31 March 1997

The Lawyer

  • 36 Bedford Row makes a commercial move

    3-Apr-1997

    THE COMMON Law set 36 Bedford Row has signalled its intention to branch out into commercial work with its adoption of planning specialist David Altaras.Altaras, who acted for the Department of Transport in the M3 Twyford Down inquiry, has left planning chambers 1 Sergeants' Inn to join the set, led by James Hunt QC.He said: "I think it is exciting to be able to offer planning and environmental services to the massive client base that ...

  • A place for inheritance

    3-Apr-1997

    The Network for Social Change is a group of 80 inheritors who have joined together to coordinate the donation of money to deserving causes. We would like to highlight our existence to solicitors whose clients may want to give some of the money they have inherited to charity.The network was formed 11 years ago by a group of inheritors who were uncomfortable about inheriting wealth and wanted to reconcile their wealth with their beliefs.Recent projects have included ...

  • A pro bono champion for dogs

    2-Apr-1997

    Worthing solicitor Trevor Cooper does not own a dog or, come to that, a pet of any sort. "I'm a busy general practitioner going flat out seven days a week and it just wouldn't be fair to own a pet," he says.Yet in UK canine circles Cooper's name is legendary. He has probably saved more dogs from "death row" than any other lawyer and is the hero of dog lovers everywhere.Last year he won freedom for one of the best-known ...

  • A tough niche to carve

    2-Apr-1997

    Open season has been declared on the greatest British institutions - the monarchy remains under fire, the House of Lords is firmly in New Labour's sights and many barristers' chambers are reinventing themselves to respond to the market.Chambers began hiring practice managers in the rush to become more business-like, but results have been mixed. Where some have doggedly persevered and succeeded, others have failed spectacularly.The new breed of managers ...

  • Adopting the right principle

    3-Apr-1997

    All wars create tragedy, but if ever a court case emphasised the way such tragedies can cross borders, it was the recent one heard by Sir Stephen Brown, president of the High Court Family Division.It involved a four-year-old Bosnian girl who, at nine weeks old, was saved after being dragged from beneath a pile of bodies in Bosnia. Among the dead was her mother, who had been machine-gunned.The girl was then brought over to the UK ...

  • AIM finds lawyers are the best

    2-Apr-1997

    Lawyers give better value for money than any other advisers that help companies to float on the Alternative Investment Market, according to a survey which was published last week by accountancy firm Neville Russell.But the survey also found that in many cases the company used its nominated adviser's lawyer, on the nominated adviser's recommendation, on the grounds that it would save money.While many argue that the interests of a company and its nominated ...

  • Alison Laferla reports from The Lawyer's Ninth Annual Conference on Information Systems

    3-Apr-1997

    Lawyers should seize the opportunity to provide legal information on the World Wide Web or they will lose out to the competition, legal IT expert Richard Susskind has warned.Susskind, a special adviser to Masons and author of the Future of Law, was speaking at The Lawyer's ninth annual conference on information systems for the legal profession last week.In his keynote speech, Susskind outlined his vision for the future of the profession, ...

  • Ap Cynan to face an OSS investigation

    3-Apr-1997

    A SENIOR Law Society council member, who has just withdrawn his candidature to be- come its deputy treasurer, is being investigated by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors.Robin ap Cynan withdrew from the deputy treasurer election contest last week, in a surprise move which leaves Robert Sayer free to continue in the post. However, he said the investigation was unrelated to his decision not to stand.Ap Cynan, consultant solicitor to Stephen Thomas in ...

  • Asim takes Step forward after meeting in London

    3-Apr-1997

    The Association of Solicitors in Investment Management has set up links with Step, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.The organisations last week attended Asim's London regional meeting held at Speechly Bircham and are making plans to have future joint meetings.Asim member Andrew Murray, of

  • Audience ruling results in uproar

    3-Apr-1997

    EMPLOYED solicitors from the CPS and the commercial sector have expressed dismay at Lord Mackay and the four senior designated judges' decision to severely restrict higher court rights of audience for employed solicitors.Last week Mackay and the four judges ruled that employed solicitors could only appear in the High Court and Crown Courts for preliminary hearings, six years after the Law Society originally submitted its application for audience rights to be extended.

  • Auditors call for fraud panel

    3-Apr-1997

    Auditors are calling for an independent advisory panel to be set up to coordinate the public bodies involved in the investigation and prosecution of fraud and to review the laws and regulations pertaining to it.The audit faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants issued a paper proposing the formation of the panel last week after its survey showed nearly 90 per cent of auditors expected corporate fraud to increase over the next five years.The faculty would ...

  • Award for IT pioneers

    2-Apr-1997

    Alison Laferla reportsAn Exeter law firm rose "like a phoenix from the ashes" to scoop this year's Society for Computers & Law IT award last week.The four-partner firm, Rundle Walker, was set up by solicitors who had been made redundant in the recession.None of the partners had used a computer before, but in four years they used IT to create a successful firm and carry off the award.The firm says computerisation ...

  • Bar race relations chair targets discrimination in chambers

    2-Apr-1997

    The first black barrister to be appointed as chairman of the Bar Council's Race Relations Committee has claimed that discrimination within chambers risks holding back the careers of ethnic minority lawyers.According to Lincoln Crawford, the Bar had made huge advances in opening up the profession to people from ethnic minorities groups, but once in chambers they were often overlooked or ignored by clerks."Getting in the set is one thing," said Crawford. "Having ...

  • Bath practice breaks up as Bristol merger talks stall

    2-Apr-1997

    BATH firm Macfarlane Guy is to break up in a three-way split this month after merger talks with a Bristol practice failed at the eleventh hour.The firm’s break up has been prompted by Bristol practice Sansbury Hill’s unexpected decision to pull out of the talks at a late stage, according to senior partner Michael Guy.He said the partners had decided to go their separate ways following the breakdown of the talks.Guy and an assistant, who both specialise ...

  • BLA plans Regis complaint

    2-Apr-1997

    The British Legal Association is poised to make an official complaint to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors alleging mishandling of the Regis project.As The Lawyer went to press it was understood that the BLA was finishing the complaint, expected to be filed this week.It is also understood that it will pick out for censure the individuals who were connected with the project.The complaint follows a series of damning reports on the society's ...

  • Bogan unveils property centre share plan

    3-Apr-1997

    More than 12,000 lawyers around England and Wales are to be asked to buy shares to fund the establishment of a Solicitors Property Centre likely to be located in Surrey.The 12,700 solicitors who supported John Edge's campaign on conveyancing fees a year ago will be sent a business plan drawn up by Law Society Council member Anthony Bogan outlining the requirements and objectives of an SPC.They will be asked to spend between £100 to £250 to buy ...

  • Bolton firm rises from the ashes after suspected arson attack

    2-Apr-1997

    A FIREproof storage room protected the vast majority of a Bolton private client firm's documents from going up in smoke after it fell victim to a suspected arson attack.The 120-year-old offices of the two-partner firm Hulton Bailey were completely gutted in the fire on 25 January and it has been forced to relocate to new premises.The fire is being treated by the fire brigade as suspected arson.It took the practice one week to set itself up in ...

