3 August 1998

The Lawyer

  • A set with vision needs a professional IT eye

    9-Aug-1998

    About a year ago Hardwicke Building recognised the need to have its own in-house IT manager.The set wanted to improve internal communications to encourage mutual support and the cross-fertilisation of ideas - two of the main reasons for having a large multidisciplinary set. And, with more than 70 tenants and 20 support staff, it needed a good operating systems to control workflow and billing.The set was also keen to provide everybody in chambers with easy access ...

  • Ambitions on an international scale

    9-Aug-1998

    Almost two years on Denton Hall is trying again.

  • Art in the courtroom

    9-Aug-1998

    I was interested to read the article "The art of legal practice" in The Lawyer (28 July 1998).In a rather more modest way, I have been encouraging a local sixth form college to hold a competition among its "A" level art students, so that the winning art can be displayed in our tribunal rooms.I have arranged this competition for the past three years and I now have an interesting selection of pictures permanently on display in the ...

  • Bakers appoints new director

    9-Aug-1998

    Baker & McKenzie has appointed Peter Smith, former chief executive at the now defunct Norton Rose M5 Group, to the new post of international director of professional development and know-how.Smith will take over the firm's global professional development responsibilities from London partner ...

  • Bancassurance under supervision

    9-Aug-1998

    With the merging of the banking and insurance concerns, regulators will have their hands full, warns Graham Wedlake. Graham Wedlake is head of banking at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.In recent years there has been an increasing overlap of the activities of banks and insurers. Bancassurance, as it has become known, has become the holy grail of banks looking for new sources of income and for insurers looking to access the large distribution network of the banks. It is only recently, ...

  • Briefs

    9-Aug-1998

    Simmons & Simmons is hosting The Solicitors' Human Rights Group's first annual lecture this Tuesday. The lecture, entitled "Finding your way to a human rights practice", will be given by barrister James Behrens of 13 Old Square.Wednesday evening sees the launch of the no doubt gargantuan Legal 500 at the Gibson Hall, Bishopsgate.

  • Camerons adds Zipp to Washington office

    9-Aug-1998

    Cameron McKenna has expanded its US energy regulatory practice by acquiring two-partner, six-lawyer niche Washington firm Morley Caskin.The acquisition, completed last Wednesday, doubles the number of partners in Cameron McKenna's existing Washington office and brings its total number of lawyers to 10.Morley Caskin, like Cameron McKenna, specialised in regulatory electricity and gas matters, pipeline projects and other energy-related work.Former ...

  • CC boosts Spanish office

    9-Aug-1998

    Clifford Chance has recruited Jose Antonio Cainzos, the former head of Baker & McKenzie's litigation department in Spain, as a partner in its Madrid office. Clifford Chance now has 65 lawyers in its Madrid and Barcelona offices.

  • Clayton Utz boasts it is best in Australia

    9-Aug-1998

    Clayton Utz has seized on a newly published Australian legal directory to claim it is the best national firm in Australia.The firm, which is the fourth largest on the continent with 173 partners, wins the highest number of top ratings in the influential Legal Profiles for the 30 practice areas Clayton Utz has identified as most important to a national firm.However, the study, based on the nominations of more than 8,000 users of legal services, puts rivals Mallesons ...

  • Cost disputes: what cost to the solicitor's reputation?

    9-Aug-1998

    Marlene Winfield says that solicitors must be more transparent about exactly how much their services are going to cost the consumer. Marlene Winfield is senior policy officer at the National Consumer Council.Last year, I was having problems with a bowing wall in my Victorian semi. The surveyor thought it might be a drains problem. I called in a builder. "How much will it cost to put right?" I asked."Well," the builder said, "that depends. First of all, that might ...

  • Dibbs associate denies al-Muhajiroun link

    9-Aug-1998

    DIBB Lupton Alsop associate Makbool Javaid has accused an extreme Islamic group of exaggerating his links with it in order to gain credibility.Javaid, who is still discussing his future with senior partners at Dibbs, hit the headlines last month because of his alleged close involvement with the London-based al-Muhajiroun group, which supports the international terrorist Osama bin Laden.Ten days ago he cut short a holiday in Pakistan to publicly distance himself ...

