13 April 1998

The Lawyer

  • A&O and Clifford Chance advise on first loan in euros

    14-Apr-1998

    GEC has used Allen & Overy, rather than its usual adviser Freshfields, to draw up the documents for the world's first euro-denominated syndicated loan.The loan has been cited by the Bank of England as an example of how London will continue to hold its own after monetary union, said Allen & Overy banking partner David Morley who worked on the deal, assisted by Angela Salisbury.

  • Accountancy Survey. Accounting for the accountants

    14-Apr-1998

    A survey has revealed that accountants are not delivering the services law firms want. The fourth annual survey by The Lawyer and chartered accountancy firm Baker Tilly makes depressing reading for accountants.Despite accountants' marketing, brochures and stated commitment to client service, many solicitors remain dissatisfied.Quotes such as "they could show basic interest in the development of the firm" or "I would welcome more practical involvement" and ...

  • Allens settles A$70m malpractice claim

    14-Apr-1998

    Leading Australian law firm Allen Allen & Hemsley has settled a A$70m malpractice claim brought against it by Austotel, less than a week into a hearing at the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney.In court last week, Austotel retracted the allegations made against the firm and three partners over their role in the sale of pubs from brewing giant Tooheys to Austotel.The company launched the claim six years ago, alleging that Allens had acted negligently by acting ...

  • Amnesty Scotland in appeal for lawyers

    14-Apr-1998

    Amnesty International's Scottish office is launching a recruitment drive among lawyers on the 50th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).Its Scottish Lawyers Network, which is supposed to represent victims of human rights violations around the world, has been dormant for some time, according to Amnesty's Jocelyn Cockburn. But she said there had already been "a lot of interest" following the re-launch of the network ...

  • Baines Gwinner NYC

    14-Apr-1998

    UK-based recruitment consultancy Baines Gwinner is setting up a New York office. The firm, known for legal recruitment, already has offices in London and Hong Kong. The New York branch will be headed by Russ Gerson, former head of the financial services practice at Webb Johnson Associates. He will report to Jonathan Gaines, chairman of Baines Gwinner.

  • Bakers' NYC office hit as team defects

    14-Apr-1998

    Baker & McKenzie's New York office has been hit by the defection of a five-lawyer asset and fund management team from its corporate department to US rival Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.The team, led by partners Steven Howard and Scott MacLeod, are quitting the firm just months after it announced a major restructuring programme at the office.Managing partner ...

  • Berlins faces axe as BBC ponders Law in Action revamp

    14-Apr-1998

    MARCEL Berlins, the popular presenter of the long-running radio show, Law in Action, has emerged as another potential victim of the scheduling shake-up at Radio 4.Although the programme itself, which Berlins has presented for nine and half years, has survived the controversial Radio 4 revamp, The Lawyer understands that the BBC is likely to axe Berlins.Berlins, who also lectures on the law and writes a legal column for The Guardian, isa well-known ...

  • Bi-coastal US merger to go ahead

    14-Apr-1998

    Partners at San Francisco's Thelen Marrin Johnson & Bridges and New York's Reid & Priest have voted in favour of merging the two firms, paving the way for an official launch on 30 June.The new firm, called Thelen Reid & Priest, will have almost 350 lawyers 190 from Thelen Marrin and 160 from Reid & Priest spread over San Francisco, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles.The firms are describing the tie up as the first bi-coastal US merger involving ...

  • Brief

    14-Apr-1998

    Five HUNDRED corporate counsel and private commercial lawyers are to gather in Monte Carlo later this year to exchange ideas and develop contacts as part of a major new initiative being staged by The Lawyer.The event Legal Monte Carlo '98 will lead to the establishment of a think-tank for corporate counsel, a forum to debate the issues of the day. It will also fea-ture a major conference programme.The four-day gathering, from 30 October to 2 November, ...

  • Canadian firm hires

    14-Apr-1998

    Canadian firm Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington has boosted its Latin American practice in Toronto with the hiring of Kenneth Frankel, a US lawyer who was recently general counsel to telecommunications company Alcatel Canada. He joins senior members Geoff Creighton and Alison Lacy.

