Tulkinghorn: Slaughters’ water torture

Slaughter and May’s ­hilarious invisible water feature in the firm’s Bunhill Row office has been the subject of much banter in the City over the years.


Tulkinghorn: Slaughters' water tortureSlaughters’ water torture

Slaughter and May’s ­hilarious invisible water feature in the firm’s Bunhill Row office has been the subject of much banter in the City over the years.

There are few City lawyers, partners, trainees and general counsel who have not soaked their shoes in the damn thing by accident at least once.

Slaughters has tried everything to stop people walking into its indoor puddle, including strategically placed rubber ducks and hiring a man whose sole responsibility is to police the feature’s boundaries. The firm is known to keep spare socks behind reception for anyone who still manages to take an early footbath.

But now a mole at the firm says: “Only the partners can walk on water.”
Now that’s firm loyalty.

Nick of time

If Tulkinghorn could predict the future, he wouldn’t be here writing this column – he’d be sipping a daiquiri somewhere.

Head of legal at the Met Office Nick Benson can predict the future, but unless he’s hiding something from Tulkinghorn, he does not spend his days drinking daiquiris.

After one of the resident scribes went to interview him, Benson very kindly proffered a bespoke weather forecast for Central London – 20 and 30 years into the future.

So here it is: 2 March 2019 – unusually for recent times a slight frost to start the day followed by a bright day; temperatures near normal at 12C.

2 March 2029 – a stormy day with frequent heavy rain showers and some thunder; despite this, temperature a little above normal at 15C.

Tulkinghorn will be well into his second century by the time these forecasts can be verified. He does hope London is still in existence then.

Setting a low tone

Like Tulkinghorn, Clifford Chance New York is very protective of its décor. Tulkinghorn has set up a perimeter fence to stop grubby children from entering his immaculate abode, while Clifford Chance may well do the same in NYC to protect its grand piano.

Beware visitors – you can look, but you can’t touch (or even stand anywhere near it). The Joanna, elaborately lit in the magic circle firm’s main reception, has tragically been the subject of vandalism.

Tulkinghorn is outraged to learn that badly behaved visitors have been caught writing on the piano. No, not playing, writing.

But do not fear. The senseless act has not been tolerated. One of Tulkinghorn’s scribes was swiftly escorted away from the piano by a member of security on a recent visit. The firm now deems it unsafe to let anyone within three metres of the instrument.

Clifford Chance clearly takes vandalism seriously. Quite right too. However, it does make you wonder about the calibre of clientele gracing the US office.

Red Nose day

As one of Tulkinghorn’s scribes spotted earlier, Optima Legal head ­Anthony Ruane could well double as Alex Ferguson’s identical twin brother.

But the Tulkinghorn posse are not the first to notice this quirk of nature. Last year Ruane went to the Dublin races and found himself in a long queue. After waiting for a while a bouncer approached him and his party, ushering them into the VIP section.

It appears the organisers mistook Ruane for Ferguson. Ruane, without a moment’s hesitation, broke into a broad Glaswegian accent and milked it for all it was worth.

Ruane thinks he was lucky – Tulkinghorn would have sent him to the back of the queue.

Chronicles of Ebhardt

Tulkinghorn tries to avoid physical exercise ­wherever possible, but he understands that not everyone feels the same. He does hope, were he ever to try jogging, that he would have a similar experience to that of Wolf Theiss managing partner Horst Ebhardt.

One of Tulkinghorn’s moles heard that while Ebhardt was out ­jogging in Prague last spring he came across a large wooden structure. Intrigued, he went in and found a miniature, replica US city, which he describes as being like Boston but made out of wood.

He later found out that the structure was the set of a Vin Diesel movie called The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.

Ebhardt seems to have an inbuilt movie compass, as he later strayed into an enormous wooden castle that turned out to be part of the set for a Disney movie.