TULKINGHORN: Brothers at arms

The barrister champion of the trade union movement John Hendy QC of Old Square Chambers makes no secret of his left-leaning views.

Frat spats: even the Gallaghers are friendly sometimes
Frat spats: even the Gallaghers are friendly sometimes

It is unlikely that he shares them with his brother, however. Peter Hendy CBE is none other than the ­commissioner of Transport for London.

John is the national secretary of the United Campaign movement, which aims to repeal what it claims are anti-trade union laws. He is also the go-to barrister for Unite, train drivers’ union Aslef and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). Peter, meanwhile, spent several months trying to negotiate with the RMT last year over the Tube worker strikes.

Christmas dinners at the Hendy’s must be fun.

Woolly ­thinking

Tulkinghorn has never been a big fan of branding, advertising and other promotional activities, believing them to be the last refuge of the scoundrel. If you’re good enough at your profession, clients will find you. That said, even yours truly can spot a missed opportunity when he sees one.

Last week regional powerhouse Hooper & Wollen in South Devon merged with rival Harold Michelmore. The accompanying blurb trumpeted the usual stats-based fare, such as the fact that the combined entity would have a turnover of £5m, with 15 partners and more than 100 staff.

Then came this: “It will be branded Wollen Michelmore.”

Wollen Michelmore? A name that sounds like a woolly jumper? And they could have gone for the distinctly more memorable Harold Hooper, a name that would have immediately bracketed it in with the very human and approachable-sounding Herbert Smith, Thomas Eggar or Charles Russell.

Time for a rebrand?

Harem scare ’em

More language-based hilarity. In a nod to the ever-­shifting tectonic plates of industry, London stalwart ­Travers Smith is understood to have had special Chinese business cards made, only to ditch them once a helpful chum pointed out that the title ’partner’, as printed in Chinese on the cards, actually indicated ’spouse’.

Telling it how it is

We Brits aren’t known for our language skills, and being in a room of lawyers from all over Europe speaking English fluently, as one of Tulkinghorn’s scribes was at The Lawyer European Awards 2011, really drives it home.
Kudos, therefore, to the event’s host, BBC presenter and former lawyer Mishal Husain, whose flawless pronunciation of the tricky CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati just minutes into the ceremony was so ­perfect that it ­garnered an appreciative round of applause from the ­audience.

Losing it

It’s fair to say that every awards ceremony has its share of controversy, and some will always think
the big names should always triumph over the ­minnows. Not so at The Lawyer, which encourages those firms that might not have made a big splash yet, but are at least doing something about it by entering our awards.

Unfortunately, such decisions are not always greeted with magnanimity by those who miss out.

At last month’s Lawyer European Awards 2011, hosted by the BBC’s Mishal Husain, the sorest loser turned out to be Plesner partner Finn Lernø, who accosted a ­surprised guest at the end of the ceremony to rail furiously against the choice of up-and-coming Swedish firm Magnusson as Nordic Firm of the Year.

It seems that losing to a smaller firm that is working on building its profile, as opposed to a large one that already has a profile, was unsupportable for Lernø, who hilariously managed to insult his hosts, the awards judges and the ­category winner in just a few ­minutes, before storming off.

Rumours that Lernø had been spotted quaffing cocktails before the event could not be substantiated.