2 December 1996

The Lawyer

  • A partnership pickle

    3-Dec-1996

    Denton Hall's introduction of a profit-related bonus scheme for senior solicitors not at partnership level is one which will capture the attention of all assistant solicitors. In effect, it is akin to a salaried partnership package with less liability.There is no doubt that firms have to come up with some sort of package to motivate senior fee earners. At a time when mobility is at an all-time high in the profession, moving elsewhere is an option which looks ...

  • Address the issues

    3-Dec-1996

    The conveyancing train has come to the end of the road. All the ideas of the Mears/Sayer camp have failed and there will doubtless be many in the profession gloating "I told you so".But as The Lawyer has consistently pointed out, the arguments were fundamentally flawed from the beginning. Times have changed, as has the housing market, and the consumer is a more sophisticated purchaser of services like conveyancing. Robert Sayer has come up with a ...

  • Bar may extend contact with witnesses

    3-Dec-1996

    BARRISTERS will have the chance to do more pre-trial preparation work if new rules allowing greater contact with witnesses in the civil field are approved.The Bar Council is to consider the proposed rule change, which will allow counsel to draw up proofs of evidence with witnesses, at its meeting on Saturday.The proposals are a result of negotiations between the Bar Council and the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (Aclec) ...

  • Bates Wells stays top of the charity league

    3-Dec-1996

    BATES Wells & Braithwaite retains its title as the country's leading charity firm, according to the 1996 Henderson Top 2,000 Charities guide, with Farrer & Co coming in at second place.Following its merger with Turner Kenneth & Brown, Nabarro Nathanson enters the table for the first time in third place ...

  • Blind man's bid to open Law Soc's eyes

    3-Dec-1996

    A BLIND man who is determined to be a solicitor claims the Law Society is hindering him from gaining articles.Nigel Powell, of Salford, has failed to obtain a training contract since taking his Law Society finals in 1992. He works in Lancashire County Council's executive legal department but the society will only allow him to count 12 months of his work there towards his articles.Manchester Training and Enterprise Council sponsored Powell to work at the ...

  • Busmens' dismissal pay

    3-Dec-1996

    The Law Lords are considering whether to grant leave for an appeal by a Welsh bus company over the level of unfair dismissal payments to a group of sacked drivers. In June 1993 an industrial tribunal held there was no jurisdiction for the payments to the drivers, who lost their jobs after industrial action, to be cut on the basis they contributed to their own dismissal. That decision was overturned by the Employment Appeals Tribunal but reinstated by the Court of Appeal last ...

  • Canadian firm on a roll with second govt win

    3-Dec-1996

    CANADIAN top 10 law firm Goodman Phillips & Vineberg has won two contracts on behalf of foreign governments in two months.The Republic of Chile recently asked the firm to assist in drafting a new bilateral free trade agreement with the government of Canada.This follows Goodman Phillips winning a contract in January to draft new securitisation laws for Morocco.The laws will affect financial institutions' abilities to use pooled assets as security.

  • Chancery Lane finances to get 'Thatcherite' treatment

    3-Dec-1996

    MARTIN Mears may have to quit his plush presidential Carey Street residence and be installed in a modest penthouse as part of a Chancery Lane austerity package.But one group likely to escape a general financial squeeze at the Law Society are candidates in contested presidential elections who look set to receive £7,500 campaign fund grants.The 'Thatcherite' bout of belt tightening was heralded at the Law Society's Thursday council meeting ...

  • City firm posting

    3-Dec-1996

    City firm Stephenson Harwood has posted solicitor Peter Mills to its Hong Kong office, Stephenson Harwood & Lo. Mills, a shipping specialist, is experienced in collision, salvage and admiralty litigation. He joined the firm from City firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. He practised in London for 10 years before being admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 1990.

  • Closed provincial chambers in mix up over phone line

    3-Dec-1996

    A PROVINCIAL set of chambers which closed last year continued to advertise its services on the Internet using a local telephone number which automatically diverted callers to its London twin.Trafalgar Chambers has now promised to change the information on its Internet web site after it was pointed out that it was giving the misleading impression that its St Albans chambers was still open.The Bar Council said it is investigating the situation after receiving an ...