  • Brown & Wood LLP grabs three more Brits

    3-Apr-1997

    US firm Brown & Wood LLP has expanded its UK practice by taking on three UK lawyers within the past two months, including Margaret Boswell, formerly of Allen & Overy, who joins the firm as a securitisation partner.London-based partner Drew Salvest said the firm, which has the "largest securitisation practice in the world", was looking to pick up a "big chunk of securitisation work in ...

  • Budapest Bar regulations push Shearman & Sterling into changing name of office

    3-Apr-1997

    US firm Shearman & Sterling has fallen foul of restrictions on foreign law firms in Hungary and been forced to change the name of its Budapest office.Local Bar rules mean that the firm has had to set up a separate Hungarian firm staffed by its Hungarian lawyers. The new firm is called Ban S Szabo & Partners, and will be headed by local lawyer Chrysta Ban.The new firm ...

  • BVCA calls for action on accountants' liability pact

    2-Apr-1997

    The British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) is asking the Office of Fair Trading to refer to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) an agreement by the Big Six accountancy firms on limiting their liability.Travers Smith Braithwaite corporate partner Margaret Chamberlain, a member of the BVCA's legal committee, has helped draw up the organisation's representations to ...

  • Chat with your computer

    2-Apr-1997

    Shakespeare SpeechWriter has launched a new product - Shakespeare ProSpeak.The company says it allows the user to control the entire Windows environment and operate any Windows application by speech alone.The user can also control the direction and speed of the mouse and activate single or double clicks by speech.Shakespeare SpeechWriter has also upgraded its range of speech recognition software to version 3.UK marketing manager Dan Clarke ...

  • China brings in its foreign firms rules

    3-Apr-1997

    China has announced the conditions it intends to apply to the establishment of foreign firms in preparation for negotiations on its accession to the World Trade Organisation.The conditions include allowing as many as 80 foreign firms to establish in 19 named Chinese cities.The offices will have to be headed by lawyers with more than five-years experience in their home jurisdiction and staffed by lawyers with a minimum of three years experience.Additionally, ...

  • Choice encounters

    2-Apr-1997

    All solicitors will be familiar with the chambers brochure. Often produced at great expense, the best have a page for each member with a photo, the type of work undertaken and some of the member's leading cases.At the other end of the scale is the pocket version, with a general description of the type of work the chambers undertakes and identifying members by name.But a brochure is not a way to sell a practice. It is merely part of a marketing strategy. ...

  • Citibank tie-up gives wealthy clients complete package

    3-Apr-1997

    Cripps Harries Hall, of Tunbridge Wells, has set up a private banking unit with Citibank providing banking services. The move is a bid to target wealthy private clients.The service, called Private Office, offers an integrated package to look after all matters related to personal and family wealth, including investment management, tax planning, ...

  • City firms to hold summit with Girling

    2-Apr-1997

    THE PARTNERS of 25 medium-sized City firms are to hold a summit this week with Law Society president Tony Girling to discuss concerns that their needs are not being addressed by the society.The meeting has been called by former Conservative cabinet minister David Hunt, senior partner at Beachcroft Stanleys.Hunt said that when he returned to the legal sector after five years in the Cabinet he detected a gap between what medium-sized firms wanted from the Law Society ...

  • College go-ahead breathes new life into education PFI

    2-Apr-1997

    Lawyers are hoping the education private finance initiative (PFI) blockage will be freed up with the first signing of a further education project this month.Robert Pirrie, head of the PFI unit at Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, believes the deal he helped structure for Falkirk College will act as a blueprint for other education PFI deals across the UK. the deal involves ...

  • Computer litigation group talk

    2-Apr-1997

    New Court Chambers has set up a computer litigation practice group to increase expertise in this growing area.The chambers has several practice groups covering different areas of law which allow barristers to share their experiences and expertise and to organise events for their clients.The group comprises nine tenants with experience in computer dispute litigation.Louise Seaton, client care and marketing manager, said: "More and more ...

  • Convicted lawyer apologises

    3-Apr-1997

    A Knightsbridge solicitor convicted of assault after he forcibly removed a client from his offices has expressed his regret for his behaviour and the injuries he caused his client.But Child & Child senior partner Allen Chubb has called for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, which is to hear his case in May, not to strike him off for the incident, in which he threw Laura Harold, the wife of a wealthy client, out of his offices and later pinned her down on the floor until ...

  • Council fights damages claim

    2-Apr-1997

    A case focusing on the liability of local authorities for emergency services is being taken to the High Court. Nottinghamshire County Council is being sued for damages of more than £250,000 over a flooded factory in Nottingham. It will be argued that the flood at Marathon Hosiery's factory was caused by negligence on the part of firemen who were called to the premises.

  • Council seeks leave to appeal

    3-Apr-1997

    The case of Welton v North Cornwall District Council will continue. Victoria and David Welton set up a holiday accommodation business turning a farm house in north Cornwall into a guest house which won a three crowns rating from the West Country Tourist Board. But they were threatened with closure following a visit from an Environmental Health Officer. They won £39,522 damages on the basis they had been caused economic loss as a result of the negligence of that council officer ...

  • Crime. Kicking the politics out of crime

    3-Apr-1997

    Imagine this: a politician, desperate for power, decides to make an issue of crime. Justice policy had been subject to cross-party consensus but, as time goes on, it becomes a thorny, contentious issue.Soon, every election becomes a battle over who can be tougher on crime. But all the attention does not decrease the problem - crime rates soar, and the debate delivers little more than hot air.If the process sounds familiar, it should not. Reference is not being ...

  • Cripps man poached

    2-Apr-1997

    Hewitson Becke & Shaw has poached pensions expert Andrew Lowin from Cripps Harries Hall to head its new financial services departmentLowin will offer an investment service from the firm's Cambridge office. He was at Cripps Harries for more than six years, in charge of pension funds and remuneration.The services

  • Crystal chambers abandons its chief executive 'experiment'

    2-Apr-1997

    The chambers of Michael Crystal QC at 3-4 South Square has decided to scrap the post of chief executive, which has been held for two years by solicitor David Hatchard.Hatchard will leave the commercial set on 1 April in a move which senior clerk Neil Atkin described as being by "mutual agreement".A former senior commercial litigation lawyer at international firm Clifford ...

  • Department closure furthers Eversheds commercial focus

    3-Apr-1997

    Eversheds in Birmingham has closed its private client trust and probate department in order to concentrate on commercial and corporate work.Keith Dudley, former senior associate, who ran the department, together with two executives and their secretaries, have joined Martineau Johnson's private client department.Hugh Carslake, head of Martineau Johnson's private client ...

  • Dibbs offshore team quits for Lawrences

    3-Apr-1997

    The five-lawyer offshore tax and private client team at Dibb Lupton Alsop's London office has moved to join Lawrence Graham.The team, which is headed by Andrew Young, includes partner Glen Hurstfield, Barry Lock, who will be a consultant at the new firm, and two assistants. It boasts the giant Far Eastern trading house The Jardine Matheson Trust Corporation as a major client, and ...

  • Dickson Minto secures sell off

    3-Apr-1997

    Dickson Minto, led by partner Martin McNair, acted for members of the management team of rail leasing company Eversholt Holdings, which took a controversial profit of £57.3m on the £726.5m sale of their company to Forward Trust, the leasing arm of Midland Bank, represented by Norton Rose.The ...

