21 August 1995

The Lawyer

  • 'Don't Break My Copyright'

    22-Aug-1995

    Roger PearsonThe recent High Court action in which Birmingham secretary Debbie Banks sued pop group UB40 was a battle against the odds. And with the aid of Beasley & Johnson, of Kings Heath, Birmingham, she triumphed.Banks claimed she was responsible for co-authorship of one of the group's chart-topping hits.The ruling by Mr Justice Harman that Banks is entitled to a share of royalties - still to be assessed - from the 1995 hit, ...

  • 'Healthy' year for trainee jobs

    22-Aug-1995

    'TOP UK firms have reported healthy numbers of qualifying solicitors being retained after their articles this September.A survey of the country's top 10 firms shows a strong level of retention among qualifying solicitors, indicating an increased workload and improved confidence among major practitioners.Firms contacted report that an average of only two trainees per firm will not be kept on when they qualify next month.Each firm will keep ...

  • Bakers plays waiting game for India push

    22-Aug-1995

    GLOBAL leader Baker & McKenzie will establish a presence in India by the close of the year if current hostility surrounding foreign movement into the country eases.The plan, which has already seen the firm shopping for Indian lawyers, is one of several issues set to be raised at the annual partnership meeting in Chicago in October.Incoming chair John Klotsche will also ...

  • Barlow Lyde gains Alsops Hong Kong partners

    22-Aug-1995

    ALSOP Wilkinson will integrate its Hong Kong business with its main UK practice following a decision by two key partners and their teams to join the Hong Kong office of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.The two firms released statements within an hour of each other last week. Barlow Lyde & Gilbert expressed pleasure at the appointment of partners Camille Jojo and Claudio de Bedin and Alsop Wilkinson announced it would seize the opportunity to take a new focus in South East Asia.

  • Birchams fills posts

    22-Aug-1995

    London firm Bircham & Co has lost two key members of its financial services department with the departures of Charles Galbraith and his assistant Chris Brown. Galbraith and Brown, who came from Lloyds Bank Stockbrokers to set up Birchams' department at the beginning of the year, have returned to Lloyds.Birchams has replaced him with Christopher Jones-Warner, who was a fund manger for eight years at Quilter Goodison where he managed private client portfolios ...

  • But did you learn anything?

    22-Aug-1995

    A well-known, global accountancy firm is reckoned to spend six per cent of its turnover on training. An Australian law firm, Blake Dawson Waldron, spends seven per cent of its professional payroll costs on training. This firm's direct expenditure on training amounted to one per cent of turnover in the 1994-95 financial year, or about £1,100 per fee earner across the firm. Including the opportunity cost of lost fee earning time that figure rises to ...

  • Company launches franchise service

    22-Aug-1995

    A BRISTOL-BASED consultancy firm is marketing a franchise assessment service on the coat tails of the Lord Chancellor's vigorously pro-franchise reform Green Paper.Management consultants Allery Scotts, which will carry out an on-site initial assessment to the Legal Aid Franchise Specification for £99, said that four firms had already signed up for a visit."Most reasonably well run practices are much closer to the requirements than they think," said ...

  • Contract call by London practitioners

    22-Aug-1995

    LEGAL AID contracts could solve the cash flow and overheads problems under which firms are labouring, says the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association.In its response to the Lord Chancellor's reform Green Paper the London group also argues contracts could allow the Government to lay down minimum quality standards."The association does have concerns about the quality of advice and representation given in many criminal cases especially by non-specialist ...

  • Council seeks answers to race diaparity in Bar course

    22-Aug-1995

    THE COUNCIL of Legal Education has ordered a new inquiry into why black students continue to fare worse than white students on the Bar Vocational Course.Figures released by the council last week show this year's pass rate among ethnic minority students fell to 74.6 per cent from last year's 80 per cent.Among white students the pass rate was 90 per cent, down 1 per cent. The overall pass rate was 87 per cent, down 2.5 per cent.Council secretary ...

  • Derbyshire courts told to clean up their act

    22-Aug-1995

    DERBYSHIRE Magistrates Courts Committee (MCC) has been told to improve its "inappropriate" arrangements for dealing with prisoners and security arrangements for the safety of court users.Conditions in "many" of the MCC's 11 courtrooms "are very poor," according to a report by the Magistrates Courts Service Inspectorate (MCSI) published last week.These include magistrates having to use the same toilets as witnesses.During an inspection earlier ...

  • Don't Surrender...

