12 January 1998

The Lawyer

  • 1997 proves bumper year for corporate merger work

    13-Jan-1998

    Firms pulled in a record £400m in legal fees for corporate merger advice last year, according to Acquisitions Monthly magazine and there is no sign of a down-turn yet.Advising on the £9.8bn merger of Guinness with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo ensured that Slaughter and May, Theodore Goddard, Norton ...

  • A blip on Wall Street's radar

    12-Jan-1998

    The feeling remains that those UK firms which have set up beachheads are still very much small fry in an enormous pond. Richard Tyler finds that America's finest are not exactly running for cover as the invasion by the UK's leading firms gathers pace.When it comes to making it big in the world's biggest legal market, British firms finally have something to smile about.Bridging the legal pond that divides Britain and the US, and overcoming ...

  • A&O/Paris link to stay

    13-Jan-1998

    Allen & Overy and its Paris ally, Gide Loyrette Nouel, have issued a joint statement stressing that they have no plans to end their association. Last week The Lawyer reported that Gide was considering breaking its links with A&O a move which was confirmed by a 'spokeswoman' at the French firm. In the statement, however, the firms' two senior partners, Xavier de Roux of Gide and ...

  • African lawyers finally win a voice at IBA

    12-Jan-1998

    African lawyers are set to get full representation in the International Bar Association (IBA) after years of trying raise their profile.The 980 African members of the international organisation have set up a working group to finalise a formal network. They are likely to follow the model of the IBA's Latin American steering group.At this year's annual IBA conference in Vancouver, over 100 African lawyers attended a session on investment and corporate ...

  • An Englishman in New York

    12-Jan-1998

    I speculated long and hard about what awaited me on the other side of the pond when my firm Freshfields sent me on secondment to New York firm Davis Polk & Wardwell last April.I had visited New York twice in the past, watched countless films set in the city and felt sure I would fit in.I was less sure about what work they would have in store. Like everybody else, ...

  • Attorney General to face court

    12-Jan-1998

    Attorney General John Morris QC will have to give evidence in person in the sexual discrimination case being brought by barrister Josephine Hayes.Croydon Employment Tribunal last week ruled that Morris will have to appear at the full hearing on 21 June next year.Hayes brought the discrimination claim over the appointment by Morris, using the traditional secret soundings procedure, of Philip Sales as First Treasury Counsel or "Treasury Devil".Hayes ...

  • Bar queries Govt's Treasury Counsel hiring procedure

    13-Jan-1998

    THE BAR Council has asked the Attorney General, John Morris QC, for details of exactly how he goes about appointing Treasury Counsel.The request is part of a joint investigation by the council's sex discrimination and equal opportunities committees into government appointments procedures for legal advisers.Last November the current system came under attack when Philip Sales, a barrister at the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's old chambers, 11 King's ...

  • Bennets loses four in major exodus

    13-Jan-1998

    FAMILY law firm Margaret Bennett has been hit by a wave of departures.The five-partner firm will lose two partners, an associate and an assistant in the space of two months, one of whom is dropping from partner to assistant status in his move.Renowned child abduction and international custody dispute specialist Anne-Marie Hutchinson has left the partnership after only six months to join Dawson Cornwell & Co as a partner. She has been joined there by her assistant, ...

  • Beware of the pitfalls of buying IT systems

    12-Jan-1998

    Michael Chapman says buying a new computer system for a barristers' chambers is a minefield of jargon. Michael Chapman is a barrister at Barnards Inn Chambers.Call it what you like - Y2K, the millennium bug - the problem remains the same. If a computer only looks at the last two digits of a year then, at the beginning of the next millennium, it is going to think it's 1900 all over again.Cynics might say that stepping back a hundred years ...

  • Book of the Week

    12-Jan-1998

    Gangland International - The Mafia and Other Mobs By James MortonFormer solicitor Morton's latest is a timely reminder of the dealings of the world's most sinister gangsters. Morton gives a global perspective of the underground that stems from the American Mafia, and charts the history of bikers, street fighters, prison gangs, and other general lawbreakers.

  • British lawyer in US first

    12-Jan-1998

    Andrew Thomas, project finance partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld's London office, has become the first British lawyer to be elected a fellow of the American College of Investment Counsel (ACIC). ACIC has 400 lawyer members from in-house and private practice who specialise in institutional investment financing.

  • Camden borough solicitor accuses boss of sexual harassment

    13-Jan-1998

    Camden Borough Council solicitor Amanda Kelly is alleging sex discrimination and victimisation by the council and her boss, chief executive Steve Bundred.Kelly lodged a complaint with an industrial tribunal in November last year after she received two letters from Bundred in August and September querying her 'conduct and attitude'.Her lawyer, Gillian Howard, said the formal proceedings were necessary as the council had no grievance procedure for Camden's ...

  • Carter-Ruck launches no win-no fee plan

    12-Jan-1998

    Leading libel firm Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners is set to spark a huge upsurge in defamation cases against the media by announcing a new no win-no fee policy.The firm, founded by the doyen of libel law, Peter Carter-Ruck, will this week announce that clients who begin defamation will not have to pay fees if they lose a case.Rival solicitors admit they may have to follow suit in offering conditional fee arrangements for libel work, a concept that is already ...

  • Case management unit halves Scottish firm's costs

    13-Jan-1998

    SCOTTISH firm The Morton Fraser Partnership claims it is managing to more than halve its costs by using case management technology to pool its high volume 'commodity' work into a single department.The case management unit is staffed by seven paralegals who use the Axxia Case Manager system under the supervision of one solicitor.The system allows the paralegals to handle cases from the moment the firm is instructed, and it has built-in templates ...

  • Case management unit halves Scottish firm's costs

    13-Jan-1998

    Elizabeth Davidson reportsCITY firm Titmuss Sainer Dechert is to become the eighth firm in the UK to install a practice management system from US supplier CMS Data.The firm signed the deal with the suppliers on 16 December and began installation work last week with the aim of having the system up and running ...