  • Emerging forces

    3-Apr-1997

    With the New Year came a new name to the Danish legal scene: Plesner & Gronborg, the issue of a marriage between Copenhagen firms Koch-Nielsen & Gronborg and Plesner & Lunoe.A prime motivation behind the move was to entrench the firm in the country's top league of practices. "We felt a number of foreign clients and law firms viewed size as a decisive factor when they were looking for a law firm in Denmark," comments partner Finn Lerno. This was crucial in a legal community ...

  • Equity partnerships. Paying the price of partnership

    3-Apr-1997

    In the old days, the golden carrot was equity partnership. You were expected to work long hours at slave labour rates on the basis that, one day, you would inherit the practice and a licence to print money. The hard work was worth it - the benefits of partnership far outweighed the burden.The boom years of the 1980s lulled most of the profession into a false sense of security. Profits were high and firms recruited and tooled up for an ever increasing flow of work. Consequently, ...

  • Euro-courts are not political, argues barrister in new book

    2-Apr-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsThe embattled European courts face a positive future, despite being a "political football", according to Richard Plender QC, who has compiled a new book on their workings."The notion that the European courts are political is very widespread, and I think it is misplaced," said Plender, editor of the 1,000-page European Courts: Practice and Precedents.The book includes contributors ...

  • Eversheds to keep up its Big Six talks

    3-Apr-1997

    EVERSHEDS is in talks with accountancy practice KPMG as part of its "open-minded" strategy on a merger with a Big Six accountancy firm.The firm is in continuing talks with Big Six firm KPMG and is also believed to have been approached by Coopers & Lybrand, although talks presumably led nowhere because, in February this year, Coopers announced its intention to set up a standalone law practice, Tite & Lewis.Keith James, chairman of

  • Finance ranks Arthur Cox top for Irish mergers work

    3-Apr-1997

    Dublin-based Finance magazine, has placed Irish firm Arthur Cox at the top of a table of Irish mergers and acquisitions deals in 1996. The firm came top in number and value of deals.Finance undertakes an annual review of Irish M&A activity, but this was the first time the magazine looked at law firms' shares of these lucrative deals. In 1996, Arthur Cox acted as legal advisor for 37 deals worth a total £IR1.5bn (£1.45bn).Arthur Cox is the second ...

  • Financing

    3-Apr-1997

    Allen & Overy acted for ABN Amro, Bank of America and UBS in arranging a £1.25bn syndicated loan for Entergy Power UK to fund its acquisition of London Electricity. Entergy was advised on the loan by Clifford Chance.

  • Fired junior clerk blames wage row

    2-Apr-1997

    A former junior clerk at 2 Grays Inn Square chambers has accused the set of firing him after he complained that he was receiving less pay than he was originally promised.But the set insists Kennedy Chulu was dismissed because he was incompetent, not because of the salary dispute.When Chulu was taken on by the common law chambers in October last year as a junior clerk he received a letter from practice manager Paul Simpson. It stated that his salary would ...

  • Firms with eye on services market take trainee route

    3-Apr-1997

    A number of firms are preparing to train young solicitors to deal with financial services. Trainees at Barr Ellison, Buckle Mellows and Cunningham John are sitting financial services exams to tie in with their qualification as solicitors in September.Rosa Gunston, of Barr Ellison, will head a new department called investment and financial planning when she qualifies. It will be under the auspices of private client and compliance partner William Bellamy.

  • FLBA annual dinner

    3-Apr-1997

    The shadow Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, is to to be the keynote speaker at the Family Law Bar Association's annual dinner this Friday at the Middle Temple Hall.The black tie dinner, which is at 7.45pm and costs £40, is open to anyone who receives the Family Law Bar Association's newsletter, whether or not they are subscribing members of the association.

  • Fountain Court appoints director

    2-Apr-1997

    Fountain Court Chambers is to appoint a chambers director to replace its departingsenior clerk, Barry Down.Down's departure, revealed last month by The Lawyer, was prompted by administrative reorganisation at the chambers.It is understood he was unhappy at the direction the set was taking, although Fountain Court says he will act as a consultant during the shake-up.The new chambers director will have overall responsibility ...

  • German firms merge to form big-league player

    2-Apr-1997

    German firms Boesebeck Barz & Partners and Droste are to merge to form Boesebeck and Droste Killius & Triebel.It will be the fifth largest practice in Germany, with 75 partners and more than 150 lawyers. The new firm will have five national offices, as well as bases in Brussels, Warsaw, Zagreb and Alicante.Frankfurt-based Boesebeck partner Eckart Wilcke said that Droste's strong intellectual property and competition law reputation would "complement our corporate ...

  • Germany gears up for 2000

    2-Apr-1997

    The German legal market is in a state of flux. Firms are gearing up for further domestic mergers, while foreign lawyers and accountants are aggressively building up their German offices.The burning question is how to keep market share in a sluggish economy. "Every major German firm is talking about how they should meet the next 10 years," notes one foreign lawyer in Frankfurt.Ten years ago the German legal profession harked back to the days of the Kaiser - regionally ...

  • Golden opportunity

    2-Apr-1997

    Last week the Association of Solicitors in Investment Management (Asim) revealed that funds managed by its members had increased by 30 per cent over the past year.As Asim points out, solicitors can become a bigger force in the booming fund management market, offering investors a one-stop shopping service which rivals cannot match.They are uniquely placed to pick up business from areas they advise on, such as tax, pensions, wills and inheritance, insurance and ...

  • Good name of whisky brought to court

    3-Apr-1997

    Judgment is pending at the High Court in a case of significance to whisky distillers. Mr Justice Rattee has to decide when drink manufacturers are entitled to legally call their product 'whisky'.The question has been raised because the Glen Kella distillery on the Isle of Man has been taken to court by the Scotch Whisky Association, Guiness-owned United Distillers and Allied Domecq Spirits and Wines.In a case which saw the barrister's bar ...

  • High Court pending actions

    3-Apr-1997

    Reid v Local Sunday Newspaper (not before 10 March); Rispoli v Jenkinson and ors (not before 28 April); Trigwell and ors v Colliver (not before 28 April 1997); Wills v Brooksbank (not before 10 March); Harris v Three Valleys Water (not before 3 March); Lewis v Thames News Services and ors (not before 3 June); Morgan v MGN and ors (not before 3 June).

  • Hotel valuation challenged

    2-Apr-1997

    A multi-million-pound claim over the alleged negligent valuation of property is heading for the High Court. The claim centres on a valuation of five hotels bought by Tower Hill Property Investments from subsidiaries of Queens Moat Houses. Tower Hill, which paid more than £53m for the hotels, is suing valuers Weatherall Green and Smith, Terence Knight, Allen Matthews and Richard Baldwin, all of London WC2, accusing them of negligence and breach of ...

  • House of Lords takes RSI case in hand

    2-Apr-1997

    A landmark legal action in which a Macclesfield secretary is claiming damages for repetitive strain injury (RSI) is to be probed by the Law Lords.So far two judges have ruled for and two against the claim of 47-year-old Ann Margaret Pickford of Macclesfield who is seeking £175,000 damages.In the High Court in November 1994 Pickford's claim that she was entitled to compensation for RSI, which she said was brought on by secretarial work she ...

  • Ian Mason qualifies the recent ruling in favour of Ernest Saunders.

