19 April 1999

The Lawyer

  • 'Panic and pay' fears

    19-Apr-1999

    The Woolf reforms threaten the UK with a spate of American-style bad faith litigation, insurance lawyers are warning.Martin Bruffell, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers and Berrymans Lace Mawer's head of personal injury, says that because the reforms limit the timescale of insurers' investigations to three months, they will be under pressure to settle for convenience ...

  • 23 Essex St leads way with new set manager

    19-Apr-1999

    Highly regarded criminal set 23 Essex Street has secured the appointment of a new chambers manager. Sheona Taylor joins next Monday (26 April) from Lloyd's Council Secretariat and replaces David Burt, who retired last week.The 49-tenant set has 10 silks, including Michael Wood QC and Christopher Kinch QC, who took silk this year, and is headed by Michael Lawson QC.Taylor will be chambers manager not director because her role will not involve strategic development, which ...

  • Bar Council blocks Association of Women Barristers' voting rights

    19-Apr-1999

    The Association of Women Barristers' (AWB) application for a voting seat on the Bar Council seems doomed to fail before it has started.The council's policy is to only allow applications from groups which cannot effectively be represented by a body already holding a seat.The AWB acknowledge that the Bar Council's constitution may require amendment to include AWB representation.However, it says it has a "much wider constituency than any of the specialist ...

  • Barrister accuses Revenue of racial discrimination

    19-Apr-1999

    A black barrister who was overlooked for promotion was told by her boss "there are blue eyed boys and blue eyed girls, and you're not a blue eyed girl", a tribunal heard last week.Marlene Morgan, 36, claimed that many ethnic minority lawyers working for the Inland Revenue's solicitor's office were regarded as substandard.Morgan, who has worked at the Revenue office for nine years, accused bosses of being "more inclined" to promote white lawyers.The barrister ...

  • Bevan Ashford wins RDA work

    19-Apr-1999

    Nabarro Nathanson and Eversheds have lost out on work in the South West to rival firm Bevan Ashford, in the ongoing scramble for Regional Development Agency (RDA) legal work.Bevan Ashford's win comes as a team from its Bristol and Exeter offices battles with Nabarros for the Cornwall County Council contract. ...

  • Camerons forms alliance with Canadian law firm

    19-Apr-1999

    International firm Cameron McKenna has an-nounced that its Toronto venture - first revealed in The Lawyer (23 March) - will involve an exclusive alliance with Power Budd, a firm recently established with the sole intention of working with Camerons.Power Budd's three partners are all experts in energy and environmental law.Robert Power, the managing partner, was legal counsel to the Ontario Legislative Select Committee on Hydro Nuclear Affairs, while Peter Budd advises ...

  • Camerons lures Freshfields lawyer for capital markets

    19-Apr-1999

    Cameron McKenna has tempted a Freshfields lawyer to join its capital markets group.Capital markets and structured finance specialist Ashley Painter has joined the firm as a partner, leaving its City rival where he was a senior associate.He has also worked for JP Morgan and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken.His appointment is part of a general push to increase the size of the capital markets department. Two new assistants have been taken on in anticipation of Painter's ...

  • Case of the week

    19-Apr-1999

    The Monty Python team is suing the Royal Bank of Canada over ownership of The Life of Brian. The Pythons' film company licensed the movie to a Canadian distribution firm which then used it as security for loans, before it went into receivership last year. Python Pictures is going to court to stop the bank claiming rights to the film. Last year, the High Court ruled that copyright rested with the film company after its relationship with the distributor ended.

  • Classic showdown

    19-Apr-1999

    Another music-world battle - this time on the classical front - is heading back to court. TV presenter Susan Stranks, widow of broadcaster Robin Ray who died of cancer last December, has pledged to continue a battle started by her husband against Classic FM. Ray helped launch the station in 1992 and shortly before his death he won a signpost action against the station when the High Court ruled that he held the copyright in huge classical music lists he had drawn up. Classic ...

  • Clifford Chance in Electronics Boutique deal

    19-Apr-1999

    Clifford Chance is advising computer retailer Electronics Boutique's buy-out of its rival Game.Corporate finance partner Adam Signy is leading a team of 12 - including partner in competition law John Osborne and Kate Newly, an associate heading up the banking team - on the u99.2m cash and paper deal.Gareth Roberts, partner in corporate at Herbert Smith, ...

