Theodores forever

If the firm pulls off that merger it's been struggling to secure for over a year, then the name Theodore Goddard may be no more.

At least anti-merger Theodores partners can take some small comfort from the fact that the firm's name and the fearsome reputation of its libel lawyers have been immortalised in the bestselling novel How To Lose Friends and Alienate People – UK journalist Toby Young's fabulous account of his failure to take Manhattan.

Young has long been known for not getting on with the New York-based pioneer of celebrity journalism and the woman who oversaw the collapse of Talk magazine, Tina Brown.

In 1998 he got on the wrong side of her and her husband Harry Evans by writing an article in The Spectator about publishing magnate Evans' departure from Random House in a way the couple objected to. So much so that they got Theodores involved.

At one point, Young recounts the reaction of Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, to Theodores' letter writing style.

“Graydon asked to see a copy of the letter from Theodore Goddard, and a few days later called again, this time to marvel at its pomposity,” he said. “Indeed, it was so priggish, he thought Harry's solicitor must be having fun with his client… I assured him it was 100 per cent sincere.”

Tulkinghorn also owns a number of similar letters from Theodores, which he must admit make excellent bedtime reading.