Client uncompliant

Oh the defensive nature of certain managing partners. Call it a Napoleon complex, but Newcastle’s Ward Hadaway was getting all hot under the collar about receiving calls for the forthcoming edition of The Lawyer’s UK 100 last week.

Specifically, managing partner Jamie Martin seems to have developed an aversion to the limelight. Which is strange, seeing as Martin is well known in the Newcastle market for having made particularly grand predictions about the future growth of his firm way back in the summer of 1999. Included in those plans – made when everything seemed possible – was a target to increase fee income from the then £8.5m to £17m within three years. In fact, Ward Hadaway’s gross fees by 2002 were only enough to make it to a 99th-placed £13.8m. Last year, the third-largest firm in Newcastle managed £14.9m, while this year revenues finally crawled past Martin’s target, reaching £17.5m.

Perhaps the pressure to deliver was getting to him, but when one of Tulkinghorn’s scribes called last week with an innocent request for “key clients” to appear with the write-up on his firm (a request that did not appear to fill any other top 100 member with horror), Martin tetchily barked: “No, I’m not going to give you that information; I’m not doing your research for you. That’s commercially sensitive.”

Now now, Jamie. Big boys don’t shout.