27 September 1999

The Lawyer

  • £1m-a-year QC defects to rival set

    27-Sep-1999

    David Oliver QC, one of the "million-pound-a-year club" barristers, is leaving 13 Old Square to join premier company set Erskine Chambers.Oliver, who has been a tenant at 13 Old Square - where his father also practised - throughout his career will join Erskine Chambers on 1 October.The loss of Oliver will be a major blow to the set. He is one of the leading barristers in no fewer than four specialist areas - administrative and public law, chancery, company and ...

  • A taxing time for windfall payments

    27-Sep-1999

    Patrick Mears, head of the tax department at Allen & OveryHeather Gething, a tax partner at Herbert SmithDominic Stuttaford, tax partner at Norton RoseScottish Widows is appealing to the Inland Revenue over the amount of windfall tax its members are liable to ...

  • Acting confidently to build confidence

    27-Sep-1999

    Certain sections of the media took great pleasure in reporting allegations about goings on at Cameron McKenna and its CIS group. For a while the hacks were round the door writing stories of wrongdoing at the heart of a profession that just a few weeks earlier The Lawyer had reported to be riding high as a business.Of course if there has been mismanagement or wrongful treatment of the firm's lawyers then such things should come out, but there is no doubt that there ...

  • Appeal for Guinness dance

    27-Sep-1999

    One of the first cases scheduled for hearing in the Appeal Court when the new legal term starts is an action which has already caused ripples in the world of intellectual property. An appeal will begin on 7 October in the case of Norowzian v Arks Ltd, which centres on an advertisement for Guinness. Last year, Mr Justice Rattee dismissed a claim by film maker Mehdi Norowzian that a sequence used in the advert was copyright protected. The judge refused to accept that the sequence ...

  • Asbestos jurisdiction case set for appeal

    27-Sep-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on the attempts of 4,000 claimants to have their case heard in the UK rather than in South AfricaAn appeal is scheduled to begin in October which will have far-reaching implications on the rights of around 4,000 victims of asbestos-related disease to claim compensation.The appeal is against the decision of Mr Justice Buckley made on 30 July, that a case which promises to be the largest asbestos-related disease case ever, ...

  • Bull to take Osborne Clarke by the horns

    27-Sep-1999

    Osborne Clarke has appointed Chris Bull as its new chief executive to run the firm alongside its managing partner, Leslie Perrin.The dual structure will give Bull greater control over the firm's finances and computer systems.Bull was promoted to his new post this month. He is a qualified accountant who worked at Ernst & Young Management Consultancy Services before joining ...

  • Case of the week

    27-Sep-1999

    Microsoft v the US Department of Justice. Hordes of bemused spectators heard the closing arguments of a titanic struggle between the world's largest software company, headed by Bill Gates (pictured) and the US government, which is accusing Microsoft of being a monopoly, of increasing costs for the consumer, and of curbing industry innovation. Presiding judge, Thomas Penfield Jackson is expected, to produce a judgment early next year.

  • Chinese walls knocked down in Australia

    27-Sep-1999

    A landmark ruling in Australia is likely to spell the end for "Chinese walls" in law firms down under.The decision by the Western Australia (WA) Supreme Court in Perth may also have serious implications for firms looking to merge because of ensuing conflicts of interest.Top-10 Australian firm Philips Fox has been ordered to relinquish long standing client Fletcher Construction, which was involved in a dispute with another contractor.The contractor ...

  • Clintons expands not restructures

    27-Sep-1999

    The headline of your recent article (13 September) asserts that Clintons has been "forced to restructure".Your assertion is incorrect. Clintons is a leading media and entertainment firm with a substantial and growing base of clients.To deal with an increasing workload we have been expanding our team of lawyers by both recruiting externally and promoting internally.We have recruited Angeline Tournier from

  • Covingtons tie-up boosts City practice

    27-Sep-1999

    US firms Covington & Burling and Howard Smith & Levin have merged to form a 400-lawyer firm, to be called Covington & Burling.The union ends rumours that Covington & Burling, which has a dual capability office in London, was about to merge with US firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.Head of corporate at Covingtons' London office Hilary Prescott says the merger will ...

