16 November 1998

The Lawyer

  • 'Brown field' service launched

    17-Nov-1998

    AN environmental information company has launched a computerised land contamination checking service for solicitors acting in brown field property deals.Landmark Information launched the service - Home Envirosearch - last month. It provides solicitors with a report of the past and present uses of a piece of land and identifies any risks, such as leaked dye or old gas pipes beneath buildings.The service is currently only available to solicitors within the ...

  • A&O breaks Gide ties to reach De Pardieu

    17-Nov-1998

    Allen & Overy has cleared one obstacle blocking a merger with Paris firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei & Associes by formally breaking off its seven-year association with Gide Loyrette Nouel.A&O is eager to catch up with its City rivals in Paris and was expecting to tie up the merger between its 10-partner Paris office and nine-partner banking firm De Pardieu two months ago.However, ...

  • Arthur Andersen in New Zealand merger talks

    17-Nov-1998

    Arthur Andersen is believed to be in merger talks with Auckland-based firm Hesketh Henry.The news follows last week's report in The Lawyer that Andersens has poached three leading partners from different Sydney-based law firms, and comes just months after Singapore firm Rajah & Tan and Malaysian firm Zaid Ibrahim were incorporated into Andersen's global legal network.Andersen Legal in New Zealand has grown from just one partner a year ago to two partners ...

  • Barrister's European first

    17-Nov-1998

    Richard Davis, intellectual property barrister at New Court, has qualified as a European patent attorney - becoming what is thought to be the only practising barrister to hold the dual qualification.

  • Book of the week

    17-Nov-1998

    Blackstone's Police ManualIndispensable for any young assistant solicitor who is out on a heavy night of drinking. Amaze your friends as you quote section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872 when the police stop you as you are leap-frogging parking metres, and get them to call your mother citing section 4 of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, when they haul you down to the nick.

  • British Romanian seminar

    17-Nov-1998

    The British Romanian Legal Association has held its first seminar on Romanian Law at the Law Society. Speakers included Brigid Lowe of Simmons & Simmons, Campbell Steedman of Norton Rose and Calin Zamfirescu, vice-president of the Bucharest Bar, who explained the Bar's restrictions on how UK firms practice in the country.

  • Canadian firms expect a huge upsurge in US work

    17-Nov-1998

    Canadian firms are expecting a big boost in work from US clients, according to a survey released to The Lawyer last week.The survey of the top 250 US corporations and top 250 US law firms, carried out by leading Toronto-based firm McMillan Binch, showed that a quarter of US corporations intended to increase their use of Canadian counsel over the next five years.The survey also revealed that US corporations and law firms most frequently used Canadian law firms ...

  • Common investment is sweet charity

    17-Nov-1998

    Solicitors involved with smaller charities should consider common investment funds to make the most of the money they raise, argues Garon Watkins. Garon Watkins is director of the charities division at Lazard Asset Management.What are the options available to those solicitors confronted with issues of charity investment management?They will be aware that charities have very specific requirements and investment powers often more restrictive than those of ...

  • Council powerhouse planned by Mathews

    17-Nov-1998

    The Law Society is preparing to sweep away its Byzantine committee structure in a bid to put decision making back into the hands of its ruling council.The move is one of a series of proposals being drawn up by a reform working party, in an effort to make the society more efficient and popular.The working party was set up in September after management guru Sir Dennis Stevenson, who was hired at a cost of £65,000, told the council that the society had to ...

  • Cripps assault charge upheld

    17-Nov-1998

    A farmer who put up a sign claiming Cripps Harries Hall "ripped off" its clients has won £102,500 in damages after he was assaulted when the firm tried to pull it down.In the High Court last week Deputy Judge Nigel Wilkinson QC ruled that John Hoath had been unlawfully injured during the incident in 1994 after a dispute over fees prompted him to erect the sign.He ...