  • Comet among the stars

    19-Apr-1999

    Irving David, entertainment lawyer and co-senior partner of David Wineman solicitors, is 52, single and most definitely still a lad at heart.He is impatiently awaiting delivery of his new boy racer machine, a speedy BMW 540, and spends much of his spare time flying. The rest of the time you will find him travelling around the globe on business and pleasure, stopping once in a while to enjoy his other favourite pastime, photography.

  • Croydon Council hands largest legal contract to Wragge & Co

    19-Apr-1999

    Wragge & Co has won Croydon Borough Council's largest legal service contract following the local authority's review of its legal firms.The review follows the end of Croydon's five-year contract with local firm Stonehams. The council will decide whether to keep its panel of additional firms - Bevan Ashford, Blake ...

  • Dadds gains Druces family team

    19-Apr-1999

    Gordon Dadds' family department has regained its place as one of the country's largest by poaching Druces & Attlee's two-partner family law group.Druces & Attlee's head of family Kathryn Peat, partner David Ruck, assistant solicitor Ann Northover and secretarial staff, will all move to Gordon Dadds on 7 June. It is the second coup in a month for Gordon Dadds, after the firm recruited Susan Philipps, formerly

  • Denton Hall raises City office profile with 13 new partners

    19-Apr-1999

    DENTON Hall has boosted its City office by making up 13 new partners out of a total of 15 world-wide.It has also poached Herbert Smith construction group senior assistant Miranda Ramphul to work on non-contentious construction work. She specialised in PFI and power projects and major retail and office developments at Herbert Smith.Thirteen of the new partners are based in the City office working in fields including media and technology, energy and commercial litigation. ...

  • Dentons and Nortons vie in shipping dispute

    19-Apr-1999

    PARTNERS at Denton Hall and Norton Rose are fighting head to head in what is potentially one of the UK's longest running arbitration cases.The arbitration involves a disagreement which has been going on for three years between shipping companies All Seas Group, represented by Denton Hall, and Sing-apore-based Sembawang, which is being advised by Norton Rose. The dispute is over a contract ...

  • Dibbs bolsters City presence

    19-Apr-1999

    National firm Dibb Lupton Alsop has restated its intention to become a bigger player in the City with its new partner promotions.Of its 18 new partners, seven are in the corporate group with four of that number based in London. Five of the 18 are women. Four will be in corporate recovery and insolvency groups across the country The other departments gaining partners are litigation, property and human resources.The concentration on the City side of its practice is the first ...

  • Dibbs lures Hammonds partner

    19-Apr-1999

    Dibb Lupton Alsop has poached an insolvency partner from rival national firm Hammond Suddards.Philip Coates joins Dibbs' Manchester office in June as part of the corporate recovery and insolvency team.At the beginning of March John Alderton from the Dibbs Manchester office went over to Hammond Suddards following the departure of department head Peter Manning to Simmons & Simmons in London. Dibbs' former managing partner Paul Rhodes runs Hammond Suddards insolvency ...

  • Dickinson Dees' expansion plans take it across the Tyne

    19-Apr-1999

    Dickinson Dees has revealed plans to expand across the Tyne river to Gateshead from its new Quayside premises in Newcastle upon Tyne.The firm says there are "considerable" opportunities for regional public sector work, and five of its nine new associate appointments are to property and commercial groups.The firm hopes to attract a further 25 lawyers across the board. But in line with ...

  • Digests

    19-Apr-1999

    Bournemouth Borough Council is suing WH Saunders & Son of Southampton; LG Mouchal & Partners of West Byfleet; and Technical Timber Services of Romsey. The claim against WH Saunders and LG Mouchal is for damages for alleged breach of contracts made between 1984 and 1986 and negligence over the design, specification, and supervision of building work at Littledown Sports Centre in Bournemouth. The claim against Technical Timber is for alleged negligence over the supply and erection ...

  • Digests

    19-Apr-1999

    Richard Anthony Cole v Ministry of Defence (1999) Gloucester CC (Wade DJ) 29 MarchPlaintiff: Male, 26 years old at date of accident; 32 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff had served as a soldier in the British Army since 1990. In late 1992 he was leading a group through a drainage pipe on the ground at Salisbury Plain as part of a military training exercise. As the men passed through, one of the directing staff dropped a "thunderflash" ...

