3 November 1997

The Lawyer

  • A dinosaur writes

    3-Nov-1997

    Bogan and Dubow really are behind the times. Modern geological theory suggests that dinosaurs became extinct because of some sudden disaster to strike their habitat and not because of any difficulty they had in adapting to changing conditions. The link between the Solicitor Estate Agencies and the Compensation and Indemnity Fund is simple.Setting up an estate agency business in a highly competitive property market is a risky commercial venture needing considerable capital ...

  • A first for Taylors as partner places share offer on Internet

    3-Nov-1997

    Taylor Joynson Garrett partner Tom Mackay is the first UK lawyer to put a share offer on the Internet.He is advising Oxford-based bookseller The Internet Bookshop on the sale of what it hopes will be £1m worth of shares in its new company, bookshop.co.uk, through a placing and offer on Ofex, the market for smaller unquoted companies, on the Internet.Mackay, who was formerly in-house at venture capitalist 3i and head of legal at the Stock Exchange, said ...

  • Arden puts codification of commercial law on agenda

    3-Nov-1997

    The Chair of the Law Commission, Mrs Justice Arden, has strongly hinted that the commission may soon embark on the codification of commercial law.Speaking at the annual Commercial Bar Association (Combar) lecture last week, Arden said: “In most situations it is quicker and easier to find the answer to a legal problem in a code.“The majority of legal problems do not raise new and interesting points of law but can be solved by applying existing well-established ...

  • Arnheim & Co set for take off

    3-Nov-1997

    Arthur Andersen may be the first big six accountant to move into legal services in the UK but Chris Arnheim likes to think it was he who kick- started the moves of the others.His story begins early in 1995 when he and fellow partner Richard Kemp began to tire of the Hammond Suddards London office they had founded more than three years earlier.The two had worked hard to build up the office to around 30 or so lawyers but they felt frustrated - the firm was run ...

  • Avoid twenty-first century shocks

    3-Nov-1997

    While the year 2000 issue is easy to understand, the solution is messy - many companies will have thousands of programs to check - and the problem has an immoveable deadline. It may well take between 30 and 60 per cent of IT project budgets to resolve the problem. This will either result in a massive overspend on IT or in resources being diverted from new system development; both options will require strong management.However, observers have been dismayed at the level of ...

  • bomb-hit law firms get back to normal

    3-Nov-1997

    Addleshaw Booth & Co has finally completed the repairs to its Manchester office, which was severely damaged in last June's IRA bomb.The office's return to normal coincides with the Govern-ment's announcement that it will award a grant to Manchester City Council to assist with the costs of clearing up the city's bomb damage.Addleshaw's Pall Mall office was directly in line with the blast and, up until a few weeks ago, the building had ...

  • Call for action on insider dealing in EU

    3-Nov-1997

    Leading fraud barrister Robert Rhodes QC has called for a regulatory tribunal to be set up to deal with insider dealing following failures by most Eu countries to prove cases.Rhodes was speaking at a conference on insider dealing held by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Garrett & Co at which it emerged that the conviction rate for insider dealing was very low across Europe.This was despite a five-year-old EC directive requiring member states to ...

  • Canadians pull out of Hong Kong

    3-Nov-1997

    Canadian firm Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binningtons has been forced to close its Hong Kong operation after five years because it was unable to meet its growing commitments there.Partners Louise Pearson and Melissa Thomas have left the firm, with Thomas joining Hong Kong rival Freshfields, which is staffed by more than 50 lawyers. She is due to spend five months in Hong Kong before being redeployed to Beijing.John Laskin, a litigation lawyer based in the head office ...

  • Chief declines post

    3-Nov-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsM Lambeth Council chief executive Heather Rabbatts has been forced to give up a £60,000 private directorship job after objections from councillors. Rabbatts, a barrister, wanted to take up an offer to sit on the board of Centrica, the gas supply and trading arm of British Gas, for a three-year term. However, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors were concerned about potential conflicts of interest and the impact ...

  • Clifford Chance lobbying KOs new Customs' powers

    3-Nov-1997

    Clifford Chance is claiming a lobbying victory for its bank clients after the government last week tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill.The amendment will delete a controversial clause which would have given Customs & Excise new powers to collect tax from anyone who owes money to a tax defaulter.The proposal would have allowed Customs to recover money from banks which ...

