3 May 1999

The Lawyer

  • ...as Eversheds and Dentons win property

    7-May-1999

    Denton Hall and Eversheds have been appointed as Barclays Bank's advisers on all its property management, purchases and sales.Barclays has divided its property work into three portfolios of about 2,500 buildings in total.Denton Hall's two portfolios cover nearly 2,000 properties in the Midlands, the South East and the South West of England.Eversheds refused ...

  • Arnheim Tite takes on 11 new lawyers

    7-May-1999

    Arnheim Tite & Lewis, the associate law firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, has raided City and international firms and in-house departments to recruit 11 new lawyers.The new arrivals are part of the firm's planned expansion from its current 100 fee-earners to 250 by July 2001, which sees it shaking off the after-effects of losing six partners who left to form KPMG's legal arm (The Lawyer, 3 May).Arnheim Tite's managing partner Christopher Tite says: ...

  • Ashursts partner made silk

    4-May-1999

    A City competition lawyer at Ashurst Morris Crisp is the only solicitor advocate to be appointed Queen's Counsel in this year's silks list.Mark Clough, partner in EC and competition law, receives silk over seven other solicitor applicants, and becomes the fifth in-house advocate.Nigel Parr, head of the EC and competition group at Ashursts, says Clough has years of experience ...

  • Baker & McKenzie launches fourth German office

    4-May-1999

    Baker & McKenzie is opening a new office in Dusseldorf - the firm's fourth base in Germany.The Dusseldorf office, with two partners and three associates, will concentrate on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, general business and commercial law.German partners Hans-Jorg Ziegenhain and Jurgen Mark will head the team.The move will strengthen the ...

  • Balfour-Lynn's rise heralds revamp at Peters & Peters

    4-May-1999

    The appointment of Julia Balfour-Lynn as managing partner of Peters & Peters represents the first stage of a firm-wide restructuring at the business crime specialists.Balfour-Lynn says the firm is planning a revamp of its partnership structure and significant growth in its regulatory and commercial litigation departments.Balfour-Lynn takes over single-handedly on 1 May ...

  • Barclays poaches Biddle's top man

    7-May-1999

    Barclays has recruited City firm Biddle's managing partner to oversee and manage the bank's legal panels and in-house team.Desmond O'Connell quit Biddle to take up his new role last week to become Barclays' legal team's number two.Barclays claims O'Connell's new position is the first of its kind. He becomes its projects and operations director, responsible for choosing the firms on the bank's legal panel and managing its ...

  • Barclays unveils slimmed down corporate panel

    7-May-1999

    Barclays' corporate recovery department has chosen a new streamlined panel of firms in its latest cull of legal advisers.The panel, which has been trimmed down from 13 firms to five, comprises national firms Dibb Lupton Alsop and Hill Dickinson, international firm Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn HRK, Bristol-based Lawrence Tuckett and Watford practice Matthew Arnold & Baldwin.

  • Barrister criticised in Sawoniuk trial debacle

    4-May-1999

    Barrister Kaly Kaul has been hauled up before a High Court judge over remarks made during the War Crimes trial.Kaul - briefed in the case by her ex-husband Martin Lee, a solicitor acting for defendant Anthony Sawoniuk - incurred the wrath of Mr Justice Potts by revealing to the jury that her client had had his bail revoked.The decision to withdraw bail from Sawoniuk, 78, was taken on March 25 as the eight-week trial approached its conclusion.It is ...

  • Barristers' pay is more than enough

    7-May-1999

    Your article "Barristers fight solicitors for share of a shrinking market" (The Lawyer, 21 June) suggests barristers can compete effectively on price by charging a "very low rate" of #50 per hour, and that their overheads are around 25 per cent of earnings. Let's do some calculations on this.Suppose these barristers work for 30 hours a week and take six weeks' unpaid holiday a year. Their annual earnings would be #51,000. This ...

  • Bill violates human rights, says Justice

    4-May-1999

    Legal pressure group Justice is the latest body to attack the Immigration and Asylum Bill, highlighting more than a dozen potential breaches of human rights and calling for the Government to amend the offending clauses.The Justice "audit" of the Bill follows a damning Law Society report to the special standing committee, which accuses the Bill of failing to meet basic human rights and equal opportunity standards (see The Lawyer, March 22).The accusations come ...

  • Breakthrough in asbestos test case

    4-May-1999

    A specialist personal injury law firm is claiming a major breakthrough in claims for asbestos-related diseases.John Pickering & Partners, which has offices in Manchester, Oldham, Liverpool and Halifax, believes it has pioneered a new class of action regarding asbestos-related diseases.The firm's claim comes in the wake of a ground-breaking settlement for u110,000 of an action brought by a widow in Oxted, Surrey.Eileen ...

  • British duo to head up LeBoeufs

    4-May-1999

    US firm LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae's London managing partner has stepped down to make way for a joint leadership by two of the firm's British partners.Energy partners Garry Pegg and Alan Jones will become joint managing partners on 1 April, replacing US partner Jeff Johnson, who set up LeBoeufs' London multinational partnership four years ago.Johnson will retain his position of senior partner and intends to concentrate on leading the firm's ...

  • Cambridge dons rebel against LPC proposal for 'City trainees'

    4-May-1999

    Cambridge University's law faculty is in turmoil over plans for a legal practice course (LPC) which academics fear will be hijacked by City law firms.A series of internal documents seen by The Lawyer reveals the deep divisions in the faculty over proposals for a potentially lucrative LPC.Faculty chairman Professor Kevin Gray resigned from his post two weeks ago amid accusations that an LPC at Cambridge would be controlled by City firms. A faculty spokeswoman ...

  • Cambridge dons should practise not preach

    4-May-1999

    Cambridge dons are protesting that plans for a legal practice course at the university are not fitting for such an academic breeding ground.The law - to these professors - may well be an intellectual pursuit no different from any of the other purely non-vocational subjects taught at Cambridge. But unlike subjects such as history or philosophy the law is all about practice, not academic debate.Servicing the needs of Mammon may not appeal to those who revel ...

  • Camerons and Eversheds in brewery coup

    4-May-1999

    Cameron McKenna and Eversheds advised on one of the fastest-completed deals in the pub industry last week - between Enterprise Inns and Century Inns.Camerons advised Enterprise Inns in its hostile u78m bid to acquire control of Century Inns, represented by Eversheds. The offer was snapped up by shareholders in less than 24 hours.Rob Pitcher, partner at Eversheds who led the firm's ...

  • Case of the Week

    4-May-1999

    "Frankenstein foods" suffered a setback when eco-warriors Jacqueline Sheedy and Elizabeth Snook walked free from Plymouth Crown Court. The pair, represented by Mark Schwartz of Bindman & Partners, had originally faced charges of causing u605,000 worth of criminal damage after joining a 20-strong group of protesters scything down a crop of genetically-modified maize with machetes at Hood Barton Farm in Dartington. In a surprise decision understood to have been ...

  • Case of the week

    7-May-1999

    Some men say it with flowers, some give boxes of chocolates. Romeo wannabe Neil Whitehouse used his mobile phone. Unfortunately, he was on an aeroplane at the time and Whitehouse ignored the pleas of crew that his attempts to send the message "I love you" to his ex-girlfriend were endangering the lives of the plane's 91 occupants. Whitehouse, who admits his behaviour was "unnecessarily awkward", is now in the dock at Manchester Crown Court ...