  • Digital TV company Open sets up in-house team

    19-Apr-1999

    Open, the digital interactive television service created by British Interactive Broadcasting (BIB), has set up its own in-house legal team.Senior solicitor Jonathan Kembery, joins from Arnheim Tite & Lewis, the associate law firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and will become head of legal.Kembery is a specialist in telecommunications, information technology and broadcasting law.Open is also recruiting Sophie Jackson to the role of legal manager. She joins from

  • Disclosure: a bar to justice?

    19-Apr-1999

    Criminal lawyers are predicting an onslaught of miscarriages of justice cases as the result of the introduction of the controversial disclosure rules.Concern is mounting about the effect of the disclosure provisions, contained in the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA), which came into effect on 1 April 1997. The provisions require the defence to rely on disclosure police officers to hand over what information they think is relevant to the defence.Critics ...

  • Dynamic net manoeuvres held up

    19-Apr-1999

    LAWYERS are beginning to realise that the internet is a lucrative new way of providing or marketing legal services but, they argue, their attempts to climb aboard the hi-tech bandwagon are being hampered by the lack of a workable legal framework for online business.Although a number of firms are setting up their first websites, they have stopped short of completing deals on-screen because there is no legislation to cover confidentiality, verify signatures or make on-screen documents ...

  • English lawyer to head US firm's London office

    19-Apr-1999

    US firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has made English lawyer Paul Griffin the first partner-in-charge of its London office.The appointment of Griffin, 42, comes less than six months after he joined the firm from Ashurst Morris Crisp to head its UK energy and project finance practice.Cadwaladers opened its all-English lawyer London office in late 1997, and has not had anyone heading its operations ...

  • Eversheds' Moscow office poaches McDermotts team

    19-Apr-1999

    Eversheds has poached nearly the entire team of McDermott Will & Emery's Moscow practice, The Lawyer can reveal.Eversheds initially lured McDermotts' Moscow managing partner Britt Shaw at the end of 1998. The firm had had a working relationship with Shaw before its merger with Frere Cholmeley ...

  • Financings

    19-Apr-1999

    Ashurst Morris Crisp acted for Hoare Govett on its open offer

  • Financings

    19-Apr-1999

    McDermott Will & Emery is advising Peel Holdings in connection with the proposed cancellation and repayment of Preference Shares. Holders of the shares will receive 120p per share from Peel's current cash resources. Head of the corporate department at McDermotts London office

  • Firm pays plaintiff's costs

    19-Apr-1999

    A Manchester solicitor set up a company to hold his law firm's lease, which then stayed in the building for two years rent-free while the landlord waged a court battle for rent arrears, the Court of Appeal has heard.Miller Gardner defended the company, Globe Legal Services Ltd, in the original action, but was in for a shock when a court ruled the law firm was the real defendant and ordered it to pay the plaintiff's costs, believed to be more than £200,000.One ...

  • Forsters dropped from DETR panel

    19-Apr-1999

    Forsters, formerly known as Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, has been axed from the legal panel of the Department of Environment following a review.Only four leading firms have been selected by the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR), for a five-year contract advising on property matters.Cliff Duffell, procurement officer at DETR, says: "Forsters and Veale Wasbrough were originally ...

  • Freshfields and Slaughters in £18bn tie

    19-Apr-1999

    Freshfields and Slaughter and May advised on the £18bn merger of retail giants Kingfisher and Asda.The deal will create the biggest shopping group in the UK and the 10th biggest in the world.Freshfields corporate partner Edward Braham led a 10-strong team including partners Nick Spearing (competition), Roger Berner (tax), and Simon Evans and Jocelyn Mitchell (employment). Corporate ...

  • Gender balance at Denton Hall

    19-Apr-1999

    Last week's letter "Women should stick together" calls into question Denton Hall's commitment to women solicitors. As your article on 29 March stated, Denton Hall in fact has a very good record here:The number of female partners at Denton Hall (35 out of 108) already constitutes a better ration than many other well known City law firms.There are six female partners who are either part-time of work from home for one or two ...

