19 March 2007
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Real estate and some real states
Balloons, booze and The Lawyer's embedded blogger. Yes, it's that time of the year again, when everyone who's not a real estate lawyer really, really wishes they were.
Annual week-long construction and property jolly Mipim got off to a flying start in Cannes and our roving real estate reporter David Middleton (yes, it's not just lawyers who suffer practice-area envy) was there to update those left behind as to just what they were missing in his twice-daily blog on www.thelawyer.com.
Managing partners can see just how their best real estate ambassadors spent their time and the firms' money on our website, but here are some highlights.
The blogs began on 13 March with a reminder of the oneupmanship that occurs between firms that is as much a trademark of Mipim as the familiar sight of the Martinez: "Last year, Norton Rose made a point of emphasising its boat was bigger than Lovells'. This year, both firms have been shunted into the small-boat section of the harbour. Under close watch from the harbour police, and with only a small water taxi parked between them, the size difference is even more apparent. Norton Rose's Orient Star wins hands down.
"No doubt Lovells and Norton Rose could spin their mooring positions as being more convenient for clients - no more trekking to the deep-water end of the jetty to find their yachts. But in one way at least Lovells has broken new ground this year. "Yes, the firm's boat is the first ever on the docks to boast it own blimp. A giant, purple, sun-blocking, helium-filled blimp. Now that is marketing."
But Lovells' moment in the sun was to be short-lived. Middleton reported later that day: "The Lovells blimp has burst. Just hours after setting a new Mipim record by floating a giant purple phallus, er, blimp above the harbour, the bubble has burst. The skipper of Lovells' boat, affectionately known as Captain Birdseye for his resemblance to a seafaring Santa Claus, was last seen desperately trying to keep the thing contained on the top deck.
"Reports that it was shot down by Norton Rose's head of real estate Lindsay Morgan from the neighbouring boat with a pea-shooter have been entirely made up."
An update on 14 March revealed that, although Lovells' lawyers are no doubt whizzes in the real estate world, they had perhaps contravened Cannes, local bylaws with their oversized balloon and had been forced to take down the offending inflatable.
And of course there were plenty of parties. There was a buzz surrounding Addleshaw Goddard's and Ashurst's, but the party of all parties was thrown by interior design duo (currently fitting out most of Dubai) and SJ Berwin client Candy & Candy.
"I'm off to the other end of the Cannes harbour, where the real big boats lie. It's not the 240ft monster that Rob Macgregor and Chris de Pury were on last night, but I have an appointment aboard Candyscape, the art deco über-luxury yacht of eminent interior design specialist Candy & Candy. Bryan Pickup has pulled some strings to get us aboard and it promises to be a spectacle. I've even heard of alligator-skin stairwells and the like. Crikey!"Monsieur Middleton signed off on 16 March in true Mipim fashion: "It's about 5am and I've appropriated a BlackBerry from the Freshfields crew who are, yet again, helping me prop up the Martinez bar."
Summit to do
Word reaches The Lawyer that intrepid Travers Smith associates Russ Lamb and Sam Kay are now en route to the snow, squalls and stress of Everest, where they hope to reach the summit, raising a pound per metre climbed for the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust. We'll be exclusively keeping track of their travails by posting their blogs. In the meantime, visit www. traverssmith.com to donate.