  • Dibbs sends troubleshooter to London office

    17-Nov-1998

    Paul Nicholls, Dibb Lupton Alsop's North West managing partner, is to take the reigns at its 250-lawyer London office.The London office has lost several partners and assistants to rivals this year, the latest being head of IT and telecoms David Barrett, who moved to US firm Arnold & Porter.Nicholls has a reputation as a troubleshooter, having transformed Dibbs' struggling Manchester office into one of the city's leading practices.Dibbs ...

  • Eleven sets axed in CPS panel cull

    17-Nov-1998

    Senior barristers claim they have been "kicked in the teeth" by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after 11 London sets were axed from the CPS list of "preferred sets" without warning last week.Under the preferred set system, introduced three years ago, 80 per cent of prosecutions in London are guaranteed to selected sets, with other sets left to fight for the remaining 20 per cent.The number of preferred sets has gradually fallen, but following a review the ...

  • Ericsson brought in to manage CPS telephone system

    17-Nov-1998

    THE Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has outsourced national responsibility for its voice communications services for the next seven years to telecommunications company Ericsson.International telecommunications systems suppliers Ericsson will manage voice communications across the CPS' 100 sites, including voice mail, fax, paging and mobile phone facilities.The Charles Douglas Organisation, a firm of telecoms specialists, told the ...

  • Ex-Dibbs head joins rival firm

    17-Nov-1998

    Dibb Lupton Alsop's former managing partner Paul Rhodes is joining arch-rivals Hammond Suddards as national head of insolvency and corporate recovery.Rhodes has been brought in by Hammond Suddards' managing partner Chris Jones - who is also an insolvency lawyer - with a brief to establish a team "capable of dominating the market".Rhodes' move comes just 18 months after he left Dibbs to set up a management consultancy business, Rhodes Benson Management, ...

  • Eye Witness exhibition

    17-Nov-1998

    This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To celebrate the event photo-agency Camera Press, in association with City firm Herbert Smith, is holding a exhibition of photos at the Tom Blau Gallery in Butlers Wharf from 19 November to 11 December.The images highlight the need to protect basic rights such as freedom of expression, education and liberty.These are all goals that are fine in principal, but often have to be vigorously ...

  • Farmers take MAFF to court

    17-Nov-1998

    Two farmers who claim that the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food (MAFF) wrongly denied them EU payments for cereal crops are taking their battle to the High Court. Brian and Michael Cresswell, of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, claim MAFF was wrong to withdraw four fields from an EC aid application because they were part of a land dispute. Mr Justice Owen gave the Cresswells leave to challenge MAFF.

  • Financing

    17-Nov-1998

    Dick Russell of Titmuss Sainer Dechert advised architects David Marks and Julia Barfield on the development of the British Airways London Eye (previously known as the Millennium Wheel). Andrew Smith of Garretts advised sponsor British Airways and Sharon White of Stephenson Harwood advised operator The Tussauds ...

  • Five of the best

    17-Nov-1998

    The Lawyer reveals the top barristers gaining favour for their work at the public bar and what singles them out as the best.Michael Beloff QC4-5 Gray's Inn SquareCalled to the Bar: 1967 Appointed QC: 19Professional achievements/associations:Joint head of Chambers; president of Trinity College, Oxford; master of the bench of Gray's Inn in 1988; deputy High Court judge from 1989; vice-president and emeritus chairman ...

  • Flotation

    17-Nov-1998

    Jay Birch of Hammond Suddards advised pub owner Honeycombe Leisure on its #12.4m flotation on the Alternative Investment Market and its associated #3m placing. John Clarke of Theodore Goddard advised sponsors Butterfield Securities.

  • Globalisation will kill off equal pay

    17-Nov-1998

    Merit-based compensation will replace lock-step as firms go international, writes Jeffrey Gordon. Jeffrey Gordon is a partner at US firm Mayer Brown & Platt.Most big-firm lawyers regard lock-step compensation, where all partners of equal seniority receive equal pay, as the most desirable compensation system for a law firm - if the firm can afford it.Partners who are compensated ...