    2-Apr-1997

    Ian Mason is a solicitor in the litigation department of Travers Smith Braithwaite.The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that the UK government had violated Ernest Saunders' right not to incriminate himself has been portrayed, at least by the media, as the latest in a series of failures in the prosecution of serious fraud. However, a closer examination of ...

  • Improving mortgage business

    2-Apr-1997

    Firms who offer mortgage health checks will not only generate more conveyancing work but also provide a cashback or substantial saving to clients' mortgage payments.Many firms are looking at the idea and some have put it into practice. Others, not authorised to transact discreet investment business, may also have been approached by independent financial advisers (IFAs) with a similar suggestion. Non-authorised firms which do not have an arrangement with IFAs ...

  • In brief: Addleshaw Booth & Co opens for business

    2-Apr-1997

    Newly-merged firm Addleshaw Booth & Co has opened in Leeds and Manchester this week to serve "business right across the North". The merger between Addleshaw Sons & Latham, based in Manchester, and Booth & Co, based in Leeds, officially started on the first of February, forming a 97-partner firm which retains both regional offices. David Tully, formerly Addleshaws senior partner, said: "The merger gives us the strength in depth to service the North in a way no other firm in the North ...

  • In brief: Clyde & Co finds new senior partner

    2-Apr-1997

    Insurance lawyer John Dunt (pictured right) has been appointed senior partner at Clyde & Co's Guildford office. Dunt succeeds Robert Chapman, who helped found the Guildford office 26 years ago and recently retired. Initially a marine and marine insurance practice, the office has expanded its company commercial work in recent years and now employs 60 lawyers.

  • In brief: DAC appoints Manchester property head

    3-Apr-1997

    Davies Arnold Cooper has appointed Nigel Madeley as head of property in Manchester. Madeley was with Addleshaws for over 10 years and left before the recent merger with Booth & Co to join niche property practice McGuiness Finch in Leeds, where he stayed less than six months before returning to Manchester.

  • In brief: Desperately seeking former solicitor

    2-Apr-1997

    The High Court in London has granted unprecedented leave to serve a notice of bankruptcy petition against an untraceable former solicitor, by advertisement in the legal press. The action brought against William Relton, former head of William Relton & Co, relates to unpaid fees to legal recruitment consultancy Charles Fellowes Partnership. The notice has been placed in The Lawyer by the company. Martyn Libberson, of Birmingham firm Lee Crowder, said: "It is very unusual to get an order ...

  • In brief: Dickinson retires from Dickinson Dees

    3-Apr-1997

    Robert Dickinson, senior partner of Newcastle firm Dickinson Dees for 10 years and with the firm for 34 years, has retired to devote more time to his duties as chairman of several listed companies. He will be replaced as senior partner by current managing partner Graham Wright. Neil Braithwaite succeeds Wright as managing partner.

  • In brief: Edge & Ellison opens pensions office

    3-Apr-1997

    Pension litigator Gary Cullen is set to leave Hammond Suddards in London to head up a London pensions practice for Birmingham firm Edge & Ellison as a partner. Cullen, who was a nine years qualified assistant at Hammonds said: "Good pensions litigators are in short supply. I am one of the leading pensions litigators so I think Hammond Suddards will be sorry to see me go." Cullen said he wanted to match Edge & Ellison's rapid growth in Birmingham "from one to fourteen pension litigators ...

  • In brief: Howard bows to pressure on shredding

    3-Apr-1997

    Fierce criticism has forced Home Secretary Michael Howard to withdraw a clause which allowed police to shred prosecution evidence in jury trials three years after conviction. The clause, which was part of the 1996 Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act's code of practice, was drawn up by Michael Howard in December without any parliamentary debate. It was opposed by senior lawyers, MPs, Cardinal Basil Hume and former home secretaries Lord Jenkins and Lord Rees. Last week, following ...

  • In brief: ICSL forges links with City University

    2-Apr-1997

    The Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL) has affiliated with London's City University in a bid to meet increased competition. From this year, the ICSL has to compete with six other institutions for students after its historic monopoly on the training of barristers was scrapped by the Bar Council in 1995, following complaints about limited entry. The two educational institutions plan to develop joint courses and a masters degree is in the early stages of planning. However, while they ...

  • In brief: Merger firms seek to boost recruitment

    2-Apr-1997

    Cameron Markby Hewitt and McKenna & Co are to do joint presentations to their legal recruitment agencies in an attempt to end a drought of new solicitors following their lengthy merger negotiations. McKennas' managing partner Robert Derry-Evans said: "We did notice a fall off of applicants once the merger rumours started flying around, but now the CVs have started to come across our desks. There is no doubt both firms need more people." At the time of the merger announcement the ...

  • In brief: PFI specialist moves to Bevan Ashford

    2-Apr-1997

    Leading public sector private finance initiative (PFI) expert Chris Jarman (pictured right) has given up his partnership with Sharpe Pritchard in London to join Bristol-based Bevan Ashford as an associate. He said family reasons were the overriding factor behind the "wrenching move". Jarman added that leaving the firm, which he joined as an articled clerk more than 11 years ago, and giving up a partnership was a "grinding decision".

  • In brief: PI cover available at one third SIF price

    3-Apr-1997

    The managing partner of Williams Davies Meltzer, a firm that specialises in professional indemnity, liability claims and insurance work, has written to Law Society president Tony Girling claiming he has learned from specialist PI brokers that his firm could obtain equivalent PI cover to that offered by the Solicitors Indemnity Fund at about one third of the price. He also criticises the Law Society president for failing to disclose details of how SIF pays its panel. "My interest has ...

  • In brief: SFLA launches manifesto for law reform

    3-Apr-1997

    The Solicitors Family Law Association has launched a campaign to put family law reform high on the political agenda in the run-up to the elections. A 10-point manifesto, Agenda For Change, was published by the SFLA in the House of Lords last week. The document is being sent to MPs, peers and prospective parliamentary candidates throughout the country. It calls for a review of the recently-increased civil court fees, changes to the way the Child Support Agency operates and reform of ...

  • In brief: Tax man packs briefcase for Allen & Overy

    3-Apr-1997

    Tax specialist Miles Walton is set to move from Wilde Sapte, where he has been a partner since 1984, to join Allen & Overy later this year. Walton, who helped establish the tax department at Wilde Sapte in 1983, will be the fourth tax partner at Allen & Overy which has a relatively small tax department for a City firm. Patrick Mears, head of corporate tax at Allen & Overy, said the firm wanted ...

  • Invaders that never came

    3-Apr-1997

    When the Scandinavian Law Alliance was launched seven years ago, bringing together some of the best legal names in the region - Sweden's Advokatfirman Vinge, Denmark's Kromann & Munter and Norway's Thomessen Krefting Greve Lund - the question of Scandinavian legal cooperation was put squarely on the agenda.Because of the trio's grand ambitions, which included eventual merger, the SLA attracted much attention. But the results have not impressed everyone, ...

  • It is not a question of money

    3-Apr-1997

    The Criminal legal aid system in the UK is the envy of the world. It guarantees to all accused who are alleged to have committed the most serious and appalling crimes, the services of the "stars" - the best criminal QCs. No other system in the world provides such high-quality representation free of charge. It may seem very immodest and self-serving to make such an assertion. However, it is widely accepted at the Bar as reality.Such top-class representation ...

