McCartney divorce makes Shackleton a household name

McCartney divorce makes Shackleton a household namePayne Hicks Beach divorce partner Fiona Shackleton has stolen the title of highest-profile lawyer from her Mishcon de Reya rival Anthony Julius.

Over the past 12 months Shackleton (pictured) had the most press mentions – 274 – of all UK lawyers after representing Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce from Heather Mills, according to a study by legal publisher Sweet & Maxwell.

Julius, who came up against Shackleton when he represented Diana, Princess of Wales, in her divorce from Prince Charles, has fallen from first to fourth place, with 69 press cutting to his name compared with 195 last year. The bulk of the coverage related to his acting for Mills in the early stages of her divorce proceedings.

The second most cited solicitor between July 2007 and June 2008 was Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom partner Bruce Buck, with 234 mentions – though these mainly related to his chairmanship of Chelsea FC.

The report’s author Alina Lourie, director of enterprise-wide solutions at Sweet & Maxwell, said the amount of press coverage lawyers receive provides a useful measure of the issues that have captivated the public over the last year.

“While cases associated with high-profile public figures naturally receive a large slice of press coverage, the overall levels of press coverage devoted to lawyers represents the important role they play in shaping current affairs,” she said.

Public inquiries continued to dominate legal media coverage with the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed leading to Michael Mansfield QC of Tooks Chambers – who represented Mohamed Al Fayed – becoming the barrister with the highest profile. Mansfield appeared in 542 articles over the course of the year.

The inquest also resulted in the coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker becoming the most high-profile judge, with 1,079 citations.

Members of the judiciary received the highest number of press mentions, with an average of 308 articles each. Barristers had an average of 180 citations each, while solicitors had a average of 100.

TOP 10 SOLICITORS
1 Fiona Shackleton (Payne Hicks Beach), McCartney-Mills divorce, 274 mentions
2 Bruce Buck (Skadden), Chelsea FC chairman, 234 mentions
3 Nick Freeman (Freeman and Co), Mr Loophole, 147 mentions
4 Anthony Julius (Mishcons), McCartney-Mills divorce, 69 mentions
5 Angus McBride (Kingsley Napley), Kate and Gerry McCann lawyer, 64 mentions
6 Mudassar Arani (Arani & Co), Abu Hamza lawyer, 52 mentions
7 Phil Shiner (Public Interest Lawyers), Iraq human rights lawyer, 48 mentions
8 Imran Khan (Imran Khan & Partners), Stephen Lawrence family lawyer, 41 mentions
9 Mark Stephens (Finers Stephens Innocent), Commentator, 35 mentions
10 Andrew Holroyd (Jackson & Canter), Former Law Society president, 33 mentions

TOP 10 BARRISTERS
1 Michael Mansfield QC (Tooks Chambers), Diana inquest, 542 mentions
2 Peter Wright QC (Lincoln House), Steve Wright prosecutor, 283 mentions
3 Cherie Booth QC (Matrix Chambers), Human rights and politics, 192 mentions
4 John Kelsey-Fry QC (Cloth Fair), Kieron Fallon barrister, 150 mentions
5 Jonathan Caplan QC (5 Paper Buildings), Kieron Fallon prosecutor, 140 mentions
6 Richard Keen QC (Axiom Advocates), Diana inquest, 113 mentions
7 Jonathan Laidlaw QC (2 Hare Court), Barry George prosecutor, 100 mentions
8 Ronald Thwaites QC (Ely Place), Defence royal family blackmailers, 98 mentions
9 Timothy Langdale QC (Cloth Fair), Steve Wright barrister, 95 mentions
10 Clare Montgomery QC (Matrix Chambers), Jean Charles de Menezes prosecutor, 90 mentions

TOP 10 JUDGES
1 Lord Justice Scott Baker, Diana inquest, 1079 mentions
2 Lord Phillips, Lord Chief Justice, 428 mentions
3 Mr Justice Bennett, McCartney-Mills judge, 354 mentions
4 Lord Hardie, Former Lord Advocate, 230 mentions
5 Mr Justice Forbes, Kieron Fallon judge, 206 mentions
6 Lord Hamilton, Lord Justice General, 180 mentions
7 Sir Igor Judge, Queen’s Bench Division president, 164 mentions
8 Justice Henriques, Plot to behead British Muslim soldier judge, 153 mentions
9 Lord Justice Sedley, National DNA database lobbying, 138 mentions
10 Lord Justice Latham, Harry Redknapp compensation judge, 148 mentions