  • Coopers appointment fuels rumours

    3-Dec-1996

    COOPERS & Lybrand has hired ex-Theodore Goddard partner Robin Preston to look at developing its legal capability.However, it has denied rumours that it is in talks or has had talks with the City practice about a possible merger.A spokesman from the accountancy firm said there was "absolutely no truth" in the merger rumours but that the speculation may have arisen as a result of Preston's appointment.He went on to say: "His role is a management ...

  • Corporations 'must pay' for killings

    3-Dec-1996

    CORPORATIONS should face legal action for manslaughter, says a report which aims to prevent cases like the King's Cross fire and Piper Alpha disaster after which no prosecutions were brought.The Law Commission says inquiries into recent disasters found corporate bodies seriously at fault but no successful prosecutions for manslaughter were brought against them.Currently, prosecutions for corporate manslaughter can be brought only where the "controlling mind" ...

  • Councillors clash over harassment allegations

    3-Dec-1996

    A LAW Society council member who described the handling of harassment allegations against former vice-president John Young as "deplorable" has been forced to make a climbdown.Former president Mark Sheldon secured the retraction from his council colleague John Franks during a debate last Thursday on the measures needed to stamp out harassment in the profession.But he admitted he may have behaved "unwisely" in his response to the allegations made against his colleague ...

  • CPS issues guidance

    3-Dec-1996

    DECISIONS on charges for driving offences should be easier after guidance issued by the Crown Prosecution Service.The new guidance, called a charging standard, will help police and prosecutors make the right choice on multi-charge driving offences.Before a case can proceed, the guidance requires a prosecutor to be satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a conviction against each defendant on each charge and, if there is sufficient evidence, that public interest ...

  • Denton Hall to reward its solicitors

    3-Dec-1996

    CITY firm Denton Hall is to introduce a profit-related bonus scheme for senior solicitors not yet at partnership level.The bonus pool is to be taken from the performance of the firm against its profit targets and then adjusted to each of the 40 senior solicitors according to their own performance.The initiative is part of the firm's human resources strategy, which recognises not all solicitors will go on to partnership. Last summer, 40 such solicitors who ...

  • Dentons' man in HK

    3-Dec-1996

    City firm Denton Hall's Hong Kong office has a new partner heading its project finance practice - Richard Lawrence. Lawrence, a US attorney, will also be responsible for the Hong Kong branch of the firm's China practice. He previously worked in Hong Kong with San Francisco-based practice Morrison & Foerster after experience in Hong Kong and Toyko with New York-based firm

  • Disappearing plants claim

    3-Dec-1996

    A legal wrangle over £148,000 worth of plants that went missing from a nursery between the time contracts were exchanged and completed is going to the High Court. When Kristian Laws moved into the Charles Hill Nursery, Tilford, Surrey, which he had bought for £290,000, he found that over 150 rhododendron plants, mahonias and beech trees which had been part of the deal were no longer there. He claims property vendors Michael Moran, ...

  • Double defeat for presidential duo

    3-Dec-1996

    A CONVEYANCING fees and complaints handling double whammy of defeats has hit the Law Society presidency.Martin Mears' and his deputy Robert Sayer's campaign to end cut-price conveyancing was in tatters after last week's council meeting when they abandoned their scheme to use the indemnity fund to force up fees.The vice-president put a brave face on his plan's failure and pledged to continue to search for a solution.He and Mears ...

  • Down under and out

    3-Dec-1996

    The market for Australian legal services in London has been facing up to a period of structural change, with a gradual reduction in the overall volume of Australian work in the city.This reduction has prompted Australian firms to scale back the size of their London branches and has also resulted in a change in the type of work they handle.Historically, Australian firms worked on UK corporate investment into Australia and money-raising by Australian entities through ...

  • Education negligence cases predicted to soar

    3-Dec-1996

  • Equality is better business

    3-Dec-1996

    South Africa's first fully democratic national election on 27 April 1994 prompted a renewed interest in investment in the country.The period after the election was one of uncertainty in which corporate players conducted research and undertook feasibility studies rather than placing direct investment in South Africa, and it is only recently that the renewed interest has begun to bear fruit.One of the more important developments in South African law has been ...