  • Clifford Chance race reaches final lap

    3-Nov-1997

    Clifford Chance partners Peter Charlton and Tony Williams are in the final ballot to become the firm's next managing partner after Ashley Booker and Rodney Short were eliminated from the race.It is understood that no clear majority of votes was obtained for any of the four in the first round of voting which ended last week.So Clifford Chance's 250 partners are ...

  • Consumer seminar

    3-Nov-1997

    M Old Square Chambers has organised a series of seminars for local government solicitors to assist them in enforcement actions and prosecutions under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and associated regulations. The seminars, being held in London on 13 May and in Birmingham on 22 May, will be conducted by product liability law specialist and barrister Barry Cotter. Profits from the seminar will be donated to consumer safety charities.

  • Dibbs takes top spot in blue chip charts

    3-Nov-1997

    Dibb Lupton Alsop has for the first time acquired more UK Stock Exchange listed clients than Freshfields, according to the The Company Guide, published by Hemmington Scott.Dibbs also had the fastest growing clients and the clients with the fastest increasing earnings for the second quarter running.The firm made a net gain of three new clients in the last quarter (from November to February), bringing its total to 51.5 (counting a joint appointment as 0.5) and ...

  • Family law scheme gets Law Soc green light

    3-Nov-1997

    The Law Society has agreed to press ahead with an accreditation scheme for family lawyers which could be in operation by the start of next year.But the scheme, which will give accreditation on the basis of reasonable competence, has been dismissed by the Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA) as "not worth having".The proposed scheme would give accreditation to legal executives and solicitors who have done at least 300 to 350 hours a year of family law work ...

  • Fast track reforms will not be fully piloted, says Scott

    3-Nov-1997

    Lord Woolf's 'fast track' civil court reforms will not be fully piloted after all, Sir Richard Scott, head of civil justice, has revealed.In November Lord Woolf and Sir Richard Scott indicated that, following strong lobbying from solicitors' groups and the Law Society, they were prepared to conduct pilots of the fast track before its full implementation on 1 October 1998.But last week, at a seminar hosted by Dibb Lupton Alsop, Scott told The ...

  • Financing

    3-Nov-1997

    Herbert Smith acted for Hypobank on three separate issues of medium-term notes worth 1bn Czech Crowns, 10bn Portuguese Escudos and £100m due respectively in 1998, 2007 and 2000. Allen & Overy acted for the lead manager on each issue.

  • Flotations

    3-Nov-1997

    Berwin Leighton advised Foreign & Colonial Ventures on the £29.7m flotation on the London Stock Exchange of recruitment services company PSD Group in which F&C retained a 25 per cent stake. Travers Smith Braithwaite advised sponsors HSBC Samuel Montagu and Stephenson Harwood advised PSD.

  • Flotations

    3-Nov-1997

    SJ Berwin & Co acted for Birmingham City on its £7.5m admission by placing to AIM.

  • Flotations

    3-Nov-1997

    Olswang advised plastic moulding subcontractor Technoplast Industries on a £12m Stock Exchange flotation by placing. It is the first Israeli company to go on the Official List rather than AIM. Osborne Clarke advised sponsor Henderson Crosthwaite

  • GPPs: your flexible friend

    3-Nov-1997

    Changes in pensions legislation and practice over the past 20 years have led to an increasingly marked shift away from final salary or defined benefit plans in favour of money purchase or defined contribution policies. This trend has been stimulated largely by employers' desire for greater cost control and the additional burdens placed on administrators and trustees. With the provisions of the Pensions Act 1995 beginning to bite, the trend looks set to continue.While ...

  • Health insurance may prove the best policy

    3-Nov-1997

    The first benefit companies usually provide for their employees is a pension. This is sensible, because the true value of state pensions is gradually being eroded. Curiously, the second benefit companies often provide is life assurance. Yet this may not be very valuable for many employees, particularly those with no dependants who may prefer benefits that, if needed, they can enjoy.One benefit from which every employee can benefit is health insurance. But companies are more ...