  • Judgement day for barristers

    2-Apr-1997

    The new Bar Council complaints system is as complex as it is controversial.

  • Know your enemy

    2-Apr-1997

    The Enemy Within is a conference on computer crime in the workplace. Speakers include Adam Bates, fraud investigation partner at KPMG, and Nick Harwood, manager of detective operations at British Telecom. The event takes place on 5 March at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. For further information, call AuthenTec International on 01296 318.

  • L&P in BCCI victory

    2-Apr-1997

    Linklaters & Paines is claiming a $1.8bn High Court victory for Ernst & Young in a battle over responsibility for the collapse of BCCI, whose liquidators are represented by Lovell White Durrant. The High Court last week struck out half the liquidators' $3.5bn claim against the accountancy firm for the alleged negligent audit of BCCI. It is believed to be the largest claim ever struck out in interlocutory ...

  • Law firms rake it in on the investment market

    2-Apr-1997

    Law firms are grabbing a bigger chunk of the investment management market with funds under management increasing by 30 per cent last year.Members of the Association of Solicitor Investment Managers (Asim) increased funds from £1.167bn just over a year ago to £1.599bn at the end of 1996.Scottish firm Murray Beith Murray topped the list with £200m under management - up £20m from last year.Thesis (owned by the partners of

  • Law Soc voices concern over block contract pilot scheme

    2-Apr-1997

    The Law Society has expressed deep concern about proposals for a solicitor pilot scheme for the block contracting of civil green form work, which it says may set unrealistic precedents and put firms in breach of society practice rules.It is writing to the Legal Aid Board (LAB) to say it finds the proposals for a block contracting pilot scheme for civil advice and assistance work, excluding family, unacceptable.The society is concerned about the proposed research ...

  • Lawyer's claims of naivety rejected

    2-Apr-1997

    A sole practitioner who played a part in an £8m fraud has been thrown out of the profession.The solicitors' disciplinary tribunal heard how Alan Dixon got involved in the fraud when he was approached in 1992 by a woman, described as "Mrs C", who asked him to take part in an investment scheme devised at the request of the US government to provide funds to the Russian government.The Cambridge-based solicitor drew up documents encouraging investors to ...

  • LCD urged to think again on Green Form

    2-Apr-1997

    The Legal Action Group (LAG) and the Law Society are asking the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) to think again over its proposal to remove criminal advice and assistance from the scope of the green form scheme.They say that it could leave a significant number of people without much-needed advice and assistance.The LCD, which announced the plan in December, argues that duty solicitor schemes and criminal legal aid offer sufficient opportunity for free ...

  • LeBoeufs tempts Ashton away

    2-Apr-1997

    US firm LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & Macrae has recruited former Theodore Goddard corporate finance partner Charles Ashton.He will be joining Washington-based partner Charles Landgraf, who returns to the London office after a five-year absence. He headed the London office in 1991.Ashton left Theodore Goddard three weeks ago and will be joining LeBoeufs' London office by 4 February as the fifth English partner.Landgraf said the moves reflected the firm's ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 04/02/97

    2-Apr-1997

    Thambapillai Yogananther, 54, admitted 1979, practising at material times as Yoga & Co, London NW9, suspended for a year. Allegations substantiated he wrongly drew money from client account, failed to comply with accounts rules, failed to disclose material circumstances to mortgagee client, failed to reply to correspondence from Solicitors Complaints Bureau. Tribunal accepted Yogananther had not acted dishonestly but said he had permitted unacceptable ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 04/03/97

    3-Apr-1997

    John Gabriel Daniels, 46, admitted 1975 and David John Ferraby, 44, admitted 1979, practising in partnership as Daniels Ferraby & Co, Tewkesbury, each fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,029 costs. Allegations substantiated that they failed to keep properly written accounts, wrongly drew client money and used it for the benefit of other clients and themselves and misappropriated client funds. Tribunal said they were prepared ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 04/02/97

    2-Apr-1997

    Hensman v Goodsall - QBD 21 January 1997Claimant: Michael Stuart Hensman, 2Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Claimant involved in accident with defendant's car while riding his motorcycle. Suffered fractured pelvis and severe leg injuries necessitating amputation of right leg below knee. He was 22 at the time of the accident and worked as a produce supervisor for Safeway in New Ash Green, Kent. Provisional damages sought on assumption no ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 04/03/97

    3-Apr-1997

    Taylor v West Kent Health Authority - QB 14 February 1997Claimant: Paul Taylor, Incident: Medical negligenceInjuries: Widower's claim over death of his wife, 33-year-old mother of four, who died of cancer 23 December 1991. Family had claimed £200,000 damages in respect of failure to diagnose cancer after checks following discovery of lump in breast. Judge found that even if cancer had been diagnosed and treated earlier the cancer ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 04/02/97

    2-Apr-1997

    Assessing compensation payable by the Law Society(1) R v Law Society, ex parte Mortgage Express; (2) R v Law Society, ex parte Alliance & Leicester Building Society (1997)CA (Lord Bingham CJ, Mummery LJ and Sir Brian Neill) 17/12/96Summary: Appeal by the Law Society concerning compensation claims by building societies for solicitors' frauds.Law Society's appeal in two challenges to Judge Ognall's decision ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 04/03/97

    3-Apr-1997

    GUIDANCE ON DAMAGESThe Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis v (1) Thompson (2) Hsu (1997)Summary: Clarifying directions judge should include in summing-up to assist jury as to damages, particularly exemplary, which it is appropriate to award plaintiff who succeeds in action for unlawful conduct towards them by police.

  • Litigation Writs 04/02/97

    2-Apr-1997

    Barclays Bank is seeking damages from Smith Vincent and Co of Upton Newark, Nottinghamshire, for damages for breach of contract and negligence over inspection of land sites in Norfolk and Suffolk in October 1990. Barclays' writ says that, relying on the report received from Smith Vincent, it lent Minns Aggregate (Carbrook) £300,000 and increased its overdraft facility by £345,000 secured on the land.Writ issued by Kramer, ...

  • Litigation Writs 04/03/97

    3-Apr-1997

    The Monty Python movie The Life of Brian is at the centre of a legal row over claims that its distributors wrongly gave the film's rights to Channel Four Television for 20 years. Python (Monty) Pictures, of London NW1, has issued a writ against Paragon Entertainment, of Toronto, and Channel Four Television, in which it accuses Paragon of breaching production and distribution agreements by failing to exploit the film properly, failing to hand over money ...

  • LLPs may increase tax bills for practices>

    3-Apr-1997

    A leading legal auditor has warned law practices of a serious problem in the Government's just-published prop- osals for limited liability partnerships (LLPs).Jersey has already introduced LLP legislation, and the latest proposals by the Department of Trade and Industry are aimed at encouraging large firms of lawyers and accountants to stay in the UK.Last week, The Lawyer revealed law firms' concerns about proposals to allow liquidators to claw back ...

  • Manchester's Byrom set and 22 Old Buildings to combine

    3-Apr-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsTroubled set 22 Old Buildings is to merge with Manchester's Byrom Chambers.The new chambers will be headed by Benet Hytner QC, the current head of Byrom Chambers, while 22 Old Buildings head, John Samuels QC, will move into sole practice.Byrom Chambers, a common law set with 12 silks at its Manchester chambers, will close its Fleet Street London office and move the 13 juniors based there into ...

