Tulkinghorn: Starting Gates

Here’s a US-themed ­addition to Tulkinghorn’s ever-growing ’Offspring of the Rich and Famous (Lawyers)’ series.

George Ames Plimpton, a US journalist and actor, who not only helped found literary rag The Paris Review, but also popped up performing as a psychologist in the Matt Damon and Ben Affleck-penned Good Will Hunting. And guess what, Plimpton’s dad, Francis TP Plimpton, was one of the founders of Debevoise & Plimpton.

Having a law firm name that echoes down the years is all well and good, but what if your founders don’t have the pedigree? Don’t worry, you can always buy it in.

Enter K&L Gates. The ever-expanding global firm bought West Coast firm Preston Gates & Ellis a few years back and in the process grabbed itself a chunk of kudos thanks to one particularly famous name. In case you didn’t know, the ’Gates’ featured in the firm’s name refers to none other than the father of a certain Bill.

Banana ­hammock panic

When you attend a legal conference in Miami the last thing you should forget to pack (apart from the unavoidable work stuff) is your ­swimming togs.

One London family lawyer who found himself heading west for a work get-together did indeed heed this advice. But as he was about to follow his ­fellow delegates on a beach trip he realised he was a­ ­little more scantily clad than the rest. Think Borat.

Concerned for his ­reputation the divorce lawyer made a quick Superman-style change at the hotel boutique into a pair of less… er… snug swimmers.

Unfortunately, this ­temporary wardrobe ­malfunction failed to amuse his firm when he returned, whereupon staffers were ­somewhat perturbed to see a $200 bill for a new swimming cozzie on his expenses.

Strange air do

More conference hilarity. Partners and clients attending a Baker & ­McKenzie’s European bash in Berlin this month were treated to revolving desserts and a musical ­serenade during a gala event at the city’s disused Tempelhof Airport.

A choir of 15 European partners astonished guests with their operatic talents, warbling heartfelt ­renditions of Va pensiro from Verdi’s Nabucco, ­Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici (The Drinking Song) from his La Traviata and well-known European graduation song Gaudeamus Igitur.

Veteran Washington DC partner Nick Coward was also in fine voice, treating guests to a solo.

Milan partner ­Gianfranco Di Garbo conducted the singers, with German ­banking associate (and concert-level pianist) Sandra ­Wittinghofer ­tickling the ivories in accompaniment.

Then it was time for pud. Dessert was served on the terminal’s luggage carousel, with guests ­having to be quick to pluck their sweet of choice from atop a selection of ­suitcases on the ­fast-moving ­conveyor belt, thus eating and exercising simultaneously. How wise.

Akin’s ­gumption

Evidence of some truly innovative thinking landed on ­Tulkinghorn’s desk recently from Akin Gump: “The theme for this year’s annual review is ’Focus
on the Client’.”

Genius. Other firms are sure to follow suit, inevitably narrowing Akin’s current market lead by also considering their clients’ needs, and ­potentially gearing their businesses up to ­better serving the people who pay their wages. Who knows, some may even choose to do this along ­sector lines.

Akin, you’ve been warned.

Sea change

The revelation that London-based Milbank marketing guru Steve ­Garlick has chucked in the City life for a role by the sea looks to have caused waves at the ­London outpost of the US firm.

“Steve has left us to take up a posting in the Caribbean,” confirmed Milbank partner and projects legend Phil Fletcher via email. “If I don’t respond in time [to your message], it will be because I have followed him – having been born in Barbados I have never left the dream of sun and sand behind…”

It’s never too late, Phil.