Shoosmiths lawyer deemed offensive

In an interview with The Lawyer last week (19 ­October) about the launch of two new social housing teams in Milton Keynes and The Solent, he joked: ­”Anyone who’s under 50 and reads The Guardian gets brought on.”

However, not everyone appreciated Ballard’s ­irreverent style, with The Lawyer subsequently receiving an anonymous phone call from a reader claiming to be from a ­housing association that instructed Shoosmiths.

The caller said that “board members took issue with regard to age discrimination”, adding that the comments were “flippant and stereotyping of the social housing sector”.

He went on to liken the comments to those made by businessman Gerald Ratner, who was considered to have made a faux pas after describing the jewellery he sold as “crap” in the early 1990s.

Since joining Shoosmiths from Cobbetts in March last year Ballard and his team have added 20 per cent to the Birmingham office’s ­bottom line. He has acted on six Welsh joint stock transfers and for most of the Midlands’ registered social landlords. It is on the back of that success that the two new teams are to be launched.

Ballard was unavailable for further comment.