  • Customs & Excise loses disability case

    27-Sep-1999

    The lawyer charged with stamping out disability prejudice in the Customs & Excise Solicitors' Office has been found guilty of discriminating against a blind solicitor.David Pickup was found guilty of disability discrimination last week by Croydon Employment Tribunal after failing to promote blind lawyer Farooq Shah.The tribunal's finding is particularly embarrassing as Pickup had been assigned the task of eliminating disability discrimination in the ...

  • Developers seek go-ahead

    27-Sep-1999

    The developer for a scheme which includes 60 holiday lodges and a leisure club at Wootton on the Isle of Wight has launched new legal moves in a bid to clear the way for the scheme. The scheme was blocked by a High Court decision in June. Leisure Great Britain, which the High Court held had failed to comply with planning conditions, has now lodged an application with the Court of Appeal. Outline consent for the scheme was granted in 1993 by the Isle of Wight Council but it ...

  • Eversheds in mourning after partner found dead

    27-Sep-1999

    EVERSHEDS is mourning the loss of leading construction partner John Bolton, who was found dead at his desk last week.Bolton, who was seriously injured in the 1997 Southall train crash, died last Wednesday, just two days after the inquiry into the rail disaster opened.Bolton joined Eversheds' Bristol office as a construction law partner in February from Davies Arnold Cooper ...

  • Eversheds made to pay for late payment to pension fund

    27-Sep-1999

    Eversheds has been fined £3,000 plus £3,127 costs on two counts of making late payments into its company pension scheme.EIW Services (North East), the law firm's Newcastle-based employment services company, pleaded guilty to eight charges of late payment. The charges were brought by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) at Newcastle-upon-Tyne magistrates court ...

  • Eversheds partner steers finance Bill

    27-Sep-1999

    Eversheds corporate partner Andrew Davison has been selected to coordinate solicitors' responses to plans to transform the financial services industry.Davison is the new chairman of the Law Society's Standing Committee in Company Law.He takes over from Tim Herrington, head of the financial services investment funds unit at

  • Financing

    27-Sep-1999

    Pinsent Curtis advised Yorkshire-based Filtronic on a one-for-six rights issue to raise £71m to fund product development. Andrew Kerr

  • Financing

    27-Sep-1999

    Ashurst Morris Crisp represented Imperial Tobacco Group on the establishment of a £2bn debt issuance programme. Under the programme

  • Finding more than one stop

    27-Sep-1999

    Once again readers of The Lawyer have been treated to news of yet another "one-stop shop". This time it's Simmons & Simmons whose marketing department seem incapbale of coming up with something more original (13 September).How right your reporter was in the same issue to question whether this whole trend is nothing more than a tired catchphrase that firms tag onto new business initiatives whether they are orginal or not.It's time firms sold ...

  • Fire brigade pays the price at sea

    27-Sep-1999

    Coastal fire brigades and local authorities have been plunged into a financial dilemma by a new ruling that they are not entitled to claim salvage or expenses from stricken vessels even if they have been called out to fight on-board fires.The decision by the Council of Lloyd's in a case involving the MV Kukawa is likely to result in local authorities rethinking their strategies on emergencies at sea off their shores.For, without the prospect of a slice ...

  • Five more join million-a-year club

    27-Sep-1999

    The number of barristers earning more than £1m a year has grown by a third in the last year, according to the new Chambers & Partners directory.There are now 20 silks in the "million-a-year club", an increase of five.Reena Sen Gupta, the directory's editor, refuses to name those on the list, which will be unveiled tomorrow (28 September) at the directory's launch.Ric Martin, chambers director at magic circle set Fountain Court says ...

  • Former SFO chief heads up Cameron McKenna inquiry

    27-Sep-1999

    Cameron McKenna has instructed George Staple, former head of the Serious Fraud Office, to investigate allegations that are contained in two unfair dismissal claims against the firm.Top fraud lawyer Monty Raphael, senior partner of Peters & Peters, has been instructed by lawyers acting for the complainants.Staple is head of Clifford Chance’s financial services investigations ...

