13 October 1997

The Lawyer

  • 'Do not fear MDPs'

    14-Oct-1997

    On a more positive note, it is good to see that Law Society president Phillip Sycamore intends to show some leadership to the profession on the issue of multidisciplinary practices (MDPs).He is set to tell the profession that they should not fear mdps and, indeed, should not assume that accountancy firms would lead the way.The fact is that mdps are an unknown quantity to most lawyers but present very interesting business opportunities.Sycamore has ...

  • ... and will duck question session at Law Soc conference

    14-Oct-1997

    THE ASSOCIATION of Women Barristers (AWB) has launched a bitter attack against the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, following his decision to ditch Labour's pre-election pledge to establish a judicial appointments commission.In June, Lord Irvine had promised to consult over the possibility of setting up an appointments commission, but in a surprise announcement last week he went back on his pledge.Josephine Hayes, chair of AWB, said she was "gravely concerned" ...

  • A necessity or an extravagance?

    14-Oct-1997

    Patrick Stewart examines the case for retaining a London base as Australian firms reassess the value of their overseas offices. London has long been a popular destination for Australian firms, but, with the recent withdrawal of Freehill Hollingdale & Page, Allen Allen & Hemsley and Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks from the capital, the consensus appears to be shifting away from maintaining a presence in London."All businesses open and close offices depending on the climate ...

  • Andersens close to Portuguese link-up

    14-Oct-1997

    Arthur Andersen is understood to be close to announcing a link-up with leading Portuguese firm AM Pereira Saragga Leal Oliveira Martins Judice e Associados.The move could mark the next stage of the firm's ambition to become one of the largest providers of legal services in Europe by 2000.Meanwhile, sources close to Andersens in London say that the firm is weeks away from a deal with Simmons & Simmons, despite vigorous denials from both of the practices.

  • Apathy for the Law Society conference

    14-Oct-1997

    The huge lack of interest by solicitors in the annual Law Society conference is in marked contrast to the success of the Bar's annual conference.The Bar, although helped by the size of its venue, had one of its best attendances ever. The Law Society, on the other hand, can only find around 1,000 attendees, many of whom are Law Society officials.The Law Society is, of course, hampered by the long distances that many ...

  • Army faces £50,000 claim

    14-Oct-1997

    A High Court action is in the pipeline in which the Army is being sued for more than £50,000 by a Gibraltar man, Stephen Roberts, who claims that he was kicked in the head by a soldier. Roberts has launched a claim in London against the Ministry of Defence claiming that he was seriously injured after being deliberately kicked in the head by an army corporal in an incident in September 1994.

  • Arthur Andersen in Texas held to account for practising law

    14-Oct-1997

    ACCOUNTANCY giant Arthur Andersen is facing legal action in Texas after it was accused of practising law without a licence in the US state.In what is thought to be the first case of its kind in the US, the Texas Supreme Court has formed a committee to investigate a formal complaint brought to it by a lawyer who claimed that the accountancy firm was encroaching on lawyers' territory.Under 50-year-old Texan laws, accountants are not allowed to offer any kind ...

  • Bar Council warns Govtagainst public defenders

    14-Oct-1997

    The Bar Council has put the Government on warning not to introduce a public defender scheme, insisting that it would be a disaster for the profession.Senior barristers launched a pre-emptive strike against the public defender concept at the Bar Conference last month, amid growing fears among barristers that the Government is poised to an announce a public defender experiment.The Bar is deeply concerned about the effect having a cadre of state employed ...

  • Bingham questions public defender concept

    14-Oct-1997

    The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, has questioned whether lawyers working in a public defender system would be sufficiently motivated to do the job properly.Speaking at his second "meet the press" session since becoming Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham was distinctly cool about the potential worth of a public defender system.He questioned whether young lawyers who became public defenders would be motivated to improve their advocacy skills and advance their ...

  • Care in the community is put to the test

    14-Oct-1997

    Two health authorities are in the dock accused of negligence by the mother of a child murdered by a psychopath. Roger Pearson reports. A major test case over health authorities' liability for the actions of mentally ill patients they release back into the community is to go to the High Court.The mother of a four-year-old who was sexually assaulted and then murdered is suing two health authorities for negligence. She claims that they were responsible for releasing her ...

