicitors: 1, 3, 4, 6, 8.

Alternative law-related names for famous artworks

Salvador Dali’s “I am not very good at time recording.”
Last supper2
Da Vinci’s “Late night at the office before they abolished the working late dinner allowance.”
Da Vinci’s “Expression of a judge who doesn’t say anything during your entire oral submissions.”


American Gothic.png
Wood’s “The partners are pleased to announce this year’s salary increases.”
Gericault’s “Russell McVeagh post-Bazley Report.”
Da Vinci’s “We certify for second counsel.”
Picasso’s “Cross-examination done well.”