  • Catching porn in the Net

    13-Jan-1998

    John Rubinstein says that banning pornography on the Net is not the way to prevent exploitative child sex. John Rubinstein is a partner in intellectual property at Manches & Co.Pornography was not initially a significant feature of the Internet. The Net's origins lie in military and academic information exchange requirements, exploiting telephone networks for exchange of information.The flexibility of the medium and its easy availability to networks ...

  • Channel 4's Trial and Error vindicated

    12-Jan-1998

    Channel 4's victory in a libel case will mitigate programme makers fears of police libel threats, writes Roger Pearson.DJ Freeman has won a significant victory for Channel 4, while the Police Federation has been left with an estimated legal costs bill of up to #2m, in a case where Channel 4 was sued by a detective inspector.The case, which became such a stop-start affair that it was nicknamed the Groundhog Trial, reached ...

  • City accusations send sparks flying

    12-Jan-1998

    Robert Mendick reports on the knee-jerk reactions that followed accusations of money laundering by some City firms. City pages edited by Richard Tyler.Last week, Simon Goddard, of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), revealed exclusively to The Lawyer that six big City law firms were under investigation for their links with organised crime."We certainly have lawyers who perform the role like an old consigliere in the Mafia films," he said.

  • Clifford Chance in merger talks with Spanish partners

    12-Jan-1998

    Clifford Chance is in talks with Ramon Mullerat, the name partner of Spanish firm Mullerat & Roca, plus at least two other partners and a team of assistants from its Barcelona office, following the firm's demerger.Clifford Chance saw its opportunity when high-profile Mullerat and fellow name partner Sebastian Roca decided to split the firm in two after failing to agree on strategy.

  • Clifford Chance lobbies for tightening of Information Act

    13-Jan-1998

    Clifford Chance is to lobby the Cabinet Office for a tightening up of the proposed Freedom of Information Act to allow companies to make a case for preventing the release of documents.The proposals, outlined in a White Paper published before Christmas, 'go much further than many had expected', said Richard Thomas, the director of public policy at Clifford Chance.

  • Clinton adviser to front Internet summit

    13-Jan-1998

    PRESIDENT Clinton's Internet adviser will be a key speaker at a summit on future regulation of the Internet to be held in London next week.US domestic policy development adviser Ira Magaziner will outline the US government's position on electronic commerce and reform of the domain name system at the 'Internet Executive Summit' at Westminster's Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre from 19-21 January, via a video conference link.She will ...

  • College awaits pool accident liability ruling

    12-Jan-1998

    Roger Pearson reports on how a college's responsibility to protect its students could shape future occupiers' liability litigation.Judgment is pending in a Court of Appeal case which could produce new guidelines in respect of occupiers' liability.The case involves a challenge to a High Court ruling in which Harper Adams Agricultural College in Shropshire was found partly responsible for an accident in which a student was left paralysed ...

  • Commercial Court upholds international arbitration award against Yugoslavia

    13-Jan-1998

    Details of deals should be sent to the City editor, Robert Lindsay. Please include all other law firms acting on deals and the value, where possible.The enforcement of international arbitration awards has received a boost in the first round of a legal battle between Yugoslavia and an arms agent.The Yugoslavian government is attempting to use in England an exemption to the 30-year-old international convention on enforcing arbitration, so that it will not have ...

  • Conference success

    13-Jan-1998

    The annual conference of referral network Law Europe, founded by 32-partner Brighton firm Donne Mileham & Haddock, was for the first time attended by three American delegations keen to forge links with the group. Tim Aspinall, Donnes' managing partner, warned the conference, which was held in Barcelona last year, that the Big Six accountancy firms and US law practices would continue to move into the European legal marketplace. The number of solicitors employed in US firms in London ...

  • Conjurors question Magic Circle advisers

    13-Jan-1998

    Hobson Audley Hopkins & Wood partner Rupert Connell, who doubles up as deputy chairman of the Magic Circle, is to be quizzed along with other professional advisers on the rising costs of the conversion of the club's new headquarters.Some members are worried that the conversion is running over budget, and a list of possible questions to put to the magicians' leaders at a meeting due to take place on 12 january has been circulated by one of its members.

  • Couderts in talks with Holborn firm

    12-Jan-1998

    Coudert Brothers is understood to be in takeover talks with 26-lawyer Holborn-practice Barnett Alexander Chart.The takeover will be the latest stage of Couderts' plans to expand to 100 English lawyers in London by 2001.In September last year, the US firm took over specialist London property firm Debenham & Co - a move that surprised City-based US rivals who described it as "very, very domestic and parochial".At the time, Couderts' London ...

  • CPS publicly acknowledges fees problem for prosecutors

    13-Jan-1998

    THE Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has publicly admitted it may send lesser- qualified prosecuting barristers into battle against more experienced defence counsel.In a statement issued last week, the CPS acknowledges concern that suitably experienced prosecuting counsel are rejecting briefs because of low fees 'leaving the CPS little option but to instruct less experienced counsel'.But the statement goes on to defend its methods of controlling fees ...

  • Crime agreement

    13-Jan-1998

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, signed a bilateral agreement with Trinidad and Tobago on 5 January designed to tackle international crime. The UK-Trinidad Bilateral Assets Confiscation Agreement enables each country to trace, freeze and confiscate the proceeds of serious crime on behalf of the other. Lord Irvine was in the Caribbean attending the bi-annual Conference of Commonwealth Speakers.

  • Crossing the floor

    12-Jan-1998

    Matheu Swallow talks audience rights with Julian Wilson, the barrister backing the growth of city advocates.Next week the results on the review of the rights of audience are due for publication by the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD).While the large majority of bar members have vociferously opposed challenges to their status, one lone voice in the wilderness favours change.Julian Wilson began his career as a barrister only last year, after ...