  • Case review body hits out at committee criticism

    4-May-1999

    The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has hit back at a Home Affairs committee's accusation that its too-thorough approach to investigating cases is helping cause "unacceptable delays" in the system.As predicted by The Lawyer (8 February), the committee's report demands a shake up of the CCRC's methods, claiming the CCRC - which looks into potential miscarriages of justice - is investigating cases in more depth than is necessary.A CCRC spokeswoman ...

  • CC and Linklaters' new partners up global power

    4-May-1999

    Clifford Chance has put the emphasis on its foreign offices with its new partner appointments for 1999.It has also increased the length of the list by over half, while many rivals have cut down this year.Out of 33 new partners, 20 are based overseas, with a particular emphasis on the firm's Hong Kong practice, where six lawyers have been made up.Last year ...

  • CC in Punders merger vote

    7-May-1999

    Clifford Chance partners will vote this weekend on a surprise merger with Germany's third largest firm Punder Volhard Weber & Axster, The Lawyer can reveal.Most partners only learnt of the advanced talks from a 200-page document they received last week outlining the proposed merger with US firm Rogers & Wells.The extraordinary step, which would make Clifford Chance, ...

  • CC sends Latin America chief to Tokyo practice

    7-May-1999

    Clifford Chance's London head of its Latin American practice is being posted to Tokyo to boost its Far East operation.It is expected that US firm Rogers & Wells, if its merger with Clifford Chance goes ahead, will then take control of Latin America from its New York office.Stephen Roith will move in September to Tokyo, where he will head the securities practice. It ...

  • City firms infected by e-mail virus

    4-May-1999

    The computer virus Melissa has hit City law firms forcing at least one top practice to shut down its server.Melissa floods the computer system with unwanted e-mails which lists pornographic sites on the Internet.Baker & McKenzie had to shut down its computer network after an overload in the system due to the virus.Nick Dunhill, infrastructure manager at Baker ...

  • City firms score death row wins

    7-May-1999

    CITY firms Lawrence Graham and SJ Berwin have scored a victory for death row clients in Jamaica.Lawrence Graham has persuaded the Privy Council to quash a Jamaican death row conviction in the same week SJ Berwin won a last-minute stay of execution for another death row prisoner, Neville Lewis.

  • Computacenter to up its legal panel to six

    7-May-1999

    Computacenter, one of the UK's leading computer systems and services group, is boosting its legal panel by adding three firms to its current line-up.The company uses Linklaters & Alliance, Dibb Lupton Alsop and Boodle Hatfield for its external legal advice. But now it is casting around for a further three firms.Alan Pottinger, Computacenter company secretary, says: "We have ...

  • Council flexes its purchasing power

    7-May-1999

    A High Court decision giving the green light for Kingston Upon Thames Borough Council to compulsorily purchase a property which it claimed had been neglected by its owner adds a new dimension to the compulsory purchase powers of local authorities.The decision has raised the question of just how far councils can go in imposing their stamp of cosmetic correctness on areas under their control.Solicitor Chris Wright, of Twickenham firm Christopher Wright & Co, ...

  • DAC tests potential partners

    7-May-1999

    Davies Arnold Cooper is putting potential new partners through rigorous psychological tests to see if they are up to the job.The firm's managing director, Nick Sinfield, admits he cannot be certain of spotting partners of the future. Instead candidates are subjected to days of extensive psychological testing to see if they have the right stuff.Lawyers from the firm hoping to be included in the round of partner promotions are sent away to Manchester Business ...

  • DAC, the story so far from The Lawyer archive www.the-lawyer.co.uk

    7-May-1999

    DAC picks up Halliwells partnerDavies Arnold Cooper has taken on ex-Halliwell Landau partner Stephen Houston to boost its corporate team. Houston, who joins the Manchester firm as partner, was at Halliwell Landau for two years and before that at Norton Rose, London...1 April 1997DAC restructures Madrid officeUK firm Davies Arnold Cooper has ...

  • Davies Arnold Cooper to launch insurance practice in Barcelona

    7-May-1999

    Davies Arnold Cooper is planning to open an office in Barcelona to service a Spanish insurance client.DAC managing director Nick Sinfield says the firm is negotiating with one of Spain's largest insurers to open in the city.If the move happens, it will be a shift into new geographical and practice areas for the firm. DAC already runs a Madrid office, which was formed last year by the integration of its long-time Spanish associate firm Estudio Juridico Muniz.

  • Digests

    7-May-1999

    Denton Hall has been appointed by the Egyptian government to advise on its telecommunication regulation. London-based Denton Hall partner Nicholas Higham will work in Egypt with Bridget McKinney, head of its Cairo office, Denton Hall Fox & Gibbons. Meanwhile, Trowers & Hamlins has revealed it is to move into more permanent Cairo premises following the opening of its office there in May.

  • Digests

    7-May-1999

    Robin Fulton, formerly a private client partner with Shepherd & Wedderburn WS, has joined Turcan Connell in Edinburgh.Silverbeck Rymer has announced the promotion of three lawyers to partners. The new partners are John Mooney, head of the firm's claimant motor department, ...

  • English empire builders plan Roman conquest

    4-May-1999

    In the first few decades of the first millennium, the Romans completed their conquest of Europe by marching into England.Now, in the last few months before the third millennium, many English firms are looking towards Italy as the next desirable outpost in the map of Western Europe.Linklaters, Eversheds ...

  • Essential advocacy for the City litigator

    7-May-1999

    It was recently reported in The Lawyer (26 April) that the commercial bar is in a state of crisis as its work is drying up. That is, of course, partly due to streamlining effected by the civil procedure reforms, but also partly a consequence of solicitors realising they are as capable as barristers of performing the highest quality oral advocacy. It is essential that solicitor-advocates continue to get the best available advocacy training and experience because, ...

  • Eversheds appoints for Bulgaria

    4-May-1999

    Eversheds has appointed an army officer-turned barrister to pave the way for its planned new Bulgarian office.Francis Chubb will work from the office of Georgiev Todorov & Co, a Sofia-based law firm with which Eversheds has close connections.His appointment is the first step in building a big enough Bulgarian practice to merit the opening of a new office in the city.

  • Ex-DAC partner joins Vizards

    7-May-1999

    EX-Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC) partner Gary Marshall and an existing DAC solicitor are joining insurance and commercial firm Vizards Staples & Bannister.Marshall, who was responsible for setting up DAC's Hong Kong office in 1992, is due to join Vizards in August and will be joined by DAC solicitor Stephen Byass in September.Since leaving DAC after the Hong Kong office closed in 1995, Marshall has set up as a sole practitioner specialising in insurance law ...

  • Exiles seek redress from the Government

    4-May-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on how the actions of the British Government 30 years ago may come back to haunt it today.The Government is facing a potentially embarrassing confrontation over human rights in the High Court with accusations that it "rode roughshod" over the rights of islanders from the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.Mr Justice Scott Baker has given the go-ahead for a challenge to be mounted over a move made by the British Government ...

  • False bills of lading sink shipping trio

    7-May-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on an appeal against damages awarded in a shipping case centring on falsely dated bills of lading.The Court of Appeal is to rule on a case of major importance in shipping circles.The case centres on what Mr Justice Cresswell described in the High Court decision being challenged as the "cancer" of ante-dated and false bills of lading in international trade.Judgment has now been reserved by the Court of Appeal.

