4 May 1998

The Lawyer

  • "Legal aid party is over'

    5-May-1998

    You report that we have gone out of our way to support the Government's legal aid reforms ("Two leading legal aid firms back Govt", The Lawyer, 7 April). We concluded that legal aid needed an overhaul before Lord Irvine took office. It was an opinion informed by practice in medical negligence, personal injury and product liability litigation.You report that we have "broken ranks with the rest of the legal profession", but I know ...

  • "Road rage' girlfriend's appeal

    5-May-1998

    An appeal is imminent in the case of Tracey Andrews, the woman who claimed her boyfriend was killed in a road-rage attack, but who was later jailed herself for his murder. The appeal is scheduled to start on 21 May. The case attracted widespread publicity when it took place. Immediately after the killing Andrews appeared on television, appealing for help in tracing those she claimed had been responsible for her boyfriend's murder.

  • ... and sends two HK-bound to build insolvency practice

    5-May-1998

    Cameron McKenna is sending two insolvency partners to its Hong Kong office to build its first insolvency practice in the region in the wake of the Asian financial collapse.Partner David Kidd, who has advised on the administration of Polly Peck, will head the practice. Dan Hamilton will join him for three months to help gather clients before returning to London.Although Clifford ...

  • 1 Crown Office Row loses two senior tenants to rivals

    5-May-1998

    Two senior tenants last week quit 1 Crown Office Row, the chambers of Richard Ferguson QC, bringing the number of departures at the criminal and civil set over the past year to five barristers and two senior clerks.Oscar Del Fabbro and Elroy Claxton left the 46-tenant set for rival chambers 23 Essex Street, while over Easter Senior Treasury Counsel Orlando Pownall went to 1 Hare Court.Last year Trevor Burke left for Ronald Thwaites QC's set 10 King's ...

  • A&O leads the expansion pack in Top 100 survey

    5-May-1998

    ALLEN & Overy posted the fastest expansion of any UK firm in the past year, according to The Lawyer's 1998 Top 100 survey, taking on an extraordinary 300 extra fee earners.In doing so the firm overtook Linklaters to become the UK's fourth-largest firm. Reasons for the rise include A&O's merger with 65-lawyer Italian firm Brosio Casati e Associati in January and a series of ...

  • A&O's "Heath Robinson' deal enables £1.4bn securitisation

    5-May-1998

    A revolutionary "Heath Robinson" loan securitisation designed by Allen & Overy last month was deemed so unusual that New York-based Standard & Poor's flew its senior counsel to London for face-to-face talks before rating it.An 18-lawyer team, led by Marke Raines, found a way for the A1/A minus-rated Japanese bank Sumitomo to raise £1.4bn in floating rate notes and still get ...

  • A&O's hiccup could prove fatal

    5-May-1998

    European alliances and mergers are all the rage, but conflicting ambitions can be destructive, reports Richard TylerAs Linklaters readies itself to plunge into a federation of the seven leading firms in Europe, it would do well to take a careful look at the problems its rival Allen & Overy is experiencing ...

  • Bar Council doth protest too much

    5-May-1998

    THERE is a comical aspect to last week's furore over the league tables of top earning QCs.Barristers spend a lot of their time boasting that solicitor advocates will never take over their higher court work because the overheads at solicitors' firms are so much higher than their own.Once a year, however, when the Government publishes its league tables, they fall over themselves to stress the extent of their overheads.As we ...

  • Bar turns tables on Govt in "fat cat' row

    5-May-1998

    The Bar Council successfully hit back at the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's attacks on "fat cat" barristers last week, putting the government on the defensive.Figures released by the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), showing 39 barristers earning between £190,000 and £320,000 from legal aid in 1997, plus the top 20 highest earning firms for civil and criminal work, were intended to soften up the profession before Lord Irvine's legal aid reforms.

  • Benevolent fund braced for flood of claims from reform-hit barristers

    5-May-1998

    The Barristers' Benevolent Association (BBA) is bracing itself for a massive rise in the number of hard-up barristers asking for help as a consequence of the Government's legal aid reforms.About £500,000 is raised every year to help barristers who have fallen on hard times through circumstances beyond their control - most notably illness. This year the BBA aims to raise over twice that amount.It is predicting that many practices will fail as legal ...