  • Government must reassure public over conditional fees

    17-Nov-1998

    Marlene Winfield says conditional fee agreements must be seen to work, and only the Lord Chancellor can inspire public confidence.Rumours abound about whether the Government will actually go ahead with plans to take legal aid away from personal injury cases. If it does, it will be on the basis that no win-no fee agreements (conditional fees) are an entirely safe substitute. But how do consumers know they are?In theory, conditional fees should suit some people ...

  • Gunned down cameraman in new battle

    17-Nov-1998

    Roger Pearson says insurance giant Royal & Sun Alliance is set to defend itself against claims made by a man shot four times.High-profile insurance company the Royal & Sun Alliance is heading for a High Court confrontation over its refusal to meet a damages claim by a TV news cameraman who has been unable to work since he was gunned down while filming a riot in Gaza in the Middle East.Majdi Alarabid, who lives in Gaza, was working for the World Television ...

  • Heaven knows he's miserable now

    17-Nov-1998

    Young pop hopefuls must get early legal advice or face the bitter and costly courtroom fate of The Smiths, writes Roger Pearson.The value of getting early legal advice in business arrangements was illustrated in Joyce v Morrissey & ors, the recent Court of Appeal case involving ex-members of 1980s pop icons, The Smiths.A long-running and acrimonious dispute between members of the group has been fought through the High Court and Court of Appeal, ...

  • Hoon's Year 2000 call

    17-Nov-1998

    Geoff Hoon, minister of state at the Lord Chancellor's Department, is urging large firms to take advantage of a government scheme to provide Millennium Bug training. He said firms with over 250 employees were eligible for a Department for Education and Employment grant to send staff on two-day Millennium Bug courses. The courses will be run by training and enterprise councils.

  • How the South West is run

    17-Nov-1998

    The largest region in England, the South West has a crop of heavyweight law firms. But, asks Alison Laferla, does the region have a definable legal identity?"As far as we are concerned, Swindon is in London." This remark, voiced by a Plymouth lawyer, captures the dilemma facing anyone hoping to promote the South West as a region: can such a big geographical area find a cohesive legal identity?The South West is the largest region in England and Matthew McKaig, ...

  • Human rights:where's the beef?

    17-Nov-1998

    The Human Rights Act promises UK residents a truly democratic society for the first time. But, asks Matheu Swallow, is the UK ready for such a revolution? There are concerns that Britain's judiciary is ill-equipped to cope with its new responsibilities."Football's coming home" was the unofficial anthem for the England World Cup squad of 1998. Unfortunately, as we all know, the cup never did make it back to Blighty, the competition ending bitterly in premature defeat.

  • In brief: 28-year-old becomes partner at Midlands firm

    17-Nov-1998

    Lorraine Emery, 28, (right) has become the youngest partner at 11-partner Coventry and Leamington firm Alsters. Emery, who is joint secretary of the Warwickshire Law Society's young lawyers group, joined the firm two years ago as a civil litigation assistant solicitor.

  • In brief: Apil accuses LAB of 'backdoor' rule-making

    17-Nov-1998

    The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) has accused the Legal Aid Board (LAB) of reneging on promises to keep legal aid for medical negligence cases, by introducing "back door" rules which would remove it from cases worth less than #10,000 unless the defence admitted liability. The proposal was in a consultation document issued by the board in August.

  • In brief: Macfarlane elected corporate head at Ashursts

    17-Nov-1998

    David Macfarlane has been elected head of Ashurst Morris Crisp's corporate department, while Adrian Knight has stepped into Macfarlane's old job as head of corporate finance. Macfarlane succeeds Geoffrey Green, who becomes senior partner on 1 December. Chris Ashworth has been appointed head of mergers and acquisitions.

  • In brief: Nicholson Graham loses only aviation partner

    17-Nov-1998

    Nicholson Graham & Jones' only aviation partner, Austen Hall, has joined Clyde & Co's aviation practice. Michael Johns, Nicholson Graham's managing partner, said Hall's individual practice had no connection to the firm's banking and asset finance group.

  • In brief: Save the Children hits out at asylum lawyers

    17-Nov-1998

    Save the Children Fund has criticised the quality of legal representation being offered to unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Britain. In a report released on Friday, the fund found that quality varied widely and urged lawyers to make more effort to offer child-friendly services.