  • Mason lawyer makes allegations against lodge

    3-Apr-1997

    A solicitor who is a Freemason has told the Home Affairs Committee investigating Freemasonry in the judiciary that he was excluded from his lodge because he acted against a fellow lodge member.Committee vice chairman Labour MP Chris Mullin questioned the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, Commander Michael Higham, about a letter the committee had received from the solicitor.He told Higham: "He found himself acting against another member of ...

  • Milbanks makes Angoorly up to partner in Singapore office

    3-Apr-1997

    US firm Milbank Tweed Had- ley & McCloy has responded to the need for English law in the Far East by electing Caroline Angoorly as a partner in its Singapore office.Angoorly, who is a qualified barrister as well as a solicitor, will be responsible for leading the firm's English law practice in Asia. She has worked in international project finance throughout Asia and Australia for almost 10 years.Gary Wigmore, head of Milbanks' Asian project practice, ...

  • Ministry selects its law firms

    2-Apr-1997

    The Ministry of Defence has appointed 15 law firms to a panel from which it will choose practices in the next five years to handle its PFI projects.Dibb Lupton Alsop is the first firm to be assigned a job from the panel, which also includes Herbert Smith.Dibbs will act for the MoD in drawing up a tender for the redevelopment of Chelsea barracks, where the Buckingham Palace guards are based.The MoD procurement department publicly invited lawyers to ...

  • Monckton shows who's who

    2-Apr-1997

    Monckton Chambers has published a new brochure with a full set of barristers' photos after requests from solicitors, who say they often fail to recognise them when introducing clients.Practice manager Milly Ayliffe said solicitors usually dealt with barristers over the phone and they were often as much in the dark as their clients when it came to putting a face to a name."It sounds ridiculous, but it is a problem," explained Ayliffe.

  • More companies are offering shares to workers, says report

    3-Apr-1997

    More companies taking a listing on the UK Stock Market offered shares to their entire workforce last year than ever before, according to Paisner & Co's annual survey Employee Participation in Flotations.Paisner employment partner David Cohen said that in the 10 years he had been conducting the survey, the proportion of floating companies offering shares to their entire workforce had increased from around a third to 62 per cent last year, or 39 of the 63 companies that ...

  • Moving minds towards the property market

    3-Apr-1997

    THE CONCEPT of solicitors running their own estate agents is proving a hard one to sell to high-street practices.An upturn in the housing market, statistics showing that solicitors still control 96 per cent of the conveyancing market, and the fact that establishing a property centre requires the agreement of dozens of firms, time, commitment and thousands of pounds of capital has so far spawned little enthusiasm for the concept.Yet around 60 delegates at the ...

  • Nords abroad: life in London

    3-Apr-1997

    The 1980's saw a steady flow of Scandinavian law firms coming to London to set up offices. They were often housed with friendly London practices or organised premises in cooperation with other Nordic or continental firms interested in a London presence. 'Nordic' is used is preference to 'Scandinavian' to include Finnish and Icelandic practices.Swedish firms dominate the Nordic presence in London and the largest Swedish practices are Lagerlof & Leman ...

  • Norton Rose lures LWD's Sanchez

    2-Apr-1997

    Norton Rose has strengthened its Paris office by tempting Alain Sanchez away from Lovell White Durrant with the offer of a partnership.Sanchez spent six years with Lovells in Paris and has experience as an in-house counsel for Exxon and 3M. His move to Norton Rose is intended to support the existing mergers and acquisitions partner. Two junior lawyers have been recruited for the same purpose.

  • Norton Rose plays key role as DTI blocks water merger

    2-Apr-1997

    Norton Rose's legal tactics helped concentrate Trade and Industry Secretary Ian Lang's mind on the general election when he made the groundbreaking decision to block the hostile takeover of Mid Kent Water.John Cook, Norton Rose's competition head, said legal action he had taken for Mid Kent against the bid had effectively pushed back Lang's decision date from spring ...

  • Olswang takes on IP pundits

    2-Apr-1997

    London firm Olswang has strengthened its existing intellectual property team with the recruitment of Andrew Inglis, head of Nabarro Nathanson's IP team, and Paul Stevens, a member of his team.They will both be partners at Olswang.Julia Palca, head of litigation at Olswang, said: "The addition ...

  • Partner helps win Govt tax U-turn

    2-Apr-1997

    Halifax lawyer Michael Gledhill has helped persuade the government to do a U-turn on its plans to close a tax loophole that would have cost his client millions of pounds.Gledhill, senior partner at eight-partner firm Finn Gledhill, acts for members of a family who last October received millions of pounds on the maturity of their discretionary trusts under a well-recognised tax loophole, used frequently by tax planners.The draft Finance Bill, published on 5 December, ...

  • Patrick Isherwood on a missed opportunity in copyright law.

    3-Apr-1997

    Patrick Isherwood is a partner at Frere Cholmeley Bischoff.The recent settlement of the Cala Homes v McAlpine High Court action for £1.85m brought an end to a piece of litigation which has attracted an unusual level of interest in legal and business circles.The original judgment by Mr Justice Laddie on liability in July 1995 held that Cala was the joint owner of the copyright in certain architectural drawings, prepared for it by external architects. ...

  • Pay your way for Legal Aid

    3-Apr-1997

    The media has recently occupied itself with reports that lawyers who promote flimsy cases backed by legal aid, might be made to suffer in their pockets by the Legal Aid Board. And some might say high time.Not only should such lawyers lose fees, they should also have to pay the other side's costs. Nor should we forget the learned Counsel who seem so ready to put their name forward in support of hopeless cases. They, too, should pay.We ...

  • PI specialist fights writ for negligence

    2-Apr-1997

    PERSONAL injury specialist Russell Jones & Walker is being sued by a former client who won £1,050 compensation for an injury which subsequently deteriorated, forcing him to take early retirement.According to law firm Bolt Burdon, which is acting for former policeman William Saul, compensation for the injury should have been substantially more than the £1,050 he settled for.A writ for negligence, issued at the High Court, says that the Police Federation ...

  • Police Bill - millions presumed guilty

    2-Apr-1997

    Concerns about the current Police Bill extend beyond police powers "to bug and burgle".Part V of the Bill enables the Secretary of State to issue certificates relating to criminal record checks. It is likely to affect millions of people. Criminal record information will be far more accessible, undermining principles of rehabilitation and privacy.That said, the Bill is welcome in that it places on a statutory footing the "hotchpotch" ...

  • Polish law stalled

    2-Apr-1997

    The final text of draft legislation which may impose crippling restrictions on foreign lawyers in Poland is still uncertain after weeks of lobbying by various bodies. The Polish parliament had been expected to vote on the finalised draft on 22 January, but instead it handed it back to the parliamentary commission which was initially responsible for wording the proposed legislation. The final text of the legislation is now expected by the end of February.

  • Profession unites against Howard's latest reforms

    3-Apr-1997

    The legal profession has attacked Home Secretary Michael Howard's proposed reform of the criminal justice system, accusing him of political posturing at the expense of the interests of justice.A report on delays in the criminal justice system published by Howard last week made 33 recommendations for "the biggest speed up in the criminal justice process in living memory".The controversial proposals include abolishing the right to jury trial in "minor criminal ...