  • Challenge to costs award

    14-Apr-1998

    The Law Lords are to consider the case of two insurance companies which, after agreeing to pay out £1m on a claim against them in respect of a factory fire, were then also ordered to pay a further £250,000 costs. The claim was mounted on the basis of third-party liability provisions in a home contents policy on the home of a man said to have started the fire by discarding a match into a drum of flammable furniture polish. Costs were awarded by the High Court ...

  • Computer companies sign joint ACE rescue mission

    14-Apr-1998

    (Elizabeth Davidson ) TWO computer companies have signed a deal to mount a joint rescue plan for 25 firms which were left stranded after practice management system supplier ACE quit the solicitor's market.Practice management system suppliers Peapod Solutions and Tech Computer Office (TCO) have not merged, but agreed earlier this month to work together to target firms with ACE systems.Among the firms they will be targeting is six-partner City firm Hardwick ...

  • Conviction on the menu

    14-Apr-1998

    The case of a hotel sandwich board which upset planners in Bideford, North Devon, is to return to the local magistrates' court. But when it returns, the magistrates have been given no choice but to convict hotelier Alan Jarad for breach of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 by putting the board on the pavement outside his hotel. Originally, the magistrates acquitted Jarad after he argued that the board had been sited outside ...

  • Environmental group

    14-Apr-1998

    Milan-based Studio Legale Sutti has set up a new environmental law group to be headed by Lorenzo Tamos. Tamos joins from Italian firm Gianni Origoni & Partners and is an assistant professor in administrative law at the State University of Milan. He will be assisted by Carlo Piana. The move to set up a specialist department follows the enactment of the so-called Bassanini law, which increases the scope for environmental litigation.

  • Extend anti-discrimination laws to all

    14-Apr-1998

    The ECJ's rulings on discrimination in the workplace on grounds of sex have excluded protection for homosexuals. Michael Jeremiah calls for legislation which covers all employees. Michael Jeremiah is a solicitor at Anthony Gold Lerman & Muirhead. Sex discrimination law is in a mess. The question "What does sex mean?" is now being asked of the European Court of Justice, in the context of employment law. And the Court does not appear to know the answer.A ...

  • Financing

    14-Apr-1998

    Trowers & Hamlins acted for Poplar HARCA on the first Estates Renewal Challenge Fund transfer of local authority housing stock to a local housing company. The transfer will allow a £67m joint private and public sector investment. Clifford Chance advised funders Abbey National and Banque Paribas. ...

  • Fladgate Fielder exodus grows

    14-Apr-1998

    Fladgate Fielder is midway through an exodus of lawyers that will see a total of 14 fee earners, including seven partners, depart from the firm in a matter of months.Last week The Lawyer reported that two partners, John Russell and John Bates, were leaving the firm's Basingstoke office to join Winchester firm White & Bowker, rather than relocate to a new London office.It has ...

  • Flotation

    14-Apr-1998

    Surrey firm Mundays advised Granger Telecom on its $113m flotation on the European stock market, Easdaq. The lead manager was Beeson Gregory, advised by Titmuss Sainer Dechert.

  • Gardening leave must be in contract

    14-Apr-1998

    A Court of Appeal ruling made last week means that companies can no longer assume that they can enforce gardening leave if the term is not in their employment contracts.Steve Tucker, a bookmaker, resigned from William Hill to go to a rival company, but was told he had to stay at home during his six-month notice period.Tucker's contract had no gardening leave clause. William Hill, represented by

  • Govt in push for family law fixed fees

    14-Apr-1998

    THE Government is preparing to clamp down on legal aid fees by imposing standard fees on all family law cases by the end of the year.The Lawyer has learned that discussions between the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), the Law Society and the Bar Council are now at "an advanced stage" over the controversial move, which was hotly opposed by the profession when first mooted two years ago.The move is an indication of the Government's determination to ...

  • Heard turns to property

    14-Apr-1998

    William Heard, former Simmons & Simmons partner and now group legal counsel for Syrian-born businessman Wafic Said, has moved into property development with his controversial boss.With Said he has formed a new company, Palamoun, which has bought 7.5 per cent of small property investment company Merivale Moore. Heard will become a non-executive board member in Merivale alongside the existing chairman, Grenville Dean, some of whose shares he has bought.Heard ...