  • Chambers' Lamb Choppers in mint condition

    14-Oct-1997

    Pedal power has helped Lamb Chambers raise £1,200 for Leukaemia research.Barristers and staff from the business, personal injury and property set were among 2,000 cyclists who biked a course from Battersea Park to Greenwich and back in the summer charity ride.The set's team, The Lamb Choppers, was recently presented with the shield for the legal team that raised the most money. While Lamb chambers raised £1,200, ...

  • Check your compatibility

    14-Oct-1997

    IT integration is vital to a successful merger. David Poole offers some advice on how to achieve a seamless marriage. David Poole is IT director at Addleshaw Booth & Co. A merger of two major law firms is a complex business. One of the many issues to be considered early on is: Are the firms' IT and telephone systems compatible?In an era when fast and efficient communication is taken for granted, IT integration is essential. Clients must come first and from day ...

  • City firms in photo-finish to seal sale of Lola Cars

    14-Oct-1997

    Motor racing enthusiast lawyers from Manches & Co and Berwin Leighton had four weeks to sell insolvent car manufacturer Lola Cars before the racing season came to an end last month.Lola Cars has contracts to supply all the cars for Formula 3000 and the Indy Lights series but went into administration in May. It was sold to Martin Birrane, owner of Ireland's premier race circuit Mondello Park, for £2.9m just before the racing season finished at the end of September.

  • Conditional fees threat casts a shadow

    14-Oct-1997

    The future of legal aid hangs in the balance as the Government edges towards "no win no fees". Legal aid and civil justice reform will be the main topics of the conference. Russell Jenkins, president of Cardiff Law Society, for one accepts that Lord Irvine has effectively set the conference agenda before getting anywhere near Cardiff. So what will Lord Irvine say?Conditional fees will definitely be extended and Lord Woolf's fast-track system for claims with a value ...

  • Dibbs loses sole banking partner in Birmingham

    14-Oct-1997

    DIBB Lupton Alsop has suffered a setback in its bid to break into the tightly-knit Birmingham banking market having lost its only banking partner in the city to Wragge & Co.In an unusual move, Tim Travers has given up his partnership status at Dibbs' Birmingham office to join Wragges' 50 fee earner-strong financial sector and projects group as an associate."I wanted to ...

  • Discussion on Kenya

    14-Oct-1997

    The Law Society, in association with members of the Kenya Network including Amnesty International, will be holding a panel discussion on Kenya on Monday 20 October. Law Society members will give an update on their January visit to the country, while Amnesty International will discuss issues such as freedom of expression.

  • Financing

    14-Oct-1997

    Norton Rose acted for Bank of Ireland Home Mortgages in its securitisation of £3bn of home mortgage loans.

  • Financing

    14-Oct-1997

    Wilde Sapte acted for the Bank of Scotland on issuing £27.2m-worth of mortgage-backed fixed rate notes and £105m-worth of mortgage-backed floating rate notes

  • Financing

    14-Oct-1997

    Wilde Sapte advised Citibank on its $123m loan to South African mobile phone operator Mobile Telephone Network. Freshfields advised Mobile Telephone Network.

  • Flotations

    14-Oct-1997

    Denton Hall is part of the consortium which has beaten four others to advise the Bulgarian government on the privatisation of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. The other members of the consortium are KPMG

  • Flotations

    14-Oct-1997

    Denton Hall is part of the consortium which has beaten four others to advise the Bulgarian government on the privatisation of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. The other members of the consortium are KPMG

  • Flotations

    14-Oct-1997

    Berwin Leighton advised Nottingham Forest on its £3.5m flotation on AIM

  • Flotations

    14-Oct-1997

    Nabarro Nathanson advised Style Holdings on its £4.4m admission to AIM. SJ Berwin & Co acted for Shore Capital Stockbrokers

  • Herbert Smith first

    14-Oct-1997

    Herbert Smith's Brussels trade law team, headed by Craig Pouncey, is representing major Indian pharmaceutical companies in the first non-European anti-subsidies investigation by the European Commission (EC) since the implementation of the World Trade Organisation Anti-Subsidies Agreement in January 1995. The EC is investigating alleged subsidies granted by the Indian government to Indian manufacturers of large spectrum antibiotics.

  • HK criminal lawyer on trial for drafting false affidavit

    14-Oct-1997

    A LEADING Hong Kong criminal lawyer has been sent to trial accused of drawing up a false affidavit in a corrupt deal with a former Hong Kong government prosecutor.Geoffrey Booth, a UK-qualified partner at leading Hong Kong criminal firm Haldane Midgley & Booth, was charged with intending to pervert the course of public justice between July 1994 and January 1996.Booth allegedly drafted the false affidavit for former government prosecutor Warwick Reid to help convicted ...