  • Firms capitalise on publishing sector

    7-May-1999

    SJ Berwin, Freshfields and Clifford Chance are among a host of firms cashing in on the volatile publishing sector.SJ Berwin acted for international publishing house The Future Network on its #577.5m flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Its team was led by corporate finance partner Steven Davis and ...

  • Flotations

    7-May-1999

    Eversheds is acting for Kingston upon Hull City Council on the #141.5m flotation of its telecommunications business operated by Kingston Communications (Hull)

  • Flotations

    7-May-1999

    Weil Gotshal & Manges acted as US counsel on the #173m initial public offering of The Future Network and advised Future on its acquisition of Imagine Media Inc. Akiko Mikumo

  • Flotations & Financing

    7-May-1999

    Simmons & Simmons advised SG Securities on the placing of 89 million shares in Hong Kong-listed Quality Healthcare Asia and related top-up subscription to raise in excess of HK$90m. The Simmons & Simmons team was led by corporate group partner Steven Bryan.

  • Flotations & Financing

    7-May-1999

    Eversheds is acting for Kingston upon Hull City Council on the £141.5m flotation of its telecommunications business operated by Kingston Communications (Hull), advised by Ashurst Morris Crisp. Linklaters & Alliance is acting ...

  • Freshfields and Linklaters in Lloyds TSB's #7bn deal

    7-May-1999

    Freshfields and Linklaters & Alliance are battling to finalise Lloyds TSB's #7bn acquisition of Scottish Widows.The sale of the Edinburgh-based life assurer, advised by Freshfields, to Lloyds TSB, represented by Linklaters, will create the second largest life, pensions and unit trust provider in the UK.But although the sale has been agreed, Scottish Widows' status as ...

  • Freshfields looks to the East after Dutch move

    4-May-1999

    Freshfields plans to open offices in Poland after poaching four Dutch lawyers for its new Amsterdam office.Freshfields' chief executive, Alan Peck, says that the Dutch office completes the west European picture for the firm. "We are now turning our sights to eastern Europe and India," he says."The boys have been sniffing around Poland and are looking for the best options, and we will be in India as soon as the regulations allow."As soon as we ...

  • Freshfields top in privatisations

    4-May-1999

    Freshfields is leading the field among City firms on privatisations globally, according to new figures.The firm was the top UK-based firms by value and number of transactions last year, acting on 60 closed deals worth a total of more than $25bn.Freshfields heads the table outright on western European transactions by value. Among its big European privatisations last year was the $675m acquisition by Greek telephone operator OTE of a 35 per cent stake in Romanian ...

  • Garretts gets revenge with Addleshaws partner hire

    7-May-1999

    Garretts, the associate law firm of Arthur Andersen, has hit back at Addleshaw Booth & Co's predatory lateral hires of its lawyers by poaching litigation specialist Deborah Bould.The luring of Bould will be some comfort to Garretts, which has seen an exodus of lawyers to Addleshaws over the past months.Head of property at Garretts' Leeds office Dean Copley and property partner Paula Dillon moved to Addleshaws a month after Garretts' senior partner ...

  • Gee leaves One Essex Court

    4-May-1999

    Leading commercial lawyer Steven Gee QC is leaving One Essex Court to become head of chambers at 4 Field Court.The Bar has reacted with surprise at Gee's decision to leave the set, which, with 59 tenants and 23 silks, is one of the top four commercial chambers in the country.The less well-known 4 Field Court is noted predominately for the shipping expertise of current head Geoffrey Brice QC.Brice will continue in chambers as counsel, arbitrator ...

  • Give reorganised CPS a chance

    7-May-1999

    The profession should get behind the CPS following its shake-up, says the Attorney General, John Morris QC.Last month I announced the Government's final response to the report by Sir Iain Glidewell on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Although much work remains to be done on implementation, this is a key moment of transition, and a good time to reflect a little on what has been achieved and on the type of organisation we all want it ...

  • Government to name and shame

    4-May-1999

    The Government says it will name and shame those found responsible for delays in the criminal justice system.Home Secretary Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine and Attorney General John Morris QC formed a united front in presenting targets for speeding up the court process and reducing crime.They presented what is described as the first-ever co-ordinated strategic and business plan for the criminal justice system in England and Wales.One change ...

  • Govt must decide on gay job laws

    7-May-1999

    The review of anti-discrimination legislation by the Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF) lacks an ethical framework. The Government might argue that it is leaving it to the courts to decide whether discrimination on grounds of sexuality is lawful under the Human Rights Act. But why should political leaders expect more of the UK judiciary than they do of judges in Europe?Only last year, 13 European Court of Justice (ECJ) judges agreed with the principle: "European ...

  • Historic case signals end of war crime trials

    4-May-1999

    It was a trial that made British legal history - the prosecution of a 78-year-old man accused of murdering Jews during the Holocaust more than 50 years ago and the first war crimes trial ever heard in this country.For eight weeks, Court 12 at the Old Bailey heard harrowing, horrific evidence of war-time atrocities. The passing years, and the deaths of witnesses and potential accused, could well make it the last.Fittingly, it involved two of the finest criminal ...

  • Holding on to DAC

    7-May-1999

    Sitting in the Manchester office of Davies Arnold Cooper is an unnamed assistant, the sole reminder of February's bloodletting.The rest of the 90 staff who were made redundant (the corporate department in Manchester was axed and five partners and nine assistants went from the London office) have dispersed, leaving not just an office but a whole firm trying to reinvent itself.DAC's dramatic move - presented at the time as a move to enable it to concentrate ...

  • Hong Kong heats up

    7-May-1999

    Two years on from the start of the Asian financial crisis, Hong Kong is still in recession. However, the first stirrings of optimism in the legal market indicate that the worst might be over.The magnitude of the crash has overshadowed any apprehensions about how the former British colony would fare after the handover to China and how the 'one country, two systems' principle would work in practice.A decision last month by the Chinese government to overrule ...

  • Hugh James shuffles pack after Ford Simey merger

    7-May-1999

    Welsh firm Hugh James has shuffled its senior positions following its recent merger with Exeter-based Ford Simey.Matthew Tossell has become the managing partner of Hugh James Ford Simey.He replaces Cherry Wright, who is returning to fee earning.Senior partners have not escaped the reshuffle.Two senior partners have been replaced with a single Cardiff-based ...

  • In brief: Addleshaw Booth & Co

    4-May-1999

    Addleshaw Booth & Co has taken on John Martin as senior solicitor in its employment department in Manchester. Martin joins the 17-strong team from Newcastle firm Robert Muckle where he was partner and head of employment.

  • In brief: Davies Arnold Cooper

    4-May-1999

    Davies Arnold Cooper. Last week. The Lawyer incorrectly stated that Maurice Millen, who was leaving DAC to join Macfarlanes, was a senior lawyer. Millen was DAC's head of IT. We apologise to the two firms for any inconvenience this may have caused. We would also like to apologise to Millen for any embarrassment caused by calling him a lawyer.

  • In brief: Denton Hall

    7-May-1999

    Denton Hall has been appointed by the Egyptian government to advise on its telecommunication regulation. London-based Denton Hall partner Nicholas Higham will work in Egypt with Bridget McKinney, head of its Cairo office, Denton Hall Fox & Gibbons. Meanwhile, Trowers & Hamlins has revealed it is to move into more permanent Cairo premises following the opening of its office there in May.