  • HIV legal advice centre closes after its funding is slashed

    14-Apr-1998

    (Elizabeth Davidson ) A London law centre offering free legal advice to people with HIV and Aids has had to close after its health authority funding was halved.Two of the four solicitors at the Immunity Legal Centre (ILC) at King's Cross and more than £100,000 in funds have been transferred to the Terrence Higgins Trust legal services group at Gray's Inn Road after London health authorities halved funding to both bodies in order to give priority to combination ...

  • In brief: Bankruptcy charge legality challenge granted

    14-Apr-1998

    Leave was granted last week to Cleo Lightfoot, advised by Public Law Project solicitor Karen Ashton, to judicially review the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, to challenge the legality of the requirement she pay £250 to court staff before being allowed to petition for her own bankruptcy.

  • In brief: Booth to chair Woman Lawyer Conference

    14-Apr-1998

    Cherie Booth QC will chair the 1998 Woman Lawyer Conference at London's New Connaught Rooms on 25 April. Topics for discussion at nine workshops include: judicial appointments; how to influence law reform; and how to bring a successful discrimination complaint. The theme will be "Achieving a Balance".

  • In brief: Camerons sets up US immigration practice

    14-Apr-1998

    Cameron McKenna has become the first City firm to set up a US immigration practice, with a Canadian practice to follow, as the first step in its bid to develop a global immigration practice by 2003. The firm has hired Gudeon, Ferrell and Hodkinson solicitor Liane Cooney, who will join on 20 April to set up the department, reporting to partner Julia Onslow-Cole.

  • In brief: Council monitoring officers' responsibilities

    14-Apr-1998

    Local council monitoring officers, who are often lawyers, should have a duty to report a councillor's misconduct to a new standards board, under proposals in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' consultation paper published last week. The paper supports the Nolan report into local council ethics published last July, which says every council should adopt a code of conduct. It also proposes that the monitoring officer should always be a chief officer ...

  • In brief: Coutts appoints Carr as general counsel

    14-Apr-1998

    Coutts Group, the private banking arm of NatWest, has appointed Chalmers Carr to the newly created position of group general counsel. Carr will have responsibility for building up a team to serve Coutts' worldwide network of offices. Carr joined from HSBC, where he spent nine years as general counsel.

  • In brief: First PI-specific recruitment firm opens

    14-Apr-1998

    The first recruitment firm solely dedicated to placing personal injury and medical negligence lawyers, London-based recruitment consultancy Smith & Manchester, opens its doors this month, aiming to provide a nationwide service.

  • In brief: Litigators appoint Hugh Elder president

    14-Apr-1998

    The London Solicitors Litigation Association appointed London firm Gordon Dadds partner Hugh Elder as its president, replacing Beachcroft Stanleys partner Richard Evans, at its AGM last month. Kingsley Napley partner Richard Fox was re-elected honorary secretary and Clifford Chance partner Simon Davis was ...

  • In brief: Lord Hunt praises profession on capital

    14-Apr-1998

    In his maiden speech to the House of Lords last week Lord Hunt of Wirral, senior partner at Beachcroft Stanleys, praised the legal profession for establishing London as the legal capital of the world. He also stressed the importance of the legal profession in its contribution to training and also to invisible exports.

  • In brief: Pagan Macbeth opens Dunfermline office

    14-Apr-1998

    Scottish firm Pagan Macbeth has opened a new office in Dunfermline, alongside its existing offices in Edinburgh, Fife and Lothian, to service what it believes is a mini-boom in the Fife area. Alison Green, partner in the four-partner firm, said: "The West Fife economy has seen a great deal of investment in recent times and there are many new businesses springing up as a result."

  • In brief: Watt new senior partner at Charles Russell

    14-Apr-1998

    Charles Russell's newly elected senior partner is Laurie Watt (right), currently the firm's head of litigation. Watt will take over on 1 May from John South, who is retiring but remaining at the firm as a consultant. The firm says its fee income is forecast to exceed £21m in the current year and has grown by 80 per cent in the past four years.