  • David Rose examines Internet domain name 'hijacking'. David Rose is an assistant solicitor at SJ Berwin & Co.

    13-Jan-1998

    In an application for summary judgment by Marks & Spencer, Ladbrokes, Sainsburys, Virgin Enterprises, British Telecom and Cellnet, Deputy Judge Jonathan Sumption QC granted an injunction against One in a Million, its directors and their respective businesses from using or dealing in domain names owned by the defendants but identical to the trading names of the various plaintiffs. The judge also ordered that the defendants transfer the domain names in question ...

  • Dentons poaches two Dibbs partners to open NY office

    13-Jan-1998

    Denton Hall has hired two of Dibb Lupton Alsop's three New York-based partners in order to open an office in the city.Christopher Keegan is to head the new office while the second Dibbs partner to defect, Steven Blair, has travelled back to London to head Dentons' insurance and reinsurance practice.The New York office, which is staffed by three fee earners who moved to the firm from Dibbs with Keegan and Blair, will specialise almost entirely in insurance ...

  • Dibbs loses managing partner to IT company

    12-Jan-1998

    Dibb Lupton Alsop's Birmingham managing partner is leaving to take up a job in industry.Nick Seddon will join Geoff Brown Holdings, a Warwickshire-based computer games developer, as chief executive in April next year.Seddon was the architect of an aggressive period of expansion during his four-year stint as managing partner.This came in a bid to make Dibbs' Birmingham office a serious rival to the city's four largest firms,

  • Ellison to take on Camden with law-breaking stunt

    13-Jan-1998

    FLAMBOYANT Eversheds partner Robin Ellison is to stage a bizarre law-breaking stunt as the latest move in a lengthy campaign to prove ownership of land outside his home in London.The leading pensions lawyer was allegedly discovered at dawn one day last October painting out double yellow lines on the public highway in front of his house.For this the council insisted Ellison should ...

  • Eversheds seals deal to handle BTR's litigation

    13-Jan-1998

    EVERSHEDS has won a £1m contract to handle engineering giant BTR's litigation following the company's decision to scrap most of its general liability insurance cover and directly appoint its own litigation adviser.While other companies have increased their deductible the excess on their liability policy BTR is believed to be the first to have increased it to such an extent that its insurer, Royal & SunAlliance, will pay only for cases that are 'near ...

  • Financings

    12-Jan-1998

    Nicholas Tott of Herbert Smith acted for Bromley Hospital NHS Trust on its #150m deal to build a new general hospital in Farnborough

  • Financings

    12-Jan-1998

    Geoff Fuller and Paul Bedford of Allen & Overy advised Citibank Credit Structures on the US$20bn (#12bn) launch of secured debt programmes for Doroda Corporation

  • Firm faces High Court writ from Swiss client after £2.7m defeat

    12-Jan-1998

    London firm Swepstone Walsh is to be sued in the High Court in a negligence action where it is alleged the firm was to blame for the failure of a #2.7m claim.A writ has been issued against Swepstone Walsh by the Swiss company Orsank SA and Orsank's UK representative, Broderick Munro-Wilson - a friend of Prince Charles.The writ, issued by Hamlin Slowe, accuses Swepstone Walsh of negligence and breach of contract.It says that Orsank and Munro-Wilson ...

  • Flotation

    12-Jan-1998

    David Roberts (pictured right) and Matthew Dobson of Garretts advised Charterhouse Tilney Securities on the #34m London Stock Exchange flotation of Baldwins Industrial Services, advised by Edge Ellison.

  • Flotations

    13-Jan-1998

    Ashurst Morris Crisp is acting for Debenhams on its flotation on the London Stock exchange with an expected £1.5bn market capitalisation and demerger from the Burton Group

  • Flotations

    13-Jan-1998

    Jerrard Saunders Donn acted for Seal Ice on its introduction to the Ofex market. Collyer-Bristow is solicitor to the company.

  • Fox & Gibbons in bribery claim twist

    13-Jan-1998

    FOX & Gibbons' Turkish office has faced claims it paid bribes to the local authorities after they discovered it was running a bogus tax account.The claims were made by Paul Cadney, the counsel for former Fox & Gibbons solicitor Ian Philliskirk, at Cardiff Industrial tribunal last week.However, it was not necessary for him to pursue the claims because Fox & Gibbons admitted liability for breaching an employment contract with Philliskirk, the former co-head ...

  • Freshfields opens office in Italian capital

    13-Jan-1998

    Freshfields has opened an office in Rome, as predicted last week in The Lawyer.The new office consists of six lawyers, all of whom are Italian qualified except the partner in charge, Neil Faulkner, who has transferred from London.It is Freshfields' seventh office on the continent, bringing its total world coverage to 17 offices staffed by 187 partners and more than 950 lawyers.Freshfields' Milan office opened last February with seven partners ...

  • Fury at 'inaccurate' LAB pilot feedback

    12-Jan-1998

    Criminal law firm Tuckers' business manager Brian Craig has criticised the Legal Aid Board (LAB) for sending firms participating in the criminal law block contracting pilot "inaccurate" feedback, owing to computing problems.The LAB sent participating firms its first progress report on the pilot last week - almost five months after the scheme started in June.However, the London area office has suffered delays in the processing of the forms, owing to the implementation ...

  • Government 'a threat to British beer'

    13-Jan-1998

    One of the oldest breweries in the UK is challenging the Chancellor's latest increase in beer excise duties, reports Roger Pearson A decision is now imminent in a case in which one of the best-known and oldest breweries in the South East, Shepherd Neame, has taken the Government to court in a bid to keep down the price of beer.The Faversham-based company is challenging a 1 pence per pint beer excise duty increase and its vice-chairman, ...