  • Eversheds ramps up banking side

    3-Dec-1996

    EVERSHEDS has headhunted one of Berwin Leighton's top banking lawyers.David Halliday joined the London office of Eversheds last week. According to managing partner Peter Scott, Halliday came on board "to develop the non-contentious banking side" of the practice."We are delighted to have his services on board. We were interested in him for his expertise and reputation. He ...

  • Financings

    3-Dec-1996

    Ashurst Morris Crisp is acting for NationsBank Corporation in connection with the waiver of its option rights and rights of pre-emption in relation to the recommended cash offer to be made by National Westminster Bank for the entire issued share capital of Gartmore, valuing Gartmore at £472 million. NatWest was represented by Linkl

  • Firm rallies to soldier's battle cry

    3-Dec-1996

    The dusty corridors of the House of Lords could soon be transformed into a battle ground as army chiefs fight off the threat of negligence law suits brought against officers by soldiers injured in action.The Ministry of Defence doubtless breathed a sigh of relief after a recent Appeal Court ruling effectively cleared it of such risk, but it now looks as if it has only won a battle, not necessarily the war.Gulf War veteran Richard Mulcahy sued the MoD ...

  • Hands off our profession

    3-Dec-1996

    I am somewhat alarmed to read about the increasing interest of accountants in the legal profession. It is a worrying trend and one on which the legal profession must take a stand.Multidisciplinary practices are not even allowed and yet we see the major firms of accountants preparing to go down this route.It means that law firms are going to have to seriously review their relationships with accountancy firms.How can the traditional referral relationship ...

  • How infallible is the expert's voice?

    3-Dec-1996

    Former truck driver Kevin Callan took the legal and medical profession to task last year when he proved that he could not have caused the death of his girlfriend's daughter, despite being given a life sentence for her murder.Callan spent four years in prison studying neurology in order to prove that four-year-old Mandy, who had suffered from cerebral palsy, could not have died from being shaken, as the court heard, but in fact died from a fall.By uncovering ...

  • In brief: Call for firmer control of Children Act cases

    3-Dec-1996

    Members of the Lord Chancellor's Department Children Act Committee have called for firmer judicial control and case management for Children Act cases. The committee's annual report emphasises the need for close liaison and communication between all those involved in Children Act cases. It also gives guidance on the duties of expert witnesses and on video interviews with children. The committee said: "The essential ingredient in ensuring the successful operation of the Act ...

  • In brief: Finers appoints construction expert

    3-Dec-1996

    London practice Finers has taken on construction specialist Jonathan Collins as a partner. Collins, who has a special interest in and has advised on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994, joins from Lewis Silkin where he was a partner. He will help Finers develop its construction law group and brings the firm's partner count up to 32.

  • In brief: Grimsby legal practices merge

    3-Dec-1996

    Grimsby law firms Grange Wintringham and Bates Press & Hudson will be merging next month. The new 23-solicitor strong firm will practice from Grange Wintringham's existing offices and will continue to be known under that name. The new firm is expected to expand its agricultural, matrimonial and civil litigation department.

  • In brief: Law firm management conference

    3-Dec-1996

    Delegates at a conference on law firm management will look at the workings of the new Price Waterhouse legal practice. Among other speakers at 'Radically Reshaping Management', being held in London in May, will be Chris Arnheim, a former partner at Hammond Suddards and founding partner of Arnheim & Co, the UK member of a law firm network associated with Price Waterhouse. The event, organised by Centaur Conference in association with Longbridge Consultancy, will also look at ...

  • In brief: Maples Teesdale snaps up DSS contract

    3-Dec-1996

    The Secretary of state for social security has appointed Maples Teesdale to provide property related legal services for the DSS portfolio in south east England from 1 April. The term of the contract is three years and may be extended to five years without further tender.

  • In brief: Murder mystery at Law Teacher event

    3-Dec-1996

    A major conference at the end of this will month begin with a murder and end with a debate on the state of legal education. The Association of Law Teachers is kicking off its 31st annual conference with a pre-conference social event - a murder mystery dinner called Murder on the Ocean - at the Dickins Inn, overlooking Tower Bridge in London. The main conference, which begins the following day on 31 March, will feature key speakers Lord Slynn of Hadley and Bar Council chair David Penry-Davey ...