  • Fox Williams advocate heads back to the bar

    27-Sep-1999

    A leading employment lawyer has quit Fox Williams' highly-rated team to return to the bar.Suzanne McKie has left the practice, where she spent two years specialising in advisory and advocacy work, to join one of the leading employment sets, Devereux Chambers.Her departure highlights the problems facing solicitors firms looking to develop advocacy practices in-house, especially ...

  • Freshfields and CC fight it out the Italian way

    27-Sep-1999

    Freshfields' and Clifford Chance's Milan offices are fighting head to head in the battle to take over Italy's third largest insurance company.Until recently Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni SpA (INA) was in friendly merger talks with Turin-based banking group San Paolo, represented by Clifford Chance.However, Italy's largest insurance company Assicurazioni ...

  • Freshfields and Lovells drive Rolls Royce bid

    27-Sep-1999

    Lovell White Durrant and Freshfields are thrashing out the details of Rolls Royce's shock £576m bid for engineering group Vickers, after negotiations were completed in less than a week.Lovells is representing Vickers while Freshfields is acting for Rolls Royce.The deal will create one of the world's largest aeronautical engine and gas turbine manufacturers.Originally only corporate partner James Reeves and consultant solicitor Dan ...

  • Freshfields' Dutch office steps up poaching spree

    27-Sep-1999

    Freshfields is continuing its aggressive expansion in The Netherlands by poaching two more partners - this time from Allen & Overy's proposed Dutch merger firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke.Top corporate lawyer Jan Willem van der Staay and leading intellectual property litigator Hubert Harmeling are expected to join Freshfields' Amsterdam office once they have negotiated departure ...

  • Geoffrey Mead

    27-Sep-1999

    Warner Cranston has recently appointed Geoffrey Mead as its head of employment. Anne Mizzi chats to the man who is not daunted by the depleted team he now has to oversee

  • Herbert Smith acts in £20bn bid for bank

    27-Sep-1999

    Herbert Smith is cashing in on one of the UK's largest ever takeovers as the Bank of Scotland launches its audacious £20bn hostile bid for National Westminster Bank.Michael Walter, corporate partner at Herbert Smith, is working with senior partner Edward Walker-Arnott on the deal. They are supported by a seven-strong team including competition partner Elizabeth McKnight, tax partner David Martin and banking partner Dina Albagli.The Bank of Scotland's ...

  • ICI appoints a new company secretary

    27-Sep-1999

    Chemicals giant ICI - currently restructuring its business - is appointing solicitor Debjani Jash to company secretary to replace Ken Rushton.Jash, who has been a solicitor in the group's eight-lawyer legal department for four years, takes up the post on 1 January, replacing Rushton, who is retiring after 31 years in the post.ICI is converting from an industrial chemicals business into a more specialised unit, concentrating on perfumes, cosmetics and paints. ...

  • In brief: Angela Mason

    27-Sep-1999

    Angela Mason, former solicitor and head of gay pressure group Stonewall, is calling for an investigation into Law Society council member Trevor Murray's comments at a council meeting that homosexuals indulge in acts of "disgusting depravity". Murray is standing by the remarks he made last week. The Law Society says it will not take any action.

  • In brief: Edge Ellison

    27-Sep-1999

    Edge Ellison has created a new finance law department. Based in London, the new practice will provide a range of legal services to financial institutions and corporate clients. It will be headed by partner Keith Ainsworth and consist of 32 fee earners, based in London, Birmingham and Leicester.

  • In brief: Edward Lewis

    27-Sep-1999

    Edward Lewis partners failed to oust chairman Tony Collins last week following allegations of sex discrimination by three different members of staff (The Lawyer, 13 September). Jeremy Rutter was expected to be elected the new chairman of the London firm, but insiders say partners balked when it came to making a decision because Collins is considering legal action. Collins vigorously denies the accusations.