  • Electronic conveyancing on the cards

    9-Aug-1998

    The Law Commission and the Land Registry have put forward a joint proposal to speed up the house-buying process with "electronic conveyancing". All properties would be registered at the Land Registry, and it would be possible to verify title in seconds.

  • Ex-Lagerlof lawyers gain from break with Alliance

    9-Aug-1998

    THE reputation of Lagerlof & Leman - the Swedish member of Linklaters & Alliance - has taken a knock with the revelation that the five ex-partners who set up a breakaway firm rather than join the alliance are billing almost twice as much as their ex-colleagues.According to the respected Swedish magazine, AffArs VArlden, the ex-Lagerlof partners who established Hammarskiold & Co last December ...

  • First 'virtual' conference on Millennium Bug for lawyers

    9-Aug-1998

    The Lawyer has teamed up with the Department of Trade and Industry's Action 2000 and British Telecom to run the first "virtual" conference for the legal profession.The conference will be held on Wednesday 23 September when a panel of legal experts will discuss the Millennium Bug on a conference phone line and field phone inquiries from the legal profession.The panel will be made up of Gwynneth Flower, managing director of Action 2000; Susan Singleton, author ...

  • Four Freehills partners

    9-Aug-1998

    Freehills Patent Attorneys, the practice affiliated with leading Australian firm Freehill Hollingdale & Page, has appointed four partners - John Davy, Paul Jones, Paul Savage and Debra Tulloch - to its Sydney and Melbourne offices.

  • Franks Charlesly taken to industrial tribunal by 11 staff

    9-Aug-1998

    Eleven former staff of disintegrating 14-partner London firm Franks Charlesly, including two ex-salaried partners, are taking the firm to an industrial tribunal claiming unfair dismissal.The legal action is the latest event in the firm's acrimonious demise, which was triggered several months ago when Jack Franks decided to dissolve the firm - some 60 years after setting it up.Ex-Franks Charlesly partners Marilyn Elstow and David Marcus, who moved to London ...

  • French discussions

    9-Aug-1998

    The French Ministry of Justice has organised two round table discussions on "The right of the family under European law and justice" and "The fight against organised crime and European law and justice". They will be held on 16 October at the Centre international des Congres du Palais des Papas in Avignon, France.

  • Global infrastructure boom

    9-Aug-1998

    A dramatic increase in work has helped Clifford Chance beat rivals Linklaters and Baker & McKenzie to become the leading firm advising on privately-funded infrastructure projects.Despite growing economic uncertainty ...

  • Go global, but think local

    9-Aug-1998

    Baker & McKenzie's London managing partner, Russell Lewin, has been wondering why law firms took so long to get on the global trail. Russell Lewin is managing partner of Baker & Mckenzie's London office.Linklaters should be congratulated on its march into Europe, in alliance with firms ...

  • Harassment Act is poorly worded

    9-Aug-1998

    The Protection from Harassment Act was rushed through leaving grey areas vulnerable to argument, writes Roger Pearson.Anti-stalking laws have been under the microscope in the High Court in a case which has brought some judicial clarification, but which has also left the door wide open for further legal challenge.The case centred on definition of what amounts to a "course of conduct" referred to in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

  • Holiday crash claim

    9-Aug-1998

    Holiday company, Inspirations East, of Isleworth, Middlesex, faces a major damages claim by the victims of a road crash in Kenya two years ago. The crash happened while the claimants were travelling to Mombasa airport. They claim the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the company's driver.

  • Human rights on trial

    9-Aug-1998

    Chris Fogarty and Richard Tyler look at the case of a British lawyer who is locked up in Portugal and another who is acting as a United Nations observer in Sierra LeoneMonths locked in an overcrowded Portuguese prison cell have allowed Professor David Lowry plenty of time to reflect on the bitter irony of his situation.The Canadian-qualified barrister, who has written about and championed human rights, now claims the Portuguese Government is trampling on his. ...

  • IBA's movers in Vancouver

    9-Aug-1998

    Despite competition, this year's IBA conference is set to be the biggest and brightest ever, reports Richard Tyler.The International Bar Association's (IBA) annual get-together this year in Vancouver between 13-18 September comes hot on the heels of that of its rival, the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), which held its annual meeting in Nice in August.The IBA emerged from the UIA in 1947 and for a few years the two shared annual conferences and ...

