Tulkinghorn: Homburger with cheers
24 October 2011
Swiss giant Homburger moved house recently, out from the centre of Zurich to Switzerland’s new tallest building.
While the 126m Prime Tower would be dwarfed by your average London or New York skyscraper, its glassy façade is sweetly impressive.
So proud is Homburger of its new offices, up on the 31st floor of the tower, that it had no fewer than three office-warming parties to celebrate recently, hosting 2,500 people over consecutive nights.
At one of the evenings the guests reportedly had a whale of a time helping Homburger increase the cost of the move by quaffing and scoffing inordinate amounts of champagne and canapes. Really? Swiss lawyers? Shurely shome mishtake.
A man of three words
Priority, paramount, transcendent. Not words you’d usually associate with a law firm. Unless you’re a partner at Baker & McKenzie, that is.
Tulkinghorn understands that in the not so dim and distant past these words were a mantra for former global chairman and heroic moustache sporter John Conroy. Conroy would trundle them out whenever he spoke, no doubt with misty eyes, of strategy. Or ”straddeggee”, as JC would have it.
With current head Edwardo Leite it’s all about clients. But who’d want to be a “priority” client when you could be “transcendent?”
Tulkinghorn will meditate for a while on this and get back to you.
Tulkinghorn has discovered that one of the country’s leading media barristers is so in demand that his wife walks him to work every morning so they can spend time together.
This bouncy silk has developed quite an appetite for keeping the secrets of some well-known celebrities out of the press.
Tulkinghorn understands the Matrix Chambers man also has an appetite for home cooking, which is why his wife brings his sandwiches to the office daily.
If you said “Hugh Tomlinson QC”, you wouldn’t be wrong.
Legal high’s buzzkill
Despite the outrageously high cost of living, there are lots of advantages to working in Geneva. For Edmond Tavernier, the founding partner of Swiss firm Tavernier Tschanz, it’s the outdoor lifestyle that appeals.
Tavernier spends his weekends making full use of the spectacular Swiss landscape. Admittedly, that brings with it the occasional hazard, such as Tavernier running full-tilt into a wasps’ nest out in the woods recently and sustaining 30 stings.
But Tavernier is also commonly found at the top of a mountain, having run, rather than walked, up there.
His endorsement of the healthy lifestyle was demonstrated by a long lunch with one of Tulkinghorn’s scribes recently, during which he eschewed the delights of Swiss cheese and chocolate in favour of tuna tartare. Along with a bottle of red, of course.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is nothing if not democratic. If partners want to install a new managing partner, they have a vote; if they want to open a new office, they have a vote; and if they want to change the biscuits in their meeting rooms they - you guessed it - have a vote.
Now, with the firm in the throes of moving its in-house café into the atrium at its London HQ, its lawyers are faced with a fresh dilemma: which high street coffee chain to get to run it.
Word is that some of the firm’s younger lawyers favour Starbucks, while others have voiced their preference for Costa and still others are known to be fans of Caffé Nero. There’s only one way for such a matter to be resolved…
The good news is that, by getting rid of the dingy old café that lurks in its basement, the firm now has room to expand its gym. With all those subsidised lattes and Danishes, team Freshfields is bound to have a fair few pounds to work off. Let’s hope they can reach agreement on the brand of water to stock there.