  • In brief: Herbert Smith

    27-Sep-1999

    Herbert Smith partner Denis Chemla has been appointed as legal adviser to Kosovo's temporary administration, United Nations Mission in Kosovo, to aid the process of legislative reform in the war-torn region. Paris-based Chemla is heading for Pristina on 27 September, where he will work for three months in the Office of Legal Affairs.

  • In brief: Linklaters Dutch alliance

    27-Sep-1999

    Linklaters Dutch alliance firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek has lost a Hague-based team of civil law notaries to rival Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn. Remaining notaries will move to De Brauw's Rotterdam office as part of a Europe-wide rationalisation.

  • In brief: No 6 Chambers

    27-Sep-1999

    No 6 Chambers in Leeds has poached two senior tenants from local rival Chancery House Chambers. James Allen QC, former head of chambers, and Melanie Williamson joined the set on 13 September. Allen was the first chancery and commercial specialist to take silk on the north eastern circuit.

  • In brief: Orchard

    27-Sep-1999

    Orchard has lost a founding partner to Cardiff firm Palser Grossman. Commercial litigation and employment law specialist Bethan Darwin will join the commercial litigation team at Palsers along with a new associate from Clifford Chance, Jonathan Geen, and an assistant solicitor from Withers Gillian Hogan.

  • In brief: Talbot Creggy & Co

    27-Sep-1999

    Talbot Creggy & Co, a now defunct London law firm, is being investigated as part of the Manhattan District Attorney's probe into $7.5bn Russian money laundering. Andrew Warren and Stuart Creggy, former lawyers in the firm, were arrested in the UK in 1998 on money laundering and fraud charges. They are still in custody.

  • In brief: The National Farmers' Union

    27-Sep-1999

    The National Farmers' Union has cut back its legal panel to nine law firms from 69. Firms left on the panel include Morgan Cole and Bond Pearce. The NFU has also launched a legal service centre to help its 135,000 members get quicker access to advice. The union is employing 12 legal advisers to help with issues ...

  • In brief: Wragge & Co

    27-Sep-1999

    Wragge & Co has poached City banking litigator Tom Price from Macfarlanes. Price joins the Birmingham firm's banking and financial sector as an associate and will continue to act for "a major UK financial institution".

  • Insider's guide to the digital galaxy

    27-Sep-1999

    According to pundits, e-commerce experts are few and far between. Mark Brandon examines industry's views as to which firms are scaling the heights'Good e-commerce lawyers are rarer than hen's teeth.' That is, according to one head of department at a major City law firm which, in common with most of its rivals, is trying to recruit lawyers who can deal with the boom in new media work.New media can potentially cover so many ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    27-Sep-1999

    News of the World investigations. Crown Court judge Timothy Pontius has freed two men convicted of dealing class A drugs after the jury accussed the tabloid of entrapment. The jury found the 10th Earl of Hardwicke and his business partner Stefan Thwaites guilty of supplying cocaine to the News of the World's "investigations editor", but made the unusual move of stating it had wanted to acquit. Defence counsel Alun Jones QC made an impassioned plea against the newspaper's

  • It's been a good week for...

    27-Sep-1999

    Mishcon de Reya's head of sport Tony Morton-Hooper whose client, UK double World Champion triathlete Spencer Smith, has been given the all clear by the International Triathlon Union's Appeal Board. However Smith, who allegedly tested positive for the drug nandrolene, may face another challenge from the sport's governing body in the USA at the Court of Arbitration ...

  • Keating wins damages from local paper

    27-Sep-1999

    Law Society presidential candidate David Keating has received "substantial damages" and a front page apology from a local newspaper over comments made by society president Robert Sayer.As first reported in The Lawyer (7 June), Sayer, during this summer's presidential election campaign, branded Keating "a complete pillock" who "falls asleep in council meetings" - allegations vigorously denied by Keating.A statement from Keating's lawyer, Martin Mears ...

