bomb-hit law firms get back to normal

Addleshaw Booth & Co has finally completed the repairs to its Manchester office, which was severely damaged in last June's IRA bomb.

The office's return to normal coincides with the Govern-ment's announcement that it will award a grant to Manchester City Council to assist with the costs of clearing up the city's bomb damage.

Addleshaw's Pall Mall office was directly in line with the blast and, up until a few weeks ago, the building had temporary windows and was encased in scaffolding.

David Tully, senior partner of pre-merger Addleshaw Sons & Latham at the time of the bomb, said: “We have been working under difficulties since the bomb but are now getting back to normal and the spirit is good.”

The firm has made a claim to its insurers for loss of earnings which is still in the early stages. Meanwhile, it has been assisting the Lord Mayor's task force set up by the Manchester City Council to help relocate tenants of premises destroyed or damaged by the bomb.

Donn & Co, another firm affected by the IRA bomb, has just reached a satisfactory six-figure settlement with its insurers. Senior partner Raymond Donn said that although the office was up and running again within two weeks of the explosion, the firm lost a week's work which it was unable to catch up on. “We now realise how catastrophic it could have been if we had been worse affected and have trebled our insurance cover,” he added.

Chambers on King Street in Manchester also suffered damage, although generally on a lesser scale. Peter Whitman, senior clerk at at 8 King Street, explained that a good contingency plan saved his chambers from undue disruption during its two-day evacuation. He set up camp in the Midland Hotel with two mobile phones, a fax and a copy of the diary, and managed to get new contact details to all solicitors involved in cases being handled by chambers. He added: “This was the second bomb in Manchester and we learnt from the first.”