  • In brief: Wragge & Co partner count reaches 62

    14-Apr-1998

    Birmingham firm Wragge & Co has appointed six new partners, bringing the total number to 62. They include former Fox & Gibbons Dubai managing partner Jane Pittaway.

  • Intermediary's assurance

    14-Apr-1998

    Paul Asplin's letter, "Insurers v Intermediaries" (The Lawyer, 7 April) refers to my company, Greystoke Legal Services, as an intermediary.While technically this may be correct, it is not the whole picture. Greystoke underwrite, administer and settle claims on a fully delegated authority basis on behalf of Lombard General Insurance, a standard & Poor's AA-rated insurer.The suggestion that dealing with Greystoke ...

  • IPA's cross-profession regulator plan gains lukewarm support

    14-Apr-1998

    The Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), has caused controversy by calling for a new unified body to oversee the regulation of lawyers and accountants who are insolvency practitioners.The idea has been met with a lukewarm response from several prominent insolvency lawyers.The IPA's proposal, which it described as "vital to maintaining public confidence", is contained in its response to the Government's consultative document on the future regulation ...

  • Jakarta outposts accused of illegality by local firms

    14-Apr-1998

    The Jakarta offices of five major US law firms have been accused by a group of prominent Indonesian lawyers of operating illegally in the city.White & Case, Baker & McKenzie, Coudert Brothers, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Deacons Graham & James have all been reported to the ministry of justice ...

  • Key CPS lawyer commits suicide as report reveals stress

    14-Apr-1998

    ONE of Director of Public Prosecutions Dame Barbara Mills QC's key lieutenants has killed himself amid growing concern among CPS lawyers about the levels of stress they are suffering.Paul Burgess, who was head of strategic and change management at the CPS, took an overdose of anti-depressants in February after going missing from his East Sussex home.News of his death, which has only recently been announced to staff, coincides with the publication of a stress ...

  • KPMG report prompts calls for Irvine reforms to be phased in

    14-Apr-1998

    (Robert Lindsay ) Firms will not make profits from personal injury work until the third year after legal aid is withdrawn, according to a study by KPMG, commissioned by the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD).Personal injury lawyers have responded to the finding by calling for a phased withdrawal of legal aid over at least three years, to "help firms bridge the gap".They point out that the Government is planning to withdraw legal aid completely from personal ...

  • Law Society SIF table branded "bizarre'

    14-Apr-1998

    Law Society figures showing that most firms will pay less with the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) than buying insurance on the open market, have been branded "bizarre" by one of the members of the working party which was set up by the society to investigate indemnity insurance.Last week The Lawyer alleged that a table provided by the Law Society, comparing how a selection of firms would fare under SIF compared with going to private insurers, was skewed in favour of the ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 14/04/98

    14-Apr-1998

    Mark Colin East, 32, admitted 1991, employed at material times by Beetenson & Gibbon, Grimsby, struck off and ordered to pay £3,994 costs. Allegations substantiated that he wrongly drew money from client account and misappropriated client's and employer's money. Tribunal expressed sympathy and surprise that he had not sought advice, but said that while he had not attempted to hide his actions, he arranged for monies not belonging ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 14/04/98

    14-Apr-1998

    Daly v Cambridge Health Authority QBD 26 January 1998Claimant: Adam Daly, 27Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Claimant suffered severe brain damage when an ambulance collided with his car on the A142 near Witcham, Cambridgeshire, in March 1994. Before accident claimant was fit, with good job prospects. After spending months in a vegetative state he regained consciousness. His family played a strong role in his recovery. ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 14/04/98

    14-Apr-1998

    Football club's duty to playerKieron Brady v (1) Sunderland Association Football Club Ltd (2) Leslie Howard Boobis, FRCS (3) Dr Simon James Paul England (1998)QBD (Buckley J) 2/4/98The plaintiff was a highly promising young football player contracted to the first defendant, Sunderland Association Football club Ltd. He experienced problems with his right leg, which led to him being taken off during a match on 30 November 1992. He ...

