Law is indeed the new showbiz. The Lawyer has been filled recently with ex-media luvvies trying to break into the profession. The comedian Rory McGrath, for example, has taken up a new role as head of legal at the UK arm of healthcare giant Bayer. McGrath, who has surprisingly just changed his name to Mark Wilkinson, decided on a career change when he realised that he and his show, They Think It's All Over, just aren't funny anymore.
Perhaps the most surprising new entrant to the profession can be found at Slaughter and May. Straight in as head of M&A at the most prestigious firm in the UK comes Martin Keown, formerly of England and Arsenal Football Clubs. If, like Tulkinghorn, you were under the misapprehension that Keown has been injured recently, or that the new head of M&A is actually Stephen Cooke, you would be mistaken. Tulkinghorn was amazed to discover that Cooke has received an emergency call-up to the Arsenal squad and should be set to make his debut in the forthcoming Champions League quarter-finals. Taking his place is Keown, who is taking a pay-cut to pursue his new career and who has taken a specially-devised crash-course in M&A. In just two weeks, Keown has taken the CPE, the LPC, digested the Takeover Code and has even written the seminal textbook on hostile bids. And before anyone starts mocking Keown's prospects, just remember those thundering challenges that he used to put in on the pitch.
Keown might be the most surprising, but certainly the most shocking is former Sex Pistols dilettante John Lydon. Unlike Keown and McGrath, Lydon has been a lawyer for some time, and not just any lawyer, but one of the leading triumverate of commercial silks at the bar, Jonathan Sumption QC. Lydon has been leading his double life as a punk rock guru and commercial advocate supremo for many years. So, while colleagues and friends believed Sumption to be tucked away in his office swatting up on his favourite pastime, history, he was actually banging out punk rock tunes. Who could believe that such a pillar of the bar is also responsible for penning such classics as Anarchy in the UK and God Save the Queen.