  • Government spin on legal affairs must be put to the test

    12-Jan-1998

    Edward Garnier MP is concerned that the Government's access to justice policies will make independent lawyers inaccessible to the public.Despite the minor excitement over the title of the bill that the Government is bringing forward in the forthcoming session, it seems certain that a fat bill will emerge from the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) before December.It is going to be called the Access to Justice Bill and it will have its second ...

  • Hotel sale shows that small is beautiful

    12-Jan-1998

    Thistle Hotels wanted to make its biggest disposal of properties ever - the #56m sale to Lehman Brothers Holdings of 30 provincial hotels throughout the UK. But the deal did not go to a big City firm. Instead it opted for Russell Davidson, a sole practitioner who has offices in Harrogate.Thistle stayed with Davidson when he left Dibb Lupton Broomhead (as it was then) to set up his own firm four years ago.The hotels will be run under a management contract by Peel ...

  • Human Rights Institute secures detentions

    12-Jan-1998

    Pressure from the IBA's Human Rights Institute (HRI) has led to the detention of three people in connection with the killing of Eduardo Umana Mendoza, a human rights lawyer in Colombia.Mendoza was shot in his apartment on 18 April by three men posing as TV journalists. He had been involved in representing guerrilla members and labour unions accused of links to guerrilla groups.This success is the third for the HRI. In recent months, it secured pardons for ...

  • Huysmans in LRG U-turn

    13-Jan-1998

    Brussels firm Huysman & Partners has changed its mind about an alliance with Osborne Clarke, after the Bristol firm withdrew from the UK Legal Resources Group (LRG) an alliance of UK firms which share a Brussels office.Osborne Clarke managing partner Leslie Perrin told The Lawyer last November that his firm had established a Brussels presence outside the LRG six months earlier by entering ...

  • Ian Austin on the uncertainties of director disqualification. Ian Austin is a litigation partner at Halliwell Landau

    12-Jan-1998

    Insolvency is not the only fear for a director of a troubled company. If a company becomes insolvent, its director may be disqualified from being a director, or taking part in the promotion, formation or management of a company under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.Director disqualification has been around since 1929, but courts’ powers to make disqualification orders were extended under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.All insolvency ...

  • In brief: 1 New Square changes image to suit clients

    12-Jan-1998

    Chancery and commercial set, 1 New Square, last week launched its web site, logo and a new waiting room, in response to a survey of its clients.

  • In brief: 2 Mitre Court Buildings (Roger Gray)

    12-Jan-1998

    In the 17 November issue of The Lawyer we omitted to mention that 2 Mitre Court buildings (Roger Gray) was included in the Crown Prosecution Services list of preferred sets. We apologise for any embarrassment this may have caused.

  • In brief: Barrister takes Anglia sports professorship

    13-Jan-1998

    Barrister Edward Grayson has been appointed Visiting Professor of Sport and the Law to the Anglia Sports Law Research Centre at Anglia Polytechnic University. On Thursday, the sports law specialist will deliver his inaugural lecture at Lord's cricket ground.

  • In brief: Bird & Bird recruits from Belgian practice

    12-Jan-1998

    Bird & Bird, who specialise in media, technology and sport, has hired the media and communications team of Belgian practice De Backer & Associes, which includes two partners, seven associates and one consultant. The move increases Bird & Bird's Brussels office to 12 lawyers. The two partners are Paul Hordies and Agnes Maqua.

  • In brief: Clifford Chance re-elects senior partner

    13-Jan-1998

    Keith Clark has been re-elected unopposed as senior partner at Clifford Chance for a second three-year term. Observers of the firm say his re-election will ensure a tight grip is kept on its 10-year strategy to become the world's premier practice, while the new managing partner, Tony Williams, who replaced Geoffrey Howe at the year's start, will take on a more day-to-day problem-shooting ...

  • In brief: CPS and Bar to monitor returned briefs

    13-Jan-1998

    The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Bar Council have agreed to set up a monitoring system to tackle the problem of returned briefs. The move follows a recent National Audit Office report which found that in one area of the UK returns were as high as 75 per cent. Under the agreement, which is due to start next month, chambers will have to submit a report to the CPS giving details of how many briefs they are returning. Problems will be tackled at regular meetings with branch crown ...

  • In brief: Ex-Woolf Seddon partner joins Manches

    13-Jan-1998

    Entertainment and media lawyer Paul Woolf has joined Manches & Co's media department as a partner. Woolf set up his own firm, Paul Woolf & Co, in the 1970s and subsequently formed a partnership with Anthony Seddon to form Woolf Seddon. However, he left the practice in 1993 to become an independent business and legal adviser.

  • In brief: Finance ace makes First move to Pinsents

    13-Jan-1998

    David Macfarlane, a former director of the Securities and Futures Authority, is joining Pinsent Curtis as litigation partner to lead its City litigation team as part of its newly-launched Financial Institutions Real Solutions Team (First). First aims to offer a one-stop shop of legal expertise to City financial institutions. Macfarlane has spent the past two years as general counsel and director at commodities broker E D & F Man.

  • In brief: Hammond Suddards hires European academic

    12-Jan-1998

    Hammond Suddards has appointed Professor David O'Keefe as counsel on European affairs. Professor of European Law at University College London, O'Keefe was previously counsel at Coudert Brothers' Brussels office.

  • In brief: ICS senior adviser switches to KPMG

    13-Jan-1998

    Kate Moore, senior legal adviser to the Investors' Compensation Scheme (ICS) for more than six years, has resigned to join the financial services team of Big Six accountancy firm KPMG. Investors in collapsed retirement advisory firm Knight Williams blame Moore for delays in settlement of their compensation claims, according to a report in The Times, 9 january, but ICS denies this was the reason for her departure.

  • In brief: Insurance seminars draw over 1,000 firms

    13-Jan-1998

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's legal reforms have sparked off unprecedented interested in alternative funding schemes, according to legal insurer Greystoke Legal Services. More than 1,000 firms have registered to attend seven seminars on 'after-the-event' legal insurance scheme LawAssist. The seminars are being held in Bournemouth, Bristol, Exeter, Gatwick, Leeds, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Norwich over the next few weeks.

