Law firms in big mix-up

Tulkinghorn would like to apologise sincerely to his readers for taking five years to spot this one. Mishcon de Reya, the firm whose chairman Anthony Julius stepped down from running the Diana Memorial Fund amid a media scandal over the firm’s fees, is an anagram of ‘Di Shame Croney’. (This, we hasten to add, is purely an anagrammatical coincidence formed by the rejigging of the letters, and is in no way at all meant to cast aspersions on the character of the honourable Mr Julius.)

The news, although ancient, got Tulkinghorn thinking about the mysterious monikers that might lie behind some of the other august names in the legal firmament. For example, a timeless (although a tad disturbing) anagram springs from the name of Burges Salmon, known for its idyllic South West location: ‘Urges On Lambs’.

Law firms’ names are often from days gone by, before people called in the branding consultants to check for embarrassing anagrams arising out of their names. But rearrange one firm’s recent and bizarre rebranding and the clever joke built into it is revealed: Ashurst, which changed its name from Ashurst Morris Crisp after its merger talks with US firms Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Latham & Watkins fell through, may also be known as ‘Trash US’. What is not clear is whether that’s an anti-American, or self destructive, demand.

Other beauties include: ‘Royal swing set’ (Taylor Wessing); ‘Mind into sock’ (Dickson Minto); and ‘Leo Blew His Tart’ (Harbottle & Lewis).