  • Litigation Writs 14/04/98

    14-Apr-1998

    Anne Marie Colton claims she suffered injury as a result of the implantation of a contraceptive device in February 1995. Her writ is against Roussel Laboratories of Uxbridge. Her case will form part of major litigation, supervised in the High Court by Mr Justice May.Writ issued by Freeth Cartwright Hunt Dickins, Nottingham.The executors of the late Neville Cox have launched a claim against his former employer. They say he died after exposure ...

  • Lovell White Durrant and Freshfields make up half of partners abroad

    14-Apr-1998

    Both Lovell White Durrant and Freshfields have shown their determination to expand internationally by making up nearly half their new partners in overseas offices this year.Lovells made up its largest ever number of partners 23, 10 of whom are based overseas. Its total number of partners now stands at 163.Seven of Freshfields' 17 new partners are also based overseas, with four new partners in the firm's European offices and three in its Asian offices.

  • LSS president slams Govt over justice forum

    14-Apr-1998

    LAW Society of Scotland (LSS) president John Elliot criticised the Government for not setting up a civil justice forum north of the border, at the society's AGM this month.Elliot told the 600 solicitors attending the LSS conference in Glasgow that he had already written to many organisations, inviting them to join the society in a forum which would look at the workings of civil litigation.Elliot said: "We have asked the Government to set up a civil justice ...

  • Making the SIF figures add up

    14-Apr-1998

    THE LAW Society and the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) have reacted furiously to last week's claim by The Lawyer that a table attached to the society's indemnity insurance consultation paper is flawed.Most firms on the table would do better sticking with SIF rather than insuring on the open market. We believe the figures are skewed in favour of SIF. On average, firms contribute 3.5 per cent of their gross fees to the fund, but the average contribution ...

  • Management: Scotland. Scottish practice needs fresh approach

    14-Apr-1998

    Many Scottish firms are in commercial trouble. Their decline can not only be halted, but with some fresh ideas, can be turned around, says Fiona Westwood. Fiona Westwood is a partner at management consultancy Robertson Westwood. Scots are known throughout the world for their inventiveness and commercialism, yet the Scottish legal market is showing all the symptoms of decline, with price cuts, outdated products and little innovation. But how have Scottish firms got themselves into this ...

  • Mishcon de Reya lays off 12 support staff

    14-Apr-1998

    In the wake of a flood of fee earner departures, Mishcon de Reya has laid off 12 support staff from its word processing department, print room, partnership dining room kitchen and its litigation department.The firm's head of company commercial, Kevin Gold, said the "technical redundancies" were voluntary. The moves were announced internally, when chairman John Jackson sent an e-mail ...

  • OSS placed on Parliament's inquiry hit-list

    14-Apr-1998

    THE HOME Affairs Committee has put the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) on a short list of issues it believes may merit investigation.But it may be spared the embarrassment of an inquiry for some time because the committee is able to hold only a handful of inquiries each year.A committee source said MPs and members of the public had written to the committee asking it to examine the OSS's complaints handling record and assess the ability of ...

  • Property

    14-Apr-1998

    Olswang advised Capital & Regional Properties on the £93.8m acquisition of the Pallasades Shopping Centre, Birmingham, from Fordgate, advised by Teacher Stern & Selby.

  • Property

    14-Apr-1998

    Morgan Bruce acted for Capital and Regional Properties in raising £130.5m by way of a rights issue and an extension of banking facilities through Hypo Bank, advised by Allen & Overy. Slaughter and May advised the underwriters of the rights issue.

  • Putting a premium on reinsurance

    14-Apr-1998

    A broker's purported attempt to cancel an insolvent client's reinsurance will be the focus of an Appeal Court battle, says Roger Pearson. Judgment is now pending in a three-cornered legal battle in the Court of Appeal over the legality of the cancellation of reinsurance policies.In a case of considerable importance in insurance circles, the Pacific and General Insurance Company (P&G) is lined up against broker JH Minet & Co, reinsurer Richard Hazell ...

  • Ruling repairs landlord's rights

    14-Apr-1998

    Roger Pearson looks at a decision which could have serious consequences for tenants who do not comply with repair covenants. A recent ruling in the Chancery Division of the High Court is seen as adding a further weapon to the increasing armoury of landlords seeking to force tenants to honour the terms of repair covenants.Until relatively recently, covenants purporting to impose repair and maintenance obligations on tenants were viewed by landlords and property lawyers ...

