Tulkinghorn: City kickers

Chris Howard’s return to Linklaters in ­November was one of the more surprising moves of last year.

Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage

Not surprisingly, Tulkinghorn has heard that Freshfields’ chastened management were making some rather desperate attempts to hang on to their star banking partner. But they might have thought twice about hassling the poor guy on the Sunday after he told them he was upping sticks.

Howard, you see, is something of a religious man and was at the time worshipping at the church of Frannie Lee and Malcolm Allison by watching his beloved Manchester City take on Fulham.

Hopefully his enjoyment of the victory at Craven Cottage wasn’t marred too much by the promises of Fleet Street’s finest.

Incidentally, City’s form has improved beyond recognition since Howard did his own Denis Law impression and switched sides.

A coincidence? Yes, almost certainly.

Super recouper

Here’s a New Year’s quiz for you. See if you can name the ­’property ­litigator’ this anonymous source is describing: ­­

“Puh-lease, the only thing he ever did was instruct his good pals in chambers to literally do everything for him.

One of his biggest cases while I was a trainee was being heard in the High Court in London. He ­merrily skipped out on ­an afternoon in court to take his girlfriend to see Mamma Mia, and then was ­surprised when the clients asked him why he’d charged a full day in court when he’d run off ­unexplained before the lunch break.”

Separating business and pleasure

Tulkinghorn is aware that Christmas – remember it? – is a time for giving. But even he was surprised by the revelation that divorce lawyers and arch rivals Fiona Shackleton and Helen Ward get all touchy-feely in December.

“They like to give ­each other presents at ­Christmas,” claims one well-placed source.

Who’d have thunk it?

Sonar so good

How’s this for batty? ­Lichfield firm Keelys recently advised a local property developer on a deal for a plot sale and barn conversion, a ­refurbishment that includes an ­integrated bat box.

Presumably it doubles as a bedroom for blood-sucking lawyers to kip in on all-nighters.

Grand ­gesture

Tulkinghorn knows all too well that lawyers are apt to throw their toys out of the pram on occasion, but this possibly apocryphal tale from Down Under ­probably takes the ­Garibaldi.

Apparently, back in the mists of time, Clayton Utz wanted to dispense with the services of Mr Utz’s grandson, who then attempted to remove the oil painting of his ancestor from the firm’s boardroom.

Whether or not this tale has been ­embellished over the years is hard to say, but it’s ­certainly been doing the rounds in Oz.

And clearly, if the Ashes has taught us anything other than the English cricket team is rapidly entering a period of ­dominance over its Antipodean rivals, it’s that our Aussie cousins aren’t the most gracious of losers.


Mouse snaps

Whether it’s Slaughter and May’s infamous water ­feature, the pendulum in Hogan Lovells’ foyer or the sheep on Eversheds’ roof, law firms do like their ­properties to stand out in one way or another. ­Several -these included – have acquired near-mythological status in the City.

And now here’s another one to throw into the mix. Taylor Wessing has filled its current building with (some of the less outre) images from the photographic portrait award that it sponsors (politeness doesn’t allow further description, suffice to say they are not exactly ­Tulkinghorn’s cup of tea). But you could argue that it’s better than what allegedly populated its ­former building.

Rumour has it that the firm’s old space on the Embankment – known as Carmelite – has mice ­running all over the shop. Hardly in line with the firm’s hip TMT image.

But then, possibly that’s why it moved.