19 May 1997

The Lawyer

  • A modern role for arbitration

    20-May-1997

    Clare Ambrose assesses how the new Arbitration Act will affect the role of commercial counsel as arbitrators and advocates. Clare Ambrose is a barrister at 20 Essex Street.The Arbitration Act 1996 is a confident sign that England's arbitration system has been fully modernised and is ready to provide efficient and speedy dispute resolution.For the Commercial Bar it signals a new regime under which arbitrators are likely to be more pro-active with procedures ...

  • Are staff a tangible economic activity?

    20-May-1997

    Back to basics is what the European Court of Justice (ECJ) seemed to be advocating in its celebrated decision on transfers of undertakings in Ayse Suzen v Zehnacker.This is because Suzen seemed to be returning to a fundamentalist analysis of the nature of an economic entity, and the core ingredients of a transfer in line with the 1986 ECJ decision in Spijkers.In Suzen an 'entity' was considered to be "an organised grouping of persons and assets ...

  • B&M scoops award winner from rival

    20-May-1997

    KPMG Dublin hires duo to build up legal muscle

  • Bar anti-ageism rule on the cards

    20-May-1997

    A BAR Council working party set up to tackle ageism in the profession is calling for a clause explicitly outlawing age discrimination to be incorporated into the Bar's code of conduct.The group's chair, Martin Bowley QC, has written to Robert Owen QC, chair of the Bar Council, calling for the new clause following the publication of figures which reveal significant levels of discrimination against mature Bar School students seeking pupillages.The group ...

  • Bar denies it fails to look after alcoholic barristers

    20-May-1997

    The Bar Council has defended the level of support it provides for alcoholic barristers in the face of claims from one of the founders of a solicitors' dependency project that barristers' problems are going unnoticed.The former Law Society president Charles Elly made the claims last week at the launch of SolCare, the society's new assistance scheme for drug- or alcohol-dependent solicitors."I don't quite think the Bar have quite seen the problem ...

  • Betts sweeps in to break up Law Soc's Redditch centre

    20-May-1997

    Jane Betts, the Law Society secretary general, has broken up the society's Redditch-based standards and training directorate and placed staff there under a series of different heads, in the wake of the resignation of its head John Randall.The reorganisation has shocked staff, who first heard of it on 9 May when Betts travelled to Redditch to announce the move.Under the shake-up, professional ethics staff will go into the policy directorate under Russell ...

  • Bevan Ashford pair wooed by Osbornes

    20-May-1997

    Osborne Clarke has poached leading South West corporate partner Paul Cooper along with rising star Patrick Graves from Bristol rival Bevan Ashford.Cooper, the head of Bevans' company/commercial practice and a partner there for 16 years, said the approach from Osborne Clarke, which concentrates more on corporate work, had been too tempting to resist.Bevan Ashford concentrates ...

  • Bike accident claims the life of "gifted" barrister

    20-May-1997

    Barrister Leslie Michaelson was killed in a road accident last Wednesday on his way to chambers.He had been due in the High Court to work on a partially heard case and had been cycling into work when the accident, involving a lorry, occurred.Michaelson, who came to London from South Africa in 1973, had been a member of Enterprise Chambers since 1987 and specialised in commercial Chancery litigation.James Barker, a friend and fellow tenant at Enterprise ...

  • Brush up your technique

    20-May-1997

    If there were such a thing as a typical interview for a training contract it would be relatively easy to prepare for, but in practice selection formats are just as disparate as the firms and their respective cultures.Some practices use psychometric testing in the selection process - often as a means of preliminary filtering - while others conduct group discussions aimed at assessing candidates' basic aptitude for the law. Many, however, stick to the traditional ...

  • City salaries still leave regions in out in the cold

    20-May-1997

    City lawyers' earnings are continuing to soar ahead of their national colleagues, according to the latest salary survey from recruitment consultants Michael Page Legal.The twice-yearly survey of 500 firms throughout the UK found that experienced regional lawyers are often earning £25,000 to £30,000 less than their colleagues in the City.Newly-qualified City solicitors' salaries have increased by about £6,000 in the past three years ...