    22-Aug-1995

    Solicitors generally have a good understanding of endowment policies and a great many have such policies themselves.Therefore, recent bad publicity regarding newly issued endowments, together with rapidly increasing numbers of home owners who find themselves saddled with negative equity will not have passed unnoticed for many solicitors who may handle the associated conveyancing transactions and financial restructuring.However, the traded endowment ...

  • Elaine Aarons takes a closer look at unfair dismissal rights

    22-Aug-1995

    Elaine AaronsPress reports on the Court of Appeal's decision in the case of ex-parte Seymour-Smith and Perez have greatly exaggerated its effect. The impression is that all employees dismissed in the past, who have been employed for less than two years at the time they were dismissed, have a right to claim retrospectively for unfair dismissal.However, the case has only established that the two-year qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal ...

  • Elsa meeting unites East and West

    22-Aug-1995

    A FOREIGN Office grant of £26,000 will unite law students from East and West Europe at an international conference in Nottingham next month.The UK branch of the European Law Students Association is staging the organisation's 28th International Council Meeting from 9 to 16 September. The conference will be the first attended by students from all 38 of Elsa's member countries, thanks largely to the Foreign Office Know How Fund which will enable 45 delegates ...

  • End of line for Haringey law centre

    22-Aug-1995

    A LONDON law centre described as a "non-hierarchical classic 1970's collective" is finally to close after a long-running battle with the local council which funds it.Tottenham Law Centre has had its £200,000-a-year funding stopped by Labour-controlled Haringey Council.The law centre will close on 31 December with redundancies for its 10 staff and will be replaced with new staff and management, on 1 January.The centre's current staff ...

  • Financing

    22-Aug-1995

    Hammond Suddards advised Halifax-based engineering group FKI on the launch of a one-for-four rights issue raising £136.6 million. Freshfields advised underwriters NM Rothschild.

  • Financing

    22-Aug-1995

    SJ Berwin acted for the MultiMedia Corporation and Shore Capital Stockbrokers in a placing of shares in MultiMedia raising £3 million.

  • Firm keeps mum on Mowlem backdown

    22-Aug-1995

    CLIFFORD Chance is saying nothing over the embarrassing £20 million failure of its client Mowlem in a long-running legal action, which resulted in profuse apologies to the defendants and an offer to pay all parties' legal costs.Other London lawyers are speculating how such a large case could go so wrong, at such expense, and whether the firm may slash its fees to help its client which now faces a £12-14 million legal bill.Mowlem's statement ...

  • Firm to head Tradepoint challenge

    22-Aug-1995

    CLIFFORD Chance is set to mount a legal challenge against the Stock Exchange on behalf of its client Tradepoint, the new City share dealing system, because of the exchange's apparent attempts to strangle its new rival at birth.The stand-off between the exchange and Tradepoint, due to launch on 21 September, is at a critical stage. Clifford Chance was unable to comment.

  • Flotations

    22-Aug-1995

    Berwin Leighton acted for Oasis Stores in its flotation on to the Official List by way of an institutional placing valuing the company at £77 million. Linklaters & Paines acted for sponsors Robert Fleming & Co.

  • Foreign clients not ignorant, says partner

    22-Aug-1995

    UK lawyers working in the international marketplace should not consider clients stupid because they are foreign, warned Warner Cranston partner Ian Fagelson.Speaking at a joint US/UK forum in Chicago, London-based Fagelson told delegates that if they wanted to be successful on the international legal scene they had to pay attention to basics such as matching their IT to international standards, staffing themselves with lawyers experienced in a variety of jurisdictions and ...

  • Former Vestey team makes tracks for Osborne Clarke

    22-Aug-1995

    UK foods giant Vestey Group has given its blessing to a merger in which the group's former in-house legal team joins southern firm Osborne Clarke.The partnership of RA Roberts - formed a decade ago from Vestey's in-house legal department - has joined Osborne Clarke's London office, taking the group with it as its major client.Two of the partners, John Cuthbert ...

  • Get real or get out

    22-Aug-1995

    The letter from John Edge, of Edge Leyden Ellis to conveyancing solicitors across the country, which was widely publicised throughout the legal press, amounts to nothing short of a declaration of war.It runs something like this - solicitors are the victims of the housing crisis, forced to charge rock bottom prices for work. The Law Society has stood by and allowed this appalling state of affairs to develop, having "written off conveyancing".

  • Green Form's no windfall

    22-Aug-1995

    Green Form's no windfall...With reference to "Green Form business - easy pickings?" (The Lawyer 1 August), in 1993 the Solicitors Complaints Bureau's Special Investigation section launched an investigation into suspected fraud on the Green Form scheme and this resulted in interventions into three solicitors' firms which had been closely involved with Peter Lane's Clan Consultancy.Intervention is not a measure taken lightly since ...

