Tulkinghorn: Secret ­disservice

There was also trouble for some away from the riots and in the apparently safe environs of the Hotel ­Cavalieri.

After being hounded by host Michael McIntyre at The Lawyer Awards in 2009, you might have thought that Greenberg Traurig Maher chair Paul Maher would kept a low profile at future events.

But Maher found himself on the receiving end of a scolding from the former head of MI5, Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller. Nobody wants to be grilled by the chief spook, City high-flyer or not.

No questions on current political events were answered, and when Maher dared ask about control orders, she simply responded: “I’m not going to answer that.”

Manningham-Buller then curtly put Maher in his place after he raised his hand to ask what he described as a question in two parts. “This is a ­question and a follow-up question,” Maher said.

“That will be two ­separate questions then,” she retorted. Dame Judi Dench would be proud.

Reed is good

Thanks are due to Reed Smith for ­inviting a bunch of Tulkinghorn’s scribes down to a charity quiz earlier this month hosted by none other than telly’s Rob Brydon.

The US firm holds the quiz each year to raise funds for the charity PiggyBankKids, founded by Sarah Brown in 2002 to help children in the UK.

Brydon, who waived his fee, was on top form, quipping that Reed Smith litigation partner and raffle winner Simon Hart looked like “a cross between Alan Bennett and David ’Kid’ Jensen”. He said one of the play-off final contenders sounded like he should have his own TV show: “Rabinder Singh QC, 9pm on ITV1, sponsored by Cathedral City.”

Sadly Singh lost the play-off to the Red Hog Chilli Peppers, the team from Coutts. Tulkinghorn’s scribes, despite admirable assistance from Reed Smith partner James Wilkinson and the firm’s very own PR Star – Jeyda – could manage only fourth.

But with at least £15,000 raised on the night, who’s counting?

Summit kicking off

Student protests weren’t invented until long after Tulkinghorn went down from Magdalene. Protesting against the very institutions of government, law and military that he had hoped would one day provide a comfortable income in perpetuity would have been self-defeating, frankly.

So he wasn’t very sympathetic to learn that a rabble of young things gathered in Westminster recently, not with a view to starting careers in politics, but intending to register their displeasure at the increase in something called ’university fees’. Tulkinghorn thinks they should just use the interest on their trust funds to cover the costs.

The wrath of the ruffians was focused at Millbank Tower, home to the Tory Party and also Canonical Group. Keen to avoid ­getting egg on their shirts, the company evacuated all of its staff. This included general counsel Amanda Brock, who, suitcase in tow, was poised to catch a plane to Rome for The Lawyer’s 2010 in-house summit.

“At around 1.30pm we were told to leave the building,” she told one of Tulkinghorn’s minions.

“At mid-afternoon we were allowed back in, but by then I had to urgently leave for the airport.”

Stranded in town without her baggage she decided to pop into a local retailer to buy a new suitcase and fill it with a necklace, evening wear, shoes and several pairs of underwear.

Surely the valet could have obliged?

Killing joke

HBJ Gateley Wareing employment partner Stephen Hills gave delegates at this year’s The Lawyer Summit a guide to that bane of the Daily Mail – the Equality Act.

One of the act’s focuses is equal pay for women. But the thundering headlines have focused more on the fact that you can’t have a friendly office joke anymore for fear of ending up in court. Health and safety gone mad indeed.

On an aside, Hills revealed that the law was originally supposed to be called the Fairness at Work Act. Or if you use its acronym, Fatwa.

Now that really would have got Middle England choking on its cornflakes.