  • CLSA urges appeals avalanche to reverse LAB phone 'policy'

    20-May-1997

    THE Criminal Law Solicitors' Association (CLSA) is protesting against an alleged Legal Aid Board drive to reclassify duty solicitor phone calls to police stations at a lower rate, by urging its members to overwhelm the board with appeals.Last week The Lawyer revealed accusations by Eastbourne solicitor Rodney Warren that the Brighton LAB was introducing "budgetary cuts through the back door".He claimed that it was classing phone calls to a police station, ...

  • Coming up commercially

    20-May-1997

    Solicitors on the prowl for competent commercial counsel are finding that there are some very able juniors out there...As in any area of practice, the highly-rated sets are the first ports of call for commercial litigation solicitors in search of counsel.What solicitors in this area are looking for are counsel who "work hard and are not frightened to get into the documentation, who can put forward their views clearly as well as being able to work as a team". As a more forthright ...

  • Confusing connotations

    20-May-1997

    I was pleased to read the report by Chris Fogarty in The Lawyer 6 May describing my research.I appreciate the difficulties of communicating about research, especially in the early stages. However, in fairness to those referred to in the item, I would like to clarify two points.First, I think that most local government professionals might identify with the notion of "public servant" rather than "civil servant", the ...

  • Cornish to join PW's legal arm

    20-May-1997

    Top commodities lawyer Martin Cornish, the senior partner of MW Cornish Batty & Co, is believed to be poised to join Arnheim & Co, the law firm tied to accountancy firm Price Waterhouse.Both Cornish and Paul Downing, head of PW's European legal network, would neither confirm nor deny the move but if it goes ahead it will be Arnheims' biggest coup since it opened in March last year.Cornish is seen as one of the top four futures lawyers in the City. He ...

  • Corporate legal departments opt for the intranet approach

    20-May-1997

    Computer-aided: Camerons' merger with McKennas might have been delayed if their IT systems had been incompatibleThe intranet concept - in which Internet-style technology is used in a private, company-wide network - is to be used for the first time by a corporate legal department, says US company Corprasoft.Chief Legal Officer, the database management system supplied by Corprasoft, will form the basis of the intranets for the respective ...

  • Council lawyer poached by City

    20-May-1997

    Experienced housing solicitor Jo Miller has been head- hunted from her job at Liverpool City Council by City firm Devonshires.Miller, a senior housing lawyer at Liverpool for the past two years, will join Devonshires in June and advise local authorities on the options for housing their tenants.Her move comes as the Labour Government prepares to allow councils to spend an estimated £5bn in capital receipts from council house sales dating back to ...

  • Do not let the law clerks take over!

    20-May-1997

    The Court of Appeal, faced with caseload pressure, does not plan to do the obvious and add more judges, it proposes instead to follow the American practice of appointing young lawyers as 'judicial assistants' or law clerks, as they are called in the US.The courts and the bar should reflect on the disastrous US experience with law clerks, before going ahead with this proposal. Although law clerks have been part of the US courts system for ...

  • Educational needs come first

    20-May-1997

    Roger Pearson looks at the decision in the Beth Tandy case, which should protect all those who need to be educated at home.The decision of Mr Justice Keene at the High Court on 23 April was without doubt a major victory for the educational needs of 15-year-old Beth Tandy.The judge held that East Sussex County Council had acted unlawfully in putting financial savings before her educational needs and in cutting the level of her home tuition on that basis. However, ...

  • Ex-Law Soc five in Regis complaint

    20-May-1997

    Five former senior Law Society officials, including John Hayes, the chairman of the pensions regulator Opra, and the insurance ombudsman Walter Merricks, are named in a 17-page letter of complaint to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors over the management of the Regis computer project.The other three are Jane Hern, John Randall and Geoff Bignall, former Law Society directors of management planning, professional standards and professional services respectively.

  • Extending a helping hand

    20-May-1997

    It takes commitment but voluntary work at legal advice centres is a good source of all-round experience, says Kate Cartmell. Kate Cartmell is a trainee solicitor at Nicholson Graham & Jones. It is Wednesday evening and I have had a hard day at work, rushing up and down stairs and receiving four new things to do all at once. However, as I push my way through the commuters and trudge up the hill in the drizzle, my destination is not home but a south London legal advice centre, where there ...

  • Fairness for all

    20-May-1997

    The profession should put ethical values into practice rather than merely paying lip-service, argues Catherine Thomson. Catherine Thomson is the TSG's press officer.Are ethics relevant when considering how the profession treats pros-pective entrants to the law? It is easy to answer yes, trotting out the obvious anti-discrimination and equal opportunities provisions, but are there other more subtle ethical issues that are overlooked?Ethical dilemmas were ...

