They thought they had escaped from it all. But just as the Norton Rose property team got used to the sunshine, they suddenly had to put their legal wit to work at Mipim. "In the world of international law, we are accustomed to dealing quickly and efficiently with unexpected commercial problems, and we've just had to respond to one from an unexpected corner," it told guests. So what was this crisis? Had recession hit? Had war broken out? Had somebody died? Alas, it was something far worse: the owner of Orient Star, which Norton Rose charters each year for entertainment purposes, had just disclosed that he had missed the deadline for lodging the necessary papers to secure a mooring in the popular spot beside the conference centre. To add to the horror, the only place that could be found for the ship was in the Old Port, a good five minutes walk away.
While others opted for smartcars or Land Rovers to transport their guests, or – dare I say it – suggested the old-fashioned one-foot-in-front-of-the-other approach, Norton Rose went one better: it hired a fleet of white stretch limousines (well okay, there were only two) to ferry guests from the conference centre to the Vieux Port. To avoid any confusion, the cars were cannily labelled with "Norton Rose Courtesy Car". With drivers ready and waiting, it seemed the gravest of disasters had been averted. But Tulkinghorn could not help noticing how the system fell open to abuse by hijackers. At the many hotspots around Cannes, Mipim delegates could be seen emerging slightly sheepishly from white limos and looking both ways to check for any hidden Norton Rose partners, before scurrying towards their chosen destination. The wonders of human nature.