  • Brief

    5-May-1998

    APRIL Positive press comments - nil, v. bad, Negative press comments - getting fewer, good.Number of interview requests from Joshua Rozenberg of the BBC refused - 38, excellent!Monday Things are looking up. Only 10 mentions of wallpaper in today's press, the enormously cheering Garry is finally here and I've got rid of that wretched press woman Sheila Thompson (I've never trusted anyone who gets on with the ...

  • Camerons to open Bristol "City expertise' practice...

    5-May-1998

    CAMERON Mckenna - best known for its expansionist designs abroad - has turned its attention closer to home with the surprise launch of a corporate practice in Bristol.The three-partner team, to be set up in June and led by Michael Jones, is to operate under the banner "City expertise - Bristol-based" and will bolster the profile of the office's existing three-partner banking practice there.Camerons' announcement fo- llows hard on the heels of south-west ...

  • David Barron on the Patents Court's use of telephone summonses. David Barron is a partner at Wragge & Co.

    5-May-1998

    In recent years, the Patents Court has put in place some modernising measures aimed at greatly reducing the costs of the average action. Discovery has been limited, hearings kept shorter and the time to trial is usually now less than a year.One of the reforms most capable of cutting costs is the introduction of telephone summonses for relatively straightforward procedural issues (Consolidated Practice Explanation, 19 November 1997, para 17).

  • Deportation appeals pending

    5-May-1998

    The House of Lords is currently considering whether to hear appeals by Philomena Gangadeen, Daniel Jurawan and Khalid Khan against Home Office deportation rulings. The appeals, if allowed, will raise the question of whether, in a case where a decision affects the interests of a child of a prospective deportee, it is incumbent on the Home Secretary to give preference to the best interests of the child as the first consideration in the process. So far the High ...

  • Divided opinions

    5-May-1998

    Chris Fogarty focuses on the top 100 firms' views on issues ranging from the single currency to a fused professionFor a profession that is often accused of being pinstriped and conservative, there is a surprising diversity of opinions about the issues that directly affect firms.More than two thirds of the 125 firms contacted responded to the confidential section of The Lawyer's Top 100 survey, giving their opinions on everything from a fused profession ...

  • Dublin firm assists cross-border AGM

    5-May-1998

    Dublin firm William Fry helped bring about the first cross-border television link of a company's annual general meeting last week.The AGM of Waterford Wedgwood, held in London on 30 April, is believed to be the first to be electronically linked to shareholders overseas.The company has been a client of William Fry for many years and has 40 per cent of its shareholders based ...

  • Eversheds profits from Freres' demise

    5-May-1998

    Eversheds London has acquired more than half of Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, together with its Paris and shared Moscow offices, in a merger agreement signed last week.The national firm is taking on 25 partners and about 46 assistants, mainly in financial services, including leading lights Pamela Thompson, Richard Millar, and pensions partner Susan Andrews.But Freres' entire ...

  • Ex-Blythes partner faces jail for theft

    5-May-1998

    FORMER Blythe Liggins partner Terence Liggins - the son of one of the Leamington Spa firm's founding partners - has been found guilty of stealing £200,000 from a client in order to prop up his ailing timeshare company.Liggins - whose father Sir Edmund Liggins was president of the Law Society - was convicted of theft on 24 April at Worcester Crown Court.Remanding him in custody for pre-sentence reports, His Honour Judge Andrew Geddes warned him to expect ...

  • Financing

    5-May-1998

    Herbert Smith acted for National Provident Institution and its special purpose vehicle Mutual Securitisation on the issue of £140m worth of bonds, the proceeds of which were lent to NPI. Freshfields advised lead manager SBC Warburg Dillon Read.

  • Five firms fall prey to Lovells' latest worldwide hiring spree

    5-May-1998

    A HIRING spree has seen Lovell White Durrant take on five partners from five separate firms - one of whom will head a new office in Singapore.Clifford Chance, Holman Fenwick & Willan, Stephenson Harwood and Masons have all lost partners to the firm.As well as taking on corporate ...

  • Fraudulent bills hit stormy seas

    5-May-1998

    Roger Pearson looks at a High Court decision that highlights the use of ante-dated and false bills of lading to secure bank creditA blow has been struck against those who use ante-dated and false bills of lading in international trade in order to satisfy the requirements of letters of credit, or to assist those who need to do so.In a High Court decision, Mr Justice Cresswell enforced the need for accurate documentation. He said honest commerce requires ...