  • Halliwells loses Kwik-Fit deal to Slaughters

    19-Apr-1999

    Halliwell Landau claims it has fallen victim to "magic circle" snobbery - missing out to Slaughter and May on the billion-pound takeover of Kwik-Fit.Kwik-Fit agreed to sell the company to Ford Motor Company in a u1bn cash takeover bid aided by Slaughter and May, with Freshfields acting on behalf of Ford.However, Clive Garston, senior corporate partner at Halliwell Landau, which has ...

  • In brief: Allen & Overy

    19-Apr-1999

    Allen & Overy is being instructed by the Czech government on the sale of Czech bank CSOB. Two further bank sales will follow in the next year. The Czech telecommunications sector is to be privatised, with three consortia making bids. US firms White & Case and

  • In brief: Beachcroft Stanleys

    19-Apr-1999

    Beachcroft Stanleys has concluded a deal for Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust to modernise the existing County Hospital as part of the first wave of private finance initiatives. Mercia Healthcare will manage the site and support facilities for 30 years at a total cost of £470m.

  • In brief: Boyes Turner & Burrows

    19-Apr-1999

    Boyes Turner & Burrows, based in Reading, has made property specialist Mark Appleton a partner. Appleton joined the firm in 1997 as an associate and has since gained a Special Diploma in Landlord and Tenant Law.

  • In brief: Bradford & Bingley Estate Agents

    19-Apr-1999

    Bradford & Bingley Estate Agents, one of the country's largest estate agency chains, plans to cut the number of firms handling its conveyancing work from more than 1,000 to fewer than 10. The members of its new panel will be announced in June.

  • In brief: Browne Jacobson

    19-Apr-1999

    Browne Jacobson has appointed six new partners - Iain Blatherwick, Nigel Blundell, Paul Giles, Raymond Silverstein, Richard Barlow, and Simon Tait - bringing its total number of partners to 42. The firm has also appointed a new solicitor, medical negligence expert Carole Baines.

  • In brief: Insurance and plaintiff lawyers

    19-Apr-1999

    Insurance and plaintiff lawyers are struggling to agree on a joint experts list, as firms try to keep the names of their experts secret from each other. The Forum of Insurance Lawyers and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers meet on Tuesday, in an attempt to thrash out a joint national list.

  • In brief: Insurance and plaintiff lawyers

    19-Apr-1999

    Insurance and plaintiff lawyers are struggling to agree on a joint experts list, as firms try to keep the names of their experts secret from each other. The Forum of Insurance Lawyers and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers meet on Tuesday, in an attempt to thrash out a joint national list.

  • In brief: Slaughter and May

    19-Apr-1999

    Slaughter and May has made up four partners this year, one less than last year. Gary Eaborn and Graham Earles are both in corporate finance, Helen Griffiths does financing work and Sarah Lee is a commercial litigator.

  • In brief: Wright Hassall & Co

    19-Apr-1999

    Wright Hassall & Co, the Leamington Spa firm, has poached two lawyers from national firms Pinsent Curtis and Garretts. Michael Curtis joins as a commercial litigation partner from Pinsents, while commercial and property litigation specialist Robin Koolhoven arrives from Garretts' Leeds office to head Wright Hassall's insolvency department.

  • IT partner heads for Field Fisher

    19-Apr-1999

    Field Fisher Waterhouse has poached Osborne Clarke IT partner Nigel Wildish.Wildish joins Field Fisher as a partner in the firm's IT & online law group. His recruitment follows the firm's capture of SJ Berwin's ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    19-Apr-1999

    Alan Rashid of Cardiff. Having been found not guilty to the charge of threatening to kill, Rashid was promptly sentenced to two years' imprisonment by Judge Michael Gibbon. It seems that a frog in the throat of the juror swallowed the vital word "not" as he was delivering the not guilty verdict, leaving the court convinced that he had been convicted of the heinous crime.The family of Derek Bentley, wrongly hanged in 1953. Home Secretary ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    19-Apr-1999

    Pupil power. Bill Clinton's former student Susan Webber Wright demanded her travelling expenses from the President for a visit she made to the Whitehouse. Oh yes, and Wright, now Judge Wright, also found her former teacher in contempt of court after he gave an "intentionally false" testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky during questioning in the Paula Jones harassment case. Pupils, interns; it seems they're all down on him in one ...

