Tulkinghorn: Beyond the boundary

Not wanting to pour yet more pain on the head of Hogans, but it is notable that one of the most read – and commented on – stories on TheLawyer.com in recent weeks has been the move of investment bank dispute resolution chief Graham Huntley to launch a boutique litigation firm.

Reaction has been mixed, but Tulkinghorn’s finely tuned antennae could not fail to pick up on a surprising trend towards boundary-related puns among the comments.

Readers with good memories will recall Huntley’s ill-fated two-and-a-half-year boundary dispute with his mother’s neighbour. Huntley, adopting the famous red-top mantra ‘Our lawyers are watching’, clearly wasn’t amused. His PR team at Teamspirit was quickly on to Tulkinghorn asking for the “irrelevant” comments to be removed.

Good to see Huntley remains a decisive lawyer and not one to sit on the fence.


Letters from the future?

Oh dear. A bad day for Hogan Lovells – whose former partner Chris Grierson pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud last week – was made worse when the court documents spelled the firm’s name incorrectly.

Grierson apparently used to work at some place called ‘Hogen Lovells’. Now, the only Hogen of which Tulkinghorn is aware was a civil war in 12th century Japan.

As readers are aware, the Hogen Rebellion was fought over imperial succession. Does the CPS know something Tulkinghorn doesn’t?

Trying times in Hong Kong

Norton Rose’s global mergers may have changed the face of the legal market, but there’s the odd bit of unhappiness over the amount of investment the firm has to put

into bedding in the tie-ups.

Some partners are understood to be peeved about the amounts of cash being spent on management travelling the world, so it’s understandable that eyebrows were raised over the number of partners joining chief executive Peter Martyr at the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament last week, which Norton Rose sponsored.

Meanwhile, a similar number of people in the market are wondering why Norton Rose did not win a role on longstanding client HSBC and its Hong Kong subsidiary’s sell-off of its Asian and Latin American general insurance businesses in early March.

Both HSBC and AXA, one of the buyers, are Norton Rose clients, with the HSBC ties especially strong in Hong Kong, relationship partner Martin Scott’s former base. Yet it was Clifford Chance and Linklaters that took the instructions, to many observers’ surprise.

Still, at least it left all those Norton Rose partners free to jet over to Hong Kong to watch the rugby.


Winner loses sack race

A question often asked in these days of instant information is – is it better to be first or to be right?

Ask Daniel Barnett, an employment law barrister at Outer Temple. Barnett bravely opted for the former, with the help of his PR team, which sprang into action on the back of the recent Woodcock age discrimination judgment.

Faster than Tulkinghorn could say ‘Cumbria Primary Care Trust’, Barnett’s pre-prepared quotes had landed in his inbox – and very forthright views they were too.

Barnett painted a doomsday scenario of a return to ‘last in, first out’, and a world in which it is ‘cheaper to discriminate than not’. He pulled no punches when commenting on how the Court of Appeal’s verdict would see long-term sick, disabled and elderly employees booted out by cost-cutting cowboy councils and the like, backed by new case law.

Healthy debate ensued, only to be followed by some brisk backtracking four days later, with claims that Barnett’s comments – written two days in advance of the Woodcock ruling – had been penned with a different decision in mind and sent out in error.

First but worst?