  • In brief: SDA calls on Law Soc to set up misconduct fund

    17-Nov-1998

    The Solicitors Defence Agency (SDA) is urging the Law Society to take seriously suggestions to set up a defence fund to combat claims of professional misconduct. The group wants #10 from each solicitor's practising certificate fee to be set aside for the fund.

  • In brief: Wragge & Co

    17-Nov-1998

    In last week's article headlined "Wragge & Co client threatens to dump firm over 'excessive' fees", it was incorrectly implied that Innovative Technologies finance director David Chellingsworth had warned law firms Wragge & Co, Bingham Dana & Gould and accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers that they could be dropped if fees were not cut. We would like to state that Chellingsworth did not ...

  • In house: Accountants must not get upper hand, warns C&G head of legal

    17-Nov-1998

    THE chairman of the Law Society's commerce and industry group has called on solicitors to make the most of multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs) and to make sure that accountants "don't get it all their own way".Speaking at the annual dinner of the commerce and industry group's North West division, Paul Gilbert, head of legal at Cheltenham & Gloucester, said: "MDPs will come whether you want them to or not."Describing MDPs as a "wonderful, exciting ...

  • Insurers not too keen on lawyers

    17-Nov-1998

    My firm specialises in CPD legal training. With the furore over opting out of SIF, we approached Lloyds to undertake a course discussing opt-out options.I am strongly in favour of opting out, but my discussions with the insurance industry were eye-opening. I have seen little evidence of in-depth investigation as to alternative costs and general options. Perhaps this is unsurprising given the industry views we came across.We approached insurance companies ...

  • It's been a bad week for:

    17-Nov-1998

    Judges. Boy has it been a bad week for judges. Where to start?How about with Judge Martin Binning who imprisoned John McGranaghan for nine months following a knife attack, earning the ridicule of Private Eye. Lawyers for McGranaghan had argued that he had a serious medical condition after suffering two heart attacks while being wrongfully imprisoned for 11 years, and had only gone to help a neighbour in distress. Didn't Judge Richard Gee have a ...

  • Its been a good week for:

    17-Nov-1998

    Staff at Davies Arnold Cooper. Last week their boss, David McIntosh, told the Trainee Solicitors' Group that professional success was not inevitably linked to a life of long hours. Assistants at the firm may wish to remind David of this should they ever decide they want to leave at 5.30pm on the dot.Hammond Suddards, which won the 1998 Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) award for professional excellence in alternative dispute resolution.

  • Keith Pugh looks at a ground breaking TUPE ruling. Keith Pugh is head of employment law at Nabarro Nathanson

    17-Nov-1998

    The long awaited decision of the House of Lords in the cases of British Fuels v Baxendale & Meade and Wilson v St Helens Borough Council was made last month. It concerns the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, 1981 and is relevant to all who buy, sell or otherwise transfer a business.There were two fundamental issues. The first was whether a transfer of an undertaking is a nullity - such that the employment contract continues without ...

  • Law Soc slams 'lawyer-basher' Straw over laundering moves

    17-Nov-1998

    Proposals to tighten up the law on solicitors who fail to tell police of clients they suspect of money laundering, have been condemned as Home Office "lawyer-bashing".Last week Home Secretary Jack Straw announced a series of measures to combat high-rolling criminals involved in drug dealing and organised crime.He proposed a new criminal offence aimed at solicitors and accountants who fail to disclose their suspicions about money laundering operations.

  • Lawyer IT conference

    17-Nov-1998

    Applications are invited for the 11th annual two-day conference, Information Systems for Lawyers, sponsored by The Lawyer, and held at the London Marriott hotel on 23 and 24 February. Highlights include innovations from the US and new research on IT training. For further details call Centaur Conferences on 0171 970 4770.

  • Lawyers at play

    17-Nov-1998

    Some lawyers went to the International Motor Show in Birmingham to look at the cars. Others, such as Amery-Parkes client services partner David Faithful, went dressed as a judge to drum up work. The firm came up with the slogan "Amery-Parkes - judge for yourself". Come back Jeremy Clarkson - all is forgiven.