  • Jonathan Pickworth on conflicts of interest.

    19-Apr-1999

    Jonathan Pickworth is a solicitor at Linklaters.The professional world received a shot across the bows in the recent House of Lords decision in Prince Jefri v KPMG [1999] 2 WLR 215.It was held that the erection of a "Chinese Wall" would not necessarily protect a litigant from the risk of inadvertent leakage of confidential information. It was made clear that if there ...

  • Law Society gets more power

    19-Apr-1999

    The Government has finally granted the Law Society the extra powers it needs to investigate unscrupulous lawyers more effectively.Minister of State at the Lord Chancellor's Department Geoff Hoon revealed the concession as the Access to Justice Bill went through its second reading in the Commons.After outlining a number of amendments which the Government plans for the Bill, he said: "We are also prepared to grant the Law Society's request for additional powers.

  • Legal aid:value for money

    19-Apr-1999

    In the year 1997-98 the Legal Aid Board (LAB) paid out u323m to fund personal injury actions (including medical negligence). For that money it advised and assisted 75,000 individual cases.Of that, u245m was paid to non-medical negligence cases with the final bill for the public purse amounting to u37.1m - the equivalent of two Alan Shearers or a US stealth bomber. If those comparisons seem frivolous, it is important to put into context the actual cost to the taxpayer of the system ...

  • Legal Widow

    19-Apr-1999

    I was chopping onions on the kitchen counter last week when there was a huge, sucking, "whump" sound. Somewhat concerned, I opened the doors under the sink to find a mass of what looked like brown, sodden Shredded Wheat lying on top of the Jif bottles.

  • Levi's chief Euro counsel quits

    19-Apr-1999

    Levi-Strauss' chief European counsel is leaving his position later this year - after falling out of love with Brussels.Scott Squillace is in discussions with several multinational companies as to where his future might lie.After waiting 18 months for a senior legal position to come up in the US, Squillace has decided to look outside the global clothing company for opportunities.He declines to name any of the companies involved, but confirmed that they were multinationals ...

  • Mediation market grows as Labour cries Woolf

    19-Apr-1999

    With the Woolf reforms coming into force next Monday, mediation is set to take centre stage.Over the past three years, pilot schemes have been put into action all over the country, and training seminars have been taking place in abundance. Now, lawyers are realising the business opportunities mediation provides.In January, seven of the country's top commercial mediators launched the Panel of Independent Mediators (PIM). It was a half-way step, but significant all the ...

  • Mediators to get new code of conduct

    19-Apr-1999

    Mediators are close to setting up a new body to set ethical and training standards for the entire profession.After almost two years of meetings, and with the Woolf reforms due to increase demand for mediators, members of the Joint Mediation Forum (JMF) say they are close to finalising an all-embracing code of conduct plus training and assessment standards.The new organisation, called the Mediation Council, is expected to be in place by the autumn.It will be run by ...

  • Minister hedges bets on CFA plan

    19-Apr-1999

    NOT SO long ago I asked the Lord Chancellor's minister in the Commons, Geoff Hoon, one of my gentle questions. It was a written question so it did not have to be answered off the cuff. In line with the usual procedure, a draft answer was prepared by officials at the department and put to the minister for his consideration and approval before the official answer was sent to me.I asked the minister what assessment he had made of the current availability ...

  • Mystery duo in Iron Trades panel advice

    19-Apr-1999

    Iron Trades is narrowing the final numbers on its legal panel - by taking advice from two mystery law firms.The insurance giant has already cut its panel of over 40 firms by half, by reviewing detailed questionnaires to eliminate solicitors not meeting its strict criteria.Ashton West, general manager of claims, says two firms have been chosen to help "develop the final review".He says: "We have identified two firms that are contrasting and complementary to help in ...

  • Next week's news

    19-Apr-1999

    Monday 26 April is to lawyers what 1 January 2000 is to computer programmers.This is the day the Civil Procedure Rules come into force, ushering in the greatest shake-up of civil litigation this century. Litigants can be confident that, from this day on, their cases will be dealt with quickly and cheaply, under the capable management of IT-literate, proactive judges.