  • High street firms face an uphill battle

    3-Nov-1997

    A Law Society snapshot of the opportunities and problems facing high street practices paints a bleak picture of the future.Compiled by its research and policy unit policy adviser John Jenkins, the chart on the right covers most areas of high street practice."My general conclusion from this exercise was that existing trends suggest that the number of high street solicitors is likely to grow faster than the demand for their services," Jenkins told the Richmond ...

  • How to prepare for the Pensions Act

    3-Nov-1997

    The provisions of the Pensions Act 1995 take effect on 6 April 1997. As this date draws closer, employers and trustees should be reviewing their schemes to establish whether they comply fully with the provisions of the Act and, if not, when they propose to do so.The following is a review of the principal areas to be considered and provides comments on what action is appropriate, when it should be taken and any time limits.Member-nominated trustees

  • HSSK software to be discontinued

    3-Nov-1997

    Development of the High Street Starter Kit (HSSK) software - one of Law Society president Tony Girling's flagship schemes - is to be discontinued because of a "clear loss of confidence" in the project.Law Society council members voted overwhelmingly last week to cut their losses and ditch the software, whose brief history was dogged by delays and reports that it was not functioning as intended.So far the society has spent £220,000 developing an IT ...

  • In brief: Dibbs plans comms and media team

    3-Nov-1997

    Dibb Lupton Alsop is to set up a communications and media team with the recruitment as a partner of Bradley Herrmann from cable company Videotron. Herrmann set up and ran the cable industry's first in-house and regulatory team at Videotron and was a member of its management team with responsibility for corporate strategy.

  • In brief: IBA head praises response to appeal

    3-Nov-1997

    Desmond Fernando PC, president of the International Bar Association, is "heartened" by the first responses to its One Dollar Per Lawyer appeal, launched in October last year at the IBA conference in Berlin. The appeal aims to secure donations from each of the 2.5m lawyers practising around the globe, which will be channelled directly into the IBA's Human Rights Institute. "It is particularly impressive to note that support has been immediately forthcoming from those less established ...

  • In brief: Kennedys' lawyer is senior partner at 42

    3-Nov-1997

    Nicholas Thomas of Kennedys has been elected one of the youngest senior partners in the City at the age of 42. Thomas, who did his articles with Kennedys in 1977, and became a partner in 1980, aged 26, is a professional indemnity and construction law specialist who has worked on several high-profile cases, including the Putney gas explosion and the Piper alpha case. He said: "I believe there is a massive ...

  • In brief: Law should protect children, says QC

    3-Nov-1997

    Allan Levy QC has called for the English legal system to protect, not prosecute, child prostitutes. Speaking last week in London at The Children Society's conference on child prostitution in the UK, Levy said: "The approach towards the children should aim for protection, not prosecution. In so far as the criminal law clashes with the civil law, the welfare approach should always prevail." A specialist in child law, Levy, head of chambers at 17 Bedford Row, said there were adequate ...

  • In brief: SIF shortfall down to forecasting method

    3-Nov-1997

    h The £248m shortfall in contributions to the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) is not due to a mathematical error but to a new "pessimistic" way of forecasting, according to David Ward, chair of the SIF review committee investigating the miscalculation which was announced in January. Ward was presenting an interim report to concerned Law Society council members last week. The SIF board is due to make a full report to the society's standards and guidance committee in April ...

  • In brief: SJ Berwin team targets pharmaceuticals

    3-Nov-1997

    SJ Berwin & Co has set up a pharmaceuticals unit to focus on all aspects of domestic and international pharmaceutical law in response to the growing importance of this area of law. Stephen Kon, one of four partners in the new unit, explained: "We are getting more and more work in this area and this is a useful way of providing an additional element to our service." The unit aims to bring together specialists ...

  • In brief: Tupe ruling could threaten contractors

    3-Nov-1997

    A key European Court of Justice decision which threatens to plunge local government tendering into uncertainty is expected today (11 March). The court is expected to rule on a recent opinion by Advocate General La Pergola in the Suzen case that a simple changeover of a contract would not fall under the remit of the Acquired Rights and the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (Tupe). If the court supports the La Pergola ruling, companies which have taken ...