  • In brief: Head to head at Foot

    5-May-1998

    Plymouth firm Foot & Bowden has recruited barrister Sebastian Head (pictured right) to front a new three-man land use and planning team for Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. Head practised at 2 Mitre Court and King's Bench Chambers in Plymouth.

  • In brief: Legal Network TV launches training service

    5-May-1998

    The College of Law's subsidiary Legal Network Television (LNTV), has launched a new training service for accountants under the name "Accountants Law". The service allows accountants to pick and mix from the same programmes as LNTV produces for practising lawyers.

  • In brief: Lord Justice May wins plain English award

    5-May-1998

    Senior appeal court judge Lord Justice May has won a special award from the Plain English Campaign, following his call for a ban on the use of Latin phrases in court.

  • In brief: Mathews and Sayer's joint election ticket

    5-May-1998

    Michael Mathews and Robert Sayer, respectively vice-president and deputy vice-president of the Law Society, have announced that they will stand on the same ticket if this summer's presidential election is contested. In a joint statement they said: "For the last nine months we have worked together and we intend to continue to do so. Success is more likely if all those who share that goal co-operate, rather than through another bout of destructive in-fighting." Last week The Lawyer ...

  • In brief: Partnership promotions

    5-May-1998

    Gouldens has expanded its company and commercial, property and litigation departments with the appointment of four new partners with effect from 1 May.Richards Butler has made up three new partners, one in the firm's London office and two in Hong Kong.Penningtons has expanded its litigation department with the appointment of two partners.

  • In brief: Pittaway: Fox and Gibbons' Dubai office

    5-May-1998

    An article in the 21 April issue of The Lawyer headed "Pittaway latest to leave Fox & Gibbons' Dubai office" wrongly stated that Christopher Dixon resigned as managing partner of the office and that Jane Pittaway took over as managing partner from him. In fact Jane Pittaway replaced Jeremy Key as managing partner of the office in June 1996 and returned to England last year after five years in Dubai.

  • In brief: Rights of audience in open court granted

    5-May-1998

    The Institute of Legal Executives has become the first body authorised under the 1990 Courts and Legal Services Act to be granted rights of audience in open court for civil proceedings, including family matters, in the county and magistrates courts and in coroners courts and tribunals.

  • In brief: Rise in number of UK qualified assistants

    5-May-1998

    The number of UK qualified assistants defecting to US law firms has increased dramatically, according to legal headhunter Longbridge International's 1998 survey into legal salaries and recruitment trends.

  • In brief: Walker to take over from Harmer at Apil

    5-May-1998

    Russell Jones Walker partner Ian Walker is due to take over as Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) president. He will take over from barrister Caroline Harmer, who is stepping down after two years, at Apil's Spring conference at London's Olympia Conference Centre on 7 May.

  • IPA links up with accountants but leaves Law Soc in the cold

    5-May-1998

    THE Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) has announced that it will be co-ordinating the regulation of its members with the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA), but not, for now, with the Law Society.Qualified insolvency practitioners are drawn from a number of professions, including the legal and the accountancy professions, and they are regulated by their respective professional bodies - the Law Society and the ICA, as well as the various other membership bodies ...

  • Judgments go online via Smith Bernal Web site

    5-May-1998

    A FREE Internet service with details of all Court of Appeal and Crown Court judgments has been launched by official court reporters Smith Bernal.Reports will be made available to the public on the same day that they are released by the judiciary via a service known as Casebase, which has been developed at a cost of between £250,000 and £500,000.More than 600 transcripts will be added each month, and the service is to be backdated to April 1996.

  • Law Society goes online after DTI grant

    5-May-1998

    The Law Society launched a new Internet Web site last week, following a £43,000 Department of Trade and Industry grant as part of an attempt to make the profession more accessible to the public.

  • Legal aid reforms - an accident waiting to happen?