  • In brief: Hammond Suddards goes to bigger offices

    14-Oct-1997

    Hammond Suddards' London office is moving to bigger premises next week. Partners at the firm said the move from London Wall to Cutlers Gardens near Liverpool Street was necessary due to the rapid expansion over the past six years in London from one to 29 partners.

  • In brief: Linklaters is second to open in Sao Paulo

    14-Oct-1997

    Linklaters & Paines has become the second international firm in a month, following US firm White & Case in September, to open a representative office in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The new office will be headed by partner David Fenwick who is relocating from Linklaters' New York office. Linklaters' managing partner ...

  • In brief: Magistrates debate wave of court closures

    14-Oct-1997

    Magistrates were due to debate growing concern about a wave of court closures at the Magistrates' Association's AGM, due to take place on 11 October. A motion calling on "the Lord Chancellor to review the process through which Magistrates' Courts Committees are closing rural court houses" was scheduled to be debated at the meeting. Last week The Lawyer revealed that Dorset was the latest county facing massive cutbacks, with proposals to close nine of the 11 existing courts.

  • In brief: Marsons opens new office in Bexleyheath

    14-Oct-1997

    Kent firm Marsons has opened a new office in Bexleyheath. Headed by Caroline Landes, it will be open seven days a week as well as some evenings. The office will deal with child care, family, crime, personal injury, company,commercial and property.

  • In brief: Pinsents' First offers 'total package'

    14-Oct-1997

    Pinsent Curtis has set up a group called First, which is made up of senior lawyers from a variety of disciplines. It is designed to offer City institutions "a total package of legal expertise". The team is made up of regulatory, employment, litigation and client services partners.

  • In brief: Shipping firm takes on two specialists

    14-Oct-1997

    Shipping firm Constant & Constant has recruited two partners for its maritime practice. Richard Olsen, a leading admiralty practitioner, rejoins the firm after 11 years at Stephenson Harwood. Angela Reed, who specialises in all aspects of shipping work, joins as a litigation partner from Eversheds in Newcastle.

  • In brief: SPG referral scheme set for launch

    14-Oct-1997

    Firms which do not want to get directly involved in the housing market will still be able to make money through referring clients to their property selling colleagues. The Solicitors Property Group is set to launch a referral scheme whereby firms can pass on property selling clients to other solicitors for a fee which is likely to be three to four times the usual estate agent referral fee. Meanwhile, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, has indicated that a minimum of four firms will ...

  • In brief: West Midlands practice swallows niche firm

    14-Oct-1997

    West Midlands firm Needham & James, which has offices in Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon, has taken over the niche commercial and corporate finance firm Hunt & Co. James Hunt, of the two-partner firm, left Needhams in 1992 to set up his own practice with Anthony Rudge. The two will become Needhams 11th and 12th partners. Rudge said the practice had become fed up with constantly referring clients to other firms without receiving reciprocal referrals. "As partners at Needhams we can ...

  • Inns drop-out rate at 10 per cent

    14-Oct-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsAround 10 per cent of barristers who are called to one of the Inns will later leave the independent Bar, according to new Bar Council figures.The figures, requested by The Lawyer, show that of the 440 barristers who obtained a tenancy in the1988/89 legal year, 44 had left by October 1996.That 10 per cent drop-out rate remains consistent up until 1993 when it falls to six per cent because of a shorter period ...

  • Introduction

    14-Oct-1997

    I am delighted to welcome you as a visitor to the first Northern Legal Office Exhibition. Many would say that such an event is overdue, and certainly from the indications we have received from both exhibitors and visitors there is a great deal of excitement about the exhibition, which has been born out of the London-based Solicitors & Legal Office Exhibition. G-Mex is an ideal location for such an event. Situated in the heart of Manchester with easy access to the North, it offers facilities ...

  • IT's a question of support

    14-Oct-1997

    Skilled computer staff do not come cheap. But how much do you really need them? John Irving offers a few pointers. Striking the right balance between providing too much in the way of IT staff or not providing enough is always a tricky issue.Law firms are "law shops", not software houses, and skilled IT staff with law experience come at a price. The increasing sophistication of packaged software and standardisation of technical approach means there is ...

