Tulkinghorn: How to save a bob or two
16 February 2009
How to save a bob or two
As you can see in this picture, Charles Russell has come up with an innovative way to reduce headcount during the economic crisis – crush them with a law firm-sponsored boat.
The firm gathers the lawyers under the special boat, saying that the exercise is part of a branding push. Before they can say “cheese” the strings are cut and voilà, fewer mouths to feed. It might be a little unorthodox, but it certainly stops those unfair dismissal cases in their tracks.
Partners Michael Scott and Michael Cover were for the chop this time around.
Tulkinghorn is a rounded character in the physical sense, thanks to a life enjoying the best stiltons and ham hocks this fine country has to offer.
But Slaughter and May seems to believe that its lawyers, as well as being physically robust, should also be rounded in a spiritual sense. The firm organises monthly talks on esoteric topics from experts, with all lawyers free to attend.
Last month a man came in with a barn owl to talk about barn owls.
Tulkinghorn is not sure exactly what the man said about barn owls, but at least it had nothing to do with corporate finance.
Perhaps the firm has seen the sense in retraining their corporate lawyers as vets in the downturn.
City firm Speechly Bircham has enjoyed being in the limelight with a role on the MFI administration acting for the company’s management.
But with great media exposure comes a wave of nutters. The firm has been hounded by people wondering where their items of furniture have ended up.
The role has even seen the firm receive a letter from Nigel Waterson, Tory MP for Eastbourne and shadow minister for Work and Pensions, enquiring on behalf of a constituent as to where said constituent’s sofa might have disappeared to.
The bucks stop here
With all this talk of falling profits and cash calls, Tulkinghorn hasn’t seen this many unhappy partners since a disastrous wife-swapping evening he endured in 1976.
These might be dire times, but Tulkinghorn urges his readers to spare a thought for the partners at New York powerhouse Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy circa 1992. One of Tulkinghorn’s scribes was told that profit at the firm dropped to $10 per partner for the year. Now that puts this crisis into perspective.
The firm still remembers the dark days and, to remind the partnership of how fickle the legal market can be, it holds a special dinner every year where partners have to bring $10.
But it’s not all budget nosh at Milbank. This year the partners’ retreat is in sunny Cancun.
HAL hath no fury…
Tulkinghorn’s stock market ticker has been on the blink for months, leading the old sot to dispair at technology.
One of his scribes has heard that Taylor Wessing is in a similar situation. The firm’s swanky new offices are controlled by what can only be described as a renegade computer in the style of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Within days of being switched on, the malevolent computer set lighting levels so high that lawyers in the office had to wear Taylor Wessing caps to avoid being dazzled.
Meanwhile, the lifts are also controlled by HAL, who is apparently still learning how long the doors should stay open. Unfortunately this means that the doors close on people almost immediately, with the computer apparently trying to crush their fragile human bodies.
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