  • Scandinavians look to revitalise alliance

    14-Apr-1998

    The three member firms of the Scandinavian Law Alliance are scheduled to meet in Copenhagen in the middle of the month to look at ways of revitalising the alliance.According to a source, the firms Sweden's Vinge, Denmark's Kromann & Munter and Norway's Thomessen Krefting Greve Lund will hold a "strategy meeting" to reassess their seven-year relationship, which many observers believe to be virtually defunct.As the managing partner of a leading ...

  • SIF: "figures not skewed'

    14-Apr-1998

    Your front page story "Law Society figures skewed..." (7 April) suggests that the Solicitors Indemnity Fund and the Law Society have misled the profession. You imply that the information contained in the society's consultation papers has been deliberately skewed in our favour. Nothing could be further from the truth.SIF supplied the society with the profiles of 58 actual firms in order that an accurate and genuine comparison could be made between the rates ...

  • Slaughters searches for new headquarters

    14-Apr-1998

    Slaughter and May is looking for a new headquarters to move into when the lease runs out on its main City building at 35 Basinghall Street in 2002.It currently has four London buildings, but the leases on Basinghall Street and Austell House on Basinghall Avenue, both partly owned by the developer Wates, are due to expire in four years time, according to Jonathan Haw, executive partner ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Patrick Corr

    14-Apr-1998

    Patrick Corr is a corporate recovery partner at Pinsent Curtis.What was your first job?Selling strawberries at the side of the road, aged 10.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£9,000.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?PE teacher in an all-girls school.Which law could you live without?Noise Abatement ...

  • The new silks list but will it be the last?

    14-Apr-1998

    Women barristers have called for the abolition of the QC system despite a dramatic increase in the number of women taking silk from five last year to 10 this year.Echoing The Lawyer's call last week, the chair of the Association of Women Barristers, Josephine Hayes, said: "I have recently come to the view that the QC system is unnecessary and should be abolished."Ten women may have received silk but so did 50 men and the gender gap is still enormous. The ...

  • TJG hiring builds on firm's IP plans

    14-Apr-1998

    Taylor Joynson Garrett's (TJG) plan to concentrate on intellectual property, telecoms and corporate work has continued to fall into place with the hiring of IP partner Mark Hodgson.Hodgson joins TJG on 1 May after 13 years at Simmons & Simmons.TJG has been ranked slightly below Simmons & simmons in the patent IP work that Hodgson concentrates on. But since a review of its strategy by Hodgart Temporal last summer, TJG has decided to concentrate particularly ...

  • Weekend Breaks. A quick look at short breaks

    14-Apr-1998

    The need to fit vacations around work means that the weekend break is becoming popular. Rachel Jolley surveys the options. Rachel Jolley is a freelance travel journalist. Pressures of work mean that many lawyers are tending to take short breaks throughout the year instead of going away on one long summer holiday.The UK hotel industry has acknowledged this trend and is building up more short-stay packages, combining various activities with a three- or four-night stay. Today ...

  • Weekend Breaks. Backyard breakaway

    14-Apr-1998

    England has plenty to offer dedicated holiday-makers, from youth hostelling to luxury hotels. London is still the UK's top destination. The traditional weekend stay will often include a West End show, and if you do not want to go to the trouble of making the travel arrangements, a number of hotels and ticket companies will sort them out for you and include it in the package price.Forte has a one-night theatre break at the mid-range Posthouse Bloomsbury Hotel starting ...

  • Will Slater on the need to check whether a building is a chattel. Will Slater is a solicitor with the London office of Laytons.

    14-Apr-1998

    A recent High Court decision in Potton Developments v Thompson and Ennever dramatically highlights the importance of identifying whether the "building" on the land your client is buying is a chattel. It also serves to warn buyers that the most conventional-looking building might be a chattel, the sale of which would require express provision to be made.A pub landlord had entered into an agreement with Potton whereby the publican rented nine pre-fabricated ...