  • In brief: District Judge Richard Holloway

    4-May-1999

    District Judge Richard Holloway, who sits at Carlisle County Court, has been elected president of the 384-strong Association of District Judges, with District Judge Tony Lancaster of Newcastle County Court as senior vice president. District Judge Holloway says: "The overriding objective of the District Bench for my year of office will be to make the civil justice reforms effective."

  • In brief: Lawrence Graham

    4-May-1999

    Lawrence Graham has appointed two solicitors from Dibb Lupton Alsop to its banking and corporate recovery group. Adam Gallagher and Charles Shiramba will be reunited with former Dibbs partners Mike Stubbs and Nicholas Pike, who left Dibbs three months ago.

  • In brief: McDermott Will & Emery

    7-May-1999

    McDermott Will & Emery has raided Baker & McKenzie for the second time this year, poaching top telecoms partner Stephanie Liston. Liston joins US firm McDermotts to head its European communications practice hot on the heels of Fraser Younson, Bakers' former head of employment, who joined the ...

  • In brief: Norton Rose

    4-May-1999

    Norton Rose partner Christopher Swift has been seconded to the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers as a joint secretary. Swift, who works in the firm's Hong Kong office, begins his two-year term on 12 April. Clifford Chance corporate partner Guy Norman will return to his firm when he completes his two-year secondment ...

  • In brief: Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn

    4-May-1999

    Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn, the French inter-national firm, has poached an international litigation team from its Parisian rivals Jeantet & Associes. Partner Bruno Leurent is taking colleagues Nathalie Meyer-Fabre and Marina Legrand with him. Leurent is currently acting as chairman on a panel of Commissioners at the UN Claim Commission in Geneva which is deciding on claims for losses arising out of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

  • In brief: Shearman & Sterling

    4-May-1999

    Shearman & Sterling, the US firm, has recruited five UK lawyers to join its London European acquisition finance group. They are Bruce Hendry from Dickson Minto, Nicky Blair from Watson Farley & Williams, ...

  • In brief: The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

    4-May-1999

    The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is lobbying the Government for a new legal duty to investigate accidents, backed by a requirement to send copies of investigation reports to the regulatory authorities and a Code of Practice for employers. Responding to the Health and Safety Executive's discussion paper on the subject, Apil says the measures are the only way to combat the "admit nothing" culture among employers.

  • In brief: The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB)

    4-May-1999

    The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has appointed a new chief executive, but has yet to find a legal director. Lindsay Montgomery is to fill the post vacated by Richard Scott in January. But the position of director of legal services has remained vacant since January, when Elisabeth Watson left to take up a post at the Scottish Parliament. Scott's was due to disagreements about the "future structure of the board", say SLAB officials.

  • International lawyer gets libel apology from BBC

    7-May-1999

    A top international lawyer has received a public apology at London's High Court and accepted "suitable" but undisclosed damages in settlement of a libel action brought against the BBC.Dr Abass Bundu, former assistant director of the international affairs division of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and later an MP in his native Sierra Leone, sued the BBC after he was branded a "terrorist" by a listener in BBC Focus on Africa in February.His lawyer, ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    7-May-1999

    The Law Society, which looks likely to lose its self-regulatory powers following a severely critical report on the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) by legal services ombudsman Ann Abraham. Complaints against the profession are now running at an all-time high of one for every 2.4 practising solicitors. According to Abraham's report, "It is, it seems, impossible for some solicitors not to react to a complaint made about them as though it were ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    4-May-1999

    Watford's Sheila Metson, a legal secretary at her husband Harold's solicitors firm, whose 20-year affair with plasterer Brian Ward was exposed when British Telecom wrote to Ward asking if he'd like to include her number in its cheap-rate "Friends and Family" deal. Ward's calls were so frequent that British Telecom put Metson's number at the top of his "five favourite calls" list. (However, it's not all bad news. Ward - ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    7-May-1999

    European Court of Human Rights employees, who are heading off for a seven-week holiday, despite a backlog of 60,000 cases and an average waiting time of five years for cases to be heard. The lengthy wait facing applicants could cause the court to fall foul of its own convention - under Article Six undue and lengthy delays in legal proceedings are a breach of human rights.Employment lawyers. According to an Industrial Society report, employers ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    4-May-1999

    Terrorists. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, has ruled that the UK's key weapon against terrorists, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989, violates the basic right to a fair trial. The landmark ruling condemns certain sections of the Act for undermining the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty and thereby violating the European Convention on Human Rights.The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, ...

  • It's time to banish the shadows

    4-May-1999

    Robert Owen QC and Tim Otty, are executive members of the Bar Human Rights Committee.One of the most striking aspects of the murder of Rosemary Nelson last month is the fact that it so clearly occurred as a result of her status as a lawyer. Her murderers directly associated her with the causes of those she represented simply because of her work. In these circumstances the killing represents not just an individual tragedy but a direct affront to the rule ...

  • Italian firms merge to fight the English

    4-May-1999

    The end of a family feud is leading to the creation of Italy's biggest firm.Osborne Clarke's Italian associate Croze Radice & Associati, which was set up by a member of the same family that founded top Italian firm Carnelutti, is now seeking to reunite the family in a marriage between the two firms.The expected merger is seen as a defence against English firms invading ...

  • J Sainsbury

    3-May-1999

    Sainsbury's has built its reputation on being a wholesome family-run company. But this year will be the first that a family member is not head of the company, following chairman Lord Sainsbury of Turville's handover to non-executive chairman Sir George Bull.

  • Jeremy Hertzog on emails and anti-competitive behaviour

    7-May-1999

    Jeremy Hertzog is a solicitor in the contentious media group at Mishcon de Reya.More than a year after the issue of libel proceedings, BG (formerly British Gas) last week paid Andrew Duffield and Exoteric Gas Solutions (EGS) the very substantial sum of £101,000 for defamation by email.Mr Duffield, ex-head of engineering at BG, set up EGS in January ...

  • JP Morgan moves out to give Bakers more room to grow

    7-May-1999

    Global firm Baker & McKenzie is expanding its London office and is set to take over the whole building it currently shares with investment bank JP Morgan.Baker & McKenzie will become the sole tenant at 100 New Bridge Street under an agreement with its landlord, British Land.Russell Lewin, Baker & McKenzie managing partner, says: "Our expansion over the past couple of ...

  • KPMG merges Euro legal arms

    4-May-1999

    KPMG, the global accounting, tax and consulting firm, is threatening more vigorous competition in the European legal services sector by uniting its continental law practices under a single, co-ordinated management structure.The move is expected to thrust the KPMG legal arm further into the market for cross-border corporate, tax, and commercial law advice, allowing it to capitalise on the heightened business activity in countries using the Euro.Colin Sharman, ...

  • KPMG's brash ambition cannot be ignored

    4-May-1999

    KPMG's announcement that it is integrating its European legal network will not immediately strike fear in the hearts of UK law firms. Bringing together so many disparate practices will take a lot of work, and may delay the accountancy firm's goal of merging with a City law firm.But its decision to follow its big five rivals in the painful process of reorganising means KPMG is priming itself to compete with a full range of "professional services".

