Tulkinghorn: Tearing a strip

The legal market’s finest rugby players turned out in force in Richmond on Sunday 19 ­September to battle it out at this year’s Taylor Root Law Society Rugby Sevens.

Linklaters scooped the top prize and Tulkinghorn rightfully extends his congratulations on a fine performance.

But while the crowds admired the sporting ability on the pitch, Mrs Tulkinghorn in particular was more taken with the distinct lack of colourful kits on display this year compared with last.

Newly merged Hogan Lovells seemed to have binned the luminous-yellow kit, so perfect for the safety-conscious cyclist, for a more subtle black outfit, while Norton Rose opted for a safe navy-blue ensemble.

Linklaters, not satisfied with winning the tournament, won Mrs T’s award for the best-dressed team of the day. The magic circle firm’s players impressed the crowds with a fuschia-pink and grey combo. But not only was the team of strapping lads the best dressed, it had also recycled its kit from last year.

Even more pertinent to the quality of the play than the clothes – if that’s possible – was the thorny question of ringers. Last year Tulkinghorn noted some consternation over the lack of actual lawyers in many of the teams that took part. But not this time. Oh no.

The first clue that the this year’s teams were populated with lank-haired, gangly, office-dwelling lawyers rather than big, tough professional players was the dramatic increase in the number of tannoy announcements calling for medical assistance.

The ringers scam wasn’t completely stamped out though, according to one of the match organisers, who said that, despite a tightening of the rules on player ID and proof of employment (and although partners would “obviously never sign in a player that wasn’t employed by the firm”), there were still a few who weren’t “strictly lawyers”. Hm, maybe they’d just been in court once or twice?

Meanwhile, there was no doubt about the credentials of Sunday’s star turn, former rugby international Jason Leonard. The former England star admitted that, although the standard of play may have dropped a little, “the spirit of the game had returned”.

“I think it’s much better because it makes it fun again and makes it a real competition of lawyers going head-to-head on the pitch, which is why we organised it in the first place,” Leonard told a star-struck Tulkinghorn. “It makes it a lot less serious.”

Clap trap

Although he’d never be seen dead there, Tulkinghorn has heard of the North East.

His sources tell him it’s somewhere north of Hampstead, permanently dark and crammed with houses of the terraced variety.

It also has a law firm, well known in the locale apparently, but which, for the purposes of this story, shall remain nameless. Tulkinghorn’s ever-reliable sources tell him that the partners of this flag-waver for regional quality were overheard the other day in one of the area’s public houses.

The snippet that caught the snitch’s attention was their claim that the people wandering the hallowed halls of their outfit were characterised by having a higher proportion of sexually transmitted diseases than any of their rivals. Classy.

Headline attraction

’Will and Ted’s excellent adventure’, last week’s page 7 lead story, is more than just a ­delicious ­headline.

During Freshfields’ Paris partner conference last week Tulkinghorn has learnt that Lawes – the ’Will’ of the headline – showed off his own ­consumate grasp of popular ­culture by posting the same legend to flag up the current ­leadership battle.

Great minds think of Keanu, clearly.

Burke and scare

Meanwhile, Lawes’ opponent in the senior partner race Ted Burke has been showing off his grasp of the natural world.

While on holiday in the US in the summer, Burke suddenly broke off from a scintillating phone ­conversation about law firm finances with a hack from The Lawyer to yell: “Look guys, check it out
– alligator!”

David Attenborough would be proud.

Knight’s mare on Met beat

This just in from a spy who emailed Tulkinghorn with the inside info on ­Freshfields’ M&A legend Mark Rawlinson’s alleged motoring woes.

“I spotted Rawlinson this morning at about 8am standing beside a beached Maserati on Vauxhall roundabout, helping officers with their enquiries,” bleated the email. “Not sure what had happened, but didn’t look like anyone had been hurt… except maybe the Red Knight’s motoring pride.”

The Knight in question denied all knowledge of said incident when quizzed by one of ­Tulkinghorn’s minions. He must have a doppelgänger in town.