Tulkinghorn: ‘taches. tenses and the ‘it’ factor

Regular readers will be aware of Team Tulkinghorn’s mission to grow moustaches for prostate cancer charity Movember.

Growth area

Regular readers will be aware of Team Tulkinghorn’s mission to grow moustaches for prostate cancer charity Movember. But just in case you’ve been locked in a data room for the past two weeks, Tulkinghorn will update you. He has formally requested that his male scribes keep their upper lips unshaven for sponsorship money. Below are the results of their good work.


“I can’t stop touching it.”


“I’m a one-man Lemmy Appreciation Society.”


“In America it’s a legal requirement for every male aged 18 or over to have a moustache.”

Mersey sweet

Lavish lunches, VIP tickets to the Premier League, ­jollies on the Côte d’Azur… Tulkinghorn’s minions enjoy a few of life’s little pleasures in their relentless search for scandal in the legal world. But that offered by staff at ­Weightmans in Liverpool to one of Tulkinghorn’s scribes ­really takes the biscuit.

In a meeting with the managing partner, the ­normal array of pick-me-ups was ­present and correct: Jammie Dodgers, chocolate fingers and bourbon biscuits – the ­latter a particular favourite with Tulkinghorn, as his waistline rudely declares.

But the scribe was delighted to note that placed on top was a biscuit with a smiley face etched into its ­saccharine façade.

“It’s firm legend,” managing partner Paddy Gaul told the scribe, “that if they like you, you get a smiley face.”

Such a simple gesture in the ritual of gifts touched the heart of Tulkinghorn’s scribe.

Next time he ventures north he will come bearing fruits of the home counties for his affable hosts. And a smile on his face.

Present tense

International relations have always been a tricky business at a governmental level, and law firms are no ­different. What with all the alliances, offices and ­networks spread out all over the world, it’s a ­wonder that UK lawyers don’t commit more social faux pas.

But when they do ­happen, they’re quite funny – as evidenced when one of Tulkinghorn’s moles got wind of one ­particular incident at ­Herbert Smith.
Partners from Herbies’ Dutch alliance firm Stibbe came to the UK firm’s ­London office to give a presentation.

As a show of goodwill they brought with them a large number of state-of-the-art iPods, which were handed out to Herbert Smith partners like candy.
Unfortunately, the UK firm was caught rather off-guard by the ­valuable gifts.

Their presents to the Stibbe lawyers were boxes of chocolates, which lacked a bit of the wow ­factor of the iPods.

The ‘it’ factor

The reputation of lawyers as risk-averse is paying off. Aon is offering special car insurance rates just for partners. Aon is risking a lot with this elitist
policy – the company seems to know its target market like the back of its head.

Aon’s Steve Harris said: “Lawyers aren’t known for their spare time, so we’ve taken away the need for them to contact us if their child has passed its driving test.”

Notice the ‘its’. That ­personal touch is all-important.

Leding their hair down

Some firms have a dress-down rule on Friday, while others have what can only be described as a ‘go-nuts-on-freaky-Friday’ policy. Scottish firm Ledingham Chalmers falls into the latter category.

If you were fortunate enough to be in the firm’s Aberdeen office last Friday (14 November), you would have seen a bizarre festival of chaos, fit only for a Monty Python Christmas special.

The private client department decided to have a James Bond theme day, borrowing an Aston Martin from a client and hiring a local actor in a suit to play 007.

Meanwhile, lawyers in the commercial property team dressed up as cops and robbers, while a roving mock operating theatre hosted other lawyers.

To top off the madness, employment law partner Lili Hunter donned a blonde wig and performed a sketch called ‘Hell’s kitchen with Fanny Cradock’.

Tulkinghorn understands that the lunacy was all part of a Children in Need charity drive. But he gets the feeling that the good people at Ledingham would do the same every Friday if they could.