  • IBA's Paris-based rival elects English silk for new millennium

    9-Aug-1998

    THE UNION Internationale des Avocats (UIA) has voted in only its third English president in its 71-year history as the group tries to build bridges with its largely English-speaking rival, the International Bar Association (IBA).At the UIA conference in Nice last month, prominent English barrister Nicholas Stewart QC, who is chairman of the Bar Council's human rights committee, was voted in unopposed to be the organisation's president in 2000.He will ...

  • In brief: Claims Direct defends taking a cut of awards

    9-Aug-1998

    Personal injury firm Claims Direct has hit back at a Law Society attack on the company. At a press conference last week the company, which handles PI claims in return for a 30 per cent cut of any damages awards, said it provided a valuable service for people who were nervous of using solicitors.

  • In brief: Clarke Willmott acquires property practice

    9-Aug-1998

    South-West firm Clarke Willmott & Clarke has acquired Bridgwater commercial property legal practice Michael Evans & Company. Clarke Willmott has 35 partners and 350 staff, and following the acquisition last month, the 18-strong staff of the target firm is moving into Clarke Willmott's offices in Bridgwater, where partner Andrew Hannam will remain in charge. Pictured above from left to right ...

  • In brief: Lawyers plan exodus, says ZMB survey

    9-Aug-1998

    Thirteen per cent of lawyers are considering leaving the legal profession in the next 12 months, a survey of 600 lawyers by recruitment consultancy ZMB in association with The Times has revealed. Of these, 42 per cent said the law was not for them, while 37 per cent wanted to work shorter hours. Thirty-three per cent of respondents said they were likely to change job in the next year, half of whom would consider going in-house.

  • In brief: No action to be taken against Jane Hickman

    9-Aug-1998

    No action will be taken against Jane Hickman, Hickman & Rose senior partner, who was arrested in July after cannabis was allegedly discovered in a bundle of clothes she was taking to a client in Wandsworth prison. Hickman is acting for a number of clients alleging brutality by prison officers at another prison, Wormwood Scrubs.

  • In brief: Patent Office announces October fees cut

    9-Aug-1998

    The Patent Office is reducing its trade mark fees with effect from 1 October. The application fee will be reduced from £225 to £200, the renewal fee from £250 to £200, and the renewal fee (additional class) from £200 to £50. A number of other applications, including requests for registration and requests to merge applications, will have no fee.

  • In brief: Tougher requirements for legal aid franchises

    9-Aug-1998

    Firms bidding for legal aid franchises will have to meet tough new requirements under plans published last week by the Legal Aid Board. The revised specifications include new standards regarding the supervision of legally aided work and the setting of a minimum number of files that firms have to review at certain intervals. There are also tight new controls over costs. The system is due to come into force on 31 July 1999.

  • In brief: Turbervilles unveils Uxbridge property shop

    9-Aug-1998

    Middlesex firm Turbervilles, with Nelson Cuff has opened a property shop at its Uxbridge offices. The estate agency, called Turbervilles Direct, is running in tandem with the firm's existing conveyancing and financial services department.

  • It has been a bad week for...

    9-Aug-1998

    Exeter solicitor Nigel Chubb and his firm Richards Chubb who are being sued for £1.5m in damages in the High Court. Chubb is accused of negligence in the handling of the purchase of a helicopter hangar, a coach house and a barn for their subsequent conversion into holiday flats. His ex-client, a property development company, claims it was not told that planning permission for conversion of the property was subject to a condition that it should remain in the same ...

  • It has been a good week for...

    9-Aug-1998

    Dundee solicitor and ex-Rugby player Alexandra MacRae, whose sex change was recognised by the Scottish Courts when a sheriff agreed to send her to a female prison after she was jailed for 15 months for embezzlement.The Sun's "legal manager" Tom Crone and the newspaper's counsel, Charles Gray QC, who fought off an attempt by Mohamed Al Fayed to win a court injunction banning an ex-bodyguard from spilling the beans about Princess ...

  • Jailed barrister asks ECJ to change criminal code in Portugal

    9-Aug-1998

    An English barrister who has spent 18 months in a Portugese jail without trial has filed a suit with the European Court of Justice to try to change the country's criminal code.Law professor David Lowry, a director of financial services company Paramount, was arrested in April 1997 when the Portuguese share authority raided the company's Lisbon officesLowry was only charged a year later, in accordance with Portugal's criminal code of procedure.