  • LAB awards direct contract to 2 Garden Court

    7-May-1999

    2 Garden Court has become the first chambers to win a direct contract from the Legal Aid Board.The public can now bypass law firms to get legally-aided advice direct from the set.Colin Cook, senior clerk at the common law set, describes the contract as "a very exciting development".Jan Luba, a barrister at the chambers, who was involved in putting together the bid to the LAB, is not surprised the chambers has been selected.Luba says: "Barristers ...

  • Law Commission calls for new fraud law

    4-May-1999

    The complex laws on fraud face a radical overhaul following a report due to be announced later this month.The Law Commission will issue a consultation paper making proposals to simplify one of the most difficult areas of the legal system.The consultation follows on from complaints by the Lord Chancellor that fraud is "difficult to prosecute effectively".Stephen Silber QC, the Law Commissioner, who will publish the consultation paper on 27 April, says: ...

  • Law Society defends its rights over e-commerce regulations

    4-May-1999

    The Law Society says it will fight any erosion of legal privilege in new e-commerce regulations. It has rejected proposals to allow client files to be opened on a warrant issued by a secretary of state, saying that this power should lie with the judiciary.Michael Mathews, president of the Law Society, is adamant that client confidentiality must be guaranteed. "The Government must not have any additional powers to open or read files than they do now," he says.Responses ...

  • LCD faces further charges on sex equality

    4-May-1999

    THE LORD Chancellor's Department is facing a series of further embarrassing sex discrimination cases.AMO, the trade union for Magistrates' Courts staff, has lodged a series of sex and disability cases against the LCD over its plans to retrain court clerks as fully qualified solicitors or barristers.The lodging of the claims follows on from last week's ruling that Lord Irvine indirectly sexually discriminated over the appointment of special adviser ...

  • Legal Monte Carlo rallies top counsel

    7-May-1999

    Powergen, BT, Invesco, Hillsdown, BNFL, Nomura International, Novartis, the Post Office, Cheltenham & Gloucester, the Littlewoods Organisation and Iceland are among scores of high-profile in-house counsel who have already signed up to Legal Monte Carlo '99 in November.Firms such as Linklaters & Alliance, Cameron McKenna, Simmons & Simmons, Dibb Lupton Alsop and

  • Legal Widow

    4-May-1999

    The Dash for Cash is finally over, and it looks as if the Lawyer will get his pay rise after all. Mind you, like the Budget, I'm fairly sure there will be a catch, and he will find out that it won't be implemented until 2002, and we'll have more sulking and raging and refusal to eat anything but fishfingers.

  • Linklaters acts for BP in liquid gold takeover

    4-May-1999

    Oil is indeed turning out to be liquid gold for Linklaters. The firm is acting for BP Amoco in its proposed u15bn-plus takeover of US oil group Atlantic Richfield (Arco).The deal, announced last week, will be the second huge transaction Linklaters has worked on for BP in under a year. The firm acted for BP in the company's u67.5bn merger with Amoco in September last year - the world's ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 5/4/99

    4-May-1999

    Steven John Bennett (by his next friend Margaret Ann Bennett) v NHS Litigation Authority (1999) QBD (Gage J) 15 March 1999Plaintiff: Male, single, 25 years old at date of accident; 32 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff suffered from severe epilepsy and was offered depth-electrode brain exploration, a procedure involving the insertion of electrodes into the brain. On 1 March 1991, Mr Polkey, a neurosurgeon, met with ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 5/7/99

    7-May-1999

    Terence Edward Oxley v (1) Laporte Absorbants (Baulking) (2) Grayston White & Sparrow (1999) QBD (HH Judge Raymond Dean QC) 16 June 1999Claimant: Male, 43 years old at date of accident; 47 years old at date of settlement.Incident: On 17 August 1994 the claimant, who was employed by the second defendant as a crane driver, was working at a chemical plant owned by the first defendant. He was injured when he slipped over on the wet steps of an on-site ...

  • Litigation Writs 5/4/99

    4-May-1999

    Druces and Attlee is being sued by London NW4-based Riverpath Properties in an action relating to a written agreement in which Riverpath agreed to buy leasehold property at 94 Maida Vale, London W9 from the owner, Barbara Brammall. Riverpath seeks a declaration that the company is not entitled to assert a lien over documents relating to the circumstances surrounding the creation of a legal charge. It is also seeking delivery up of all documents relating to this, plus ...

  • Litigation Writs 5/7/99

    7-May-1999

    Model Marjan Debevere is suing hairdressing chain Toni & Guy in the High Court for more than #50,000. She accuses the hairdressers of using her photograph in advertisements without her permission. Debevere says in her claim that she modelled for the company between December 1993 and January 1995 but that she only agreed to her picture being used editorially in magazines and not commercially. She alleges that Dorking-based Marcolo, which owns Toni & Guy, breached her contracts ...

  • Local authority test case

    4-May-1999

    A major test case on local authority accountability is heading for the Lords, with both sides mounting appeals. The case centres on a claim against Essex County Council over its failure to tell a family with whom it placed a foster child that the child was a known sex abuser.The Appeal Court last April upheld a High Court ruling that the family was entitled to sue the council. Claims that, as a matter of public policy, local authorities should not be held ...

  • Loeffs sheds advocacy partners in A&O link-up

    7-May-1999

    Dutch-Belgian law firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke is understood to be shedding up to a third of its partners to prepare for its merger with Allen & Overy.Dutch sources say Loeffs plans to dump its advocacy department to become a pure corporate firm.Loeffs partners specialising in court hearings, like barristers in the UK, are understood to be in talks with Trenite Van Doorne. ...

  • Lords decides on quotas

    7-May-1999

    Judgment is pending in the House of Lords in a case focusing on the status of milk quota allocations attached to agricultural property if it is repossessed. A former Welsh farmer has challenged a bank's rights to benefit from quota allocations when it took possession of his property. After the farm had been charged in favour of the bank the farmer was allocated a 920,000 litre milk quota but ultimately his dairy herd was sold by a receiver appointed by the bank. The bank then ...

  • Lovells plots Boesebecks marriage

    7-May-1999

    Lovell White Durrant is in merger talks with another of Germany's biggest law firms.The London-based international firm is in advanced negotiations with Boesebeck Droste and is expecting to vote on the merger in the autumn.Earlier this year Boesebecks terminated merger discussions with Clifford Chance and it is believed that those talks overlapped with negotiations ...

  • Manchester barristers gain ground in silks list

    4-May-1999

    MANCHESTER'S strong showing in the silks list - with 10 new QCs - has been greeted with more than a little surprise."I'd like to know what they are going to do because there simply isn't the work," says one local barrister.One option is to move down to London. John Taylor, senior clerk at Old Square Chambers, says: "There will be a lot of London chambers looking at them, saying come down here."In any event, movement is expected. Leading ...

  • Manchester firm embarks on local poaching spree

    4-May-1999

    Manchester-based 28 St John Street Chambers has poached five leading practitioners from local rivals.The new tenants will join the criminal and family departments this month, making the teams among the strongest in the city.The chambers at 40 King Street have been worst hit, losing Sonia Gal, a leading family practitioner, and Sally Harrison, a highly-rated senior junior practising in ancillary relief and personal injury.Also, 58 King Street loses ...

  • Marks & Spencer plans legal panel shake-up

    4-May-1999

    Marks & Spencer is to launch a full-scale review of its legal function - including its use of external law firms - as part of a shake-up of head office functions.Apart from possible job cuts, the review could also result in less work for some of the firms most regularly used, including Freshfields (main corporate lawyers), Linklaters,

  • Martin Cross on insolvency practitioners costs.

