Toy story

Last year it was children. For those with long memories one of Tulkinghorn’s finest hours came when the great man decided to rank the UK legal market’s best and brightest on a combination of money earned and offspring sired. The result was Tulkinghorn’s inaugural ‘Lawyer Offspring Survey’, which produced the groundbreaking profit per child (PPC) index. The winner was Ashurst partner Ed Sparrow, who stormed the charts with seven sprogs and a PPC of £74,429.

Sadly Sparrow doesn’t feature in Tulkinghorn’s new extravaganza, although Ashurst does. This year it’s no longer about the family. Buckets of cash will open the door to Tulkinghorn’s boys’ toys league (and yes, despite literally lots of phone calls and countless lunches packed with research, the results are exclusively male), but it takes more than simply wedge.

Even Tulkinghorn would not be so vulgar as to rank those paragons of professionalism (that’s lawyers, by the way) simply by dint of how much money they earned. He’s content to leave that to The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report, coincidentally out next Month (4 September).

No. To make it into this table you need to show originality, a spark of humour, courage and above all a willingness to make yourself look a complete and utter cock.

Which is why Ashurst finance partner Mark Vickers takes this year’s crown as Tulkinghorn’s number-one toy boy. Vickers, a Territorial Army nut, has wisely used his hard-earned cash to buy himself… a tank. To his credit, Vickers reportedly tells a great story about how he once got lost due to poor map-reading and led an entire column of armoured vehicles into a cul-de-sac. This was way back in 1982, soon after the Falklands War, and apparently the locals began clapping, cheering and waving improvised flags and banners, assuming he and his chaps had just returned from the South Atlantic.

So Vickers wins, but it was a close run thing. In second place Tulkinghorn has Mark Welling, Allen & Overy‘s former global head of business acceptance, who happens to have his own island off the coast off Scotland. Tulkinghorn is assured it is not, in fact, Ireland.

Third place was tough. There are a lot of contenders out there, several with planes, yachts and performance bikes. But after much deliberation, Tulkinghorn has decided that it should go to Paul Spencer, a public law specialist at Cloisters Chambers, for his growing car collection. Spencer has a souped-up ‘all-engine’ Renault Clio, in which the back seats have been removed to accommodate a racing engine. But there’s more. He also owns a Porsche with blacked-out windows and wheels and he has just bought Ronan Keating’s old left-hand-drive BMW.

Yes, Spencer is king of the wide-boy bar. But he’s in good company.