  • Financing

    20-May-1997

    Lovell White Durrant advised property company Shaftesbury on its issue of £63m of first mortgage debenture stock secured on its property in London's Chinatown and Carnaby Street. Linklaters & Paines advised the trustee, Prudential Trustee Company, and the listing agent, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, on what was the first debenture stock placing through the Stock Exchange's ...

  • Foreign fields

    20-May-1997

    Opportunities are improving for students as foreign law firms become increasingly prepared to take on UK trainees. Peter Weiss looks at the prospects for those seeking a challenge. With limited trainee places in UK firms, students may be considering expanding their horizons and working in a foreign firm.Several US practices, including White & Case,

  • Getting it covered

    20-May-1997

    Increase your chance of success with a good covering letter, says Ben Reeves. Ben Reeves is graduate recruitment manager at Hammond Suddards. The key to getting your traineeship application noticed is a good covering letter. The golden rule when preparing your application is to consider the person reading it. Recruitment staff spend many hours reading through hundreds of applications so anything you do to make their job easier can only increase your chances of success. A few simple ...

  • Girling visit secures HK concessions

    20-May-1997

    A whirlwind visit to Hong Kong by Law Society president Tony Girling has helped secure what the local law society is describing as a series of "pragmatic compromises" over proposals to end English solicitors' automatic requalification rights there.The Hong Kong Law Society will proceed with its plans to scrap the English lawyers' exemption from having to take the Overseas Lawyers' Qualifications Examination (OLQE), but it has made some concessions following ...

  • Green paper to end CCT

    20-May-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsA Government green paper spelling the end of Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) could be released next month.The anticipated move comes as the Labour administration prepares to usher in more flexible legislation and regulations that could ease the burden placed on local authority legal departments.President of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors, Peter Keith-Lucas, said the group was anticipating ...

  • Green-belt tax gets property sector backing

    20-May-1997

    A majority of property investors and surveyors say the new Labour government should tax green-belt development, according to a survey by Cameron McKenna's property department.The survey of 130 key players in the property industry, half of whom were surveyors and half property investors, found that 59 per cent felt Labour should tax green-belt development. Far more, 93 per cent, said the government should give tax incentives to those who develop urban sites.

  • Hanging on to your investment

    20-May-1997

    Many firms feel frustrated that the trainees they spend thousands of pounds on do not stay for long, writes Peter Weiss. Peter Weiss is a freelance journalist. Specialist recruitment agencies and other industry insiders estimate that law firms spend between £60,000 and £80,000 on each of their trainees only to see many of them leave within two years of qualifying. From the firms' point of view this is money that could have been better spent on other projects or on recruiting ...

  • Heavyweights show their muscle

    20-May-1997

    The Lawyer has sounded out those in the know to find which silks are considered the champions of the commercial bar. The leading practitioners in this area have singled out the 'premier league' of silks, senior juniors and juniors to watch in the future. This list is not exhaustive but is based on the subjective recommendations of leading litigation partners.Commercial awareness and versatility are just two of the qualities that are prerequisites for a commercial ...

  • Hitting the right set

    20-May-1997

    Kate McNally looks at the challenges facing the Pach system in its second year. Kate McNally is a freelance journalist. The second year of the controversial Pupillage Application Clearing House (Pach) is under way. It now remains to be seen whether the changes implemented ahead of this year's application process have ironed out some fairly serious wrinkles.For many students, sweet dreams of a one-stop application shop soon gave way to dissatisfaction. Paragraphs were ...

  • In brief: Asian helpline "breaks down barriers"

    20-May-1997

    A legal helpline set up in January by the Society of Asian Lawyers (Sal) has received more than 500 calls from the Asian community in the UK. The free and confidential line is staffed by qualified volunteers. The society now has plans to expand the services it provides to the community. "By offering legal advice in the language of the caller, we've just begun to break down barriers within the Asian community in seeking qualified legal advice," said Sal chair Sailesh Mehta.