    4-May-1999

    Martin Cross is head of litigation at Thomas Eggar Church Adams.The ringing words of Mr Justice Ferris in Mirror Group Newspapers v Maxwell & ors (1998) BCC324 concerning the fees of the receivers sent a chill wind through the offices of all professionals dealing with insolvency work.In the Maxwell case, the receivers took in about £1.67m and had costs, including ...

  • Martineaus suffers first partner loss

    7-May-1999

    An equity partner has left Birmingham-based Martineau Johnson for the first time in the firm's history.Joanna Lawson-King is to join Pinsent Curtis as a partner on 1 January 2000.Her departure date has been set for 31 October. She joined Martineau Johnson from university nearly 20 years ago.Michael Shepherd, Martineau Johnson's senior partner, says: "This is a first for us. It is a sign of an increasingly common trend for partners to take ...

  • Megalomania or healthy ambition?

    7-May-1999

    If the vote goes the right way this weekend, Clifford Chance could add over a thousand new lawyers to its global empire.While this will no doubt make many partners jump for joy, others will wonder whether the firm is stretching itself too far. It is not only Rogers & Wells that is waiting in the wings - a merger with Germany's third largest firm Punder Volhard Weber & ...

  • Merger puts practice in East Midlands top three

    4-May-1999

    NOTTINGHAM firm Nelsons and Derby-based Alfred Sevier & Son have merged to create one of the biggest practices in the East Midlands.The combined practice will have 36 partners and more than 350 staff, making it the third-largest firm in the area.A spokeswoman for Nelsons says: "The merger will strengthen our presence in Derby, specifically for personal injury work."But ...

  • Merging firms put lawyers at risk

    4-May-1999

    Lawyers who face a conflict of interest because their firm is merging may be forced to leave newly combined firms, following a High Court ruling.The High Court has reinforced the principle that clients' interests are paramount when a potential conflict of interest arises in mergers.A group of Lloyd's Names tried to stop the merger of accountants Pannell Kerr Forster and Robson Rhodes, because it wanted to use expert witnesses from its long-standing ...

  • Midlands market is ripe for rich pickings

    4-May-1999

    The Midlands legal scene is acknowledged as a dog-eat-dog world. And, with 480 law firms, Birmingham eclipses provincial rivals like Leeds and Manchester.As one managing partner says: "Birmingham's profile has risen dramatically by hosting events like the G7 summit, the Eurovision song contest and Gladiators."Despite the region's manufacturing industry - the traditional bread and butter work of Midlands lawyers - still recoiling from two years of surging ...

  • New insurance for PI cases

    4-May-1999

    Lawyers are welcoming a legal insurance firm's new conditional fee policies which cover pre-proceedings disbursements in personal injury cases - even if a case is abandoned before it reaches court.A spokesman for Essex-based Amicus Legal says he believes that it is the only company offering policies on a case-by-case basis, which will cover the cost of, for example, medical reports commissioned before proceedings are issued.The policies - available after ...

  • No competition

    4-May-1999

    Co-operation, not competition, has been part of the valued and strong working relationship between The Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG) and the Bar Pro Bono Unit since the SPBG was formed 18 months ago (The Lawyer, 22 March).Of course, differences between the two sides of the profession will affect how and when pro bono work can be undertaken - for example the majority of individual solicitors will need the consent of their firms. But the issue is not ...

  • Parcel firm hit by #1m claim

    7-May-1999

    National parcel delivery company ANC faces a claim for more than #1m following the failure of a franchise. It is being taken to the High Court in respect of the six-year franchise for the Exeter area taken on by Rapid Services in 1992. In the High Court it is alleged that, in 1995, ANC managing director Mr Callaghan branded the enlarged franchise area and business plan involved in the takeover "a cock-up from the start" and wrote ending the franchise the next day. ...

  • Partners row over US firm's liquidation

    4-May-1999

    A once-leading Chicago law firm has been liquidated in the bankruptcy court - causing a row between the firm's past and present partners on who owes what.At its height, Keck Mahin & Cate was one of the biggest practices in Chicago, with 350 lawyers nationwide. It ceased trading 18 months ago.It is understood the firm has gone into liquidation because it expanded offices too quickly.Its liquidation plan proposes that as many as 190 partners - ...

  • Pension fund watchdog investigates Eversheds

    7-May-1999

    Eversheds is being investigated by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) for failing to make payments into its staff pension scheme.The criminal investigation could, in theory, land Eversheds in court, with the prospect of unlimited fines and two years' imprisonment for those responsible.A spokeswoman for Opra says this is the first time a law firm has been ...

  • Perfecting the pitch

    4-May-1999

    How badly do law firms want to win work? Well, insurance practice Weightmans, for one, admits to using professional actors as "extras" when it pitches for business.National law firm Bevan Ashford is so keen to perfect its presentation skills when pitching for in-house work that it is considering hiring professional actors to coach its lawyers into giving polished performances. If Bevans ...

  • PI expert quits Hodge Jones for Alexanders

    7-May-1999

    Personal injury specialist firm Alexander Harris has poached Gulf War syndrome litigation solicitor Richard Barr and his team from Hodge Jones & Allen, reigniting fury over the award of the controversial legal aid contract.Barr and six specialist fee earners are now at Alexander Harris' London office.However, the move means Barr loses both the high-profile Gulf ...

  • Pinsents acts in first ever shipping PFI

    7-May-1999

    Pinsent Curtis is claiming that it has completed the first ever shipping deal under the private finance initiative (PFI).The Natural Environment Research Council instructed Pinsent Curtis on the financing of its #30m ship, Polar Queen.The vessel, which is being leased from a Norwegian shipping company advised by Richards Butler, will be renamed Ernest Shackleton.The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will use Ernest Shackleton to replenish its research ...

  • Premier Oil head of legal quits

    4-May-1999

    Energy group Premier Oil is losing its head of legal and senior lawyer as the company struggles to cope with a loss of millions of pounds.Claudia Keenan, head of legal and company secretary, and Nick Shepherd, senior lawyer both accepted voluntary redundancy after the company announced its intention to reduce overheads and cut costs.The energy group recently announced a net loss of £137.2m in its 1998 preliminary results, which coincided with a 10 per cent ...

  • Property

    7-May-1999

    Shakespeares has been appointed legal adviser to the Technology Innovation Centre which will be located at Millennium Point in Digbeth, Birmingham. The scheme's funders include the EU and the Millennium Commission. Shakespeares' team is led by senior partner Tony Jones.

  • Property

    4-May-1999

    Principal John Summers of John Summers & Co, assisted by Martin Frankum, advised the London & Henley Group on its purchase and re-funding for 11 properties in southern England. The deal was worth £19.5m and funding was provided by Credit Lyonnais, which was advised by Wedlake Bell.

  • Property

    4-May-1999

    David Mosey and Chris Pedder of Trowers & Hamlins' construction team advised Pollards Hill Housing Association and its parent Moat Housing Group in a partnering deal, which will see £35m worth of affordable housing constructed in the London Borough of Merton. The deal was signed by Pollards Hill Housing Association, Moat Housing Group, DJ Higgins & Sons, together ...

  • Property

    7-May-1999

    Property lawyer Jim Garton led the Nabarro Nathanson team which advised GE Capital Corporation (Estates) on its purchase of St Tydfil Sq Shopping Centre, Merthyr Tydfil, from Chesterfield Properties for £20.9m. Chesterfield Properties was represented by Titmuss Sainer Dechert.