  • Howard to curb thugs' travel plans

    22-Aug-1995

    MICHAEL Howard has signalled a clamp down on football "hooligans" which could see an extension of court powers to prevent troublemakers from travelling abroad.The Home Secretary has earmarked the existing legislation designed to prevent violence abroad for particular scrutiny as part of a general review of the problem of crowd violence."I am looking at ways in which the restriction order scheme under the Football Spectators Act 1989 may be made more effective ...

  • In brief: Eversheds pools licensing resources

    22-Aug-1995

    Eversheds has set up a national licensing group to co-ordinate its liquor, gaming and public entertainment licensing work. The firm has licensing lawyers in 12 offices scattered around the country. "The national group will enable us to pool our national and regional expertise for the benefit of clients," said Bristol-based licensing specialist Jeremy Phillips.

  • In brief: Group tackles motorists over smog

    22-Aug-1995

    The environmental law and resource centre Earthrights has issued a compensation claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau on behalf of an asthma sufferer who was confined to her bed for two days after an asthma attack triggered by smog. The bureau handles compensation claims on behalf of untraceable drivers and Londoner Brendalyn Fougeras-Lavergnolle is blaming her attack on motorists who ignored a government warning to leave their cars at home during a recent smog alert. Earthrights solicitor ...

  • In brief: Herbert Smith plugs into power contract

    22-Aug-1995

    Herbert Smith has won further business in the electricity industry, after tendering to advise the public sector company due to be set up to run the 11 Magnox power stations. The Magnox company will be folded out of Nuclear Electric, which is forming a holding company with the smaller Scottish Nuclear in readiness for privatisation. The Magnox work is an on-going appointment with work including supply contracts, licensing, environmental, tax, employment and pensions. Herbert Smith was ...

  • In brief: Levitt prosecution faces complaints at Bar

    22-Aug-1995

    In the wake of the Roger Levitt trial scandal, complaints will be lodged at the Bar Council over the alleged professional misconduct of all three prosecution barristers in the 1993 trial. Levitt's former solicitor John Perry, a partner at Goldkorn Davies Mathias, and John Marshall, Conservative MP for Hendon South, are drafting formal complaints against the prosecution team of David Cocks QC, Jonathan Fisher and Jane Bewsey, all of 5 King's Bench Walk, for their alleged role ...

  • In brief: Penningtons partner beats drum for UK

    22-Aug-1995

    Penningtons partner Julian Hamilton Barns was in Beijing this weekend to talk to lawyers attending the 14th Biennial Law Asia Conference. He was due to promote London's strength as a financial centre and advise on the benefits of a UK Stock Exchange launch for Chinese companies. In May Penningtons acted for the listing of the Dailywin Group, the first Chinese company to be listed on the Stock ...

  • In brief: Recruits on way to Boodle Hatfield office

    22-Aug-1995

    Boodle Hatfield says it is about to announce further appointments to its new Oxford office. The firm recently announced the arrival of partner Peter Webber and says further appointments are likely as the office approaches its first anniversary next month. Webber joined Boodle Hatfield after more than 20 years as a partner at Morrell Peel & Gamlen. He brings broad experience to the firm, primarily in property, college, university and charities work. Senior partner Peter Scoble said: ...

  • In brief: Scots firm scales dealmaking heights

    22-Aug-1995

    Maclay Murray & Spens has topped Scottish Business Insider magazine's Lawyers Dealmakers table after completing 18 successful deals during the second quarter of 1995. Deals masterminded by the firm include the creation of the first start-up company to trade shares on the new Alternative Investment Market.

  • In brief: Solicitor wins review of LAB ban

    22-Aug-1995

    Solicitor Hilda Amoo-Gottfried has been granted leave for judicial review of a decision by a Legal Aid Board London area committee banning her from the South London duty solicitor scheme. London number one committee's decision in April 1993 was countermanded by a direction to reinstate her from the board's national committee in April 1995. The London committee has so far not complied with the direction. Mr Justice Popplewell immediately granted an expedited hearing. In August ...

  • It's a team of two halves

    22-Aug-1995

    It was a classic conundrum for the legal department. Company A sold product X to Company B. The transaction went smoothly until Company C, the previous owner, claimed a proportion of the selling price. The flurry of faxes was the everyday stuff of lawyers' lives. The difference was that product X was an international footballer by the name of Andrei Kanchelskis. Company A was Manchester United, Company B its Premier League rival Everton.At the centre of the ensuing ...