  • Justice reforms fail to live up to expectations

    14-Oct-1997

    More than three quarters of in-house and public sector legal departments believe there have been no improvements in the civil justice system in the past 12 months despite all the efforts of judges and litigators following Lord Woolf's report.Antony Gold, head of litigation at Eversheds, which commissioned the survey of 100 legal departments, said: "We were very surprised by these results. ...

  • Key meetings at the conference

    14-Oct-1997

    Friday 17 October9.45am:Law Society president Phillip Sycamore addresses the conference.10.45am:Legal Aid Board deputy chairman Henry Hodge will be among those debating the proposal that "This house believes the legal profession has no future in its present form".2.15pm:Session on how to develop a successful practice, chaired by

  • Larry Cohen suggests a simple way of curbing the paparazzi

    14-Oct-1997

    Larry Cohen suggests a simple way of curbing the paparazzi. Larry Cohen is head of the intellectual property unit at Hammond Suddards.. With public confidence in the press at an all-time low and Lord Wakeham's review of the rules governing privacy and harassment seeming to promise little more than greater self-regulation, the time may be right to look at a legal solution to the paparazzi problem.In fact, a small change to copyright law could provide an effective ...

  • Law Soc moves to relax rules on practice names

    14-Oct-1997

    The Law Society has narrowly voted to relax the strict regulations governing law firms' names in a move critics say will make the profession look foolish.In a set of radical measures the Law Society is proposing to let firms:use non-conventional names such as "the Legal Clinic";use names made up of letters like "AAA Law Services";have geographical references in their names, such as "Guildford Solicitors";use ...

  • Legal junket faces shake-up as Irvine goes for the jugular

    14-Oct-1997

    It was the legal equivalent of inviting an important guest to a dinner party only to have them head-butt the host.Home Secretary and former barrister Jack Straw rolled up to the Annual Bar Conference on 27 September, opened his keynote speech with a few anti-solicitor jibes and then let fly with two sentences that re-ignited the fat-cat barristers' row.His comments on barristers' fees dominated media coverage of the Bar's showcase event.

  • Lincoln's Inn sets embark on mass recruiting spree

    14-Oct-1997

    TWO Lincoln's Inn chambers - Wilberforce Chambers and Charles Sparrow QC's Thirteen Old Square - have successfully poached a total of seven tenants including one QC from rival chambers.The two sets' recruitment drive follows a similar excercise recently conducted by Michael Lyndon-Stanford QC's chambers, also at 13 Old Square, which snapped up six barristers in September.All three chambers, which recruited staff through advertisements placed ...

  • Linklaters remains leader of the pack

    14-Oct-1997

    Linklaters & Paines remains the top international law firm for the value of its private finance infrastructure deals, according to Privatisation International's latest figures for 1996 to 1997.It leads the field in Asia, the area which is proving by far the most lucrative for advisers on infrastructure projects, and in the UK.But

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 14/10/97

    14-Oct-1997

    Michael Peter Anthony Baldwin, 65, admitted 1974, practising at material time as partner in Woollcombe Yonge, Plymouth, struck off and ordered to pay £4,848 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to disclose to a beneficiary, his wife, her entitlement under terms of a trust of which he was trustee, and failed to make full disclosure to court of his assets in context of matrimonial proceedings concerning himself and his wife. Tribunal ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 14/10/97

    14-Oct-1997

    Bolden v Waltham Forest Health Authority - QBD 22 September 1997Claimant: Lucy Bolden, Incident: Medical negligenceInjuries: Claimant suffered oxygen starvation during her birth at Whipps Cross Hospital in August 1991 resulting in acute cerebral palsy. She has virtually no independent movement and very limited intelligence, although court was told it was hard to detect the extent of her awareness. Life expectancy limitedAward: £1,319,115 ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 14/10/97

    14-Oct-1997

    Unequal distribution of proceeds of house saleMarshall v Beckett (1997)Court: CA (Nourse LJ, Hutchison LJ, Thorpe LJ) 2/10/9Appearances: Christina Morris for the appellant. Ann Hussey for the respondent.Summary: Appeal against order granting appellant husband unequal share of the proceeds of sale of the former matrimonial home, it being claimed that the judge had disregarded the contributions he had made and put too much emphasis on ...

  • Litigation Writs 14/10/97

    14-Oct-1997

    A woman who claims she suffered personal injuries after being treated with blood products is suing the National Blood Authority, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, Brighton Health Authority, Raigmore NHS Trust, West Suffolk Health Authority, Bio Products Laboratory, the Department of Health, South Thames NHS Executive, and Anglia and Oxford NHS Executive for over £100,000 compensation. Marion Whiffin, of Limerick, ...

