Bono of contention

Tulkinghorn was suitably impressed by Clifford Chance partner Warren Feldman’s two-fisted defence of the firm’s pro bono effort for Guantanamo inmates (www.thelawyer.com, 23 January 2007).

After Pentagon official Charles Stimson said corporate chiefs should boycott firms that represent detainees, and US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales blamed them for the administration’s failure to bring detainees to trial, Feldman hit back at the Bush regime for its “continuing failure to understand the essential role played by defence counsel in ensuring the rule of law”.

But where was a similar pugnaciousness from Allen & Overy? It was sadly lacking.

Although the magic circle rival has also defended inmates of the notorious camp, it has been strangely quiet throughout the recent furore, failing to return the many calls made by Tulkinghorn’s minions. But after 10 days of silence, pro bono and community affairs manager Shankari Chandran eventually emerged from the bunker to explain.

“Basically, we just do pro bono; we don’t feel a need to talk about it,” Chandran said, blinking in the sunlight.

Er, pardon?”We don’t feel it’s our role to defend our pro bono team.”

That role can only be Clifford Chance’s then, Tulkinghorn concludes.