Being an in-house lawyer can throw up some surprising situations – just ask ITV general counsel Andrew Garard
When the Duchess of York filmed a documentary about homes for abandoned children in Turkey last year (come on, that’s not so strange: Ross Kemp does gangs after all and he’s soap royalty), the Turkish government was not amused.
Turkish ministers accused the Duchess of trying to scupper the country’s accession into the EU and made a criminal complaint to Interpol accusing her of violating the children’s privacy.
Luckily, Garard – who has shaken up ITV’s law firm panel by moving away from chargeable hours to fixed fees – was able to instruct one of his firms to “make the problem go away” and comfort a much-vexed Duchess.
Tulkinghorn was disappointed to learn that the diplomatic incident has meant the end for other planned royal tie-ins, including Funny Foreigners, a travel programme presented by the Duke of Edinburgh, and Blue Blud, a show where Prince Harry would have mixed with young people of different breeding on a housing estate in Hackney.
Tulkinghorn is old enough to remember when a horse and cart was a common sight on the cobbled streets of London town.
But staff at DFA Law were stunned to find two escaped ponies licking the cars outside the firm’s office in Northampton.
The ponies were in luck, however: DFA launched an equine law practice just last year and practice head Clare Towers leapt into action.
From the photo below, Towers might appear to be trying to milk the animals, but don’t be fooled. As an experienced equine lawyer, Towers recognised that ponies were thirsty and put out a bucket of water to keep them distracted until the police arrived.
It was all in a day’s work for Towers, whose department handles corporate, commercial, personal injury and litigation work for the equine industry. Or as she put it: “Any horse-related disputes, we can deal with.”
Tulkinghorn would like to reassure readers that both ponies were returned safely to their paddock. They are now understood to be seeking compensation for their ordeal.
Writing on the wall
In these chastened times, many people argue that Mipim should tone down its usual extravagance. Not Tulkinghorn, though, who thinks you can never have too many champagne-fuelled parties on luxury yachts.
DLA Piper certainly captured the frugal mood with its 2009 offering – a graffiti-covered mural depicting key themes in the property market.
The balaclava-clad artists scrawled words such as “blood bath” and “train wreck” to represent the present. The past was summed up by “burst bubble” and, bizarrely, “hot damn!”. As for the future, it simply asked “rebound?”.
Sources at DLA Piper say the mural was well-received by the Mipim crowd. Personally, Tulkinghorn will be sticking to the harbour, where Freshfields, Norton Rose and Lovells have all opted for the traditional enormous boats.
Raymond Tooth of divorce firm Sears Tooth has advice for any ladies planning to leave their husbands during the recession.
“Wives would be better now to wait, as the courts are being very wary about awards because of the problem of the ability to make payments,” he told The Sunday Times. “Hang on in there until times get better.”
Husbands, by contrast, would be better off getting out now. “You can escape with less,” Tooth claims.
Which would create a nice little niche for the lawyers dealing with the men wanting divorces and the women trying to hang on, eh Mr Tooth?
Tulkinghorn’s glad he hid the paper from Mrs Tulkinghorn this week.