  • NHS firms steal work from local practices

    19-Apr-1999

    Sunderland Health Au-thority has dropped its legal adviser of 30 years' standing in favour of an NHS accredited firm.High street firm Mortons lost the £100,000 per annum contract to medical healthcare specialist Hempsons, which will now provide Sunderland Health Authority with all medical legal work.Mortons was one of four firms to tender for the contract. But Philip Dyer, senior partner at Mortons says: "It was not a surprise we didn't win - it was a disappointment."

  • Nicole Paradise

    19-Apr-1999

    Nicole Paradise claims that her legal career was founded on a huge mistake, but her senior partners disagree as her recent promotion demonstrates. Anne Mizzi meets Nabarro's new managing partner.

  • Norton Rose overseas practice gets boost

    19-Apr-1999

    Norton Rose aims to increase its overseas practice by more than a third.The expansionist plan comes as Norton Rose announces it will appoint seven partners on 1 May, three of which will be appointed to its international offices.Guy Spooner, a specialist in shipping litigation, will be the second partner in the Singapore office, joining well known far east shipping partner Jim James.

  • OFT could prove bad medicine for chemists

    19-Apr-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on the Office of Fair Trading's move to abolish the price fixing of commonly used medicines.A major legal challenge which could have wide-ranging implications for the cost of over-the-counter medicines - and which some say could lead to the closure of many small chemist shops - is now pending.The Government's consumer watchdog has been given the go-ahead to initiate legal moves aimed at abolishing price fixing for medicines ...

  • OSS backlog set to double

    19-Apr-1999

    The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors' (OSS) delay in allocating complaints to case workers is set to double from six months to a year unless something is done, the regulatory body warns.The revelation came the week the Government pledged to assign a watchdog to oversee the OSS, vowing to give the legal services ombudsman Ann Abraham the power to make binding decisions on the compensation that defaulting lawyers will have to pay.Geoff Hoon, Minister of State ...

  • Partners on the move...

    19-Apr-1999

    Mark Haywood moves from Olswang, where he was a senior solicitor in its investment team, to Addleshaw Booth & Co where he was made partner in March this year. Haywood is a specialist in property investments and acquisitions and was recruited by Addleshaws to handle the portfolio of blue-chip property clients in its commercial property group.David Rogers, formerly of Davies Arnold Cooper, will join ...

  • Pop world battle

    19-Apr-1999

    The latest pop world clash heading for the High Court is between chart-topping girl group All Saints and their former manager John Benson. Benson is suing the group for an estimated u2.5m following his dismissal in January this year. He claims that he had a contract to manage the group until the year 2001 and that, as a result of his sacking, he has suffered financial loss and damage to his reputation. Benson, who is 42, became the group's manager in 1996 when ...

  • Prudential set to review number of legal panels

    19-Apr-1999

    Insurance giant Prudential is conducting a full-scale review of its legal function, including its panels of external law firms.The company is considering using a single panel of firms for all its work, rather than the system of various panels for different business areas which it uses now.Peter Maynard, head of legal at Prudential, says: "There are various different parts of the business that used various different panels that reflected their different business needs.

  • Quote of the week

    19-Apr-1999

    "I've never seen a flying saucer... and I don't profess to having been abducted, but I don't think believing in UFOs makes one an 'odd bod'. From what I've heard of what they do to you... I'd rather extract my own semen than have it done for me." - Irving David, senior partner at David Wineman Solicitors, currently acting for former members of Spandau Ballet. See News Profile page 12.

  • Railtrack

    19-Apr-1999

    Railtrack, created in 1993, owns almost all the UK's vast railway infrastructure. It is one of the largest commercial estate owners in Britain, with 20,000 miles of track, 2,500 stations, and more than 40,000 bridges and tunnels. Tenants include Battersea Dogs' Home and the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange.

  • Reaching out to the regions

    19-Apr-1999

    The provincial criminal bar comes highly recommended by solicitors across the country, who consistently highlight the ability of barristers from North to South to prepare immaculately and deal well with difficult clients. Only firms in the South East regularly took cases to London chambers.The criminal bar in Wales is very strong. Local solicitors say a good service is always offered at 9 Park Place in Cardiff, the chambers of Ian Murphy QC. Susan Ferrier "has a nice manner with ...