  • Kemp & Co in training contract row

    27-Sep-1999

    Kemp & Co is being taken to an industrial tribunal by a man who claims his training contract was terminated before he even started.However, founding partner Richard Kemp denies the firm ever offered the claimant, David Gould, a contract. He says: "Gould is claiming we offered him, and subsequently withdrew, a training contract. We are taking the claim seriously but believe it is completely groundless and we are resisting it. We did get an application from Gould for paralegal ...

  • Law firms in Midlands struggle to pay wages

    27-Sep-1999

    The senior partners at Birmingham's top law firms have met to discuss how to tackle the "serious salary inflation" problem faced by Midlands firms.Wragge & Co's John Crabtree, Pinsent Curtis' Julian Tonks, Eversheds' Birmingham senior partner Adrian Bland and Edge Ellison's James Retallack ...

  • Legal Widow

    27-Sep-1999

    It's been an interesting two weeks with my boys. Deminimus, who is five, started at big school, and only lost his new red cap twice. The Lawyer, who is 40 this year, spent the fortnight completing a huge power station construction deal in London and lost just about everything - temper, thread, glasses and, most unfortunately, the support of his team. I later learned that while I was escorting a solemn and only slightly trembling five-year-old to the new school gates, the Lawyer was letting ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 27/9/99

    27-Sep-1999

    Maria Petrovska v (1) Michael Mullings (2) Thames Transit Ltd & anor (1999) QBD (Burton J) 13 August 1999Claimant: Female, 24 years old at date of accident; 28 years old at date of trial.Incident: The claimant was injured as she waited for a bus. A passing coach crushed the claimant against metal railings, causing her severe injury. The claimant brought an action against the driver and operator of the coach and the operator of another coach indirectly ...

  • Litigation work set to explode in new year

    27-Sep-1999

    Litigation work is set to rise in the new year because claimant firms are delaying difficult cases until they get used to the Woolf reforms, a leading defendant personal injury lawyer says.Martin Bruffell, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers and partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer, says the 25 per cent fall in litigation since the reforms is largely due to plaintiff firms holding ...

  • Litigation Writs 27/9/99

    27-Sep-1999

    An accountant who claims he was wrongly reprimanded by his professional body after his former girlfriend made a series of allegations about him is suing the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for damages. Chartered accountant Raymond Stanbridge's claim says he was severely reprimanded and fined £5,000 after a hearing on 30 September 1996. He claims that the proceedings were unfair and oppressive, and that the investigating officer was biased against ...

  • Making virtual legislation into a reality

    27-Sep-1999

    Fancy a Sony Nicam TV for £3? Well, you're too late, at least if you want to buy one from a legitimate source, like Argos.Just a couple of weeks ago, Argos, the famous retailer, found itself on the raw end of the e-commerce revolution when thousands of people purchased TV sets from its website for just £3. Or did they?Argos claims that they didn't, and is refusing to honour the purchases, claiming ...

  • Martineau Johnson poaches internet client from Simmons

    27-Sep-1999

    Birmingham firm Martineau Johnson has become the sole UK legal adviser to a leading US internet company after poaching the work from Simmons & Simmons.The Nasdaq-listed company, the globe.com (TGLO), is worth around $253m (£158m) and has more than 200 employees internationally.Martineaus partner Richard Wrigley tells The Lawyer that Simmons & Simmons acted for TGLO when it bought out Martineaus' Midlands-based client, the Games Domain, earlier this ...

  • Mayer Brown & Platt retreats from Moscow

    27-Sep-1999

    US firm Mayer Brown & Platt will shut down its Moscow office at the end of this month.It is the latest casualty of last year's Russian economic crisis, which forced firms to re-focus, slim down or pull out.An industry source says: "Law firms are facing the choice of expanding dramatically or withdrawing. It's a case of investing and becoming truly international, or ...

  • Media ace slams City practices

    27-Sep-1999

    SCHILLING & Lom partner Jonathan Coad is accusing big City firms of failing to advise corporate giants effectively on their rights against consumer watchdog programmes and publications.Coad claims corporate giants often feel defenceless when attacked by consumer rights programmes and magazines because their corporate lawyers are unaware of their rights against the media.Coad, a leading media lawyer whose clients have included ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and ...

