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With all due respect: Testing times

Every Issue

Cite as: Cite as: March 2012 86 (03) LIJ, p.81

A funny thing happened on the way back from the bar . . .

Well, not that funny actually if you are one of those practitioners who like to imbibe over a long lunch after pulling an all-nighter or having a tough morning in court.

It seems, according to Australian Work–place Drug Testing Services (AWDTS), law firms are among several new white-collar businesses beginning to enlist the organisation’s services.

And it is not only the remnants of those slightly naughty things that give one a high – like a nice big glass of Penfolds Grange 1955 Shiraz to hide one from the pressures of the day – that they are looking for.

AWDTS director Tony Graham said, in a press release, that his white-collar clients were also testing for substances such as caffeine tablets, sleeping pills and antihistamines.

“In one recent case a fatigued worker put an electric stapler through his thumb, while in a separate incident a worker came back from lunch after a couple of drinks and got his tie caught in a paper shredder,” Mr Graham said.

“Our testing is pretty sophisticated now, and the repercussions for being caught cheating are often more severe than giving a positive reading.”

The shift to test office workers, such as those in law firms and IT companies, follows mandatory testing in the mining and transport industries.

Mr Graham said the number of drug tests his company carried out increased 25 per cent last year.

We here at WADR believe those lawyers who stick with new year resolutions to give up the grog will not have anything to worry about. And those who do have something to worry about should seek employment in a firm which is a little stingy as testing is expensive.

Speaking of new year resolutions, we all know that lawyers are only ever “cautiously optimistic” about the year ahead.

So we are taking this opportunity to ask readers for some quirkier resolutions that have already gone by the wayside.

A quick check around the WADR offices has revealed that some deeply disturbed individuals were getting up to things behind closed doors (they quite appropriately want to give up) that frankly made us blush.

But not all journeys of self-discovery need to be about breaking bad habits (but usually are).

So, in the spirit of scratching backs reciprocally we have free Crownies DVDs for the first five readers who contact us with resolutions broken (true or not).

Alert readers will remember a review of former ABC TV series Crownies on p67 of this edition (inPrint).

The program delved into the world of the Department of Public Prosecutions (sorry, it is not a documentary about recent events at the Victorian DPP) and its eager lawyers. Crownies, according to the ABC marketing machine, “follows five young solicitors as they face the pressures and endearing madness of modern single life in a fast paced workplace. They are committed, idealistic and hard-working, but their lives away from the office are filled with aspirations, explorations, and fragile relationships and partying”.

Interested? Knew you would be. To be in the running, email WADR at

Enjoy laughing at the failings, foibles and faux pas of others? Of course you do. Then why not contribute to WADR? By email to, by fax on 9607 9451 or by mail C/- LIJ, 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000.


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