  • Joanne Owers on the continuing Seymour-Smith saga. Joanne Owers is an associate in the employment law department of Baker & McKenzie.

    9-Aug-1998

    The case of R v Secretary of State for Employment Ex Parte Seymour-Smith and Perez has finally been referred to the European Court of Justice by the House of Lords after seven years of litigation.It involves two women who were dismissed by their employers in 1991. Both had served less than two year's service. Their claims for unfair dismissal were rejected by the industrial tribunal. They sought judicial review of the 1985 Order which introduced the two-year qualifying ...

  • Lawyers at play

    9-Aug-1998

    Titmuss Sainer Dechert is the softball champion of the London legal circuit. The firm thrashed Richards Butler 22:16 in the final of the 1998 London Legal Softball League tournament. Team members Richard Symonds (l), a trainee, and Keith Dacey(r), who works in records, are pictured with the trophy.

  • Ownership case knows no boundaries

    9-Aug-1998

    Roger Pearson reports on the 11-year war waged between two landowners over boundary lines and ownership of a hedge.It may only be a humble ditch separating two fields in Staffordshire, but when the hedge that went with it was grubbed out and replaced with a wooden post and wire fence the law books came out.Since 1995, the ditch's legal status as a boundary has taxed the minds of a county court judge at Stoke on Trent, two Court of Appeal judges ...

  • Patrick Redmond The lawyer with the write stuff

    9-Aug-1998

    This solicitor has landed a £100,000 deal for his first novel. But why aren't more British lawyers like Patrick Redmond making waves in the literary world? asks Chris Fogarty.While senior Denton Hall partners were plotting mergers in the boardroom last week, solicitors in the bowels of the building were toasting the UK's latest literary star.Patrick Redmond, an unassuming 32-year-old assistant in the City firm's European Union ...

  • Police want to trace the owner of a "lawyers bodkin"

    9-Aug-1998

    Police are trying to trace the original owner of a "lawyers bodkin" which they believe was used to stab a London teenager to death.The tool was found at the scene of the murder of 17-year-old Dean Martindale who was stabbed after a fight with four youths in Brixton last month.Police believe it is either a lawyers bodkin or a saddlers yawl, and although a youth has been arrested in connection with the murder, they are keen to find its original owner.

  • Prescott adds brands to Bacardi

    9-Aug-1998

    Last year's £9.8bn merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness to form Diageo also resulted in a bonanza for other lawyers this year when the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission ruled that Diageo was required to dispose of the Dewars Scotch and Bombay Gin brands. After a rapid auction, Diageo sold the brands for £1.5bn to Bacardi.Partner Hilary Prescott of the London office of Washington-based

  • Pro bono and the public good

    9-Aug-1998

    In his article about the Lord Chancellor's pledge that county court summonses be made freely available to the public, John Malpas said that Nicholas Purnell QC acted "on a pro bono basis" for the four named barristers in opposing the right of The Lawyer to see a copy of the summons in the case in question.Pro bono is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "pro bono publico", which means "for the public good". If, for example, ...

  • Property battle lost

    9-Aug-1998

    The international property battle arising out of the collapse of Asil Nadir's Polly Peck empire has finally reached the House of Lords. However, it has ended in failure for four Greek Cypriot companies that had sought to sue the admin-istrators of Polly Peck International in the UK courts in respect of property in the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Their moves were blocked by the Court of Appeal and now that decision has been upheld by the Law Lords.

  • Savage exits Simmons for Linklaters

    9-Aug-1998

    Simmons & Simmons head of tax Heather Savage has resigned to join Linklaters as a consultant on flexi-time.Savage, who has two children and whose husband is also a City lawyer - Travers Smith Braithwaite insurance litigator Stephen Paget-Brown - will be working from her Kent home for two half days a week ...

  • Shop incompetent sole practitioners, says SPG

    9-Aug-1998

    The chairman of the Sole Practitioners Group (SPG) has called on its members to shop fellow sole practitioners who provide an "incompetent, not to say negligent" service.Fay Landau, writing in Solo - the SPG's quarterly magazine for its 5,000 members - said that because of the need to reduce the massive cost of indemnity insurance, standards among sole practitioners needed to be raised.She said: "I know at least seven firms about whom I have complained during ...