  • In brief: Law Soc working party reports back on SIF

    13-Jan-1998

    Law Society council member John Appleby is to unveil his working party's report into the crisis facing the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) this Tuesday. As reported in The Lawyer, 9 December, Appleby wants to divide SIF into six separate funds, covering different areas of the law depending how risky the work is. However, The Lawyer understands that SIF itself is resisting this proposal. Several larger ...

  • In brief: Lord Irvine on lookout for sentencing help

    12-Jan-1998

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, is seeking members for the Sentencing Advisory Panel, which is to be established by the Crime and Disorder Act. The panel will help the Court of Appeal in framing sentencing guidelines. Applications must be submitted by 5 January.

  • In brief: Man Utd lawyer moots Scandinavian link-up

    12-Jan-1998

    Legal adviser to Manchester United, Maurice Watkins, of James Chapman & Co, has told The Lawyer his client is looking to link up with a Scandinavian club. Watkins advised United on their co-operation deal with Belgian club Royal Antwerp, which opened up player-swap and scouting opportunities.

  • In brief: Morris names latest Treasury Counsel

    13-Jan-1998

    The Attorney General, John Morris QC, has made his second 'Treasury Devil' appointment within two months. Jonathan Crow, of 4 Stone Buildings, has been appointed First Junior Treasury Counsel, Chancery. He replaces Bill Charles who has been appointed to the High Court Bench (see page two).

  • In brief: New blood at Pinsents, Trowers and Mundays

    12-Jan-1998

    Pinsent Curtis' Birmingham office has hired tax partner Stephen Pallister from Osborne Clarke. Trowers & Hamlins has taken on leading environmental lawyer Andrew Wiseman. And Surrey firm Mundays has recruited aviation ...

  • In brief: Scots complaints body gets huge response

    12-Jan-1998

    More than 270 members of the public volunteered to complain against solicitors when the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) launched a nationwide recruitment campaign for its complaints committee. The LSS has appointed 11 new lay members to join the existing four members in writing reports on complaints and taking part in committee meetings. LSS president Philip Dry said: "Self regulation is enhanced by the contribution of the lay members."

  • In brief: Solicitor struck off for stealing £500,000

    12-Jan-1998

    A crooked solicitor who committed "the worst kind of systematic abuse of clients" by stealing nearly #500,000 of their money has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. For five years Richard Martin, of Webster Butcher & Johnson of Balham in London, transferred huge amounts of client cash to office accounts. The Solicitors Compensation Fund has already had to pay out #360,000, with claims totalling over #200,000 still pending.

  • In brief: Troubleshooter passes judgment on Law Soc

    12-Jan-1998

    Sir Dennis Stevenson's working party has published its report on the reform of the Law Society. He recommends modifying the role of the council, increasing the number of council meetings and simplifying the committee structure with the dissolution of many of the society's 160 committees and replacing them with "task forces".

  • Ireland clamps down on 'client touting'

    13-Jan-1998

    New legislation is to be introduced in Ireland to curb 'client touting' advertising by solicitors in personal injury cases.The move reflects government concern over the role of some members of the profession in the flood of compensation claims for deafness being made by officers and men of the Irish Army.Ministers believe a small group of solicitors has been encouraging soldiers to seek damages against the state through an aggressive advertising campaign.

  • It has been a bad week for:

    12-Jan-1998

    Kellie Smith of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is being sued by her ex-boyfriend for "intentionally acquiring and misusing" his sperm. Smith, who gave birth to Peter Wallis' child over two years ago, insists the sperm was a "gift" that was "surrendered" to her during intercourse.South London firm Fisher Meredith, which found its advertisement banned from London's Tubes and buses. The ad, which ...

  • It is 'in' to complain

    13-Jan-1998

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 734 0534, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho SquareThe article on the annual report from the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (The Lawyer, 16 December 1997) and the figures cited show, on the face of it, cause for much concern. I wonder how many of the 'complaints' that are registered are really justified?I recently ...

  • IT/IP departures continue at Garretts as two more defect

    13-Jan-1998

    LONDON Garretts IT partner Mark Turner, and Mark Hill, the head of the firm's Yorkshire intellectual property practice, have defected from the firm.The moves are the latest in a series of departures of IT/IP personnel from Garretts.Turner is taking up a partnership in the IT/IP department at Herbert Smith while Hill is joining Dibb Lupton Alsop in Leeds as a partner.Turner's departure comes just a few weeks after London colleague Richard ...

  • Judge's delay 'unacceptable'

    13-Jan-1998

    A decision of Mr Justice Harman has been challenged in the Court of Appeal on the basis of inordinate, unacceptable and inexcusable delay. It has been argued that the judge, who heard the case in question in June and July 1994, failed to give his judgment until 1 April 1996 and that this delay one of the longest on record would have, inter alia, dimmed his recollection of witnesses. It is also claimed that he mislaid case papers. Appeal judges Lords Justices ...

  • LAB job loss fears quelled

    12-Jan-1998

    The Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) has moved to quell job-loss rumours and mounting staff anxiety at the Legal Aid Board (LAB), following the announcement of the Access to Justice Bill in last week's Queen's Speech.The Bill proposed that LAB be abolished and replaced by a new body, the Legal Services Commission (LSC). This led to speculation among LAB staff that they might either be made redundant or be forced to re-apply for their jobs.However, ...

  • Law Soc calls for contingency fee legalisation after High Court case

    12-Jan-1998

    The Law Society has called on the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine to legalise contingency fees - currently unlawful except where stipulated in the legislation allowing for conditional fees - in the Access to Justice Bill, following a "surprise" High Court ruling.On 9 February the High Court ruled that Birmingham firm Sydney Mitchell had acted unlawfully by representing a Kingston upon Hull City Council tenant in a statutory nuisance case on a no win-no fee basis.But ...