  • Jump club faces writ after disaster dive

    22-Aug-1995

    Roger Pearson finds Headcorn Parachute Club back in the news againHeadcorn Parachute Club is on the receiving end of litigation issued by 24-year-old Elyse Gorham, who suffered devastating injuries when her first tandem jump with another parachutist went wrong.She blames the club for what happened.Gorham claims that she hit the ground at 40mph after seams split on a reserve parachute in the accident at Headcorn. She will tell the court that during ...

  • Law Soc makes conflicting claims over hard-sell tactics

    22-Aug-1995

    A NOTTINGHAM firm embroiled in a names-for-cash marketing controversy says lawyers from across the country are asking for more details of a venture the Law Society may now ban. Nelsons is paying Gateshead database marketing company Legal Marketing Direct for a list of 500 accident victims who expressed an interest in taking legal action.Under current rules the scheme is allowed but Law Society ...

  • Legal squad for 1995

    22-Aug-1995

    One of the busiest and most high-profile lawyers in the game is Manchester United's Maurice Watkins. A partner in Manchester firm James Chapman & Co, Watkins became solicitor for the Reds 19 years ago, bringing his commercial and professional indemnity know-how. A hectic season has seen him handle the court and disciplinary hearings for Eric Cantona's 'kung fu' kick on a Crystal Palace supporter, a string of merchandising deals, and some of the biggest transfers ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 22/08/95

    22-Aug-1995

    RICHARD LAWRENCE BRADY, 45, admitted 1976, practised as Richard L Brady & Co, West Drayton, Middlesex, struck off. Allegations substantiated he had been convicted of criminal offence and served jail sentence. Tribunal was told Brady had been jailed for four months after pleading guilty at Southwark Crown Court on 12 December, to procuring execution of a valuable security by deception. Brady told the tribunal the alleged offence took place when he was ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 22/08/95

    22-Aug-1995

    Liability for damage by juvenile offendersBedfordshire County Council v Director of Public Prosecutions (1995).DC (Stuart-Smith LJ and Butterfield J) 31/7/95.Summary: A local authority must be found to be at fault before compensation can be awarded against it for damage done by young persons in its care. Council's appeal against dismissal of its appeal by the Crown Court against an award of compensation by the Luton Juvenile Court for offences ...

  • Litigation Writs 22/08/95

    22-Aug-1995

    A police officer has launched a £50,000 claim against the Metropolitan Police. Michael Chitty, of Redhill, Surrey, has issued a writ claiming damages for personal injuries and losses he said he suffered because of psychiatric affects resulting from the stress of his police duties between 1982 and 1992. He accuses the police of negligence and claims it failed to monitor, support, counsel and care for him during and after those duties.Writ ...

  • Marsons in bid to set up property super group

    22-Aug-1995

    A Kent conveyancing specialist has met with 10 local firms in a bid to create a regional company capable of winning the price war.Brian Marson, of Marsons, wants to take advantage of computer technology and economies of scale to set up a powerful company with a string of franchised offices offering conveyancing alongside other high street services.The idea is in contrast to a campaign by Bournemouth solicitor John Edge to persuade the Law Society to enforce guideline ...

  • McNulty to Ukraine for Know How farm project

    22-Aug-1995

    BURGES Salmon partner Stephen McNulty is off to the Ukraine in November to assist in a two-year project privatising and modernising the country's large state farms.McNulty, head of an agricultural property team at the Bristol-based firm, will be working alongside management consultants and accountants in a consortium on a £3 million UK Government Know-How Fund contract.Led by Surrey-based international agricultural consultants Cargill Technical Services, ...

  • No stigma in advertising, claims ABA

    22-Aug-1995

    THE LEGAL marketplace is competitive and lawyers need to make "client development efforts" to keep ahead of the game, the ABA's advertising commission says.Staff counsel to the commission William Hornsby told lawyers the stigma attached to advertising was unfounded and theories that good lawyers did not need to advertise had been overturned by the competitive marketplace of the 1990s."Our research shows that consumers respond to advertising," said Hornsby. ...

  • Paralegals growing force in profession

    22-Aug-1995

    LAWYERS must change their approach to legal practice and compete for work with paralegals if they want to retain the bulk of their business, a new report says.Released by the ABA commission on non-lawyer practice, the report says paralegals have a "greater role to play" in providing legal services and lawyers must find better ways to meet the needs of people on moderate incomes.It suggests lawyers put offices in shopping malls, offer ...

  • Plugging the investment gap

    22-Aug-1995

    Many solicitors' firms offering in-house investment management do not try to attract the person on the street, who is often dealing in small amounts of money and takes a disproportionate amount of time to decide what to do with it.Often the greater emphasis is on earning repetitive, annual fees from managing the paperwork as well as the investment decision-making for people with portfolios from about £50,000 to £500,000.But ...