  • Property

    3-Apr-1997

    Titmuss Sainer Dechert acted for Sears Property Developments in the £40m forward sale of the 100,800 sqft Tandem Centre retail park at Colliers Wood to Hermes Property Asset Management. Maxwell Batley advised Hermes.

  • Property

    2-Apr-1997

    Berwin Leighton represented Tesco and SJ Berwin & Co represented the British Land Company in establishing a joint venture, BLT Properties, in which to spin off £175m worth of properties including several Tesco stores, two retail parks and two distribution centres. Allen & Overy advised a syndicate ...

  • Property

    2-Apr-1997

    In-house lawyer Suzanne Chase represented building materials retailer Wickes in its sale and lease back of two stores to Guardian Nominees, advised by Slaughter and May. Guernsey firm Wedlake Bell McKean acted for Henderson Real Estate Strategy, which sold the freehold of one of the stores to Wickes ...

  • Rouse International goes for growing overseas IP markets

    2-Apr-1997

    Niche intellectual property specialist Rouse & Co International is to open new overseas offices in Jakarta and Dubai.The company - the international arm of the UK-based Willoughby & Co - already has eight offices in Hong Kong and China.Stuart Adams, a company director and partner at Willoughby & Co, confirmed that the company is now looking to tap the substantial market for intellectual property work in both Jakarta and Dubai.But he was unable to ...

  • Rouse takes on SOS systems in Far East

    2-Apr-1997

    Rouse & Co International is installing Windows-based time recording and accounts systems in its Hong Kong and Beijing offices, following successful implementation in London.The firm installed the systems, supplied by Solicitors Own Software (SOS), in its London office in 1995 and successfully converted its account data to Windows.The software has now been installed at the Hong Kong office and training is underway.Managing director Peter ...

  • Sayer dream team

    3-Apr-1997

    The Law Society election saga has taken a rather bizarre twist. Phillip Sycamore and Michael Mathews have invited Robert Sayer to join them on their slate. It is a breathtakingly audacious move and, indeed, a clever one. But what of Tony Girling, who is currently off on vacation? It seems the ides of March are here.

  • Sayer uncovers Law Soc money worries

    3-Apr-1997

    ROBERT Sayer, the Law Society's deputy treasurer, has sent a letter to council members identifying a series of financial problems which he believes the Law Society must tackle.In the letter, Sayer, who helped expose the massive overspend on the Law Society's Regis computer project, said there were reports that the refurbishment of Chancery Lane, already more than £1m over budget, will run further over by between £600,000 and £1m.He ...

  • Senior partners found guilty

    2-Apr-1997

    TWO SENIOR partners at the collapsed Liverpool firm Deacon Goldrein Green have been found guilty of using client funds for their own purposes and withholding information from the Legal Aid Board.A solicitors' disciplinary tribunal last week found Andrew MacFarlane and Alan Sprince guilty of conduct unbefitting to a solicitor after hearing how the firm held large sums of money won in costs awards which it should have paid back to the LAB.Andrew Hopper, representing ...

  • SIF and its mistakes

    2-Apr-1997

    Like the Government, the Solicitors Indemnity Fund has abandoned the concept of accepting outright blame when things go wrong.A shortfall of £248m paints a picture of solicitors' negligence and fraud, says the SIF. Clients are becoming more demanding in claiming compensation when they come across mistakes by their lawyers.The SIF is right to point out these facts. But it is truly astonishing that it could miscalculate contributions to the ...

  • SIF faces calls for independent probe

    2-Apr-1997

    MEMBERS of the Law Society's ruling council have demanded an independent inquiry into the circumstances behind the Solicitors Indemnity Fund's shock announcement of a £248m shortfall in contributions.Concern has also been expressed at the manner of last month's announcement by the SIF that law firms faced a possible 30 per cent hike in their contribution fees, largely due to an "onslaught" of conveyancing claims.Although the shortfall was ...

  • Simmons primes Far Eastern arm with new managing role

    3-Apr-1997

    Simmons & Simmons is pulling together its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices in readiness for the handover of the colony in July by creating a post of China managing partner.The post will be filled by Huen Wong who has been with Simmons since 1988. He established the firm's Shanghai office, where he has been the managing partner for the past two years. Speaking from Shanghai, Huen Wong said being in charge of two offices which are to be fully integrated would not make his ...

  • Slaughter and May slips out of issues top 10

    2-Apr-1997

    Slaughter and May has dropped out of the top 10 law firms involved in international bond issues, according to an annual league table produced by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR).The firm has slipped from the main table of "advisers to lead managers" for the first time in 15 years of the survey.In 1991, it worked on 115 issues and was third. This year it worked ...

  • Small firms driven to technology by clients

    3-Apr-1997

    Client demand is the main motivation behind investment in technology for smaller firms, according to Max Audley, a partner at Hobson Audley Hopkins & Wood.Addressing delegates at the conference, Audley outlined the thinking behind his 14-partner City firm's investment in technology and cited client influence as a recurring theme."Client perception and client pressure are vital," he explained. "It is not just a question ...

  • Society denies threat to compensation fund

    2-Apr-1997

    THE IRISH Law Society has been forced to reassure the public that its compensation fund is secure after speculation that an £11m claim could threaten it.The massive claim followed the suicide in 1992 of Dublin solicitor Jonathan Brooks, who left behind a complex series of debts totalling £11m.The society has paid £3.3m to 35 of the 71 former clients who claim they are owed money. The society claims the compensation fund will only have to pay ...

  • Society stalls property plan

    2-Apr-1997

    The New Law Journal is right to complain in its 24 January issue that the question of solicitors' property centres should not be discussed by the Law Society's council behind closed doors, nor should discussion of the proposal have been deferred.When I chaired the British Legal Association I wrote to every local law society in England and Wales and to the Law Society proposing property centres to be sponsored by local law societies on the Scots model. The ...

  • Software turns Hambro legal

    3-Apr-1997

    Hambro Countrywide has unveiled the specialist legal software for its new conveyancing centres, as part of the estate agent's bid to offer a one-stop-shop conveyancing service.It has hired the IT company Solicitors Own Software to install the computer system for the in-house service, due to be launched next month, which will be handled by licensed conveyancers.The service, seen as a significant threat by property lawyers, should be available seven days a ...

  • Solicitor advocate is first to be awarded the red bag

    2-Apr-1997

    A SOLICITOR advocate has become the first person from outside the Bar to be presented with a coveted "red bag" by a senior counsel in recognition of his outstanding advocacy skills.John Davis was presented with the embroidered bag by Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC, who led him in a recent international fraud case.Until now, red bags have been handed out exclusively to up-and-coming junior counsel. Horwood-Smart opted to break with tradition and to present Davis with ...

  • Solicitor was not wittingly involved in property scam

    2-Apr-1997

    Philip Vaughton handed a fraudster client a briefcase stuffed with £268,000 in cash from his own bank account.The tribunal heard that in 1990 Vaughton, then a partner at Northampton-based Howes Percival, was handling the sale of property developer RHDL's newly-converted block of flats in Cleveland.But, unknown to Vaughton, the fraudster, "Mr F", a director of RHDL, ...

