Tulkinghorn: Oh my bengoshi!

Casually dressed lawyers in Japan, that paragon of formality? Surely not.


Give them an inch…
Give them an inch…

One of Japan’s largest firms Nishimura & Asahi recently announced a new initiative aimed at addressing global warming
issues and cutting down the firm’s electricity consumption. It’s called ’Cool-Biz’. No, Tulkinghorn is not making this up.

Bright spark ideas include reducing the number of lights and adjusting the temperature of ­air-conditioners, which means the firm’s staff are being encouraged to wear light, comfortable attire.

Clients are also encouraged to visit the firm dressing more casually to be cool. So on a hot summer day in Tokyo you might spot a few secretaries in hot pants or partners in board shorts at Nishimura.

Whereas if they set up shop in the UK they’d most likely be wearing raincoats and snowshoes.

White-collar primed

Several of Tulkinghorn’s spies had the pleasure of supping with a bunch of Ropes & Gray lawyers recently, including City legends Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz.

While discussing the meteoric rise up the headcount rankings of the US firm’s London office, while at the same time dodging the flying spheres on the pétanque pitch at Baranis in Chancery Lane, one of the hacks couldn’t help noticing two bags stuffed full of what appeared to be neatly pressed dry cleaning.

“It wasn’t dry cleaning,” a Ropes insider corrected the spy later on. “The tailor had just made a delivery of new shirts to the office.”

Clearly this pair are making too much money.

He’s a real nowhere man

Here’s an interesting tactic from Bird & Bird. Recently the firm announced the hire of a new corporate partner in its Paris
office, one Stephen Walters.

But in what is becoming a worrying trend (readers will recall the story of the oh-so-coy Morgan Lewis, which neglected to mention the former home of its nine new laterals), there was no mention of where Walters had washed up from. Perhaps he just appeared out of nowhere, Tulkinghorn mused.

A brief interrogation of the PR revealed that yes, Walters was indeed another Dewey & LeBoeuf refugee (as were the Morgan Lewis nine).

Then, in an exciting twist, the PR revealed that Dewey’s name had been removed from the release at the last minute. Not on Walters’ say-so, it must be stressed, but a PR strategy designed to avoid his name ’pinging’ up on Google searches for ’Dewey departures’, Tulkinghorn is given to understand.

So from now on a cynical Tulkinghorn will take the bland phrase ’moved from another international law firm’ to simply mean ’escaped from the sinking Dewey ship’.

Grands seigneur

Who knew that a day in the company of Skadden litigation partner David Kavanagh would be such a draw?

At the International Arbitration Charity Ball at the Guildhall recently, Kavanagh put himself up as a lot. Tulkinghorn supposes that pimping yourself out for a good cause gives a whole new meaning to the job title ’solicitor’.

Perhaps it was because Kavanagh said he would do anything – yes, literally anything – that the crowd sent the auctioneer into a frenzy. So much so that when one table won the bid with a stake of £4,000, another demanded that the litigator put himself up for another day so they could match it.

Every lawyer has his price, and Kavanagh’s is £8,000. That’s twice as much as was raised for two tickets to the closing ceremony at the London Olympics, by the way.

God only knows what they’ll have you doing for that fee, David, but at least Save the Children will feel the good of it.