  • Law Soc launches fight against Revenue tax hike

    13-Jan-1998

    The Law Society is mounting an all-out campaign against proposed changes in the taxation of professional businesses.The Inland Revenue has announced its intention to tax professional partnerships on work as it is done rather than when payments are received. This means partners will have to pay a one-off 'catch-up' payment, which could be as high as £30,000, as the tax point is brought forward.Partners will face a further one-off tax hike because ...

  • Law Society laundering reaction does not wash

    12-Jan-1998

    The Lawyer's revelation that six leading City firms are under investigation by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) caused a predictable stir in the national press.It also caused consternation among senior partners at many firms, who immediately sought reassurances internally that their firms were not one of the dirty half dozen.But the ridiculous response of Law Society spin doctors, who claimed that the NCIS investigations were just ...

  • Lawyers to the stars

    13-Jan-1998

    Representing celebrities is only one part of the story for media practitioners, reports Roger Pearson. Roger Pearson is a freelance journalist.Show business, from the theatre and film worlds through the pop music industry to the Arts and sport, has become a growth area of practice for lawyers.If evidence was needed of the importance the legal profession places on the entertainment sector, a head count of lawyers attending the music industry’s international Midam ...

  • Leading arbitrator joins Freshfields

    12-Jan-1998

    Freshfields has recruited Eric Schwartz, former secretary general of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, from Paris-based rival Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn.Schwartz has acted as arbitrator or counsel in international arbitrations from Asia and Africa to the Americas and is a leading light in his profession.Jan Paulsson, the head of Freshfields' international arbitration group, said he was delighted Schwartz had accepted the open invitation he had ...

  • Legal aid firms face taxing times

    13-Jan-1998

    Legal aid firms look set for a turbulent sailing this year. Firms are still dazed by the speed of Lord Irvine's proposed reforms on legal aid and are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the current consultations.Meanwhile proposed changes to the way professional partnerships are taxed have further nasty surprises in store for the profession.In a surprising turn of events the Inland Revenue came up with a corker over Christmas which will have major implications ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 13/01/98

    13-Jan-1998

    Raymond Neil Turner, 41, admitted 1990, practising at material time in partnership as Turner & Co, Wolverhampton, fined £500 and ordered to pay £699 costs. Allegations substantiated that he had pleaded guilty at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court in February 1996, to driving while over the legal alcohol limit, careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident. Magistrates imposed three-month ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 13/1/98

    13-Jan-1998

    Lay v Morland & Co CA 5 December 1997Incident and appeal contentions: Defendant's appeal from order of Judge Viljoen, Milton Keynes County Court, 27 November 1996, giving judgment for plaintiff for 60 per cent damages to be assessed. Plaintiff employed by defendant as bar and catering person at Warwick Arms in Reading. She was injured in fall at premises when walking through bar area towards kitchen. Appellant contends there is no evidence to support ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 13/1/98

    13-Jan-1998

    Decisions are taken from Lawtel's Case Law database. LTL: Lawtel report; TLR: Times Law Reports; ILR: Independent Law Report Enforcement of costs of assisted personAger v Ager (1998)Court: CA (Simon Brown LJ and Hale J) 19/12/9Summary: When an order is made by the Court of Appeal for the costs of party A to be paid by a legally aided party B, such order 'not to be enforced without leave of the court', to which court must A ...

  • Litigation Writs 13/1/98

    13-Jan-1998

    Architect Peter Verity is suing his employers for close to £200,000 in allegedly unpaid salary. Verity, of London SW5, has issued a writ claiming £195,400 from Robert Nation and Karl Fender, who trade as Nation Fender Architects. Verity is also seeking interest of £17,257 and continuing interest of £39.67 a day, as well as damages for breach of contract. The writ says he was taken on in June 1993 to work in London, Malaysia ...

  • Marketing versus selling

    13-Jan-1998

    With reference to Graham Irwin's article ' Market your firm for the future' (The Lawyer, 2 December 1997), I would like as a marketing consultant specialising in the marketing of legal practices to make three comments:1 'Many solicitors are still coming to terms with the idea of marketing their services...' Firms of all sizes have been forced to get to grips with the concept of marketing, mostly to maintain existing work ...

  • Money laundering puts City in a spin

    12-Jan-1998

    Several City law firms were thrown into chaos following the revelation last week that police are investigating six of them for links with organised crime.The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) is refusing to identify the firms involved, which has created a climate of fear and uncertainty among City firms.Two major firms held emergency talks with partners the day that The Lawyer broke the story and two others -

  • Multimedia challenges

    13-Jan-1998

    A plethora of technological developments in the diverse arena of media law is spawning an increasing number of opportunities for lawyers, says Leo Schulz. Leo Schulz is a freelance journalist.When the Spice Girls made it to the top of the 1997 Christmas hit parade at the last moment there were a good few lawyers who, along with most of the country's pre-adolescents, shrieked with glee. As a pop phenomenon with a half-life measured in months, the ...

  • Mystery US firm makes $1m offer

    13-Jan-1998

    A MYSTERY US firm is placing advertisements in the legal press offering a UK lawyer $1m to open a London office with San Francisco firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe emerging as the most likely source.At £620,000, the salary is the second highest offered in the UK, after the £700,000 offered by

  • Next week's news

    12-Jan-1998

    The eagerly awaited Access to Justice White draft bill will be released next week, announcing details of the new Legal Services Commission (replacing the Legal Aid Board) which will oversee the Community Legal Service and the Criminal Defence Service.

  • No time for black lawyer complacency

    12-Jan-1998

    Rosemary Emodi says the work of the Society of Black Lawyers, fighting racism and providing positive role models, is as crucial now as it was 25 years ago. Rosemary Emodi is vice chairwoman of the SBL.The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) has reached a point in its development where it must take stock of itself.Established in 1973, its aims and objectives were to enhance the career opportunities of black and Asian people within the legal ...