  • Indian lawyer forges alliance

    3-Nov-1997

    An Indian lawyer who came to the UK on a British Council Scholarship has helped launch a Law Society-sponsored bi-lateral association between Britain and India.Sanjay Gogia, formerly of Khaitan & Co in New Delhi and now a trainee with Allen & Overy, said that when he arrived in London he was surprised that no such organisation existed, especially considering the "strong cultural links ...

  • International Criminal Court. Global court gathers momentum

    3-Nov-1997

    The recent failed attempt in the UK to prosecute Szymon Serafinowicz, an 86-year-old suspected Nazi war criminal, raised questions about whether money was being wasted on pursuing war criminals who were too old to stand trial and too close to death to receive any meaningful punishment.Shortly after the abandonment of the trial, international lawyers and diplomats at the United Nations in New York met to consider similar issues relating to the Statute of Limitations for ageing ...

  • LAB defends counsels' advice

    3-Nov-1997

    THE LEGAL Aid Board (LAB) has defended barristers against an attack on the quality of counsels' opinions in legal aid cases by Gary Streeter, the parliamentary secretary at the Lord Chancellor's department.Last week, Streeter called for a crackdown on counsels' opinions after accusing barristers of issuing over-optimistic opinions, which he claimed were leading to too many hopeless cases being pursued.But in a move which legal aid practitioners ...

  • LAB loses some of its bite

    3-Nov-1997

    A county court breach of contract dispute looks set to have major ramifications for legal aid.Solicitors involved in the case say that it lays down important guidelines on when the legal aid charge bites on recovered cash. It has, they say, revealed that certain funds which previously have been subject to the charge should not have been.The Legal Aid Board may end up having to pay back a hefty sum now that the Court of Appeal has ruled that it should ...

  • Labour offers reassurance on future funding of PFI projects

    3-Nov-1997

    A Labour government will honour PFI transactions which have been completed before the General Election and will continue with transactions that are close to signing.That was the promise from Alistair Darling, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, to bankers and construction executives at a Herbert Smith seminar last month.Darling also told the companies involved in PFI that there was a need to prioritise PFI projects. In the past, the Government has insisted ...

  • Law Soc approves costs code

    3-Nov-1997

    The Law Society has approved plans to impose a client care and costs information code on its members, in a bid to clarify the duty of solicitors to provide clients with clear information on costs.Solicitors are currently required by a written professional standard to provide clear costs information.But the society standards and guidance committee felt there was confusion as to the scope of the requirement and available sanctions.Last week council ...

  • Law Soc calls for court fees climbdown

    3-Nov-1997

    The Law Society is calling on Lord Mackay to completely withdraw the increases in court fees following his humiliating defeat at the High Court last week.Lord Justice Rose and Mr Justice Laws ruled that Lord Mackay's removal of the right for people on income support or in exceptional hardship to a waiver of High Court fees, coupled with a hike in the fees, was unlawful. The Lord Chancellor is considering whether to apply to the Court of Appeal.But the Law ...

  • LCD throws rights of audience into doubt

    3-Nov-1997

    Local government solicitors were plunged into confusion after the long-awaited decision on rights of audience for employed solicitors appeared to throw into doubt their existing rights to appear as advocates in child care proceedings.The press release issued by the Lord Chancellor's Department announcing the decision to partially lift the restriction on higher court audience rights for employed solicitors said council solicitors would not be able to appear on their ...

  • Leaping contract hurdles on the Net

    3-Nov-1997

    The Internet has become a hot topic as far as law and commerce are concerned because of the fact that it does not exist as a single, definable entity. Consequently, fundamental legal and practical questions arise. For example what controls can be enforced on entities offering properties on the Internet? Who regulates activities on the Net and who is, or can be, made liable? While the answers to these issues are developing week by week, there remain some ground ...

  • Licence dispute goes to Lords

    3-Nov-1997

    A legal battle between Phillips Petroleum Co UK, Agip UK and British Gas Exploration and Production and Enron Europe over North Sea gas sales is to be decided by the House of Lords. Leave has been given for an appeal by Phillips, Agip and British Gas against court rulings over production licence agreements. The case centres on an area of the UK continental shelf known as "JBlock" for which Phillips, Agip and British Gas hold production licences.

