The meter’s running on tax-free taxis.

The meter’s running on tax-free taxis.
11-Jan-2008
Soon hordes of lawyers will roam the City’s streets after dark and clog up the Underground (that’s a big tunnel with a train in), trying to find their way home. The time-honoured perk of a free taxi home is under attack from those pesky Revenue bureaucrats.


Soon hordes of lawyers will roam the City’s streets after dark and clog up the Underground (that’s a big tunnel with a train in), trying to find their way home. The time-honoured perk of a free taxi home is under attack from those pesky Revenue bureaucrats.

The cost of late-night cabs to whisk you home could spiral by up to 67 per cent under new guidelines drawn up by HMRC. See story.

Normally extrovert tax partners clammed up at mention of the reforms. One just muttered darkly: “I would rather not get dragged into this.”

Another said: “You can’t even quote me off the record.”

And another partner slipped into a wild rant: “The rules allow fat, middle aged MPs to get tax-free taxis home at any time of the evening.”

We’re not sure of the accuracy of this comment and we haven’t verified whether slim, young MPs are being taxed, but you can get a flavour of the emotions this story is stirring.

At the end of the night, however, the ones likely most hit by the new guidance will be partners. It is most likely that they will let the tax bullet bite their wallet rather than risk the wrath of disgruntled staff.

Shame. Could have been a good way to reduce that nasty carbon footprint.

Petite Frenchman, good Germans and redundant Americans
10-Jan-2008
The last 24 hours have been what we call a busy news day.

Late last night, news reached us that Clifford Chance was on the verge of announcing the arrival of the EC’s top lawyer Michel Petite. That’s a coup in anyone’s books but, despite his vast experience, when bagging a top official there’s no guarantee he’ll adapt to private practice.

He certainly won’t be bringing a book of business and, of course, now he’ll have to defend companies rather than attack them.

Ashurst was next up with its new management committee. Not the hugest shake-up if truth be told but the firm’s constitution says it needs one more foreigner on the board and Reinhard Eyring got the nod.

He’s an arch-loyalist, who has been at the firm almost since it opened in Germany. The other addition was litigation partner Ben Tidswell, who according to a source is “a bloody good chap”. How very Ashurst.

A&O was also active in Germany, raiding Shearman for its colourful global head of M&A Hans Rolf Koerfer, who left Oppenhoff & Radler in 2000 on the eve of its merger with Linklaters.

Upon his departure Koerfer branded Linklaters’ morale miserable, adding that the firm stifles creativity by relying on its database of precedents and armies of junior lawyers. He must be one of those artistic, temperamental types.

So no management issues for A&O, which has never relied on armies of junior lawyers. No sirree.

And just in, the credit crunch has finally taken its first big bite. Over in NYC, Cadwalader has made 35 redundancies. See story.

Pinsents: the only firm in the village
09-Jan-2008

Even the most unlikely of organisations can get diversity. Just ask the police.

A few years ago the boys in blue were unlikely to be considered the most gay-friendly employers in the UK. Yet in gay rights group Stonewall’s annual ranking of the nation’s most gay-friendly employers published today, the Hampshire and Staffordshire police forces hold joint third place. Hats off to them for progress.

When it comes to the diversity, policemen beat lawyers hands down.

However, Pinsent Masons is leading a change. The firm just bagged Stonewall’s “Most Improved” award, which recognises the progress the firm has made in pursuing greater inclusivity. See story.

But Pinsents is the only law firm with a place in the top 100, and even that at a modest 67th place.

Pinsents property head Adrian Barlow observed: “Captains of industry are no longer prepared to work with people who don’t share their corporate values.”

That’s not just a snappy soundbite. BT, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and IBM represent a tiny sample of potentially lucrative clients that sit higher up Stonewall’s charts than Pinsents. It’s not just Barclays and JP Morgan banging the diversity drum then.

Temptations at Temple
08-Jan-2008

It’s like Glastonbury for the bar. Sort of.

Middle and Inner Temples are celebrating 400 years of independence this year, and it’s an excellent excuse for a year-long festival.

The Lawyer got a sneak preview today of what’s in store over 2008. Eclectic doesn’t come close. There are events ranging from debates on law and Islam to choral concerts and organ recitals – including an organ improvisation to a showing of 1922 horror flick Nosferatu.

The connection? Bram Stoker was a member of Inner Temple (yes, the jokes just write themselves).

It’s not all sex and drugs and rock ‘n’roll, though. The inns are putting on a lavish open day for the public in a couple of weekends time – tying in rather neatly with the debate on access to the bar in the wake of the Neuberger report.

And it’s a nice excuse for a day out.

For the editor’s comment on the Temple 2008 festival, and why lawyers need culture click here

Some like it hot
07-Jan-2008

Today The Lawyer publishes its Hot 100 list of lawyers who had an excellent 2007 and those who look set to set 2008 alight.

The Hot 100 has become a unique celebration of the breadth of talent the profession has to offer and DLA Piper has given two of those talents a double celebration by announcing their promotion to partner today. See story.

Litigator Tom Canning and trade lawyer Miriam Gonzalez are the first new partners from this year’s crop. Others are sure to follow. One who won’t be making partner is Kaspar Nazeri of Clifford Chance. But Nazeri is also celebrating after he bagged a brand new job in the in-house team at record company SonyBMG.

Clifford Chance were upset to lose a young star but will not despair as it has another five Hotties in its ranks – the most of any firm. For the full list, look here.