  • In brief: BEG welcomes Govt human rights move

    20-May-1997

    Clients will get swifter and cheaper justice following the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, according to Bar European Group chair Nicholas Paines QC. "I think it will be more economic and certainly quicker," said Paines of Labour's decision to allow human rights cases to go directly to the British Courts. The widely anticipated change in the law, announced in last week's Queen's Speech, was one of the main talking points at the ...

  • In brief: Birmingham lawyer calls for fees review

    20-May-1997

    MARTINEAU Johnson senior partner Michael Shepherd (pictured right), the new president of the Birmingham Law Society, has called for an urgent review of the legal profession's fee structures. "As firms are increasingly being asked by clients to quote fixed fees, it is clearly a matter for urgent discussion," said the Birmingham lawyer who succeeds Richard Chapman, senior partner at Wolverhampton-based Chapman Everatt & Co.

  • In brief: Chase up a Corporate Challenge entry form

    20-May-1997

    The 1997 Chase Corporate Challenge, sponsored by The Lawyer, will take place on 9 July in Battersea Park. The challenge is a 3.5-mile team road race open to corporations, businesses and financial institutions. Last year a team from Ashurst Morris Crisp was the fastest law firm in the charity fund-raising event. For an entry pack, ring the London Marathon on 0171 620 4117.

  • In brief: Clifford Chance and Dac top for employees

    20-May-1997

    Clifford Chance and Davies Arnold Cooper are the only law firms in a list of the 'top 100 UK employers', drawn up by a panel of experts appointed by the Corporate Research Foundation. DAC senior partner David McIntosh has celebrated his firm's inclusion in the list by giving his staff an extra day's holiday this year.

  • In brief: College of Law gets OU accreditation

    20-May-1997

    Qualifications obtained by students at the College of Law can now count towards an Open University degree. The College of Law has been accredited by the university as a provider of courses leading to a degree. Roger Earis, director of academic studies, said the college had taken a step towards providing general degrees.

  • In brief: Review legal system, says McCulloch

    20-May-1997

    The president of the Law Society of Scotland, Grant McCulloch, has called for a radical review of the Scottish legal system. In an article in the current issue of the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, McCulloch, who is soon to stand down as the society's president, says a raft of recent legislation affecting the Scottish legal system has failed to address its inefficiencies. "It is far too important to be tinkered with and therefore what is required is a wide ranging and ...

  • In brief: Scottish merger could be on the cards

    20-May-1997

    Brian Dorman, senior partner of Scotland's Arthur Andersen associated firm Dorman Jeffrey & Co, has acknowledged that it would probably merge with its larger rival Dundas & Wilson if it also links up with the accountancy firm. Negotiations between Dundas & Wilson and Arthur Andersen over a possible association were revealed in The Lawyer last week. Dorman said he welcomed the prospect of ...

  • IT compatibility speeds Cameron McKenna deal

    20-May-1997

    Liz Davidson reportsCOMPUTING incompatibility could have held up the recent merger talks between Cameron Markby Hewitt and McKenna & Co, according to the partner in charge of IT, Richard Goodman.A former Camerons partner, Goodman said both sides "would have paused for thought" during merger talks had there not been a "basic level of compatibility" between the two firms' information technology systems. Although incompatibility ...

  • KPMG Dublin hires duo to build up legal muscle

    20-May-1997

    The Dublin branch of 'Big Six' accountancy firm KPMG has recruited a solicitor and a barrister to head a new department which will make further inroads into the legal market.Solicitor Caoive Collins and barrister Michael O'Toole are to be in charge of the new Corporate Legal Advisory Services (CLAS) department, which replaces the Company Secretarial Services department.The department will have around 20 personnel, all of whom have a law background, ...

  • Lawyers who pursue hopeless cases should foot bill - Scott

    20-May-1997

    Lawyers who proceed with unreasonable cases under conditional fee agreements should be liable for the costs of the case, according to the vice-chancellor, Sir Richard Scott.Addressing a county court advisers' group conference on the theme of access to justice last Friday, Scott said the level of lawyers' fees in civil litigation presented an "almost insoluble" problem which needed to be addressed.Outlining his vision for reform of the civil justice ...

