Phone-hacking and the lawyers’ feeding frenzy

Today’s news is dominated by the verdicts in the epic News International phone-hacking trial. And with eight silks drafted in by lawyers from DLA Piper, Kingsley Napley, HowardKennedyFsi and Simons Muirhead & Burton battling it out, today should also see some celebrations across the City.

For media lawyers the hacking saga has been a gift, spawning a litigation industry that has generated millions in revenue.  Lawyers involved on the civil side include Linklaters and One Essex Court’s Tony Grabiner QC, who were appointed by News Corporation to investigate the scandal, and Hill Dickinson, Mishcon de Reya and Schillings, which have all acted for hacking victims. And this is only the start.

But with an estimated £100m in costs, who are the real winners? Certainly there are a few big names that will have been celebrating last night. While DLA Piper client and former Downing Street spin doctor Andy Coulson was handed a guilty verdict, former NotW editor and Kingsley Napley client Rebekah Brooks was acquitted of all charges.

Commentators reckon the fallout could continue for years, with allegations that the practice spread far beyond just News International. This one, as they say, will run and run.

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