  • Real pro bono is not a PR exercise

    19-Apr-1999

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 970 4640, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho Square.I was frankly depressed by your article and leader of 15 March concerning pro bono work.No one approached my firm. The fact that you describe Wragge & Co as a smaller firm demonstrates very eloquently ...

  • Reject legal aid cuts for the sake of justice

    19-Apr-1999

    This issue of The Lawyer is dedicated to the 18 members of the standing committee who will be given the task on Wednesday of deciding the future of legal aid for personal injury cases.In this issue we give seven good reasons why legal aid should not be scrapped. There are a thousand more reasons out there why it should stay.Government spin doctors will no doubt try to dismiss this as the profession's newspaper looking after its own narrow self-interest. ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    19-Apr-1999

    Black lawyers are warning Home Secretary Jack Straw that one of his favourite reforms - the removal of trial by election - will further dent the confidence of black Britons in the legal system. Courtenay Griffiths QC says that "there is clear evidence that the black community will be disproportionately affected by the proposed changes". A recent study by Straw's department found that black defendants were twice as likely as whites to be jailed by magistrates. At present ...

  • Sea-change on the horizon for water?

    19-Apr-1999

    Cyrus Mehta, head of EC, Nabarro NathansonJames Quinney, senior solicitor, Herbert SmithRichard Temple, senior solicitor, Herbert SmithAT PRESENT no UK water group can buy or merge with another group worth more than £30m without the deal being referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Comm-ission, now referred to as the Competition ...

  • Senior partner quits Birchall Blackburn

    19-Apr-1999

    North-west based Birchall Blackburn has been hit by its second departure in as many months as its joint senior partner quits to join Halliwell Landau.Chris Eddlestone has become licensing and leisure partner at Halliwell Landau after serving 16 years at Birchall Blackburn, where he was one of three senior partners.Birchall Blackburn also recently lost Daniel Izza, an associate in ...

  • Six more reasons to keep legal aid

    19-Apr-1999

    Reason oneSmoldon v Whitworth & NolanBen Smoldon (left) was just 17 when he broke his neck during a rugby match in 1991. He successfully sued the referee for damages and won his case in April 1996 but had to wait until March this year to receive damages of u1.95m.He had been playing in a derby match between the under-19 teams of two local rugby clubs when, just 10 minutes before the end, a scrum collapsed, leaving Smoldon confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his ...

  • Square Mile

    19-Apr-1999

    Innovative, forward-looking, dynamic. Isn't that how we'd like our clients to think of us? We can send information round the world in minutes and pride ourselves on our ability to find solutions to all the challenges our clients throw at us. Why is it then, that when it comes to the most basic part of a property transaction - gathering information about the property - we still seem to be in the dark ages? Hours are spent filling in local authority enquiry forms ...

  • Standard Life doubles panel to meet demand

    19-Apr-1999

    Standard Life Bank is doubling its panel to cope with its increased mortgage work.The bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the insurance giant, has already appointed three firms to its already six- strong line-up.These include Glasgow based Anderson Fyfe, Henderson Boyd Jackson WS and Marlow firm Gordons. The bank has plans to take on another three firms.Standard Life Bank's mortgage service was launched at the beginning of the year with Edinburgh firm Burness as ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Pascale Wood-Atkins was born in Chatham, Kent in 1963. She is the legal counsel for Guinness in London.

    19-Apr-1999

    What subject(s) did you fail at school?Russian... I knew 20 words in my oral.What was your first job?Telesales girl for a company selling drink dispensers.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?Approximately u6,000.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Star of the stage and screen... ?!!What annoys you most about ...

  • The names to watch

    19-Apr-1999

    As with the silks, the juniors who stand out from the crowd come from a wide range of chambers. This list is not exhaustive but is based on the subjective recommendations of leading criminal practitioners who instruct in both general crime and fraud cases.At 3 Hare Court, a number of talented juniors come highly recommended. The "enthusiastic" senior junior Charles Conway is singled out for his "precision" and ability "to see the wood for the trees". Timothy Kendal is said to ...