  • Liverpool conference

    14-Oct-1997

    Liverpool Law Society played host to the Federation of European Bars at the Merseyside Maritime Museum last weekend. Society president Tim Marshall told 75 judges and lawyers from around Europe: "This conference emphasises the strength of the profession in Liverpool and its ability to provide support for the needs of North West businesses trading in a European market."

  • Lord Chancellor under fire for appointments pledge u-turn...

    14-Oct-1997

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has refused to face any questioning from the legal profession at this week's Solicitors' Annual Conference in Cardiff.Lord Irvine is expected to unveil his long-awaited reforms for legal aid and civil justice at the conference on Saturday.But delegates will not get the chance to quiz the Lord Chancellor about the reforms, even though he is billed to take part in a panel discussion with Law Society president Phillip ...

  • Minter Ellison's second City partner bucks trend

    14-Oct-1997

    MINTER ELLISON has bucked the recent trend of Australian firms pulling out of London with the posting of a second partner to the capital.Robert Hanley, an ex-Freshfields lawyer who is both Australian and UK-qualified, arrives at the London office this week from Sydney.Freehill Hollingdale & Page closed its London office a year ago, while Allens Arthur Robinson will close in the next couple of months.But Hanley said his firm was more durable because ...

  • Mortgage lenders to go ahead with SMIs

    14-Oct-1997

    The head of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has warned that lenders will proceed with the controversial Standard Mortgage Instructions (SMIs) for conveyancing transactions with or without the support of the Law Society.CML director-general Michael Coogan issued the threat last week at Eversheds' annual seminar for lenders in London, where he accused the Law Society of doing "its ...

  • Moscow tax tsar poached by Clifford Chance

    14-Oct-1997

    Clifford Chance's Moscow office has poached a high-ranking accountant partner from Price Waterhouse's Russian accountancy office in a move that reverses the usual one-way traffic between legal practices and the big Six accountancy firms.Robert Fort, who is head of Price Waterhouse's financial services tax group in Moscow, will join Clifford Chance next month as director ...

  • NSW warns Govt over reforms

    14-Oct-1997

    New South Wales Attorney General Jeff Shaw QC has warned the UK government not to act with haste or be overly influenced by public opinion in reforming the criminal justice system.Shaw, who is a Labour politician and his state's top law officer, was invited to the UK to address the annual Doughty Street chambers lecture, held in London last week.He told the assembled barristers, including Bar Council chairman Robert Owen QC, that all those who followed Labour ...

  • On constant security alert

    14-Oct-1997

    There are steps that can be taken to prevent the Internet and e-mail being used carelessly, reports Ravinder Chahal. Ravinder Chahal is a freelance journalist. Law firms and information technology are a match made in heaven - the attraction was not immediate but the lack of initial fire means the relationship will not be a flash in the pan.Trust and security are the watchwords in any meaningful relationship, but these things have to be worked at because complacency ...

  • Polys reach lofty heights

    14-Oct-1997

    It is, I am afraid, really true, that the College of Law is now admitting to its courses graduates from universities which were formerly polytechnics, as Helen Cannings reported on your letter's page (The Lawyer, 23 September).In fact, matters have gone from bad to worse. Last year the college actually appointed an ex-polytechnic graduate as its chief executive.Nigel SavageThe College of Law.

  • Property

    14-Oct-1997

    Penningtons advised Commercial Union Properties on its £33.5m purchase of the Royal Priors shopping centre in Leamington Spa from MEPC, advised by Clifford Chance.

  • Property

    14-Oct-1997

    Chilterns regional firm Iliffes Booth Bennett advised Lands Improvement Holdings on its £15.5m sale of the 5,000 acre, grade one agricultural Sutton Bridge Estate in Lincolnshire to Henry Smith's Charity, advised by Denton Hall.

  • Property

    14-Oct-1997

    Chilterns regional firm Iliffes Booth Bennett advised Lands Improvement Holdings on its £15.5m sale of the 5,000 acre, grade one agricultural Sutton Bridge Estate in Lincolnshire to Henry Smith's Charity, advised by Denton Hall.

  • Property

    14-Oct-1997

    Courts & Co advised the management in its £20m MBO/MBI of Maybridge Chemical Company. 3i was advised in-house and Royal Bank of Scotland by Norton Rose.