  • Lippell digs the great outdoors during gardening leave

    20-May-1997

    Leeds corporate star Sean Lippell started work at Garretts last week after only seven months of a contractual 12-months' 'gardening leave' - part of which he spent mountain walking in Africa and the Himalayas.The high-profile Pinsent Curtis defector - Lippell was national head of corporate - was suspended from Pinsents on 14 October after handing in his notice and was initially held to his contractual 12-months' gardening leave.Although he ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 20/05/97

    20-May-1997

    Fatima Thobani, 41, admitted 1982, practising at material times as Fatima Thobani & Co, London NW6, fined £2,000. Allegations substantiated that she wrongly drew client money and used it for her own purposes, failed to pay funds received from clients in respect of undisbursed liabilities into a client account. Tribunal accepted Thobani's submissions that breaches of Accounts Rules had arisen through sloppy book-keeping and not because of ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 20/05/97

    20-May-1997

    Kent v Lamb - QBD 29 April 1997Claimant: Kathleen Kent, 67Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Claimant, mother of three grown-up children who has grand- and great-grand children knocked from cycle while riding between jobs as a household cleaner when she was 64. She suffered life threatening head injuries in the accident and now needs 24-hours-a-day attention from her 68-year-old husband, to whom she has been married for 50 years. ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 20/05/97

    20-May-1997

    Whether stockbroker's legal fees are tax-deductibleDavid McKnight (HMIT) v Brian Stephen Sheppard: Brian Stephen Sheppard v David McKnight (HMIT) (1996)CA (Nourse LJ, Potter LJ and Mummery LJ) 7/5/97Summary: Fines and legal expenses incurred by a member of the Stock Exchange in defending disciplinary proceedings threatening his business held on appeal to be deductible for the purposes of income tax.Taxpayer's appeal against ...

  • Litigation Writs 20/05/97

    20-May-1997

    The owner of Battersea Power Station, Semisquare, is suing Staines-based SAP, the company that runs Adrenalin Village on a site adjacent to the power station, for £38,500 for shining lights on the famous power station's chimneys as part of a promotion for its Circus of Horrors. The writ alleges that SAP projected light beams on to the chimney 11 times in October and November last year and claims that Semisquare is entitled to a reasonable commercial ...

  • LLP disclosure a "step too far" says accountant

    20-May-1997

    The Department of Trade and Industry's current disclosure requirements for limited liability partnerships (LLPs) would be a step too far for law firms, according to accountants Clark Whitehill.Speaking at a seminar on the proposed legislation, Clark Whitehill chair James Gemmell invited lawyers to join him in lobbying the new government to remove some of the "complicated and excessive proposals of the previous administration".Gemmell said the proposals, ...

  • Making progress, not tea

    20-May-1997

    ...while George Laurencin got lucky at a London chambers. George Laurencin did a mini pupillage at Doughty Street Chambers, London. Mini pupillage: to the lay person this sounds like an unpleasant eye disorder. However, to those in the know the term refers to a short period of placement, usually a week at the most, with a set of chambers.The mini pupillage allows those who are interested in becoming barristers to sample life at the Bar, generally, and within chambers specifically.

  • Necessary reforms

    20-May-1997

    Michael Brindle considers whether drafting a new set of rules will mean confusion for the commercial Court. Michael Brindle QC is a barrister at Fountain Court Chambers.The Commercial Court led the way in introducing case management techniques into civil litigation. The Commercial Court Guide, which existed before Lord Woolf started his campaign to clean the Augean Stables, has been influential, both in leading other parts of the High Court to follow suit and in provoking ...

  • New head for Dorset

    20-May-1997

    Dorset County Council has appointed Olwen Pritchard-Jones to head its 21-strong legal department. A former solicitor at Tyne and Wear, Monmouth and Dyfed County Councils, Pritchard-Jones will become head of legal services following the sudden death of Michael Davies in February. Olwen-Jones last job was with the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority but she says she is eager to get back into local government. She said that while local government lawyers had to meet increasing ...

  • Online listings service for crown courts is launched

    20-May-1997

    HAMILTON Rogers has added to its Royal Courts of Justice listings service by launching a new service, called Courtline, for all Crown courts.The company has worked with the Court Service to use a Government-approved encryption system, because Government policy prohibits the use of the Internet to transmit confidential documents unless encrypted or encoded.Under the scheme, launched last week, lists will be transmitted across BT's ...

  • Pach-ing up the clearing system

    20-May-1997

    The Bar's Pupillage Application Clearing House (Pach) has made it to its second year, but not without some major hiccups.What should have been a major assistance to chambers and students has instead managed to cause upset to both. Students feel the scheme is devised entirely to assist chambers, while chambers are finding any number of problems operating through Pach.In hindsight, it was always inevitable that the system would ensure that the ...