    5-May-1998

    The Law Society looked at how real firms would cope with the legal aid shake-up - and the results are not promising.THE furore last week over whether or not lawyers are "fat cats" overshadowed the gloomy results of independent research undertaken by Sheffield University into the potential impact on firms of the government's planned legal aid reforms.The research contradicts the findings of the government-commissioned KPMG report which concluded that firms ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 5/5/98

    5-May-1998

    Christopher Charles Jupe, 56, admitted 1966 and Graham John Parr, 51, admitted 1971, practising at material time in partnership as Blair Eton Portsmouth, respectively struck off and rebuked. Allegations against both substantiated that they had acted improperly in conflict of interest situations and, against Jupe, that he had been convicted of offences of false accounting and reckless inducement to make a deposit and sentenced to a suspended prison term. Tribunal said there was conflict ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 5/5/98

    5-May-1998

    Chadfield v Chadfield - QBD 15 January 1998Claimant: Timothy Chadfield, 39Incident: Shooting accidentInjuries: Claimant underwent an above-knee amputation after his brother accidentally shot him in the left knee while pigeon shooting. He has never got used to wearing his prosthesis and still takes powerful pain killers for phantom limb pains. He finds it difficult to come to terms with not being able to provide for his family and the sight of ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 5/5/98

    5-May-1998

    Decisions are taken from LAWTEL's Case Law database. LTL: Lawtel report; TLR: Times Law Reports; ILR: Independent Law Report.Claim for seamen's wages(1) Rafael Luis Cil & ors (first to fifteenth plaintiffs) (2) Pedro Espinosa Hernandez & ors (sixteenth to thirty-third plaintiffs) (3) Guincho Crewing Agency (thirty-fourth plaintiff) v (1) The owners of the ship Turridu (defendants) (2) First National Bank of Maryland (intervenor) (1998)QBD ...

  • Litigation Writs 5/5/98

    5-May-1998

    Donald Applegate has issued a writ against Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Occidental Peruana, Occidental International Exploration and Production Company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation of Peru, Petrex and Saipem. The writ alleges that he was injured while working at the Carbot Rig Site in Peru on 8 August 1992 and that his injuries were caused by negligence on the part of the companies he is suing.Writ issued by Sheridan & Co, Kingston upon ...

  • Masons constructs office north of the border

    5-May-1998

    MASONS has become only the third English firm after Cameron Mckenna and Thompsons to set up in Scotland by poaching two of Scotland's leading construction lawyers.The firm has hired McGrigor Donald partner Vincent Connor - who was number two in McGrigors' top-rated construction department - and senior solicitor Ian Laing, to open an associated office in Glasgow in a bid to grab a slice of the lucrative PFI and construction work north of the border.

  • Media access to prisoners under scrutiny

    5-May-1998

    Two prisoners are trying to overturn a decision that prevents inmates' from communicating with the media, reports Roger PearsonThe journalist's right to gain professional access to those serving prison sentences is currently under scrutiny.The Law Lords are considering whether to allow a challenge to an Appeal Court ruling that will enable prison authorities to ban visits to prisoners by journalists if there is no undertaking that material obtained ...

  • Media regulators need enforcement teeth

    5-May-1998

    Tim Hardy thinks that the current powers of television's regulatory bodies do little to deter the often unscrupulous and inaccurate reportage that forms "public interest' programming. Tim Hardy is a litigation partner at Cameron McKenna.Broadcast media is immensely powerful. A factual programme shown on prime-time television can attract up to 10 million viewers. Inaccuracies and unfairness can be devastating for those involved.But short of issuing ...

  • OSS sends cases back to firms

    5-May-1998

    In a bid to deal with its 30 per cent surge in complaints, the beleaguered Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS), has announced it will no longer consider any case unless it has first been through the firm's in-house complaints procedure.The OSS, still counting the cost of last month's flood damage, said research showed that 46 per cent of this year's complaints had not been referred to the firm concerned. From now on, complainants whose grievances ...

  • Partners convicted over £925,000 theft

    5-May-1998

    THE SENIOR partner and two other partners of a small north Kent firm have been convicted variously of stealing and conspiring to steal £925,000 from their clients in a case that has cost the Solicitors Compensation Fund almost £1.5m.At Knightsbridge Crown Court on 24 April, Skingley & Co partners Geoffrey Hufton, a former north Kent deputy coroner, and Robert Hammond were found guilty of theft and conspiracy to steal.At a separate hearing, the senior ...

  • Property

    5-May-1998

    Linklaters advised ND Properties on its £27.5m acquisition of Widewater Place in Harefield, Middlesex, from Grosvenor Square Properties Developments, advised by DJ Freeman.

  • Property

    5-May-1998

    Olswang acted for MEPC on the £103m sale of a portfolio of 34 properties to Prestbury Group, advised by Clifford Chance.

