City firms targeted by J18 protesters

City lawyers are being warned by their firms of security fears in the wake of a mass demonstration planned in the Square Mile on Friday (18 June).

Memos have been sent to lawyers calling for extra vigilance.

In one anonymous memo leaked to The Lawyer, a City firm warns staff can expect: “Roadways and footpaths to be blocked, charging of City premises, including attempts to gain entry and climbing and damage to premises, i.e. gluing up locks.”

Firms expect tens of thousands of protesters on 18 June. All City of London Police leave has been cancelled in order to cope with the activists, called J18, who are objecting to global capitalism.

The protest coincides with the G8 summit meeting in Cologne, Germany. Demonstrations are planned throughout the world's major financial centres.

Anita Tovell, personnel director at Simmons & Simmons, says the firm has good security. Staff have been warned in an internal e-mail.

Tovell says: “The reason we are taking it so seriously is because the Metropolitan Police are taking it seriously.”

Paul Taylor, national senior partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer, says the firm has already sent out a staff memo.

Taylor says: “We have an ex-major in the Cold Stream Guards who is being very cool and British about it.”

He says the firm is expecting disruption. Its London office is directly opposite the Shell Oil offices. Taylor believes it will be targeted.

Shearman & Stirling's head of banking Stephen Mostyn-Williams says security measures will be stepped up on 18 June.

However, a J18 activist says the protest is not just aimed at large corporations.

“The focus is very much on the financial centre itself. It is aimed at those institutions that make big profits and law firms fall within that.”