  • Property

    20-May-1997

    Eversheds' Manchester office is acting for JJB Sports and Wigan Athletic on the construction of a new £24m, 25,000-seater stadium at Robin Park, Wigan, which will used by Wigan Athletic FC and Orrell Rugby Union.

  • Property

    20-May-1997

    Rawlinson & Butler advised the vendors in the management buy-out of electronic component manufacturer and distributor Warth International for an undisclosed sum. Slaughter and May advised the management and Dibb Lupton Alsop advised Barclays Ventures, which provided equity for the buyout.

  • Property

    20-May-1997

    Norton Rose acted for Wates City of London Properties on providing a £2m 20-year lease on 63,000 sq ft on 90 Queen Street, EC2 to Banca Commerciale Italiana, advised by Freshfields.

  • Property

    20-May-1997

    Ashurst Morris Crisp acted for the joint venture between Sir Robert McAlpine and Enteract on the construction, selling and underletting of the Johnson Fry Laser XI Royal Quays Enterprise Zone, a microelectronics research centre in Newcastle, launched as a property unit trust. Macfarlanes acted for the trust ...

  • Property

    20-May-1997

    Taylor Joynson Garrett acted for Stayley Developments on the appointment of developer Amec Developments, advised by Eversheds, to develop a 176ha site on either side of the M66 Manchester orbital into 1.25 million sq ft of office, light industrial and hotel and recreational space.

  • QBD cases pending

    20-May-1997

    Cases pending in the Queens Bench Division jury list include: Morgan v MGN & ors (not before 3 June); Freud v Moore & ors (not before 5 May); White & anor v Pressdram (not before 5 May); Willis v Reed International Books (not before 19 May); Hartley v Business Age Magazines (UK) (not before 3 June); Marston v News Group Newspapers (not before 3 June).

  • Quality silks are hard to find

    20-May-1997

    If you want to hire a top-notch commercial silk you will probably have to take your place at the back of a rather long queue. Commercial barristers have had a buoyant time recently, with the mass of Lloyd's litigation and the ensuing explosion of commercial litigation both in this particular market and generally.But with the recent changes proposed by Lord Woolf and the recent Arbitration Act having an impact on practice, Combar has taken the initiative through ...

  • Rival property centre groups in discussions

    20-May-1997

    THE TWO rival groups which are planning to establish national networks of solicitors property centres have held "constructive talks" on a possible collaboration.But, while negotiations are afoot between the Law Society-backed Solicitors Property Network (SPN) and Conquest Legal Marketing's Solicitors Property Centres (SPC), the two rivals are continuing to promote their separate schemes.Last week the SPC announced a mailshot to 14,000 conveyancing solicitors ...

  • Self-regulation under attack

    20-May-1997

    A key chunk of the Law Society's regulatory powers - affecting solicitor investment managers - is to come under early government scrutiny with the launch of a review of the financial services industry.Although the review was not mentioned in last week's Queen's Speech, The Lawyer understands Treasury minister Helen Liddell has already put one in motion.The Law Society is one of a number of bodies authorised to regulate financial services under ...

  • Siobhan Redhead on a new procedure for ancillary relief.

    20-May-1997

    Siobhan Redhead is a partner at Miles Preston & Co.Since 1 October 1996 in certain courts, of which the Principal Registry is one, all applications for ancillary relief (financial provision in matrimonial proceedings) have had to be made under a new procedure dramatically different from that which has been applied, with few modifications, for the past 25 years.Such applications currently operate by way of a pilot scheme under a draft new rule, ...

  • Smoking case to Lords?

    20-May-1997

    The House of Lords is currently considering whether to entertain an appeal by smoking rebel Peter Boddington against his conviction of smoking on non-smoking trains. Boddington was convicted by magistrates in Essex in July 1995 of smoking in breach of bylaws and was fined £10. That conviction was upheld by the High Court in July last year. Now he is seeking leave to appeal to the House of Lords, but the matter has been adjourned to give British Transport Police an opportunity ...

