Property slowdown? What property slowdown?

Good news!

It’s clearly a good time to be a real estate lawyer. In the latest round of partnership promotions, it was real estate associates who left their colleagues in other practices in the shade.

CMS Cameron McKenna raised three to the partnership, more than any other practice area. And at Wragge & Co three of the nine new partners were associates in the real estate practice. See the Partnership 2008 blog for more.

Overall, it has been a bumper year for promotions across the board. All three firms to announce new partners today made up more than last year, with Olswang inviting a record number into its partnership. (See story)

So a good year to be making a partnership bid – except if you are a female associate at CMS Cameron McKenna. The firm promoted 10 times as many men as women.

The latest edition of The Lawyer Podcast is now available to download. Hear Freshfields partners Perry Noble and Mike Goetz reveal how they are going to attack the City in the coming months. It’s Easter bank holiday weekend so there’ll be no copies of The Lawyer until Tuesday, but don’t worry, the digital edition will be online on Monday morning. Read Bupa group legal director Paul Newton speaking out on the extortionate nature of law firm billing and get the full low down on exactly what a raft of former judges are up to now they’ve returned to the bar.

Oh, and a big fat transatlantic scoop…

No egg on the face of the Lords

The Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission have to wade through hundreds of Acts as part of the House of Lords’ spring clean of the Statute Book. See story.

The Commissions, however, may think themselves lucky that it is only a few hundred as many ludicrous laws have already been repealed.

One curious rule was the maximum penalty for attempting to commit suicide – death. It was repealed in 1961.

One of the burning questions is whether the House of Lords will repeal the law that stops Members of Parliament from entering the House of Commons wearing armour.

Slightly strange, but not as bizarre as the laws passed during the time of young Edward VI such as a his Gulliver’s Travel egg war law.

The law decreed: “Any person found breaking a boiled egg at the sharp end would be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stocks.”

That was repealed in 1561 but one of Edward VI’s laws is still around today. He decreed that everybody has to walk to church on Christmas Day. Take note all ye Chelsea tractor drivers.

Mucca and the Shack attack

Standing in front of the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday Heather Mills, having been awarded a £24.3m settlement, advocated that women represent themselves in divorce hearings.

But after Mills received less than a fifth of the £125m she had originally claimed for, divorce lawyers everywhere are heralding Mills’ tirade as a victory for, er, divorce lawyers.

And today, after her failing to block the judgment, we understand why. See story.

Mr Justice Bennett described Mills’ testimony as “inconsistent, inaccurate” and “less than candid”. She failed to provide documentary evidence to support claims about her wealth prior to their marriage, and about how much she contributed to his career.

“Overall,” Bennett ruled, “she was a less than impressive witness.”

Had she been prepped by the lawyers at Mishcon de Reya instead of sacking them, she might have escaped Bennett J’s strongly worded ruling.

Still, there are perils in divorce work, as McCartney’s lawyer Fiona Shackleton can tell you. Shackleton, a partner at one of Lincoln’s Inn’s finest, Payne Hicks Beach, made it onto the front page of the Sun today after Mills allegedly soaked her with a glass of water in court.

The Currant Bun’s headline? “Mucca chucksa cuppa water over Macca’s lawyer Shacka’.


And they’re off!

It’s partnership promotion season.

First out of the traps this morning was Freshfields, with its announcement of 25 new partners. See story.

Add Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz of White & Case to that, and that’s 27 newbies. The difference is, Allen and Goetz are being lined up to go in at the top of the equity. The promoted partners will mostly be languishing in a salaried waiting room for a bit.

For a more detailed analysis of promotion trends – and an insight into the growth areas prioritised by the top law firms – see Partnership 2008, our rolling report online, launched on www.thelawyer.comtoday.

After all, in these uncertain times, it always pays to keep an eye on job prospects.