  • In brief: Sharp Pritchard wins Westminster deals

    3-Dec-1996

    London firm Sharp Pritchard was appointed main contractor for two contracts to carry out conveyancing and contract formation work for Westminster City Council, both lasting for five years. Ipswich-based Gotelee & Goldsmith was appointed as reserve contractor. Sharpe Pritchard, which acts for several local authorities, currently holds Westminster's contract for contract formation work and has been awarded the conveyancing work for the first time. The team was led by contracts department ...

  • In brief: Wilkinson Maughan advises university

    3-Dec-1996

    North east law firm Wilkinson Maughan has been appointed legal adviser to the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Six local firms, which have not been named, tendered for the work. The 24-partner firm, based in Newcastle, also has an office in the City. Wilkinson Maughan partner Michael Spriggs said: "We are delighted by the appointment."

  • Irish eyes are smiling on London

    3-Dec-1996

    The central role played by the City in international finance has, over the years, led many law firms from around the world to establish offices in London.For Irish law firms, the motivation to establish in London has been all the stronger given the substantial trading links between the two countries and their geographical proximity.Irish firms flourished in the city during the boom years of the 1980s. They were largely insulated from the worst effects of the ...

  • Law Soc jumps gun on legal aid rates

    3-Dec-1996

    THE LAW Society has earned itself a rebuke for "pre-empting" by several days the Lord Chancellor's announcement of new legal aid rates for law firms.Officials at the Lord Chancellor's Department were caught off guard last week when the Law Society announced the results of the latest legal aid pay negotiations several days early.Lord Mackay had been planning to announce the new rates officially on Monday this week, when he was also due to lay the new ...

  • Legal Task Force aims to protect employees with indemnity clause

    3-Dec-1996

    A TASK Force of young solicitors and freelance practitioners has launched a model clause in a bid to stop partners suing their staff for negligence.The clause includes an indemnity by the employer against all liabilities and claims which might be made against a member of staff and pledges the firm will not attempt to recover any losses from an employee.The Task Force, formed by the Young Solicitors Group and the Freelance Solicitors Group, has come up with several ...

  • Lessons from our friends in the North

    3-Dec-1996

    It should have come as no surprise that The Lawyer's 1995 award for financial services law firm of the year was won by a Scottish firm, Murray Beith Murray, of Edinburgh.One of the principal criteria on which the judges' decision was made was that financial services should be fully integrated with the firm's legal services, and in Scotland the integration not only of financial but also of property services can usually be taken for granted.

  • Let's hear it for separation

    3-Dec-1996

    Your suggestion that there should be two separate bodies dealing with the regulatory and trade union aspects of the profession in last week's editorial 'Time for a solution' is not new.The British Legal Association was set up in 1964 and since that time has been campaigning strenuously for such a situation. Indeed, in its memorandum to the Royal Commission on Legal Services in the late 1970s it submitted that this would be an ideal situation.

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 12/03/96

    3-Dec-1996

    Richard William Hill, admitted 1979, practised as Hill & Co, London SW17, struck off. Allegations substantiated he used client funds for his own purposes and those of other clients, drew client money contrary to accounting rules, and failed to keep properly written accounts. Hill previously appeared before tribunal in August 1984 and April 1995 when he was respectively reprimanded and fined £1,500. Tribunal said large sums of client money were ...

  • Litigation Litigator's View

    3-Dec-1996

    "Knocking copy" has long been a legitimate tool of the UK advertising industry, but has in the past led to legal wrangles over the use of a competitor's trade mark.When the Trade Marks Act 1994 was introduced the reference to another's trade mark became acceptable as long as it was used in accordance with "honest practices in industrial or commercial matters". But the Act failed to clarify what "honest practices" meant.

  • Litigation Personal Injury 12/03/96

    3-Dec-1996

    West v Barrett - QBD 26 February 199Claimant: Simon West, 2Incident: Road traffic accident between motorcycle ridden by claimant and car driven by defendantInjuries: Claimant, a self-employed landscape gardener, received multiple fractures leaving him with long-term disabilities and unable to pursue pre-accident gardening workAward: £22,000 (agreed damages)Judge: Mr Justice MayPlaintiff's solicitors: Johnson ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 12/03/96

    3-Dec-1996

    Entitlement to fees and costs indemnity insurance moneysLegal Protection Group v (1) Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; (2) Official Receiver; (3) Philip Adrian Travers; (4) Alsop Wilkinson (1996).Ch.D (Rimer J) 1/3/96.Summary: Law firm which acted for an insolvent company in resisting a winding up petition in the belief it would be remunerated from a legal costs indemnity policy held to be entitled to nothing.Application by the ...

