City law firm locked out of offices amid landlord dispute

A City-based law firm has been locked out of its offices by its landlords and forfeited its lease after missing its rent deadline.

City Law, which is run by sole partner Paul Fallon, was late with its quarterly rent when landlords Cornerstone City Developments and Northumberland City Developments locked the firm out of its fifth-floor office at 1 Kings Arms Yard, a stone’s throw away from the Bank of England, on Wednesday 8 August.

According to Fallon, it took him a day to get permission to gain entry to the firm’s offices to retrieve equipment necessary to make the quarterly rent payment of £200,000, which he said was two weeks late. Fallon told The Lawyer that he had made a payment on Friday 10 August and would move back into the offices on Monday 13 August.

But according to a spokesperson for Howard Kennedy – the firm advising the landlords – Fallon’s payment on Friday, for just under £94,000, was to settle a High Court judgment from 9 July in respect of unpaid rent for the first quarter of the year. The spokesperson also said that City Law was still locked out of its offices and that the landlords were about to issue proceedings in respect of unpaid rent for the second quarter of the year, now over six weeks late.

The spokesperson added: “The landlord made strenuous efforts to engage Paul Fallon concerning arrears of rent and promises to pay were not complied with.”

City Law was established in 2006 by Fallon, who now leads a team of five associates. The firm specialises in financial services, regulatory and commercial disputes and in strategic acquisitions. Fallon trained at SNR Denton legacy firm Denton Wilde Sapte before moving on to Hogan Lovells legacy firm Durrant Piesse. He left Lovells for legacy DAC Beachcroft firm Davies Arnold Cooper in 1995 and then moved to Reed Smith in 1999.

In 2010-11, City Law pulled in £3.2m in turnover and made a net profit of £176,497 according to its LLP filings. In 2009-10, the firm’s turnover was £3.8m but it made a £46,709 loss.

In 2010, City Law launched an action against Notts County Football Club to recover £300,000 in fees (16 August 2010).

Howard Kennedy legal executive Peter Ling is advising Cornerstone City Developments and Northumberland City Developments.