  • Quote of the week

    7-May-1999

    "Everyone knows my devotion to my duty, but its the tickets to Wimbledon."- Winchester Crown Court Judge, Patrick Wooton, explains the pressing circumstances (the men's semi-finals) which forced him to delay by six months an indecent assault trial likely to last four days.

  • Quote of the week

    4-May-1999

    "I take the view that this is basically my country and you lot are just squatters."- Dr Peter Felter, Clyde & Co's head of energy and the lawyer attempting to oust the managment board of troubled UK energy group Premier Oil. The Danish-born lawyer (profiled on page 15 this week) is expressing the not very widely supported view that the United Kingdom is a Viking settlement.

  • Right to remain silent?

    4-May-1999

    Why would a quiet man like John Dickinson choose to represent one of the child killers of James Bulger? Elizabeth Davidson sounds him out.Graysons solicitor John Dickinson takes reticence to the point of absurdity. Ask him where he worked in the past and he will refuse to tell you. He even refuses to disclose whether he lives in Sheffield, where his office is based.So why has this media-shy lawyer chosen to represent one of the most notorious, ...

  • Rivals in the regions

    4-May-1999

    With medium-sized firms picking up sizeable crumbs from what used to be the big boys' table, what are Birmingham's elite and other big Midlands outfits up to these days?Flavour of the month is Wragge & Co - at least from the local legal community's point of view - with peers heaping lavish praise on the UK's largest single-office firm.Perhaps one of the biggest ...

  • Ruling business before employees

    7-May-1999

    Richard Arthur, partner, ThompsonsFraser Younson, partner, McDermott Will & EmeryRonnie Fox, senior partner, Fox WilliamsA recent employment tribunal hearing may have toppled the tricky balancing act which listed companies must perform ...

  • Rum tales from the Brum bar

    4-May-1999

    The Midlands bar is in fighting mood with aggressive recruitment, creative marketing, merger fever and a little bit of back-stabbing all an accepted part of the local scene. Its ambition is to raise the region's profile, and take local business out of the hands of London competitors. On paper at least, there are signs that it might just be working.Three of the top six chambers in the country, by size, are now based in the Midlands. St Philip's, the product of last ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    4-May-1999

    You can always rely on the Lord Chancellor to show them who's boss. This week he took on the wizened ranks of the House of Lords, issuing a stern warning to hereditary peers not to kick up any fuss when it's time for them to sign their own death warrants. Lord Irvine told the peers that if they attempt to delay the Bill which will expel them from the Lords, then the Government would drop the so-called Weatherill amendment - the deal granting temporary reprieves to ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    7-May-1999

    Legal history could be made in a wrangle which is putting spots before the eyes of intellectual property lawyers and which could potentially knock the bottom out of the lucrative market of conceptual art. Damien Hirst is suing British Airways, claiming it based its spotted billboard advert for its low cost airline Go on one of his spot paintings. Meanwhile, restaurateur Marco Pierre White is accusing Hirst of plagiarising a dot painting which he made to decorate his Soho restaurant

  • Secrecy in the aisles

    7-May-1999

    Tom O'Sullivan investigates the secret discussions, the transatlantic flights and the hidden identities behind the Asda and Wal-Mart deal.The Americans who landed at Leeds-Bradford airport on 9 June were not sightseers coming to explore the city dubbed the "Barcelona of the north".Instead they were a group of bankers and businessmen who, despite having arrived on a private Learjet from Arkansas, were apparently trying to remain inconspicuous ...

  • Shedding its reputation

    7-May-1999

    Eversheds' failure to pay its staff's pensions contributions may have been just an adminstrative error. But with a firm the size, stature and influence of Eversheds it represents crass negligence in such an emotionally charged area as pensions funds and can only result in seriously damaging its own reputation.It is most significant that the oversight occurred after the firm ...

  • Silicon Valley IP pioneer ships out as New York firms move in

    7-May-1999

    As more and more law firms flood into Silicon Valley, one of the area's original settlers and a former intellectual property star firm has announced it is shipping out.Brown & Bain, a firm that waged landmark IP battles on behalf of high-profile clients such as Apple Computer and Intel, says it is closing its 20-year-old Palo Alto office at the end of this month.The closure plan comes only days after New York firms

  • Silicon Valley IP pioneer ships out as New York firms move in

    7-May-1999

    The Bar Council is considering radical reform of its complaints handling system - even though its current arrangement is praised by the Legal Services Ombudsman.As predicted in The Lawyer last week, Ann Abraham's annual report blasts the Law Society's complaints handing for "spiralling out of control" to such an extent that its ability to protect the public is "in jeopardy".By contrast, she says, the Bar Council is making "quiet but significant progress ...

  • Silk quits 39 Essex St for Brick Court

    7-May-1999

    One of the country's top public law silks is abandoning Bar Council chairman Dan Brennan's set to join "magic circle" commercial chambers, Brick Court.Richard Gordon QC is the second barrister to leave 39 Essex Street in a month.He is quitting, he says, because Brick Court offers a European dimension.Judicial review and human rights barrister, Tim Ward - with whom Gordon is collaborating on a book - also recently left the set, joining Monckton ...

  • Square Mile

    7-May-1999

    It was recently reported in The Lawyer (26 April) that the commercial bar is in a state of crisis as its work is drying up. That is, of course, partly due to streamlining effected by the civil procedure reforms, but also partly a consequence of solicitors realising they are as capable as barristers of performing the highest quality oral advocacy. It is essential that solicitor-advocates continue to get the best available advocacy training and experience because, ...

  • Square Mile

    4-May-1999

    The national law firm - one with at least three geographically diverse offices - is a dog that has had its day.Look at the history. Until the early 1990s there were only a few of them. The top firms were City outfits that served the whole country or single-office regional practices with local clients and local aspirations. Firms started getting into increasingly competitive markets and began to grow faster than the markets themselves. Then came the recession. ...

  • St Philip's manager defects to rival set

    4-May-1999

    The practice manager at the biggest chambers in the country has quit.Robin Butchard has left his post at St Philip's Chambers in Birmingham to become senior clerk at the chambers of Andrew Campbell QC at 10 Park Square in Leeds.Butchard's departure comes just two weeks after St Philip's lost senior junior Richard Perks to neighbouring 3 Fountain Court.The losses are the first since the merger last year which created the giant set of ...

  • Survey reveals threat to mid-sized sets

    7-May-1999

    Medium-sized barristers' chambers are being squeezed out of the profession, according to the most comprehensive survey ever of the Bar.Chambers with between 11 and 30 members are the most vulnerable with more sets in this category losing members than gaining them.Over 50 per cent of barristers switching sets moved to larger sets with 40 or more existing tenants.Mark Green, a director of chartered accountants BDO Stoy Hayward which conducted the ...

  • Tax reforms spell chill wind for transatlantic business

    4-May-1999

    Tax proposals being introduced by the Clinton administration are putting transatlantic transactions on hold and having a "chilling effect" on business, according to a tax lawyer.The US Treasury wants to save more than £4bn over five years by imposing a 25 per cent excise tax on corporate tax shelters used by investment banks and accountants to gain maximum tax efficiency for their clients.Business is slowing because of the uncertainty created by the proposals, ...