  • Leading insurers join forces on mediation

    17-Nov-1998

    Fourteen insurance companies are signing up to a ground-breaking scheme to avoid costly litigation by opting for mediation.The scheme, which is being launched at the London Underwriting Centre later this month, will require participating companies to sign a "statement of intent" requiring them to consider mediation before litigation.The statement brands litigation as costly and praises mediation as a quicker and more effective method of resolving disputes.

  • Lord Irvine's assurances could be a promise too far

    17-Nov-1998

    Last week Lord Irvine came of age politically when he gave an assured performance before the Home Affairs Committee. Now comes the difficult part.Lord Irvine is entering a crucial phase of his tenure. In the next year-and-a-half or so he will have to deliver on the confident promises he has made to cut legal aid, speed up justice and make the courts accessible to all.His legal aid reforms, his plans to end the Bar's near-monopoly of the higher ...

  • Lovells hires in Tokyo

    17-Nov-1998

    Australian lawyer Rupert Lewi has joined Lovell White Durrant's Tokyo office as a partner. Formerly he advised Tokyo-based Iwai Corporation on project and structured finance.

  • Minority lawyers losing out in legal aid reforms

    17-Nov-1998

    Only one out of the 220 ethnic minority solicitors who attended a crisis meeting on legal aid reforms last week had a legal aid franchise. The meeting was called by Law Society council member Maria Fernandes, who wants the Government to give black and asian lawyers more time to apply for a franchise.

  • Mishcons hit by partner exodus

    17-Nov-1998

    Five partners, including Princess Diana's divorce lawyer Maggie Rae, are leaving Mishcon de Reya following a wholesale partnership shake-up at the troubled firm.The highly-rated Rae will join entertainment firm Clintons in February next year, together with fellow partner Elizabeth Vernon and two assistants.Mishcon's head of media Jonathan Cameron and junior partner ...

  • n brief: TSG helpline receives two suicide calls

    17-Nov-1998

    The number of calls to the Trainee Solicitors' Group (TSG) helpline has more than doubled in the last year. TSG chair Nick Armstrong said the severity of some of the problems trainees were facing was "horrifying". The helpline also received two suicide calls in the last six months.From June to September the helpline took 116 calls, four times more than last year.

  • New kids on the block get tough

    17-Nov-1998

    Big companies are becoming sophisticated buyers of legal services. Stronger relationships between clients and firms and tighter control of costs, has resulted in a virtual freezing of firms' fees. Such developments promise to make the next recession much tougher than the last for law firms.The reason for this, as testified by the success of Legal Monte Carlo '98, is the irresistible rise of the in-house lawyer.As one in-house delegate, Michael Ashley-Brown ...

  • Next week's news

    17-Nov-1998

    The House of Lords is poised to make one of its most controversial decisions ever, when it rules whether former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet is immune from prosecution on charges of torture and genocide.

  • No place for 'pomposity'

    17-Nov-1998

    The junior bar must jettison 'Dickensian' aloofness and embrace the team ethic.For solicitors it is critical that barristers are both willing and able to work as part of a team. One practitioner was astounded by a recent episode where counsel excluded the solicitor from consultation on a high-profile case.This Dickensian attitude, says the solicitor, is borne out of pomposity and arrogance and has no place in the modern relationship between ...

  • Only the strongest will survive

    17-Nov-1998

    A wave of legal 'panel-beating' will only serve to boost the current trend of mergers and lateral hires, writes Philip Hoult.The news last week, revealed by The Lawyer, that BP is reducing its panel of law firms from 120 worldwide to 12, will have been received with dread by senior partners at a number of City firms.The prospect of having to go through the inevitable selection process, with all the costs it entails and with a good chance of losing out, ...

  • OSS plots £300 complaints penalty for law firms

    17-Nov-1998

    The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) has drawn up a controversial plan to fine law firms £300 if their internal complaints handling procedures are not up to scratch when they receive a client complaint.The plan, which has been put before the Law Society's policy committee, would make firms whose clients have complained to the OSS pay a deposit of #300, which would only be returned if their complaints handling procedures were good enough.