  • Retallack heralds new democracy at Edges

    5-May-1998

    Edge & Ellison's new senior partner James Retallack last week issued a rallying call to all his 600 staff in Birmingham, Leicester and London in a series of talks to explain his new three-year strategy, "The Way Forward".He said the firm was making its management structure and remuneration structure more democratic following the departure on 30 April of senior partner Digby Jones, whom he said "we had expected to run the firm almost singlehandedly".The firm's ...

  • Sets to be "named and shamed' over equality

    5-May-1998

    THE BAR Council is preparing to "name and shame" chambers that have failed to come clean about their equal opportunities policies after less than a quarter responded to an official survey on the issue.Last June, 420 sets were asked if they had implemented the Bar Council's 1995 Equality Code but only 92 have replied. A reminder letter sent out last month has failed to produce a single response.A spokeswoman for the Bar Council said the list of sets that ...

  • Sheffield firm engulfs Leeds insolvency practice

    5-May-1998

    SHEFFIELD firm Keeble Hawson swallowed up Leeds-based six-partner firm RC Moorhouse & Co last week to create the tenth largest firm in Yorkshire.The new firm, Keeble Hawson Moorhouse, has 22 partners and 55 other fee earners.Spokesman Jonathan Armstrong said: "We have made no secret of the fact that we wanted to expand into Leeds. The expectation is that both offices will expand." Armstrong said Moorhouse had an unusually strong insolvency practice.

  • SIF: our right to decide

    5-May-1998

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 970 4395, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho SquareAlthough I completed and sent off my questionnaire, my personal preference as a sole practitioner is not reflected in any of the options apparently available to the profession. Whereas I believe that a mutual fund must continue, equally, firms should have the right to opt out and arrange their ...

  • Solex preview, An IT template for survival

    5-May-1998

    Exploiting IT to add value to services is the only way for firms to survive into the next millennium, believes Richard Cohen. Richard Cohen is the senior partner of Landau & Cohen and legal director of Epoch Software.Despite the fact that over the past 10 years firms have made increasing use of IT, lawyers essentially practise law in the same way as they have done for generations.Until now, IT has made no real inroads into automating the delivery of legal services. ...

  • Solex preview, Technology zone

    5-May-1998

    Elizabeth Davidson previews next month's Solicitors and Legal Office Exhibition and reports on a number of exciting new initiatives taking place at the eventREGARDED as the focal point of the year by many in the legal IT industry, the Solicitors and Legal Office Exhibition (SOLEX) promises to be bigger than ever this time round.The fifteenth annual show, being held at London's Barbican Exhibition Centre from 2-4 June, will include more than 120 exhibitors ...

  • Solex preview, The external solution

    5-May-1998

    Mike Oppenheim describes how his company delivers facility management systems to law firms across the globe. Mike Oppenheim is head of marketing and sales at Pitney Bowes Management Services.In today's competitive legal environment firms must not only keep up with the competition - but stay ahead of it. Firms have to manage their office support structure more like a business to remain competitive and effective. This has not been an easy task in three major areas - people, ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Tom Ellis

    5-May-1998

    Tom Ellis was born in London in 1964. He is a partner in the commercial litigation department at Bevan Ashford.What was your first job?Apple picker.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£14,000.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Film critic.Which law could you live without?Anything to do with the Settled Land Act ...

  • The need for effective financial management

    5-May-1998

    Andrew Otterburn warns that the LCD's proposed reforms mean firms dealing with legally aided cases can no longer afford to have lax accounting practices. Andrew Otterburn is a management consultant and editor of a new guide, Cash Flow and improved Financial Management, to be published by the Law Society in May.The proposed extension of conditional fees will necessitate improved financial management and control, if firms are to successfully operate under ...

  • Treves makes way for Sutton in Macfarlanes shake-up

    5-May-1998

    Macfarlanes' high-profile senior partner Vanni Treves is to step down after 12 years in the role, along with managing partner Roger Formby, who is to retire from the firm.Treves, whose name has become almost synonymous with Macfarlanes and who is widely known for his directorships, including the chairmanship of Channel 4, will be replaced by corporate partner Robert Sutton in May next ...

  • When size really does matter

    5-May-1998

    As the legal market becomes more polarised, large regional firms face three key strategic choices, reports Richard Tyler This year's big shake-up in the UK legal market came courtesy of Arthur Andersen and Wilde Sapte.The impact will be felt not only by those City firms just below the top five by size. National and regional practices that are extremely profitable at the moment, but need to plan for the long term to secure their position in the marketplace, ...