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 11/03/97

    3-Nov-1997

    John Roger Davis, 45, admitted 1977, practising at material times as Davis & Co, Barkingside, Ilford, Essex, fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £2,314 costs. Also suspended pending compliance with order of Solicitors Complaints Bureau to pay £4,060 to a former client. Allegations substantiated that he failed to comply with decision of SCB. Tribunal said Davis had "misdirected himself in the light of his chagrin following ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 11/03/97

    3-Nov-1997

    Thomson v Lewisham and North Southwark Health Authority - QBD, 3 March 1997Claimant: Alex Thomson, 8 (suing through mother)Incident: Medical negligenceInjuries: Oxygen starvation at birth resulting in cerebral palsy and claimant suffering spasticity in all four limbs. Physical, cognitive, visual, language abilities seriously impaired Claimant suffers from fits, is unlikely ever to be able to work and will require continual ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 11/03/97

    3-Nov-1997

    Vehicles capable of carrying wheelchairs exempt from VATCommissioners of Customs and Excise v Help the Aged (1994)QBD (Lightman J) 28/2/97Summary: The supply of specially adapted minibuses for the transportation of persons in wheelchairs by Help the Aged to other charities was held to be exempt from VAT. The Commissioners' appeal was dismissed.Customs and Excise Commissioners' appeal against the decision of the London Value Added ...

  • Litigation Writs 11/03/97

    3-Nov-1997

    A consultant ophthalmologist from Stevenage, who claims he became the victim of an orchestrated campaign by Welwyn-based East Hertfordshire NHS Trust to discredit him, has launched a £400,000 plus High Court claim against the trust. Bachittar Singh Sandhu claims in his writ that he was suspended from his duties in October 1990, threatened with dismissal, and not fully re-established until 1995. During that time, he claims he lost private practice ...

  • Lords to rule on council duties

    3-Nov-1997

    Local authority lawyers are anxiously awaiting a House of Lords decision that will decide how far cash-strapped councils need to go in providing social services to the community.Gloucestershire County Council has appealed an earlier decision that it had breached The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 by withdrawing cleaning services to a disabled man of 79 because of a lack of financial resources.The Court of Appeal ruled that the council's withdrawal ...

  • Mergers. Trying to make a marriage work

    3-Nov-1997

    Paul Lee, senior partner of Addleshaw Booth & Co, takes every available opportunity since announcing the engagement of Addleshaw Sons & Latham to Leeds firm Booth & Co to thumb his nose at the merger of Dibb Lupton Broomhead and Alsop Wilkinson. "That was no marriage," he snorts. "Surely no one fell for that nonsense."Addleshaws' merger with Booths, on the other hand, was the perfect love match, according to Lee. Addleshaw Booth & Co became one on 1 February, and celebrated ...

  • Nabarros loses threesome

    3-Nov-1997

    Nabarro Nathanson has lost three of its nine construction partners in the past few weeks, including the head of the department, Martin Bridgewater, in the wake of a massive reorganisation of the firm.Bridgewater has stepped down as a partner and head of the construction group but remains with the firm on a consultancy basis.Nabarros' marketing manager Chris Hinze said that ...

  • New pensions watchdog to set up law firm panel

    3-Nov-1997

    The new pensions regulator, Opra, chaired by former Law Society secretary general John Hayes, has appointed a panel of 22 law firms to provide legal back-up for complex investigations.Hayes said the Pensions Act 1995, which set up the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) in the wake of the Robert Maxwell pension scandal, "may raise a number of complex legal questions".He said Opra's in-house lawyers, led by Jennie Kreser, would handle the majority ...

  • Newcastle firm faces writ over rent arrears

    3-Nov-1997

    High-profile Newcastle firm Russell Young Solicitors, which specialises in personal injury work, faces a High Court writ over alleged rent arrears and service charges of over £83,000.The Union Group, London landlord of the practice, has issued the writ in respect of money it claims is owed on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of Baron House, a property in Neville Street, Newcastle.Berwin Leighton, the issuer of the writ, refused to comment.Russell ...

  • Oman forces foreign firms to link up with domestic lawyers>

    3-Nov-1997

    Foreign firms in Oman are to lose their independent status under a new law which will force them into joint ownership with local lawyers.A decree issued in December by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos limits the duration of licences of foreign legal consultancy offices to three years after the date the law comes into effect, at which point they will have to share ownership with an Omani national.Nicholas Edmondes, head of the Trowers & Hamlin office in Oman, where David ...