  • Outsourcing

    17-Nov-1998

    Clive Davies of DJ Freeman advised the Post Office as a shareholder in Envision Licensing, which successful bid for the #700m contract to collect the BBC's licence fee revenue. Rowe & Maw and Edge & Ellison advised the other shareholders in Envision, Bull Information Systems and WPP respectively. Linklaters & Alliance advised the BBC.

  • Partner quits Pinsents for Wragge & Co

    17-Nov-1998

    A partner in Pinsent Curtis Birmingham employment practice has quit to join rivals Wragge & Co as an associate.Jane Ellis, tipped as a rising star in the city, joins Wragge's team under Martin Chitty who also quit as a partner at Pinsent Curtis three years ago.Ellis was only made a salaried partner in May, but as Wragges do not have salaried partners she had to take a drop in ...

  • Part-time tide waits for no firm

    17-Nov-1998

    Sarah Keeble argues that new legislation means law firms will have to let staff work part-time whether they like it or not. Sarah Keeble is an employment partner at Manches.Following the announcement that Linklaters is to allow its partners flexible working hours, there has been much discussion in the profession about whether flexible working is feasible in a law firm.This discussion ...

  • Property firm waiting on Lords

    17-Nov-1998

    The House of Lords is deciding whether to allow a property company's appeal over a breach of contract and negligence action it brought against accountants Cape & Dalgleish. In the High Court, in March 1997, Judge Rivlin ordered Cape & Dalgleish to pay IM Properties #500,000 damages. But in May this year the Court of Appeal reduced that sum to #413,069. The Law Lords have put IM's appeal on hold to give Capes the chance to object.

  • Quote of the week

    17-Nov-1998

    "My greatest triumph was getting a one-eyed, one-legged, purple-haired defendant acquitted on an identity defence."- Richard Gordon QC when asked by The Lawyer to list his professional achievements.

  • Railtrack watchman returns to the Bar

    17-Nov-1998

    Rail regulator John Swift QC is leaving his controversial post to return to his former set as head of chambers.Swift, who was head-hunted for the five year tenure as rail regulator, will take up his new post at Monckton Chambers in January.Monckton Chambers is a premier European Union and competition law set with a strong aviation practice.The current head, Richard Fowler QC, has completed his term in the post, but will continue to practise in his ...

  • Ship-shape with Bristol passion

    17-Nov-1998

    Alison Laferla says Bristol's legal market is booming but competition among local firms is becoming increasingly cut-throat.They used to call Bristol the graveyard of ambition. Today, for lawyers at least, the description seems absurd.After years of unfulfilled potential, Bristol is shaking off its sleepy image and reinventing itself as a thriving centre for financial and legal services.With major institutions such as Lloyds Bank and the Bristol ...

  • SIF's mediation support is vital

    17-Nov-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.Opponents of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) are too quick to ignore the benefits that accrue with a compulsory fund. Take, for example, SIF's promotion of mediation, which my colleagues and I estimate has saved the profession at least #31.5m in the 100 or so cases where it has been ...

  • SJ Berwin sees last PFI partner leave

    17-Nov-1998

    The clean-out of SJ Berwin's private finance initiative (PFI) unit has been completed by the move of partner Geoff Haley to American firm Arnold & Porter.SJ Berwin took the "strategic decision" to close the unit in September, immediately losing staff to Devonshires, Clifford Chance and Berwin Leighton. ...

  • Software suppliers in fury over Law Society IT guide

    17-Nov-1998

    Legal software suppliers have attacked the Law Society for "doing a disservice to the legal profession", and harming small businesses by producing a highly selective technology guide for the profession.The Law Society - which has a disastrous history of advising small firms about computers - was due this week to issue a free software guide to all law firms with 10 partners or less. The guide will detail the products of five selected legal software companies.The ...