  • SIF contributions slammed as extortionate by small firms

    9-Aug-1998

    A group comprised mainly of sole practitioners has been set up to campaign for the abolition of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF).The Millennium Law Group of about 60 solicitors is pressing for the Law Society council to call an extraordinary general meeting, open to all members of the society, where it will demand an independent investigation into the formation and conduct of SIF over its 10-year history.It is also offering to help solicitors find cheaper ...

  • Simmons bins salaried partner concept

    9-Aug-1998

    Simmons & Simmons has taken the unusual step of abolishing the concept of salaried partners and has brought all its 50 or so salaried partners into the profit-sharing pool.One source claimed Simmons had asked a dozen partners to leave in the run-up to the restructuring, but chief executive Alan Morris denied this.The restructuring is a brave move by a firm which is probably the least profitable of the top City practices. By sharing its profits between more people, ...

  • SPC faces further setback

    9-Aug-1998

    A Proposed flagship Solicitors Property Centre (SPC) has collapsed and the opening date of the others has been postponed once again to next January.SPC plans to get groups of local solicitors to band together to sell property in 40 centres across England and Wales while it, as the parent company, takes on the marketing.But five firms on the Isle of Wight - Buckell & Drew, James Eldridge & Sons, Glanvilles, Walter Gray & Co and Robinson Jarvis & Rolf - which signed ...

  • Summary judgments in the dock

    9-Aug-1998

    Barry Samuels says that too many summary judgments are being obtained in cases where there is a real and arguable defence to the plaintiff's claim.The summary judgment procedure is over-used and widely abused, yet there is a place for it. The purpose is to enable a plaintiff to obtain judgment without trial where there is no possible arguable defence to the plaintiff's claim.However, plaintiffs often make summary judgment applications in cases ...

  • Taking on the financial regulator

    9-Aug-1998

    John Virgo and Philip Ryley explain the options open to solicitors who are banned from offering financial advice. John Virgo is a barrister at Guildhall Chambers and Philip Ryley is a solicitor at Ringrose Wharton in Bristol.With the advent of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), financial advisers are facing a new dawn of regulatory control. The FSA will certainly take a no less exacting view of criteria for membership than the current regulator, the Personal Investment ...

  • The justice mission

    9-Aug-1998

    Human rights are once again high on the IBA's conference agenda. But can such organisations make any real difference to abuses throughout the world?Had a bad day at the office? Colleagues or clients been on your back? Train late? Traffic heavy? had to work late? For Turkish defence lawyer, Tahir Elci, his "bad day" at the office started when he was arrested and taken to a police station near his home town in south-east Turkey.The police began by verbally ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Geoff Lord

    9-Aug-1998

    Geoff Lord was born in Cheshire in 1947. He was the senior partner at Elliott & Co's London office which joined Kennedys in March of this year.What was your first job?Taking nuts off bolts and putting different nuts on, aged 12-13.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£5 per week - in articles.What ...

  • Tripartite mergers are not the easy option

    9-Aug-1998

    The top five City firms may not be losing any sleep over the proposed merger between Denton Hall, Theodore Goddard and Richards Butler. After all, it may never happen and even if it does, it will take some considerable time to settle and see the fruits of its labours. However, there is no doubt that if it is successful and the firms gel into one major entity, it could create an interesting alternative to the City's big five law firms.It is indeed ...

  • Veteran campaigner stands for Bar vice-chairmanship

    9-Aug-1998

    Robin de Wilde QC - the veteran campaigner for greater democracy at the Bar - is set to stand for vice-chairman of the Bar Council in this month's elections.So far one barrister, Jonathan Hirst QC, has confirmed he will be standing. It is believed that two others, Julian Malins QC - who like Hirst was unsuccessful last year - and Stephen Hockman QC, are also considering standing. However, Nigel Pascoe QC, who stood last year, has been ruled out of the running because ...

  • When client confidentiality constitutes a crime

    9-Aug-1998

    Lawyers could find themselves facing prosecution if they do not report suspicions of fraud among their clients. Keith Nuthall reportsIF any professional legal malpractice could be labelled taboo, it would surely be breach of confidentiality, with all its consequences of undermining the basis of the solicitor-client relationship. But with the growth in sophisticated frauds and money laundering, particularly involving organised international crime, lawyers ...