  • Solicitors' Accounts rules. Effecting independent investigation

    20-May-1997

    Although relatively few solicitors actually default on their responsibilities with regard to clients' money, the few that do create a disproportionately large number of problems for the Law Society and for the Compensation and Indemnity Funds.The Law Society views the Reporting Accountant as the legal profession's front-line defence against those who, deliberately or otherwise, breach the Solicitors' Accounts Rules (SAR).Changes ...

  • South West firms tie the knot

    20-May-1997

    Yeovil firm Porter Bartlett & Mayo and Taunton practice Dodson Harding have merged to form a new 25-partner firm, Porter Dodson, which places it among the top 10 firms in the south west.The new firm has 56 lawyers in total and has 10 offices spread throughout the region. Robert Fox, a partner with the practice and previously with Porter Bartlett, said the new firm had a better and more ...

  • Specialists pull plug on med neg work

    20-May-1997

    DWINDLING legal aid payments and the Woolf Report recommendations have forced a Manchester firm to close its medical negligence department in what could become a trend for closures.Betesh Fox & Co shut up shop after taking a "pragmatic business decision" that medical negligence work was no longer "commercially viable", even though the firm set up its own specialist department in 1993.The practice is expanding its personal injury work instead, expanding that department ...

  • Support when it is needed

    20-May-1997

    The TSG represents the interests of law students as well as offering a helping hand.The Trainee Solicitors Group represents CPE and LPC students, trainees and first-year newly qualified solicitors, all of whom are automatic members. The group is an affiliate of the Law Society and obtains its income from a society grant and sponsorship. The TSG is also represented on various Law Society committees.The group's decision-making body is the National Committee ...

  • Tailor-made for controversy

    20-May-1997

    CONTROVERSY is stalking the newly-reformed Legal Practice Course, set to make its debut in law schools around the country this September. At stake is the future of the LPC as we know it.Last month the Law Society put a 'freeze' on the number of LPC places available or, in the words of chair Simon Baker, the Law Society training committee "will not consider yet more applications...for the time being".This month, law schools, most notably the Oxford Institute ...

  • Takeover work beckons in Germany

    20-May-1997

    Frankfurt-based Link laters & Schon is taking on two more assistants and plans to recruit three more by the end of the year in the wake of its involvement in Germany's first high-profile hostile takeover bid.The firm, which now has four partners and eight assistants, recently helped steel company Thyssen deal with a hostile bid by rival Krupp. The two companies are now in the process of merging. It predicts that there will be be many more such bids in Germany.

  • Testing times for the LPC

    20-May-1997

    The Legal Practice Course is responding to changing circumstances with several important revisions, says Nigel Savage. Professor Nigel Savage is chief executive at the College of Law. The Legal Practice Course (LPC) was introduced in September 1993 and represented a radical change from what had gone before. In one bound the Law Society departed from a single, centrally-set examination with tight control on content, syllabus, assessment, numbers and a restrictive approach to one in which ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Lynda Martin Alegi

    20-May-1997

    Lynda Martin Alegi was born in Liverpool on 7 March 1952. She is a partner at Baker & McKenzie. What was your first job?Papergirl.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£1,500.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Been a kept woman.

  • The not so private lives of lawyers

    20-May-1997

    Television dramas might portray the life of the lawyer as a whirlwind of work, networking, sex and drugs but, discovers Jeff Stewart, it is not quite so exciting. Jeff Stewart is a freelance journalist.The story goes that a large group of law trainees went out to a restaurant for a birthday meal. They had a few drinks, they looked around the restaurant and talked about all the interesting actions that could be brought against it; they invented possible avenues of defence; ...

  • The ugly face of sexism

    20-May-1997

    The fact that the Law Society is considering having a designated women's seat on the council in order to alleviate sex discrimination is good news for all women in the profession.However, the debate is already retreating into sexism with the age-old claim that successful women solicitors do not want it.Sexism is obviously not an issue for successful women solicitors and so their opinions on the subject are no more relevant than most male opinions on ...

  • Top Irish practice opens second overseas office in California

    20-May-1997

    A Leading Irish firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice has announced the opening of a second overseas office in Palo Alto, in the heart of America's Silicon Valley.The office is staffed by senior associate Deirdre Dunne, and will be supported from Dublin by tax partner Liam Quirke and head of financial services David McGeough. Between them they will spend 10 weeks a year in the US.Quirke said the primary aim of the office is to tap into the substantial stream of ...