  • Specialise, or see your set die

    17-Nov-1998

    The Western Circuit is bolstering its specialist expertise to stem the flow of commercial work which has traditionally been farmed out to the London chambers.Although traditionally strong in crime, personal injury and family law, critics of the Western Circuit say that, on the commercial side, it has been much too slow to specialise."I don't use the local bar, I tend to go to London" is something you hear time and time again when you talk to the large commercial ...

  • The fat cat case for pro bono work

    17-Nov-1998

    Rufus D'Cruz and Tom Coghlin argue that pro bono can no longer be seen as the preserve of the left wing of the profession.Few members of the public are aware that lawyers perform unpaid work. The irony is that pro bono work is as old as our unpopularity with the public.The idea of lawyers working for free may seem a contradiction in terms, but it is not new. In the fifteenth century English lawyers were often required by the courts to provide pro bono representation.

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: David Collins

    17-Nov-1998

    David Collins was born in London in 1965. He is currently a partner at Paisner & Co.What was your first job?Baby clothes model.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?#12,500pa.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Cried.What was your most satisfying professional moment?Drinking a bottle of champagne at a completion ...

  • Thieffry's 'truly international' venture

    17-Nov-1998

    Norton Rose's head of capital markets Gilles Thieffry (pictured right) advised the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development on three recent bond issues worth over #760m.The main deal was the EBRD's first US dollar benchmark bond, which raised US$600m (#360m)."This enabled the EBRD to be put alongside the World Bank and the European Investment Bank in the dollar ...

  • Too few stars at the public bar

    17-Nov-1998

    Solicitors reluctantly spill the beans on which silks at the public bar they rate, perhaps in fear of losing the services of one of the precious few able QCs in this area to rival firms.Not all solicitors are entirely happy with the service they are getting at the public bar.Although most solicitors are generous in their praise, there were a small number who were forthright in their criticisms and the general consensus was that there are simply not ...

  • Transcriber wins franchise to sell court display podium

    17-Nov-1998

    COURT transcription service Smith Bernal has held talks with several City law firms with a view to introducing high-tech US-style "litigators' podiums" into the UK courts.Smith Bernal - the supplier of on-line court transcription service LiveNote - has won the franchise to distribute technology supplier DOAR Group's Document Evidence Presentation System (DEPS), which is said to command 80 per cent of the US market in computerised evidence presentation ...

  • UK firms look to win spoils as Big Six Spanish practice splits

    17-Nov-1998

    SPAIN'S sixth-largest firm, Mullerat & Roca, is to break up, paving the way for one faction to merge with a UK firm.The firm's head office in Barcelona has split into two camps, each led by one of its joint senior partners, Ramon Mullerat and Sebastian Roca.The Mullerat camp is seeking an international merger or alliance, whereas the other side wants an independent Spanish practice.The firm's three-equity partner Madrid office, led ...

  • UK-Nordic-Danish speech

    17-Nov-1998

    Euro-sceptic MP Bill Cash and CBI president Sir Clive Thompson will be guest speakers at the joint British-Nordic Lawyers Association and Danish-UK Chamber of Commerce debate on Europe on 23 November at the Radisson SAS Portman Hotel in London.

  • Wiggin & Co partner joins pay-TV

    17-Nov-1998

    WIGGIN & Co partner Stephen Cook (pictured above) has joined longstanding client Flextech as its general counsel and an executive director.Cook's appointment is a boost for the #850m pay-TV company, which was hit by the death in August of its group chief executive Roger Luard.Cook has advised Flextech - the owner of interests in Bravo and UK Living - since 1987 and last year acted for the company on its high-profile joint venture with the BBC.The ...

  • Will MDPs bring salvation to the high street?

    17-Nov-1998

    Many sole practitioners see MDPs as their only chance of survival, but others still insist they are 'the devil's work'. Tim Watkin reports.Only Two wooden doors separate Patrick Hurd's office from Hughes Allen - a top 50 accountancy firm. The few paces between the two doors protect his independence as a lawyer, but the easy access to his accountant neighbours brings him new clients on a regular basis.Hurd made what he delicately calls an "affiliation" ...