  • The top five criminal talents

    19-Apr-1999

    Claire Montgomery QC3 Raymond BuildingsCalled to the Bar: 1980Appointed QC: 1996Professional achievements/associations:Junior counsel to the Crown (Common Law) 1991-1996; practitioner editor of chapter on commerce, financial markets and insolvency in Archbold Criminal Pleading Evidence and Practice since 1993.Areas of practice:Criminal law, particularly white collar crime, extradition and administrative law.Recent reported cases:Seaboard ...

  • Theodore Goddard takes head of banking from outside the law

    19-Apr-1999

    Theodore Goddard is taking the unprecedented step of appointing a non-lawyer to its head of banking as the department undergoes an internal reorganisation.Nigel West, who joined the firm in 1996 as director of structured finance, heads the banking department which has absorbed Theo-dore Goddard's PFI, asset finance and structured finance units.The banking and finance department will now consist of 18 fee earners.West says: "Having been a client I can see things ...

  • This is Robert Fletcher

    19-Apr-1999

    This is Robert Fletcher. Robert had the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine when he was 13 months old. Soon after he had a huge fit, and ever since he has suffered severe epilepsy. Now aged seven, Robert is one of 400 legally-aided children bringing an action against four pharmaceutical companies alleging the vaccine caused them damage. This week 18 members of the Standing Committee on the Access to Justice Bill will be announced. They will consider the details of the Bill, which ...

  • Trade union member or individual?

    19-Apr-1999

    The court of Appeal has given the go-ahead for an employment case involving action taken against a trade union official to go back to the industrial tribunal.The court ruled in FW Farnsworth v McCoid that the action of food manufacturer Farnsworth against one of its employees, Frank McCoid, could be in breach of section 146(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.The section says that an employee has the right not to have ...

  • Travers Smith announces new head partner for Paris office

    19-Apr-1999

    Travers Smith Braithwaite has announced details of its new Paris "liaison" office, first revealed by The Lawyer (22 February).David Patient, who has just been made a partner, will head the office which is the firm's first abroad.Although the firm is investing in its own offices, it will be a solo operation for Patient until Travers Smith has had time to assess how the new venture ...

  • Uncertainty still on the cards for CGU panel

    19-Apr-1999

    The future of CGU's heavily diminished insurance panel remains uncertain after a spokesman admits that the number of companies could fluctuate over the next 12 months.The interim insurance panel, which has been reduced since the merger in 1998 from over 100 firms to its current count of just 18, includes Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave and Berrymans Lace Mawer.However, a spokesman ...

  • US firm's ad sends up inflated salaries

    19-Apr-1999

    An anonymous US law firm has taken a cheeky sideswipe at the seven figure salaries being used to poach UK partners with a recruitment ad which purports to focus on "the important stuff" rather than cash alone.The ad, placed by recruitment consultancy ZMB, appears in The Lawyer today and includes the figure "c. £999,999", followed by the assertion that it was looking for "partners who will become an integrated part of its business because they are inspired by its clientele ...

  • Usual suspects join line-up

    19-Apr-1999

    Criminal silks currently form an impressive line-up of talent, both in general and white-collar crime, and from a wide selection of chambers. Here leading criminal practitioners pinpoint their choice of the best.Anthony Glass QC of Hollis Whiteman Chambers at Queen Elizabeth Building is praised for his "Rolls Royce mind and great client skills", together with "an impressive ability to soothe judges". From the same chambers, David Evans QC is widely acclaimed as a "remarkably skilled ...

  • Without legal aid, thin air is all this man would have

    19-Apr-1999

    As MPs debate the Access to Justice Bill, Tom O'Sullivan and Claire Smith expose some of the cases that would never have reached to court without legal aid, and ask who exactly the proposed reforms are supposed to serve.Kenneth Williams spent 32 years working in the choking dust of Thurcroft Colliery near Rotherham. He now finds every breath a struggle, needs constant attention and cannot go anywhere without special breathing equipment.He needs two doses of steroids ...

  • Would-be silks set to pay £220 just to apply

    19-Apr-1999

    Would-be QCs must come up with the funds for the silk selection process themselves in future, the Government has decided.As the Access to Justice Bill proceeded through its second reading, Minister of State at the Lord Chancellor's Department Geoff Hoon told the Commons that the taxpayer should no longer have to bear the estimated £120,000 cost of the process."That situation is contrary to our policy on full cost recovery and constitutes a public subsidy for a ...