  • Litigation Writs 12/03/96

    3-Dec-1996

    The sale of a Hampshire country house is at the centre of a legal wrangle in which the divorced wife of a bankrupt prince is suing her former solicitors for negligence. Sarah Saud, who was married to Prince Ahmed bin Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, has issued a writ against City firm Collins Stone & Kay. She claims that as part of an end-of-marriage cash carve up, agreement was reached, backed by Bourne-mouth County Court on 18 October 1990 that the matrimonial home ...

  • Making the Israeli connection

    3-Dec-1996

    Israel, like Central and Eastern Europe, South Africa and certain Far Eastern countries such as Vietnam, is now well recognised by UK solicitors as an emerging market.The country is becoming the financial and technological centre of the Middle East and consequently there is enormous potential for UK lawyers to supply complex legal advice.But Israel has not always been so popular. Prior to the Gulf War in 1991 and the start of the peace process, the Israeli market ...

  • National versus regional in the American fees battle

    3-Dec-1996

    If cost-cutting is the order of the day in the legal world, many US general counsel have not heard it. Instead they say they are consolidating business to fewer law firms, requiring firms to budget on projects, focusing on stronger relationships with those firms and spending their legal dollars more wisely than in past years.And while total outside legal expenditures dropped just 3.12 per cent overall, US companies paid nearly 8 per cent more for outside litigation services.

  • New chief for City practice

    3-Dec-1996

    CITY law firm Stephenson Harwood has appointed a new chief executive for the first time in seven years.John Pike, a partner at Stephenson Harwood since 1985, will be taking over from William Corbett on 1 May. Corbett will return to practising tax law full time.Pike joined the firm in 1983 and has specialised in property development and institutional investment for both ...

  • Outlaw age discrimination urges report

    3-Dec-1996

    LEGISLATION to outlaw age discrimination in employment is recommended by a report from the Law Society's employment law committee.The report, 'Age discrimination and employment law', said persuasion and voluntary action had a part to play against ageism, but "lasting change will only come with legislation".Janet Gaymer, committee chair and partner of City firm Simmons & Simmons, said there was widespread agreement that age discrimination wasted ...

  • Over here and moving in

    3-Dec-1996

    London continues to attract a cosmopolitan mix of firms, from Gibraltarian to Iranian, Panamanian to Finnish. But the most noticeable foreign law firms in London are, unsurprisingly, the American ones.Some US firms have had offices in London since the early 1960s. Coudert Brothers, for instance, opened its doors in London in 1962. But it is only recently that US firms in the UK have begun taking on the British at their own game, boosting their complement of UK-qualified ...

  • Partnership tops the Italian agenda

    3-Dec-1996

    Even if the Italian political situation at the moment is not very clear, and the lack of a stable government provokes lingering doubts among foreign investors, the Italian market still offers some good opportunities.The general election, scheduled for 21 April, should clarify the political situation. However, prudent investors should already be making plans for the best ways to maximise their investments in Italy.Some UK companies have already begun to take advantage ...

  • Property

    3-Dec-1996

    Ashurst Morris Crisp acted for East Hampshire District Council on the transfer of 4,000 tenanted properties to East Hampshire Housing Association for £53 million. The association was represented by Trowers & Hamlins, and Allen ...

  • Property

    3-Dec-1996

    DJ Freeman acted for Coin Street Community Builders in a property deal granting Harvey Nichols Restaurants a 25-year lease on the eighth floor of the London landmark OXO Tower Wharf. Harvey Nichols Restaurants was represented by Holman Fenwick & Willan.

  • Property

    3-Dec-1996

    Manches & Co acted for Reed International in the sale of its leasehold interest in 83 Piccadilly and 29 Bolton Street, London W1, to Warnford Investments for £8.2 million. Nicholson Graham & Jones acted for Warnford Investments.