  • Practice sets up trust to aid young people

    3-Nov-1997

    A Lymington law firm has launched a scheme to offer support to young and unemployed people in the town.Moore & Blatch, a private client practice, has established a charitable trust known as Initiative 200.The trust aims to provide independent help and support for local young people who may be isolated, vulnerable or at risk.The project will cost £50,000 a year, and the practice has pledged to support it for two years. It will also be raising ...

  • Property

    3-Nov-1997

    Eversheds is advising Birmingham International Airport on its £42m sale of a 40 per cent stake to Aer Rianta and Nat West Ventures, advised by Wragge & Co, to enable the airport to double its capacity over the next 10 years. Pinsent Curtis is advising the seven district councils, which together retain ...

  • Sex change case centres on discrimination

    3-Nov-1997

    A major test case over the stance health authorities take in paying for sex-change treatment is heading for the High Court.Mr Justice Owen has given leave for an urgent challenge to be brought against the right of Shropshire Health Authority to refuse to pay for operations necessary to finalise sex-change treatment for a man identified in court as "K".The man, a former Inland Revenue officer and father of two, claims that he is effectively ...

  • SFLA splits with its PR consultancy

    3-Nov-1997

    THE SOLICITORS Family Law Association (SFLA) has discarded its press and parliamentary adviser, Fishburn Hedges.But the group has insisted that its decision not to renew its two-year contract with the agency and revert to handling its media and parliamentary relations internally is not a sign of dissatisfaction with Fishburn Hedges' performance.SFLA chair Nigel Shepherd, who was due to stand down from the leadership of the group at its annual conference ...

  • Shoosmiths-Hambros alliance signals new conveyancing era

    3-Nov-1997

    Shoosmiths & Harrison has forged a conveyancing alliance with Hambro Countrywide estate agents in a move which has dismayed high street practitioners.Under the arrangement between Shoosmiths and Hambros, the estate agents will offer in-house conveyancing to clients selling through its offices and advise buyers to go to Shoosmiths.Shoosmiths partner Roger Wilson is to leave the ...

  • Siebens back to rebuild Milbank UK

    3-Nov-1997

    Tom Siebens, a partner at US law firm Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, is returning to London after three years in Singapore to help rebuild an office depleted by a mass defection of partners.Having lost five partners last October, four to US competitor Shearman & Sterling, Siebens will become the second partner in Milbanks' London office.At the time of the defection ...

  • Solicitor predicts increase in sporting legal challenges

    3-Nov-1997

    Sporting organisations can expect more legal challenges to their rules and regulations according to the solicitor who successfully challenged a Welsh Rugby Union decision to suspend a player.Field Fisher Waterhouse intellectual property partner Nick Rose obtained an interlocutory injunction against the union on behalf of Ebbw Vale club player and former international Mark Jones.

  • The countdown to meltdown

    3-Nov-1997

    Computers are not intelligent things. They do what they are told, however ludicrous the result. Computers that handle dates using two digits will be unable to correctly deal with the change from 99 (1999) to 00 (2000). The computer will consider that 00 represents 1900 and will act accordingly, producing unreliable results.Defining the problem may be easy but for businesses, finding the problem and fixing it in the time remaining is another matter. Although ...

  • the insurance game

    3-Nov-1997

    Freshfields trainee Kate Cawthorn recently hit the headlines when she sued her firm for loss of her career as a lawyer, personal injury and psychological distress arising out of her contracting shigella dysentery on a business trip to Ghana.Although health insurance as part of the employee benefits package is becoming more and more common in many professional practices and financial services institutions, whether other firms can avoid ending up on the wrong end of such a ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Anna Ciffolilli

    3-Nov-1997

    Anna Ciffolilli was born in Perth, Australia, on 15 August 1961. In a varied career she has worked at the Australian Securities Commission and, most recently, the Fisheries Department. She has given up the high life (for a while) and is currently travelling the world. What was your first job?Shop assistant at Walsh's [a menswear store].What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?A$14,000.

  • The right to privacy in the UK remains uncertain, says Paul Dacam.