  • Old conflicts re-surface after Queen's Speech splits profession

    12-Jan-1998

    The legal profession's united front in opposing the Government's legal reforms has broken down on the issue of public defenders.Both the Law Society and Bar Council of England & Wales repeatedly stressed their united opposition to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's legal aid reforms announced a year ago.But in the wake of the Queen's Speech last week, signalling the arrival of public defenders, the traditional antagonism between the two organisations ...

  • Osborne Clarke ads lawyer joins Olswang

    13-Jan-1998

    Olswang is beefing up its corporate and new media practice with the recruitment of leading advertising lawyer Tim Birt from Osborne Clarke's London office.Birt, a partner in Osborne Clarke's corporate department for nine years, is also head of the firm's cross- departmental advertising unit ...

  • OSS accused of condoning legal racism

    12-Jan-1998

    Liverpool solicitor Jenny Lindsay has accused the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) of condoning racism by failing to take action against her old firm, Ironsides Ray & Viles.Lindsay won an industrial tribunal case against Leicestershire firm Ironsides Ray in 1994, when it refused her funding to help her study for her Law Society finals, while five white trainees received assistance. She was dismissed when she failed the exam, while white trainees who failed ...

  • OSS fails to reach new target

    12-Jan-1998

    As complaints against solicitors continue to rise, the beleaguered Office for Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) has released figures showing that it is falling dismally short of its own performance targets.Earlier this year the OSS introduced a new streamlined procedure and aimed to have 90 per cent of new complaints dealt with inside three months.But according to figures released last week, only 20 per cent of all cases to do with poor service were hitting this ...

  • Part-time Bar work on offer

    12-Jan-1998

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 578 7249, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho Square.Ronald Thwaites QC suggested in "Stemming the Bar Tide" (The Lawyer, 3 November) that a return to the Bar correspondence course would go some way to producing barristers that had "business and commercial maturity". The Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL) feels that a return ...

  • Pinochet victims set to sue dictator in British courts

    12-Jan-1998

    Chilean victims of the Pinochet regime are considering suing the former dictator through the civil courts, following last week's House of Lords victory.Legal advisers to the Chilean exiles say that although the Law Lords' decision concerned a criminal matter, it extends to civil courts and could open the door to civil suits by any victims of human rights abuses living in the UK.Dr Michael Byers, a fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, said he was keen to ...

  • PLG goes Dutch and Italian

    12-Jan-1998

    The 10-year-old Pannone Law Group (PLG) has added an Italian and Dutch firm to its line-up and is looking to Scandinavia for more members.The addition of Rome's Studio Legale Biamonti and Rotterdam's Schaap & Partners to PLG - a European economic interest group (EEIG) - was announced at its tenth anniversary celebrations in Annecy, France, last week. Soren Tattam, head of corporate at UK founder firm Pannone & Partners and a board member of PLG, said both were ...

  • Pro bono guide will lead the way

    12-Jan-1998

    I was delighted to see Rufus D'Cruz and Tom Coghlin's article (The Lawyer, 17 November) further promoting the case for pro bono involvement. They rightly point out (as this group has always done) that pro bono is nothing new and that lawyers up and down the country provide such help day in and day out.But they also make a key point in that pro bono is now an issue for the whole profession and that there are opportunities for lawyers at all levels to help in ...

  • Property

    12-Jan-1998

    Jonathan Solomon and John Challoner of Norton Rose advised City & St James on a #25m, multi-property deal with Legal & General, advised by Lawrence Graham.

  • Quote of the week

    12-Jan-1998

    "We were at Yale together in the '70s. There were a number of promising young lawyers there at the time, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham and Clarence Thomas."Freshfields international arbitration head Jan Paulsson casually drops a name or two.

  • Revenue's 'magnificently provocative' tax windfall

    13-Jan-1998

    After self-assessment come changes to the way in which professional partnerships are taxed. Leo Schulz adds up the costs of compliance.At 5.30pm on 22 December 1997, the Inland Revenue issued a press release announcing a change in the way professional partnerships are to be taxed.At first glance the changes seemed fairly innocuous, with the release referring to the effect on firms with £100m-plus turnovers.But as managing partners arrived back ...

  • Ruling relieves sued surveyors

    13-Jan-1998

    A Court of Appeal ruling by Lords Justices Morritt, Thorpe and Potter on the final day of the last legal term is excellent news for surveyors, solicitors and their insurers.Matthew Hirst a solicitor at Dibb Lupton Alsop's Birmingham office, says the ruling in Platform Home Loans v Oyston Shipways & ors means that future attempts by lenders to pass on greater percentages of their losses to professionals will be thwarted.In the 1990s there had ...

  • Sex and drugs? All in a day's work

    12-Jan-1998

    Daniel Taylor

  • Simmons chief job in doubt

    12-Jan-1998

    Simmons & Simmons has brought forward the next election for its chief executive, amid growing speculation about the future of current post-holder, Alan Morris.Morris told The Lawyer that the firm had decided to go back to holding the election for the three-year post at the end of the financial year in April, rather than the end of the calendar year.By bringing forward the election date, Morris said, the next chief executive would have more time to address "important ...

  • Slaughters tops Freshfields as treasurers' favourite

    13-Jan-1998

    Slaughter and May has ousted Freshfields from the number one slot of a poll of treasurers at the top 500 companies.The survey, conducted by Chartered Banker magazine, sent a questionnaire to the treasurers of non-financial services companies in the top 500 companies by capital employed, listed in the 1997 edition of the Times 1000, asking who was their preferred legal adviser.

  • Spreading the risk of CFA gamble

    12-Jan-1998

    Mark Parkhouse says litigators taking on conditional fee work should cover their backs by asking clients to see another solicitor to thrash out the details of the CFA. Mark Parkhouse is a litigation partner at Rakisons in London.It was Lord Justice Millett who said in court only this year: "A contingency fee which entitles the solicitor to a reward over and above his ordinary profit costs... should be condemned as tending to corrupt the administration of justice."