  • Property

    14-Oct-1997

    Penningtons advised Commercial Union Properties on its £33.5m purchase of the Royal Priors shopping centre in Leamington Spa from MEPC, advised by Clifford Chance.

  • Public interest at stake

    14-Oct-1997

    I read with interest the comments of Chris Jowett in The Lawyer, 23 September. It seems to me that he misunderstood the whole purpose of the consultation exercise.The question the profession is being asked is whether the present position is satisfactory and, if not, what options for change set out in the consultation paper would best serve the public interest. The majority of the options in the paper envisage the continuation of joint representation.

  • Seaside safety challenged

    14-Oct-1997

    Seaside safety is to come under the High Court gaze with an action brought by the family of a 22-year-old man who drowned as he attempted to save his young sister from a pool on the beach at Margate in Kent in 1995. Lee-Roy Winter was carrying his nine-year-old sister from the sea to the shore when he slipped in a one-metre deep trough near a corner of the council-owned pool, causing him to drop her in the sea. He drowned, and by the time she was rescued the girl was close ...

  • Set your sites on the Web

    14-Oct-1997

    Graham Smith and Jane Gunter suggest that firms have a clear aim before launching into cyberspace. Web sites for law firms are now becoming the norm rather than the exception. In a recent edition of The Lawyer, it was predicted that every law firm would have its own site within 12 months.Whether or not that is the case, law firms which are considering taking this step should take the time to consider carefully what they are trying to achieve before they take the ...

  • SFLA spotlights domestic violence

    14-Oct-1997

    THE Solicitors' Family Law Association (SFLA) has launched a nationwide campaign to make domestic violence victims aware of their rights.The move coincides with the coming into force this month of Part IV of the Family Law Act 1997, which contains new protection for victims of domestic violence.The SFLA is campaigning through local media and will also produce a leaflet next month giving practical advice and tips on how to get a domestic violence injunction, ...

  • Solicitor advocate goes it alone

    14-Oct-1997

    When John Mackenzie first instructed counsel on a Lloyd's case he did not expect to end up taking it on himself, says Roger Pearson. A High Court win earlier this year in a complex negligence case against an accountancy firm helps strengthen the arguments in favour of increasing the ranks of solicitor advocates.When John Mackenzie, an associate solicitor at Sheratte Caleb & Co, took on the case, which involved a cousin who had lost money on the Lloyd's ...

  • Solicitors indemnity fund. Shopping around for insurance

    14-Oct-1997

    Wendy Gray finds that SIF rules raise more questions than answers and suggests looking to the open market for insurance. Wendy Gray is a sole practitioner based in London. As a sole practitioner I had accepted without question that I must obtain my professional indemnity cover through the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF). However on 7 August 1997 I received my annual "contribution" quotation from SIF which more than doubled my annual contribution.A little arithmetic showed ...

  • Strategic moves

    14-Oct-1997

    A recent series of mergers in the Australian legal market is a sign of ambition rather than a return of the volatility of the last recession, reports Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart is a freelance journalist. Last month, Freehill Hollingdale & Page, a top Australian commercial practice consummated its marriage to Perth firm Parker & Parker, catapulting it to the number one position by size in the country. Earlier this year, another major firm, BlakeDawson Waldron, swallowed ...

  • Strategic moves

    14-Oct-1997

    A recent series of mergers in the Australian legal market is a sign of ambition rather than a return of the volatility of the last recession, reports Patrick Stewart.P atrick Stewart is a freelance journalist. Last month, Freehill Hollingdale & Page, a top Australian commercial practice consummated its marriage to Perth firm Parker & Parker, catapulting it to the number one position by size in the country. Earlier this year, another major firm, BlakeDawson Waldron, swallowed ...

  • Student sets out to prove disability is no barrier to a life at the Bar

    14-Oct-1997

    Like other law students, Nick Stephens faces an uphill battle to become a barrister.But the 18-year-old is determined that his disability will not count against him.Stephens, who is paralysed from the neck down and unable to move or breathe without assistance after contracting meningitis when he was 18 months old, has beaten all the odds to gain a place at New College, Oxford, to study law.BBC2 screened his story, Nick Goes to New College, which covers ...