  • Speechlys to swallow Baileys

    3-Apr-1997

    Fleet Street firm Speechly Bircham is taking over 200-year-old Holborn practice Baileys Shaw & Gillett with the loss of six of Baileys' 20 partners and several other lawyers and support staff.A further four lawyers and two support staff, who make up Baileys' business immigration practice, which is led by senior assistant Elspeth Guild, are to join

  • Survey reveals extent of Aids legal work

    2-Apr-1997

    The Law Society has refused to authorise a further £95,000 investment in the High Street Starter Kit (HSSK), saying its council must be given the chance to decide on the future of the project first.The council was to discuss the future of the HSSK - one of Law Society president Tony Girling's flagship projects - at a meeting in January, but the debate was postponed until March at the request of practice development committee chair Robin ap Cynan.Ap ...

  • Survey reveals extent of Aids legal work

    2-Apr-1997

    A SURPRISINGLY large number of lawyers have experience of acting for clients with Aids and HIV, according to the preliminary findings of a nationwide survey of lawyers.Out of the 400 practitioners who have so far responded to EU-sponsored survey, 150 said they have acted for clients with HIV or Aids and many more said they wanted advice on how to help such clients.Although most had handled only one or two cases, a few lawyers had been involved in more than 20 ...

  • Sycamore-Sayer election twist

    3-Apr-1997

    THE Law Society vice president, Phillip Sycamore, has announced he will stand for the presidency in the summer, and has asked rival candidate Robert Sayer to be a running mate.Sayer, who was stunned by the offer to stand as Sycamore's deputy vice president, has said he will need a lot of convincing to accept the position.The dramatic twist in the increasingly complicated presidential saga came after Sayer split with former president Martin Mears and told ...

  • Sympathy for the devil you know so well

    3-Apr-1997

    Feeling sorry for lawyers is an unusual concept, particularly as I understand that our popularity ranks on the same level as tax inspectors and traffic wardens. Indeed, in the US, bookstores are rapidly selling out of a slim volume entitled Lawyers and Other Reptiles, a further indication of the low esteem in which we are held.The reason for such malevolent feelings towards the profession as a whole is the general and misconceived view that we are, ...

  • Temple campaigns against bridge plan

    3-Apr-1997

    Barristers from the Middle Temple have written to the Environment Secretary John Gummer and local councils to voice opposition to the proposals to build a bridge on the Embankment.The planned Millennium Bridge would cross the Thames supported by twin 130-metre towers located on Victoria Embankment between the Middle Temple Garden and Temple underground station.But unhappy barristers are out to stop the bridge proposal in its infancy. George Bartlett QC, ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: John Hendy QC

    2-Apr-1997

    Born in London on 11 April 1948, John Hendy QC is now a barrister at Old Square Chambers. What was your first job?Butcher's delivery boy, aged 15.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£30 for failing to get a cabbie off a passing-a-red-light charge at East Ham Magistrates Court.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Failed at directing ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Russ de Haney

    3-Apr-1997

    Russ de Haney was born in Beighton, Derbyshire, on 8 July 1950. He now lives in Sheffield. He is a solicitor at the Chesterfield Law Centre and chair of the Law Centres Federation. What was your first job?Engineering apprentice.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£5,200 in articles at John Howell & Co.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?

  • The networking game

    2-Apr-1997

    The fact that Germany is a tough market to crack was made clear by the decision of Slaughter and May and US firm White & Case to shut their Frankfurt offices 18 months ago.But far from sounding a mass retreat, the closures sent a clear message to the city's foreign contingent: change or perish. ...

  • The solicitors carry the can

    2-Apr-1997

    May I reply to Guinness Mahon & Co's defence of its scheme (The Lawyer, 7 January)? It is trite to say any solicitor is liable for the advice he gives a client. This includes advice on whether one loan is better than another.Secured loans are on offer at less than 8 per cent. The Yorkshire Bank offers unsecured loans at 14.6 per cent. The best credit card rate is 14 per cent.Guinness Mahon is charging 14 per cent for what is, in effect, a ...

  • The Texan giant's first brush with trouble

    3-Apr-1997

    THE controversial £25m computerisation of the courts ran into its first difficulties last week when the first phase of the project was delayed by what the contractors described as a "minor blip".Any company installing such a large system is likely to encounter problems, but the "blip" will provide ammunition for critics of the scheme.In September last year, IT giant EDS (Electronic Data Systems) became the first company to be awarded a contract by the Lord ...

  • Three's company in Sweden

    3-Apr-1997

    At times, the Swedish legal market looks like the story of three firms: Mannheimer Swartling, Lagerlof & Leman and Advokatfirman Vinge.The three were formed six years ago as a result of domestic mergers. In the process, they created a huge gulf between themselves - at the time each had over 100 lawyers - and the rest, which are small practices with at best 30 lawyers.Until recently, this state of affairs remained unchallenged. In fact, as Hans Bagner, London ...

  • Transport 2000 uses partner to fight DBFO

    3-Apr-1997

    Environmental pressure group Transport 2000 is using an article by Lovell White Durrant construction partner Nicholas Gould as ammunition in its war against roads which have been built under the Government's PFI scheme.Transport 2000 objects to the Government's DBFO (Design Build Finance Operate) road schemes because they encourage private road builders and operators to generate traffic.For proof, Transport 2000 points to the article by Nicholas Gould ...

  • UK and US offices join in pay-out fight

    2-Apr-1997

    Lovell White Durrant's Chicago and London offices combined to help a reinsurance client win the first round of a mammoth battle with the liquidators of General Electric's insurance company, Emlico.Emlico, set up by General Electric solely to handle GE's insurance, moved from Massachusetts to Bermuda in 1995 shortly before it went into liquidation owing $500m.Emlico's 400 reinsurers, which may have to make good some of GE's losses, allege ...

  • US big wigs return to roots after time spent politicking

    3-Apr-1997

    TWO high-profile US lawyers - former vice president Walter Mondale and the former European Bank for Reconstruction general counsel Andre Newburg - have returned to private practice.Mondale is returning to his old practice Dorsey & Whitney LLP, as one of the senior partners after a stint as US Ambassador to Tokyo.Peter Kohl, managing partner of the firm's London office, said that Mondale would be an '"ambassador for us, adding prestige and his unique ...

  • US firms tango with Big Six accountants

    3-Apr-1997

    Four leading US law firms have approached Price Waterhouse in the past month about an association or possible merger. The move is a first indication that US law firms may globalise their businesses hand-in-hand with the Big Six accountants rather than with UK law firms.Paul Downing, head of Price Waterhouse's European legal network, told The Lawyer that four US practices - one of which was one of the leading firms in North America - had approached PW within the past ...

  • Witness Support. The whole truth without the fear

    2-Apr-1997

    Witness intimidation is now recognised as a serious factor in all stages of the trial process.Victims can be intimidated by the threats of their assailant or by the nerve-wracking business of giving evidence. Outside court the police are responsible for witness-protection, but inside help is given by witness support services.Their presence is strong at Manchester Crown Court, where a new witness suite has opened. It has its own access to protect victims from ...

  • Wronged on rights

    3-Apr-1997

    The news on rights of audience, when it came, was not good. Yes, employed solicitors could have wider rights of audience. But when the small print was unveiled, this did not translate into very much at all.Crown prosecutors will still not be able to appear in Crown Court trials. Local authorities will not be able to send their in-house lawyers to deal with care proceedings. Indeed, there is very little to whet the appetite of an employed solicitor ...