Tulkinghorn: Gorilla tactics

Today, however, all those ice caps, jungles and mountain tops have been bested. The Lawyer is now being read by members of the animal kingdom.

To be precise, a recent issue is being devoured by what appears to be a pair of Western Lowland gorillas. This endangered species is known for its remarkable intelligence. Most can understand simple sign language although, as the photo proves, more advanced individuals are discerning readers.

National Geographic tells us that the alpha male “may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges, and pound his huge chest while barking out powerful hoots or unleashing a frightening roar”. Cripes. Apparently, despite their “stubby legs”, they also like going for a jog. For example, on 26 September, this pair took part in the 2009 Great Gorilla Run along with more than 1,000 others. The 7km through the City of London raised money for the 700 remaining free mountain gorillas left in the wild.

Rumours that the “gorillas” were, in fact, Vinson & Elkins fee-earners Owen Delaney and Mark Beeley could not be confirmed at press time.

Conjurer of neat tricks

Yet more mysterious goings-on at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. The firm’s resident magician, ­insolvency partner Rupert Connell, has been elected as the new chairman of The Magic Circle. The amazing appointment puts Connell in the upper echelons of the world’s most venerable magic society, chairing an organisation of around 1,500 members based in 40 countries.

These days, he might be more used to disappearing under a mountain of paper than in a cloud of smoke, but Connell first ­discovered the magician’s code after his law finals and began ardently to practise close-up magic.

He claims never to have had a stage name but was once christened “Mr Goldfinger” by some Dutch tourists after an impromptu show in a restaurant (exactly why he will never reveal).

Connell became a ­member of the circle in 1978 after passing the nerve-racking entrance exam where prospective members perform tricks and are judged on magical skill and aptitude. In 2000, he was invited to join the Inner Magic ­Circle, of which there are only 300 members, and was elected unanimously to the chair this month. He was helped by a former stint as deputy chairman, during which he helped to secure a £475,000 grant from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England towards the development of the ­society’s HQ and ‘House of 10,000 Secrets’ in Euston, home to one the largest collections of magic books in the world.

“When you’re elected to an organisation as famous as The Magic ­Circle it’s quite something. I’m very proud,” Connell said. “Aza Kazamm!” he added, before making another property developer vanish before our very eyes.

Identity crisis

Which senior Linklaters partner failed to recognise his managing partner Simon Davies on the front cover of The Lawyer a few weeks ago? “Simon isn’t a tall man,” claimed the ­hapless, red-faced lawyer in his defence. “I’m not used to gazing up his nose.”

Cobbetts girls hit the right note

Cobbetts might have been having a torrid time financially recently but at least it can rely on some of its corporate lawyers to do something right.

Nicola Frost, Vicky Zivkovic, Laura Lovell and Sinead Ormerod – aka That Girl Band – won the Y Factor 2009, an annual charity singing competition for Manchester’s corporate finance community. In the process, the foursome beat off stiff competition from legal rivals at DLA Piper and DWF. The event, now in its third year, raised more than £40,000 for Mencap, the UK’s largest learning disability charity.

So although deals might be thin on the ground, four of Cobbetts’ lawyers could justifiably claim to be members of a “successful corporate group”.