    3-Nov-1997

    Paul Dacam is solicitor at Lovell White Durrant.Last December the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) upheld David and Frederick Barclay's complaint concerning an unwarranted infringement of their privacy in the making and subsequent broadcasting of The Spin on BBC2 in October 1995.While making the programme, BBC journalist John Sweeney landed on the Barclays' island of Brecqhou, in the Channel Isles, against their wishes.

  • The way to an employee's heart

    3-Nov-1997

    Rightly or wrongly, law firms are not renowned for offering lavish employee benefits packages to their staff. Take the case of pensions. "The majority of regional law firms do nothing at all," suggests Andrew Warwick-Thompson, an associate with consultants Bacon & Woodrow. "Staff are left to do their own thing and get ripped off."He concedes, however, that: "In the City, things are better: you tend to get small, ...

  • The year of living dangerously

    3-Nov-1997

    It seems that up until recently, the problems posed by moving into the next millennium have been a blind spot for most people in the world of IT. The problem, now being described variously as "the year 2000 issue" and the "millennium bomb" has finally been identified.In a nutshell, the issue is this: most software programs have been written in such a way that the date field is limited to two characters for each day, month and year, so typically 1996 will appear as 96. This ...

  • Thousand year hitch

    3-Nov-1997

    The article "End of the millennium blues" (The Lawyer, 25 February) by consultants at BDO Stoy Hayward admirably alerts readers to the problems some computer systems will have in accommodating the four-digit date from the year 2000. All solicitors should be advising clients to include 2000 compliance warranties in new computer contracts.It concentrates on the technical problem and how problems could be corrected. For lawyers, just as interesting is the ...

  • Trouble in store for high street lawyers

    3-Nov-1997

    High street practitioners face a bleak future if they do not take a long, hard look at their practices and find new opportunities, the latest research from the Law Society points out.Researcher John Jenkins warns solicitors of the dangers which lie ahead as many of their practice areas, from conveyancing to crime, are slowing down. Conveyancing, in particular, faces massive changes as the mortgage providers seek to improve their market share.

  • UK firm helps Malawi govt avoid constitutional crisis

    3-Nov-1997

    UK firm Lawrence Graham was called upon to help rescue the fledgling African democracy of Malawi from a constitutional crisis, in a case heard in the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.Partner Andrew Dobson, accompanied by Patrick Elias QC of 11 King's Bench Walk, were admitted to the local bar to represent the Malawi government against the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which had as ...

  • US SEC concerns prompt PW to turn down deal work

    3-Nov-1997

    Price Waterhouse's European legal network hit its first problem with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month.Paul Downing, head of the network, has admitted that the firm had turned down the offer to do the legal work on a bond issue in the Netherlands two weeks ago because the audit engagement partner had said the SEC may disapprove.Arthur Levitt, chair of the SEC, which regulates the New York Stock Exchange, publicly warned three months ...

  • Venables takes on the BBC

    3-Nov-1997

    Terry Venables is to take on the BBC in the High Court in a libel action over jokes DJ Simon Mayo made about him on the Radio One Breakfast Show. He is to seek damages and a ban on the BBC repeating the allegations. The jokes complained of were broadcast on 21 January this year and Venables claims that they would be taken to mean, among other things, that he had accepted "backhanders" in the course of his professional career in football.

  • Why the indirect route is the way to go

    3-Nov-1997

    Just the thought of direct access is enough to make most barristers shudder.Ordinary members of the public puffing away in our waiting rooms wholly unsupervised by solicitors. Adverts for chambers in the local rag. Maybe even chaps in wigs chasing ambulances down the street. And worst of all, endless phones calls from clients who just can't seem to grasp the issues in their case...Only joking. Of course, we love the clients - with or without an ...

  • Wilde Sapte sets up German unit

    3-Nov-1997

    Wilde Sapte has formed a team of lawyers into a dedicated German unit.The focus of the unit will be to serve German organisations seeking to do business in the UK and UK organisations looking for opportunities in German markets.The core team, to be based in London, will consist of company commercial partner George Sanders, shipping, aircraft and trade finance partner Robert Dibble and banking, trade and project finance partner Elisabeth Gaunt.The ...