  • Straw ponders clean slate for murderers

    12-Jan-1998

    Murderers, arsonists and armed robbers could have their criminal records wiped clean under proposals being considered by the Home Secretary, Jack Straw.Straw is considering setting up a Criminal Records Tribunal which would decide whether convicted felons, excluding sex offenders, warrant a second chance with a clean slate.Paul Cavardino, a policy director at the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), said that "he [Straw] has ...

  • Surgeon gains appeal ground

    12-Jan-1998

    Surgeon Umesh Chandra Gaud, who claims he contracted tuberculosis and hepatitis B while working for Leeds Health Authority in the 1980s, has moved forward in his bid to sue the authority. The authority has sought to block his claim on the basis that limitation periods have expired. But now the Court of Appeal has granted Gaud leave to appeal against a High Court refusal to order that a letter, which he believes will assist his bid to sidestep the limitation argument, ...

  • The appropriate forum

    13-Jan-1998

    David Hooper says recent rulings signal to foreign litigants that they should confine their libel battles their home turf. David Hooper is a partner at Biddle.Two recent decisions, one by Mr Justice Popplewell in Berezovsky & Glouchkov v Forbes Inc (22 October 1997), the other by Mr Justice Morland in Wyatt v Forbes Inc (2 December 1997), have struck a blow against overseas-based plaintiffs who seek to sue for libel foreign publications with very limited circulation ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Paul Woolf

    12-Jan-1998

    Paul Woolf was born in Stoke Newington in 1950. He is a partner at Manches & Co.What was your first job?Packing and delivering shirts for Rael Brook.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?#5 per week gross.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?A stand-up comic or a cricketer.What was your most satisfying professional moment?

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Stephen Dooley

    13-Jan-1998

    Stephen Dooley was born in County Galway in 1971. He is an associate at Sidley & Austin specialising in intellectual property and IT.What was your first job?Delivering newspapers.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?Less than I hoped.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Cat burglar.Which law could you live without?Newton's ...

  • Three-way French merger

    12-Jan-1998

    French firms Office Juridique Francais et International, CEJEF and Degueldre & Gramblat have merged to form 40-lawyer ALEXEN Avocats with offices in Paris and Lyon.

  • Trainer's family property row

    12-Jan-1998

    Former race horse trainer Miles Henry Easterby (better known as Peter Easterby) faces a showdown over moves to oust his 15-year-old grandson and former son-in-law from their farm home. Possession proceedings against his ex-son-in-law are scheduled for a three-day hearing scheduled to start at York County Court on 9 December.

  • Treasury wolves in Access to Justice clothing

    12-Jan-1998

    Lawyers are worried government legal reforms are really a Treasury Trojan Horse aimed at slashing legal aid costs, says Elizabeth Davidson.REBEL Labour MP Austin Mitchell echoed the views of many in the profession when he claimed, on the eve of the Queen's Speech last week, that the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's legal reforms had been "treasury-driven".Mitchell told The Lawyer that he thought the Government's reforms were "reducing justice", reiterating ...

  • UK expert to advise China

    13-Jan-1998

    SOUTHAMPTON Institute professor and legal aid expert Professor Jeremy Cooper is to form part of a delegation advising the Chinese government on developing its legal aid system.Professor Cooper, dean of the institute's law faculty, is due to join two US delegates and one Indian delegate this week in hosting the first four days of a week-long Beijing conference outlining different types of legal aid systems in the world.The final three days of the conference ...

  • Uria & Menendez looks to build Franco-German link in Brussels

    12-Jan-1998

    Leading Spanish firm Uria & Menendez is negotiating with the Brussels offices of French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel and Austro-German firm Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Laber to combine their EU law practices in the city.Rodrigo Uria, senior partner, said initial soundings from Gide and Bruckhaus Westrick were positive although the new arrangement would not involve cost sharing.Gide's EU law practice already works closely with Dutch-Belgium firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke, ...

  • US firm hires in HK

    13-Jan-1998

    New York firm Shearman & Sterling's Hong Kong office has recruited Asian and Chinese corporate finance partner Hsiao-chiung Li from the Hong Kong office of Los Angeles firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. 'Notwithstanding the current disruption in the Asian markets, we anticipate significant ...

  • Wansbroughs swoops on Vaudreys

    13-Jan-1998

    National insurance practice Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave is on the brink of taking over Manchester firm Vaudreys. An announcement is expected before mid-February and could come as early as this week.'Talks between ourselves and Vaudreys are at an advanced stage,' Robert Heslett, senior partner at Wansbroughs, told The Lawyer.Sixty-partner Wansbroughs, which has its headquarters in Bristol and seven offices and 250 fee earners spread throughout London, ...

  • Weil Gotshal Poland

    13-Jan-1998

    Weil Gotshal & Manges' Polish operation has hired Igor Muszynski, one of the lawyers who helped draft Poland's new energy law. Muszynski joins as an assistant.

  • White & Case in bank talks

    12-Jan-1998

    White & Case is seeking regulatory approval from the US Federal Reserve for Deutsche Bank's proposed takeover of Bankers Trust. The White & Case team is led by Duane Wall and includes Kevin Barnard, Elaine Johnston, Donald Madden, Maureen Brundage and Kathleen Scott.

  • Will county court bailiffs fail to collect?

    12-Jan-1998

    With limited enforcement options and a lack of resources, county court bailiffs can only look forward to increased pressures as recession looms, writes Philip Evans. Philip Evans is secretary to the Certificated Bailiffs Association of England and Wales.Debt recovery is always a sensitive subject, but with a global economic downturn on the horizon and the number of unpaid debts set to rise, it is one which cannot be avoided.The bailiff plays a vital role, but ...