  • Mid-size firms struggle to keep pace

    27-Sep-1999

    Lawyers celebrating after The Lawyer 100 revealed that firms broke through the £5bn fee income barrier over the last 12 months should pause for thought. The underlying trend for fees and profits shows that increases in these areas have significantly declined.Last week, a survey by The Lawyer and PricewaterhouseCoopers indicated that fees have only increased for 80 per cent of firms in the past year, which compares to 93 per cent in 1998 and 87 per cent in 1997. And ...

  • Minimum wage applies to pupillages

    27-Sep-1999

    The Bar is facing a major shake-up in its provision of training following a landmark judgment in the High Court, ruling that the minimum wage applies to pupillage.Mr Justice Sullivan found that pupillage is a contract of apprenticeship and therefore the Minimum Wage Act 1998 does apply to it.However, he rejected the claim that it was a contract for personal services.The judgment has far-reaching implications for the profession, with 200 pupillages ...

  • Norton Rose to advise on solicitor insurance

    27-Sep-1999

    Norton Rose has been appointed by the Law Society to advise on a new solicitors insurance scheme. The firm will look at legal issues underpinning the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF), which the Law Society plans to scrap next year.The City firm won a Law Society beauty parade for the lucrative work.James Bateson, a partner in Norton Rose's insurance group, will lead a team ...

  • Out with the old

    27-Sep-1999

    It was an obvious candidate for Tulkinghorn. The Lawyer's curmudgeonly diarist could not resist running a caption competition using the picture of Field Fisher Waterhouse partner Mark Abell in a dentist's chair with a grinning orthodontist at his side.It was one of the more outlandish publicity shots to turn up at The Lawyer's office - especially as, until recently, ...

  • Property

    27-Sep-1999

    Linklaters advised retail group DAKS Simpson on the £20m sale of its London-based store to Scottish Widows. The sale is part of a number of acquisitions being finalised in Cheltenham, Manchester and Leeds. James Knox, property partner at Linklaters, acted on the deal with support from property assistant Alan Gutteridge. Freshfields advised Scottish Widows.

  • Property

    27-Sep-1999

    Herbert Smith acted for Stockley Park Consortium on the £3m sale of Arena Health and Fitness Club at Stockley Park to Virgin Active. Shelagh McKibbin, property partner at Herbert Smith, led a seven-strong team on the deal including Darren Williamson and Shilpa Amin, both assistants in corporate, and Harriett Fidick, an assistant in employment. Denton Hall acted for Virgin Active.

  • Property

    27-Sep-1999

    DJ Freeman advised Benchmark Group on the £37.9m sale of Ibex House to Jones Lang LaSalle's pension fund clients. Johnathan Lewis (pictured), a partner in the property services department at DJ Freeman, acted on the deal with tax partner Graham Chase and property assistant Alan Rees. Lovell White Durrant advised the purchaser.

  • Property

    27-Sep-1999

    CMS Cameron McKenna acted for Lloyds TSB in the development of the Sofitel Hotel. The deal involved the redevelopment of the former Lloyds Bank Building in SW1. The Sofitel chain is part of the French-owned Accor Group, which owns the Novotel and Ibis hotel chains. Edward Benzecry, property partner at Cameron McKenna, acted for Lloyds TSB while

  • Quote of the week

    27-Sep-1999

    "I will personally give a bottle of champagne to anyone who can tell me how a driver can proceed with his feet up in the cab and still be in control of the train. It is a ridiculous suggestion."- Anthony Scrivener QC, who is representing driver Larry Harrison (who denies driving with his feet up) at the inquiry into the Southall rail disaster at which seven people died. Relatives have dubbed Scrivener the "Bollinger barrister".

  • Rogers & Wells offers $2m for New York M&A big-hitters

    27-Sep-1999

    Rogers & Wells is offering a $2m (£1.2m) package to lure big-hitting New York M&A partners as it prepares to merge with Clifford Chance.A New York source close to Rogers & Wells says: "They are offering close to the $2m mark and it seems Clifford Chance is prepared to underwrite that."Clifford Chance's choice of US firm surprised observers because Rogers & Wells ...

