Tulkinghorn: Last house on the crest
3 October 2011
There is a scurrilous rumour doing the rounds that DLA Piper is stuffed to the gills with overly competitive bigwigs.
Tulkinghorn wasn’t convinced until news reached him of events at the firm’s recent European real estate retreat at Keble College, Oxford.
The idea was team-building. The result? Rampant rivalry between street gangs (in a nod to Hogwarts they were called ’houses’, each complete with a snazzy crest) led by senior partner Janet Legrand, Asia-Pacific managing partner Alistair Da Costa, Europe managing director Andrew Darwin and someone called ’Sir Nigel Knowles’.
The latter house head, whom Tulkinghorn understands is something of a leading light within DLA Piper, was so confident that he would emerge victorious after the series of exercises and events that he blogged to that effect. Shortly before coming joint last with Darwin.
The clear strategic lesson? There are dangers in being overconfident. Tulkinghorn trusts that Knowles, whoever he may be, will take note.
Tulkinghorn had hoped that, as a well-known dignitary of the law, he might have been invited along to tour the Rolls Building. As you are no doubt are aware, this gleaming new Fetter Street structure is the new home of more courts than you can shake a wig at, and ahead of its opening a galaxy of legal market stars were invited down for a mooch around.
Sadly, Tulkinghorn was ‘NFI’. Tulkinghorn’s moans of disappointment, however, turned to a joyously smug ’serves you right’ smile ever since he read reports of lawyers, barristers and their clerks becoming stranded in malfunctioning lifts. Apparently one party was delayed by half an hour while the engineers frantically worked to set them free.
The wheels of justice, they do grind slowly, but taking the stairs is a step too far.
It’s merger season again. Dundas & Wilson is thinking about tying up with Bircham Dyson Bell and Clyde & Co is hammering out the final details of its ’merger’ (Tulkinghorn does wish that lawyers would drop the niceties occasionally and call a spade a spade. Chaps, it’s a takeover) - with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.
Tulkinghorn thinks all these firms could learn a lesson from Beachcroft and Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC), which are also in advanced merger talks.
Beachcroft senior partner Paul Murray and his DAC counterpart Danny Gowan have spent the past few weeks on a tour of Beachcroft’s New Zealand offices while they finesse the deal.
Tulkinghorn wouldn’t dare to suggest that this was because the two avid rugby fans wanted to drop in on the Rugby World Cup tournament. No, no - that would be the furthest thing from their minds.
Whirly good cause
Some people will do anything to get a ride in a helicopter. In the case of former Norton Rose senior associate Adrian Hoggarth, now head of employment at Prolegal, things probably went a bit far.
Hoggarth featured on the BBC One programme Helicopter Heroes last month after a serious car accident up in Hull left him with a broken back and in need of a rescue
by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Hoggarth was so impressed by the helicopter team’s heroics (quite rightly he describes them as “amazing guys”) that he is now lending his weight to raising their profile and, of course, raising money for their good works.
Not only that. Hoggarth is now also giving pro bono legal advice to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the emergency medical charity Magpas, as well as assisting Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads on its campaign to provide helipads at children’s hospitals.
Tulkinghorn for one believes this is one charity campaign that will fly.