  • Unity through a working salary

    20-May-1997

    As the Law Society Council prepares to vote on the minimum salary, Hannah Wiskin makes the case for its retention. Hannah Wiskin is chair of the TSG.Reviewing the future of the minimum salary is becoming an annual exercise for the Law Society. To date, the society has favoured its retention. In the light of recent events, the Trainee Solicitors Group (TSG) has little reason to believe that this year will be any different.The minimum salary is £10,850, rising ...

  • US takes a leaf out of UK's book

    20-May-1997

    When McKennas was appointed to advise on the introduction of electricity comp- etiton in California in January, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc) set a 31 March deadline for filing the necessary documentation. This meant that the work had to be completed within 10 weeks.The firm all but re-wrote documents inherited from California's three major privately-owned utilities. These had been under development for several months and suffered from drafting ...

  • Wall St firm beefs up maritime crew

    20-May-1997

    Leading Wall Street law firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn has beefed up its own maritime capability by raiding four partners from a neighbouring niche transportation practice.Carter Ledyard has poached four shipping-related partners from Haight Gardiner Poor & Havens, and has not ruled out the recruitment of more lawyers from the firm as part of its drive to boost its maritime practice.Carter Ledyard & Milburn, which has two New York offices and another in Washington, ...

  • Walls come tumbling down

    20-May-1997

    These are exciting times for would-be lawyers as new business groupings begin to develop. Roman McAlindon reports. Roman McAlindon is Midlands regional managing partner at Arthur Andersen.There was a time when everyone knew their role and there were clear distinctions between the work of accountants and lawyers. For example, corporate tax was handled by accountants, as was corporate finance, whereas estate planning and stamp duty was handled by lawyers. People knew where ...

  • War crimes. Trial and error tribunal

    20-May-1997

    The conviction of the Bosnian Serb, Dusan Tadic, by the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague on 7 May, represents one of the most significant advances in the development of human rights law in recent years.The tribunal has pierced the corporate veil of the state and identified and tried a specific individual for alleged crimes against humanity. Australian, US, Dutch and UK lawyers are among those who have been involved in the two-year investigation and prosecution ...

  • Watching them watching you

    20-May-1997

    Sally Rink spent a week in a Manchester set assessing and being assessed...Sally Rink did a mini pupillage at 40 King Street, Manchester. It is a Monday morning and as I breeze into chambers I am handed a brief from my clerk. Immediately I detect the technicality on which I can get my client acquitted. I stroll into court, don my wig and gown, and deliver my eloquent and witty submissions. My client is found not guilty and I just make it in time to meet the head of chambers for lunch.

  • Westminster Six battle set for autumn

    20-May-1997

    Roger Pearson reportsDame Shirley Porter and her former council officers are to appeal the £31.6m surcharge order in October.A date in October has been scheduled for a hearing in which a £31.6m surcharge on Dame Shirley Porter and five ex-colleagues on Wesminster City Council is to be challenged.The surcharge order, which has been suspended pending appeal, was imposed on the former Tory council leader and others by district auditor ...

  • Working out of law: Clive Anderson

    20-May-1997

    Clive Anderson is a balding barrister and TV superstar. Why did you choose to study law/become a lawyer?Poor prospects as a professional footballer.Has it helped in your current role in other areas?Combined with my hairline it has helped journalists to describe me as the "balding barrister" or the "babbling brief". It has also given me practice asking difficult questions.What are the worst and ...

  • Working out of law: Esther Selsdon

    20-May-1997

    Esther Selsdon is a trapeze artist and author of Unsustainable Positions. Why did you choose to study law/become a lawyer?I studied modern languages at university and then did the Diploma in Law as I thought that being a barrister would be a fulfilling job. I only wanted to be a barrister - never a solicitor, as I thought that would be dull.Has it helped in your current role of author?Public speaking gives you confidence. Apart from ...

  • Wright choice for Lord Irvine

    20-May-1997

    The new Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, has appointed Blairite constitutional expert Tony Wright as his parliamentary private secretary.The minister's PPS traditionally acts as his "eyes and ears" on the back benches but Wright, who was a politics lecturer before becoming an MP, may extend this role.Chris Philipsborn, head of the Law Society's parliamentary unit, said: "Lord Irvine is known to be very reluctant to talk to the media; by contrast ...