  • Rowe & Maw in Celtic sell-off

    27-Sep-1999

    Rowe & Maw is the latest law firm to score for a football club client, picking up work on the sale of Celtic at Legal Monte Carlo, the in-house international legal conference held by The Lawyer.It is the latest in a string of high-profile football deals, providing lucrative work for an increasing number of firms.Last week alone, Rowe & Maw and McGrigor Donald were involved in the Celtic sell-off; Dibb Lupton Alsop and

  • Rozenberg

    27-Sep-1999

    The oft-repeated justification for making the European Convention on Human Rights part of the laws of the UK is to save people making the long and difficult trip to Strasbourg. Anyone who relied on Air France for that journey a week or so ago will know exactly what that means. Some flights were delayed for several hours while others were cancelled without warning or plausible explanation. Passengers had to make bus trips across the airport or Paris. Included was James Bulger's ...

  • Scott Redpath on the allocation of policyholders' final bonuses.

    27-Sep-1999

    Scott Redpath is a barrister at Hammond Suddards.Several interesting points emerged in the recent case of The Equitable Life Assurance Society v Alan David Hyman, heard by vice-chancellor Richard Scott in the High Court.The originating summons sought declarations on questions arising from the allocation of final bonuses by Equitable Life (the Society) to its with-profits policy-holders. The Society asked whether it could allocate bonuses to policyholders with guaranteed ...

  • Scottish Media Group

    27-Sep-1999

    Until the early 1990s, Scottish Media Group (SMG) was primarily viewed as a television broadcaster which developed and sold programmes both in the UK and abroad.

  • Scottish Media on hunt for TV chief

    27-Sep-1999

    Scottish Media Group is splitting its legal department in two to create a dedicated television division with a new head of legal.It is currently advertising for the position, which will be based in London and will head a team of three, two of whom will be based in Glasgow.Head of Scottish Media Group's in-house legal team Dawn Davidson says that the television work was threatening to take over the department."Around 85 per cent of the work the ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    27-Sep-1999

    The US Justice Department and the tobacco companies. President Clinton is launching a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against cigarette firms to try to recover medical costs incurred as a result of smoking-related diseases. US Attorney General Janet Reno says the US taxpayer should no longer bear the estimated £13bn medical cost. Cigarette companies are labelling the fight a "blatantly political move". Meanwhile stockbrokers are advising against buying tobacco shares. The ...

  • Solicitors excused from court

    27-Sep-1999

    The Law Society has changed its rules to excuse solicitors from their duty to attend court in some civil and criminal cases where counsel has been instructed.Under the old rule, solicitors could be disciplined for failing to attend, even if they were not actually needed or where clients could not recover costs from their opponent.This meant that either the client suffered unnecessary expense or the solicitor had to provide the service free of charge.

  • Sonnenscheins pulls out of UK

    27-Sep-1999

    US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal is closing its London office - leaving its high-profile partners, poached from leading UK firms, unsure of their futures.The Chicago-based firm has set a target date of 1 December to shut down its operations.The office was founded in 1994 and has made high-profile recruitments including former Allen & Overy partners Peter Borrowdale, ...

  • Square Mile

    27-Sep-1999

    Warner Cranston has recently appointed Geoffrey Mead as its head of employment. Anne Mizzi chats to the man who is not daunted by the depleted team he now has to oversee.Hardly a day goes by without the announcement of yet another company reducing its legal panel. Beauty parades are commonplace and every week the marketing department identifies another client who should be targeted or recommends some activity to which we should entice our clients.As time passes ...

  • Squire Sanders takes over US rival in CIS

    27-Sep-1999

    US firm Steptoe & Johnson has given up its eastern European foothold by handing over its last remaining offices to rival firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey.The offices concerned are Steptoe & Johnson's 13-lawyer Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) practices, based in Moscow and Almaty in Kazakhstan. The loss of these offices brings nearly a decade of presence in the area to an end.