  • Reasons to be careful

    3-Dec-1996

    A damages bill of £65 million and a final High Court judgment debt of £105 million; it happened to Binder Hamlyn and, warns Mark Chapman, it could happen to youOn 6 December last year, the High Court awarded damages of £65 million to security systems company ADT as a result of its claim against BDO Binder Hamlyn. Interest and costs take the final judgment debt to over £105 million, thought to be the highest award ever made by the High Court against ...

  • Richards Butler looks to cash in on Brazilian boom

    3-Dec-1996

    CITY firm Richards Butler is taking advantage of the Brazilian economy's resurgence by beefing up its presence in Sao Paulo.The firm anticipates sending up to three lawyers to the city this year, following the successful 18-month posting of partner Stephen O'Sullivan.O'Sullivan works from the offices of Sao Paulo firm Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr, Moherdaui e Quiroga-Advogados, one of Brazil's top five law firms.Richards ...

  • Roger Pearson previews an important test for local authority loan guarantees

    3-Dec-1996

    Judgment is pending in a case with wide implications for the future of local authority private sector borrowing.Credit Suisse is appealing High Court rulings on 6 May and 2 November 1994 that Allerdale Borough Council and the London Borough of Waltham need not repay the millions loaned to them.In the Allerdale case, repayment of a loan of £4.8 million plus interest was sought under guarantees the council gave to the Allerdale Development Company, ...

  • Scott on the 'acceptable face' of PIIs

    3-Dec-1996

    SIR Richard Scott, the man who grilled government ministers on arms exports to Iraq and now the Vice-Chancellor, is to outline the workings of public interest immunity certificates at a March conference.National legal charity the Public Law Project has scored a coup with the lecture, 'The acceptable and unacceptable use of public interest immunity certificates', coming so soon after the release of the Scott report.Public Law Project chair barrister ...

  • Solicitors back Taylor on 'knee-jerk' laws claim

    3-Dec-1996

    CRIMINAL lawyers have come out in support of Lord Chief Justice Taylor after his attack on the Home Office's "barrage" of criminal justice legislation.Anthony Burton, senior partner at London-based Simon Muirhead Burton, mirrored Lord Taylor's sentiments when he said: "We reject the knee- jerk piecemeal draconian changes brought about by a party political panic."He said he believed the UK was facing a separation of power problem with "persistent executive ...

  • SPG vice-chair gives franchising his vote

    3-Dec-1996

    SOLE practitioners are better placed to win franchises than the larger law firms, a leading figure in the Sole Practitioners Group has claimed.A distinctly pro-franchising stance has been adopted by John Lymbury, vice-chair of the SPG, whose Nottingham firm is in the process of applying for a franchise.Lymbury, who also supports the Law Society's practice management standards, stresses he is speaking personally and his pro-franchising views are not SPG policy.

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: John Rubinstein

    3-Dec-1996

    John Rubinstein is a partner in Manches & Co's intellectual property department. Born in London in 1952, he still lives in the capital. What was your first job?Packing croissants in Joe Lyons' Vienna bakery, Cadby Hall in 1969.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£7,700.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Time, ...

  • TJG's US connection pays off as firms merge

    3-Dec-1996

    Taylor Joynson Garrett (TJG) is profiting from the recent merger of two US firms.Graham & James merged with Seattle-based firm Riddell Williams Bullitt & Walkinshaw in January. Riddell Williams will become Graham & James' Pacific northwest office, making Graham & James the first major firm to provide offices from Los Angeles to Seattle and throughout the Pacific Rim.TJG has secured business from the merger as a result of its unusual six-year affiliation ...

  • Top US mediator Shapiro sets up Euro shop in London

    3-Dec-1996

    PROMINENT US mediator David Shapiro has moved to the UK to lead a new European mediation and dispute resolution practice based in London.The European office of US-based JAMS/Endispute, JAMS Endispute Europe, opened last week in the offices of City firm SJ Berwin & Co.JAMS stands for the Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services, which merged with Endispute in 1994.JAMS/Endispute ...

  • Wrong answer, wrong question

    3-Dec-1996

    'Mears takes up Rights of Audience Gauntlet' (The Lawyer 6 February) is the latest round in the seemingly endless Bar Wars between solicitors and barristers.City firms are still complaining that the rules for solicitors to qualify as advocates are too restrictive and Mr Mears wants a "level playing field" with the Bar.These attempts will be futile until the Law Society realises that the reason why its campaign has been so unsuccessful so far ...