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21 December 2012
There are many ways of trying to get rid of a legal hack. There’s the run-of-the-mill “I’m just going into a meeting”, which obviously can have a stalling effect, or the “I’m in the middle of lunch with an important client” delaying tactic.
But one of Tulkinghorn’s favourites was that uttered by Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham recently.
When contacted by one of Tulkinghorn’s minions the magic circle supremo was incredibly inventive.
“Sorry, I’m in the middle of skiing,” said Popham, before the phone line was abruptly cut short, presumably by Popham popping a tweaked-out mute 360 while sending the firm’s partners an update on Q3 finances via his BlackBerry.
The minion admired Popham’s ingenuity. But unlike the meeting or lunch excuses, which can be used pretty much every day of the year, this particularly frosty put-off can only be used infrequently, and at high altitude.
What next? Deep-sea diving?
A sure cure for cold feet
Forget the trapeze acts performed by Lovells senior partner John Young at the firm’s summer party and the magical talents of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert partner Rupert Connell, who chairs the real Magic Circle. Russell Jones & Walker associate Samantha Mangwana has gone one better by walking on fire.
Mangwana walked across hot coals to raise money for the Fawcett Society charity, which campaigns for equality between men and women.
She may look as if she’s petrified of having her feet barbecued, but don’t fret, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone lent her a helping hand after the pair were partnered up.
Going second behind Livingstone, though, was not such a great idea - organisers gave the coals a little extra stoking to make sure Red Ken felt the heat.
Game, set and match
News that Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Ozannes are to merge smashed the offshore market wide open. Offshore firms without Channel Islands offices have been circling like vultures, ready to pick off teams that can gain them footholds in the lucrative jurisdiction.
So when Mourant and Ozannes began plotting in the summer of 2009 it was imperative they kept their plans secret. Thus the notoriously gossipy folk of Guernsey and Jersey may have heard lawyers from both firms discussing ’Project Wimbledon’ - the codename both firms and their matchmaker, Addleshaw Goddard, used for the merger talks.
Given the much-lauded synergy between the two firms it was even better that they were given the codenames ’strawberries’ (Mourant) and ’cream’ (Ozannes).
It will be no surprise to friends of Ozannes managing partner Rob Shepherd - the future managing partner of Mourant Ozannes’ Guernsey office - that he is a certified tennis nut.
Watching the Winter Olympics action from Vancouver has reminded Tulkinghorn of his glory days in the Alps. Unfortunately the combination of dodgy knees and Mrs Tulkinghorn’s credit card habit has kept him off-piste recently.
Not so for Dewey & Leboeuf’s Camille Abousleiman. The dealmaker keeps the same two weeks free every year so he can indulge his passion. He’s even been known to turn off his BlackBerry from time to time while ploughing through the powder.
And when he can’t get to the slopes, the death-defying Abousleiman will nip over to Spain to get in a spot of kite surfing.
“It’s the closest you’ll ever get to flying,” he told Tulknghorn - who is more than happy to take his word for it.
Law and hors d’oeuvres
Sharp knives and even sharper legal minds combined last week as Sodexo’s panel of law firms got together to cook up a storm - all in the name charity.
Teams from all nine of Sodexo’s law firms raised more than £13,000 for the company’s Stop Hunger campaign by taking part in a series of cooking tasks, including a Ready Steady Cook-style challenge, which saw contestants competing to make the best roast cod and sirloin steak.
Sodexo general counsel Gareth John said: “It’s not often you have over 50 lawyers with sharp knives in one venue chopping, cooking and laughing together. Everyone
enjoyed it. I’m just relieved there were no injuries or lawsuits.”
Now, usually Tulkinghorn would have some sort of acerbic, side-splitting aside to make about the event - perhaps some sort of delicious wordplay on lemon torte (contain yourselves, please) - but Ainsley Harriott was outside giving free legal advice for charity and told him not to.