  • Stephens Innocent duo quit

    27-Sep-1999

    Two partners are quitting seven-partner Stephens Innocent, the media-friendly law firm run by flamboyant senior partner Mark Stephens.Stuart Lockyear is to join Davenport Lyons as an intellectual property litigator, with copyright partner Robin Fry heading in-house to join an internet start-up company.One leading media lawyer reports being approached by a number of other ...

  • Stephenson Harwood on standby for Nationwide

    27-Sep-1999

    Stephenson Harwood is being put on hold by first time client Nationwide over its plan to sue Barclays.The firm had been fighting Nationwide's corner in a dispute over Barclays' proposed £1 charge to non-customers for use of its cashpoint, which the bank plans to introduce next month.Nationwide gave Barclays until 23 September to back down.Following ...

  • The Lawyer award winner gets top job

    27-Sep-1999

    Another winner at this year's The Lawyer Awards has netted a senior post - this time at Midlands commercial firm Lee Crowder.Birmingham commercial lawyer Andrew Sparrow has left his post as head of corporate services at Cartwright & Lewis to become an equity partner at Lee Crowder.Sparrow is the author of two interactive multimedia CDs, The Director's Guide and Year 2000 - The Law. His firm won the Best Use of Multimedia award at The Lawyer Awards in ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Richard Thornely

    27-Sep-1999

    Richard Thornely was born in Lancaster in 1957. He is a partner and head of the private client division at Thomas Eggar Church Adams.What subjects did you fail at school?O Level Greek and Biology (but I have three sons to show for it).What was your first job?Groundsman at 20p per hour.What was you first ever salary as a lawyer?£3000 ...

  • This week

    27-Sep-1999

    The International Bar Association is holding a five-day conference on business law at Barcelona's Palau de Congressos de Barcelona, starting on Sunday, 26 September.

  • Three-way merger creates SE giant

    27-Sep-1999

    Three South East law firms are merging to create a 40-partner practice, launching it into the top five in the region.Argles & Court, Burstows and Stonehams join forces on 1 November to form Argles Stoneham Burstow with five offices across Surrey, Sussex and Kent.Russell Bell, Stonehams' managing partner, will retain that position in the new firm. Argles' senior partner Raymond Harris and Burstows' managing partner, Tony Burstow become joint chairmen.

  • Too many loopholes spoil the rules

    27-Sep-1999

    Marlene Winfield of the National Consumer Council gives her reaction to the Law Society's new practice rule. Marlene Winfield is the National Consumer Council's senior policy officer for legal services.On 3 September, the Law Society unveiled its new practice rule on client care. It was three years in the making. Launching it, the president said: "The new rule will give more certainty for all and, importantly, help to reduce the number ...

  • UK in-house counsel salaries four times Euro counterparts

    27-Sep-1999

    US multinationals are on a hiring spree but many UK lawyers may be pricing themselves out of the in-house European market, according to a new survey out last week.Figures collated by an international recruitment consultancy show that for companies to recruit a UK lawyer they must pay up to four times the salary of a European counterpart.While a seven-year qualified lawyer from the UK can expect a salary of £65,000 to £84,000, a lawyer with equivalent ...

  • Up close and personal

    27-Sep-1999

    In the late 1980s and early 1990s Pannone Napier transformed the legal scene in this country, and sowed the seeds for much that was to come. Continuing our series on the figures who shaped the legal millennium, Nick Gillies takes a look at thefirm that changed the way personal injury cases were conducted in the UK.In most areas of law there is a time you can point at and say "That is the moment when things changed." Very few are as recent as the formation of the disaster ...

  • Who is behind pro bono?

    27-Sep-1999

    The Solicitor's Pro Bono Group (SPBG) is not finding things easy at the moment."We still get firms which don't see it as part of their core value or at least don't want to join part of the profession-wide effort to spread the word," says Tony Willis, chair of the SPBG's board of trustees and a Clifford Chance consultant. "This illustrates an attitude toward this ...