  • Tackling tax down under

    14-Oct-1997

    Tax reform is on the agenda in Australia as the government seeks ways of funding pensions, reports Louise McBride. Louise McBride is a tax partner at the Sydney office of Clayton Utz. Australia's taxation system is in danger of imploding. Without urgent reform, it will not be able to support the number of people who draw pensions, grants and wages from the public purse. For every Australian employed in the private sector, there are 1.1 others who depend on the government sector.

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Lorinda Peasland

    14-Oct-1997

    Lorinda Peasland is a senior solicitor at Manches & Co in London. She was born in Northampton in 1963. What was your first job?Working in a butcher’s, which some may say prepared me for picking over the bones of a dead company as an insolvency lawyer. I prefer to think of it as preserving the meat.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£5,500.What would you have done if you hadn’t become a lawyer?

  • The Sycamore plan: a new era, a new approach

    14-Oct-1997

    Philip Sycamore is set to modernise but there are still some sacred cows he plans to protect. Law Society president Phillip Sycamore is set to adopt a liberal stance to changes in the legal profession at this week's conference.He will use his conference speech to paint the profession as willing to work with, rather than against, the Government in implementing its planned reforms of the legal system.But some cows still remain sacred."Clearly conditional ...

  • Three-year covenant

    14-Oct-1997

    It may be helpful to your readers to add a comment to the article on "Ruling Backs Restrictive Covenants" in The Lawyer, 23 September.Otherwise, they could be left with the mistaken impression that any three-year restrictive covenant on a professional person is enforceable as a result of the decision in Taylor Stuart & Co v Croft. I should perhaps add that my firm was not involved in this case.I do not regard this case as authority for supporting ...

  • Time for innovation

    14-Oct-1997

    Staff must be involved in any implementation of IT in the firm, says Andrew Levison. Andrew Levison is head of legal IT at The David Andrews Partnership. Firms have had some success in automating standard procedures such as accounts, time recording, debt collection and uninsured loss recovery. However, only a tiny minority of firms has attempted to manage technology, particularly case management, in innovative and strategic ways.First generation ...

  • Typists' last bastion?

    14-Oct-1997

    Arabella McIntyre Brown discovers that not all lawyers are willing, or able, to recognise secretaries' value. Arabella McIntyre Brown is a freelance journalist. Talk of speech recognition software that will enable lawyers to dictate straight on to their desktop computers has got equity partners excited about all the typists' salaries that they will be able to claw back. But on sober reflection, most law firms recognise that even the most sophisticated computer ...

  • US firm swallows Japanese group

    14-Oct-1997

    US FIRM Bingham Dana has taken over Japanese specialist practice Marks & Murase in a move which is thought to give the Boston-based firm the largest Japanese practice group in the US.The 30-lawyer Japanese group will work primarily out of New York and Los Angeles under the new name of Bingham Dana Murase. One third of the lawyers are Japanese-Americans.Toshijiro Nakajima, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan, who is currently counsel to Marks & Murase, ...

  • W&J Burness' private client unit jumps ship for Turcan Connell

    14-Oct-1997

    The Seven-partner private client department of Edinburgh firm W&J Burness is to join Turcan Connell.Five of the team are joining Edinburgh-based Turcan Connell as partners, while the other two will become consultants.Turcan Connell will also acquire the Guernsey office of W&J Burness when the deal goes ahead in December when it will have 11 partners, three associates and ...

  • Watson Farley hires

    14-Oct-1997

    Watson Farley & Williams has recruited Weil Gotshal & Manges associate Clifford Neimeth as a partner for its New York office. Meanwhile, Watson Farley in London has poached shipping partner Jonathan Kellett from Berwin Leighton as part of what the firm called a "continued commitment to broadening ...

  • West Country links to Bar Network

    14-Oct-1997

    BARRISTERS in Bristol and Cornwall can now make applications to the Queen's Bench from their chambers via video-conferencing.The two areas are the latest to join the Bar Telecom Network, a cable-based video-conferencing system which was launched by Cherie Booth QC in July.The system allows barristers to bring procedural applications before Queen's Bench Masters using live, interactive video links.The network has been piloted in London, Birmingham ...

  • When bigger really can prove to be better

    14-Oct-1997

    What is wrong with the idea of a "super-SFO"? asks Monty Raphael. Director Rosalind Wright should set her sights higher and build a fraud-busting empire to be reckoned with. Lord Roskill and his colleagues had a big idea. Form an organisation of all the "talents" to combat serious and complex fraud: heighten the skills of the police, lawyers, accountants and other government investigators, then harness them together and endow them with draconian but, ...