Smile – you're in The Lawyer

As an avid reader of your paper, if only to marvel at just how different the profession you portray and the bulk of local practice actually is, I was struck by just how serious a business the upper 5 per cent of the law now appears to be.

In your 22 January issue, there are about 50 head and shoulder shots of newsworthy members of the profession, excluding advertising copy. Of that 50, only 12 appear to be showing any emotion other than a very serious and rather unwelcoming scowl.

Surely the law can't be that bad? Business is booming, salaries and profits are still rocketing and yet, if you believed your eyes, you would think meltdown is imminent.

I thought these posed shots were meant to add to the story, not tell a quite different story to the spin in the written word, or have I missed some new and fundamental element of journalism in the new century?

Colin Innes, partner, Innes & Co

An Axa to grind

I hate to rain on your parade, but there are comments about Berrymans Lace Mawer in the 29 January edition ("Axa Corporate Solutions sets up cross-border legal panel") that need to be put into context.

There is no denying that 15 partners did leave in

2000, but these comprised a group which did not see itself as central to a broad-based insurance law firm or that could not adapt to being part of a national practice.

As for being troubled, nothing could be further from the truth. Our Liverpool office has received its highest ever level of instructions through the last quarter of 2000 and into this year. In Southampton, Berrymans is actively recruiting to handle the increased caseload and, as ever, we keep a weather eye on opportunities for further geographical expansion.

While we were sad to have missed out on more work for AXA, Corparate Solutions is a part of the group for which we have done little work. In your final paragraph you acknowledge that "customers have relationships with firms that go back a long way", and on this basis we would not expect to lose contact with Corporate Solutions entirely.

Damian Greiff, head of business development, Berrymans Lace Mawer