  • The Firm

    7-May-1999

    Memo from Jack Pratchard, senior partner at The Firm, to all partners.What's gone wrong with the legal profession? I remember a golden time when if you wanted something, you simply bought it with good honest bribery. But not now. Take the "so-called" Lawyer Awards. I forked out a sizeable wedge for a huge 12-seat table right near the front. Only myself and Mrs Pratchard sat at it, just to demonstrate my wealth and importance.

  • The Law Society - friend or foe?

    4-May-1999

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 970 4640, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho Square.Are we, as a profession, in a total mess, or is all that seems to be going on a figment of my imagination? Certainly my contacts across our profession seem to indicate that everybody is totally exasperated by the antics of our professional body.We currently have the ...

  • The Lawyer Awards 1999

    4-May-1999

    Claire Smith looks at who won the awards for client care, multimedia and legal team of the year last year, and what made them stand out from the rest.Client Care AwardLast year's winners...Gold Shoesmiths & HarrisonsSilver Irwin MitchellBronze AA Legal ServicesA commitment to client care is crucial to the survival of any business.This award recognises firms that set new standards ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Ed Duckworth

    4-May-1999

    Ed Duckworth was born in Bristol in 1972. He is an assistant solicitor practising in medical negligence at Bevan Ashford in Bristol.What subject(s) did you fail at school?Art.What was your first job?Building site labourer.What was your first-ever salary as a lawyer?u12,000What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Car dealer.

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: The Lawyer Inquiry

    7-May-1999

    Patricia Ewen was born in Liverpool in 1948. She is a practice development partner with Silverbeck Rymer.What subjects did you fail at school?Geography.What was your first job?Clerical officer, Department of Employment (Benefits Agency).What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?#4,750 paWhat would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?I have been a civil servant, ...

  • This week

    7-May-1999

    Watch out for the answer to the question on the tip of every legal expert's tongue - was Mick Jagger's marriage ceremony with Jerry Hall on the island of Bali a proper wedding? A High Court judge is due to give his opinion on the matter this week.

  • Thompsons opens two new offices in expansion drive

    7-May-1999

    Thompsons is dramatically expanding its practice size and scope - three months after a radical shake-up which saw 11 equity partners leave the firm.The trade union and personal injury firm is opening offices in Teesside and Plymouth. Plans for a further office will be announced next month.The number of partners at each office has not been finalised. But senior managing partner Geoff Shears says: "Teesside is likely to have two or three partners plus support staff. ...

  • Tony Scales

    3-May-1999

    The elections may have gone to a second round, but Tony Scales believes his job as senior partner of Stephenson Harwood is not one coveted by many. Anne Mizzi reports.

  • Top Chicago firm to open in London

    4-May-1999

    US firm Altheimer & Gray is to open a London office.The Lawyer understands that the Chicago-based firm is looking to take a floor with room for around 30 staff in the same building as fellow US firm McDermott Will & Emery. A source suggests there will be about a dozen lawyers in the office.A partner in a rival Chicago firm expresses surprise that Altheimers is opening ...

  • Torture lawyer quits the City

    7-May-1999

    The lawyer representing eight British men accused of terrorist activities in Yemen has resigned from his City solicitor job at Wilde Sapte after suffering from extreme stress.Rashad Yaqoob, 27, sneaked past airport authorities to enter Yemen earlier this year. He was arrested at gunpoint and then beaten for an hour by police, before contacts in the Yemen government arranged his release.He is now suffering from a stress condition and last week announced he was ...

  • Trademark case goes to Lords

    4-May-1999

    The Law Lords are to consider the question of trademark infringement in the case of Scandecor Development AB v Scandecor Marketing AB & ors. They have just granted leave for Scandecor Development to appeal against an Appeal Court decision in July last year, in which an earlier ruling giving it partial victory in its claim was overturned and judgment was entered for Scandecor Marketing.The legal battle is about the use of the name Scandecor in posters, calendars, ...

  • Trainee dies in horse race imitation

    7-May-1999

    A TRAINEE barrister has died in a railway accident after imitating the Grand National during post-party revelries.Ben Showell, 23, who was doing his pupillage at St Philip's chambers in Birmingham, had been participating in a stunt by vaulting fences with the aid of a ladder. It followed a party in Brixton, London, on 10 April - the day of the Grand National, an inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court has heard.Oxford graduate Showell decided to return ...

  • Trainee Group helpline calls hit all-time high

    4-May-1999

    Firms are getting away with blatant abuse of practice rules because trainee solicitors are too scared to speak out about mistreatment, claims the Trainee Solicitors' Group (TSG).The organisation is making its findings public as use of its helpline hits a record high, with 122 calls for help coming in over the past six months. During the same period in 1997/1998, calls totalled only 42.TSG chairwoman Susannah Haan says trainees are reluctant to make an official ...

  • US firm splashes out in City expansion

    7-May-1999

    US firm Arnold & Porter is paying the highest rent in the City this year for its new premises as it prepares to expand its London office.The Washington DC-based firm has taken two floors in the Old Broad Street tower and is understood to be paying more than #549 per square metre (#51 per square foot).Arnold & Porter, which is best known in the US for its Washington DC-based regulatory practice, is moving into the new premises in September ready for the expansion ...

  • Welsh Assembly practice decision provides boost for Welsh lawyers

    7-May-1999

    Welsh lawyers are hoping to cash in on extra work following a ruling allowing challenges to Welsh Assembly decisions to be heard in Cardiff not London.A practice direction issued last week by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, creates a Crown Office in Cardiff.The direction also advises lawyers on how to spot devolutionary matters and on how and where to deal with them.Barrister Nicholas Cooke QC, of 9 Park Place chambers in Cardiff and co-author ...

  • Whitfield promoted to BT general counsel

    4-May-1999

    THE HEAD of legal at British Telecom, Alan Whitfield, has been promoted to the position of group general counsel.Former chief legal adviser Colin Green has been appointed to the more executive role of commercial director and secretary.Whitfield, who will now be British Telecom's main legal adviser, says the appointments recognise an existing state of play at the company."As he drops the title, he drops ultimate board responsibility for legal ...

  • Why did the Formula One deal crash?

    7-May-1999

    Motor racing fans will know, having spent a frustrating Saturday afternoon watching a hastily scheduled movie instead of their Formula One heroes, that the legal battle between ITV Sport and Bernie Ecclestone, president of the Formula One Constructors Association, is far from over.Despite paying out £72m in a five-year deal for the broadcasting rights to Formula One, ITV was prevented from televising the French Grand Prix's qualifying session on 26 June.

  • Wilde Sapte wins battle to keep partner exit rule

    7-May-1999

    Wilde Sapte is celebrating winning an arbitration case that will prevent more than two partners a year from quitting the firm.Tom McDonald, a partner in the Paris office, had taken the firm to arbitration before a judge in France over the firm's constitution, which prevents more than two senior equity partners leaving in a 12-month period.But the ruling has gone against McDonald, who hoped to join

  • Will e-mail send your firm to court?

    4-May-1999

    David Engel, partner, Theodore GoddardDavid Price, solicitor, David Price & CoSteven Blakeley, managing partner, Wilde SapteThe recent high-profile anti-trust case in the US against Microsoft highlights the potential risks of companies using e-mail. Once a message is sent it is virtually impossible to ensure that no copies survive. Even if an e-mail disappears from the screen, the delete button does not magically ...