  • Regulation is better than cure

    22-Aug-1995

    Although it may have exercised his mind while he languishes in a Frankfurt prison, one thing that Nick Leeson probably gave little thought to before February 1995 was the flood of paper which he would unleash from regulators and trade associations on the subject of derivatives regulation.The Securities and Investments Board (the senior UK regulator) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the US regulatory agency for futures markets) jointly chaired a meeting in May ...

  • Rush to get Accident Line insurance

    22-Aug-1995

    FIRMS have been flocking to join up to the Law Society's £85 no win no fee insurance scheme, according to Chancery Lane officials.Nine hundred of the 1,300 Accident Line offices had signed up for insurance by the time the Law Society's Accident Line Protect scheme was launched last week.David Hartley, of the Law Society's legal practice directorate, said the response was good considering the launch took place in the middle of the summer holidays.

  • Strike the balance

    22-Aug-1995

    Any review of the consequences of introducing a degree of commonality into the vocational training of barristers and solicitors needs to take into account all parts of vocational training. It also needs to be a review set in the context of both a changing market place and changingprofessions.Direct access to the Bar and extended rights of audience for solicitors have not been as significant as deregulation is likely to be nor as important as the removal of financial ...

  • Study wants more skills training

    22-Aug-1995

    Nicole MayleyTHE AMERICAN Bar Association must amend its standards of law school accreditation to recognise the importance of skills training, a new report claims.But the study says the ABA's involvement in the accreditation system should continue, after a year-long commission of the section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar found there was "overwhelming support" for it.Handing down its findings in Chicago, ...

  • Surge in client/lawyer sex claims

    22-Aug-1995

    A LEADING US employment attorney has urged law firms to take action to prevent clients from sexually harassing their lawyers after recent cases in the US showed the practice was on the increase.LA lawyer Karen Kaplowitz told ABA delegates a growing number of actions involving sexual harassment by clients, opposing counsel and judges had been initiated in the US, and said lawyers should think how to deal with the problem.She suggested sending clients - the most ...

  • Survey prompts ABA to give minority membership a boost

    22-Aug-1995

    DESPITE an increase in the number of ethnic minority and female lawyers holding official posts in the American Bar Association the groups remain under-represented in elected positions and are not involved in the leadership of many of the ABA's top units.A survey produced by the association's commission on opportunities for minorities in the profession shows between 5 and 10 per cent of key spots were held by women and ethnic minorities, who account for 7.4 per ...

  • Teen icon faces no win no fee action

    22-Aug-1995

    NO win no fee critics may soon be joined by Take That singer Gary Barlow who is threatened with legal action by three German nationals who allege assault.The mother, her daughter and a family friend have hired Manchester firm Betesh Fox & Co on a conditional fee basis to launch a damages claim against Barlow and his bodyguard James Gentle.The three allege they were assaulted outside Barlow's home near Knutsford on 13 August by his bodyguard.The ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Kit Sorrell

    22-Aug-1995

    Kit Sorrell is a partner and head of the litigation department at Manchester firm Davies Wallis Foyster. Born in Liverpool, he now lives on the Wirral.What was your first job?Down the drains in rubber boots.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£80 per week.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Been disappointed.Which law could you live without?Diminishing ...

  • Threatened college rejects debt claims

    22-Aug-1995

    A PRIVATE law college embroiled in a court bid to have it wound up claims it has settled its debts.An application by Prudential Property Services to have London-based Regent School of Law compulsorily wound up was adjourned at the High Court last week.Counsel for Prudential applied for the adjournment after claiming the tutorial college, which has 300 pupils on its books, had made an offer to settle a debt of £10,056.In a petition presented ...

  • Top secret documents dumped in skip

    22-Aug-1995

    THE FORMER partners of a now defunct London libel practice have initiated an urgent investigation after stacks of the firm's confidential documents ended up in a building skip.The files were dumped among the rubbish as builders gutted the old Soho Square office of Wright Webb Syrett and were discovered and read by drinkers at a nearby pub.Wright Webb Syrett broke up in March this year when five partners and a handful of assistants joined media firm

  • Winners in PI's 'Americanisation'

    22-Aug-1995

    The row over selling accident victims' names for £1 a time, which sparked apoplectic attacks in the heavyweight press about 'ambulance chasing' lawyers 'Americanising' personal injury litigation, raises serious issues: how is an accident victim expected to find a competent lawyer? Are personal injury lawyers really bringing transatlantic litigation to the UK and if so, to whose benefit or detriment?The need for specialisation ...