With the London Olympics looming on the horizon like the biggest, whitest elephant in Christendom, lawyers (like the rest of the country) have discovered a previously well-hidden love of beach volleyball.
Doing their bit to help fund an event, the ultimate budget of which is likely to contain enough zeros to make even Professor Brian Cox weep, law firms are splashing out big-time on corporate hospitality tickets.
According to one of Tulkinghorn’s well-placed 2012 moles, the noble profession is leading the way when it comes to applying for the junket packages that will eventually pay for an East London velodrome that will never, ever be filled again.
And, showing a natural affinity for stretchy Lycra on well-toned bodies, it’s the beach volleyball events that the firms have been queuing around the block for.
Other popular sports so far include diving, hockey, cycling and, bizarrely, water polo.
Why anyone would pay to watch horses wearing goggles is frankly not something Tulkinghorn will ever understand.
Daughters of law
The ’famous offspring of lawyers’ series continues, thanks to an anonymous tip-off last week: “Have you checked out the spawn of Andrew Popplewell QC and Ken Rokison QC? You would think that with their practices they would not have to put their children out to work.”
Quite. Tulkinghorn duly engaged the 21st century oracle that is Google and found Anna Katherine Popplewell, who starred as Susan Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Not only is Popplewell’s old man a serious player in legal circles, but her paternal grandfather, Sir Oliver Bury Popplewell, was a former High Court judge. And apparently her two siblings, Freddie and Lulu, are also actors, appearing in Love Actually (well, someone had to).
And Rokison junior? That would be Oliver, who starred as William in the 1994 BBC adaptation of the Richmal Crompton classic Just William.
Tulkinghorn has discovered the secret to Slaughter and May’s famed sky-high lawyer retention levels. The firm takes a highly incentive-based approach to its lawyers’ imbibing of caffeine. Or,
in other words, it runs Cafè Nero-style loyalty cards in its staff canteen. Buy 10 coffees and you get one free. So that’s why nobody ever leaves.
Competition partner Sarah Cardell, who’s off to Ofgem next month, is clearly more of a Dandelion & Burdock girl.
Pity the poor Portuguese. Their economy’s in crisis, the prime minister’s resigned and there’s barely a sniff of M&A work.
Still, that didn’t deter the representatives of rival firms Vieira de Almeida and PLMJ from a spot of City-based socialising recently.
In London for an industry bash, the Portuguese lawyers split off early for a Soho joint (as in a bar, not something you might find Mrs Tulkinghorn’s lady’s maid puffing on with that ne’er-do-well gardener in his shed) and commenced upon a round of competitive beer downing. Maybe it was just their sorrows they were trying to drown?
The partying went on until 2am. Perhaps it was lucky that the following day was sunny enough for meetings to take place outside with sunglasses on.
You may miss the bride
Who says we live in gentler times? Tulkinghorn recently learnt of an associate at a City firm whose big day was ruined by a domineering boss.
“I don’t care if it’s your wedding day, I need you to work,” barked the gruff gaffer.