Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Diary news plus insights, commentary and appointments from the legal world

November 4th 2022

Editorial contact: fennell.edward@yahoo.com

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – Recession with a Silver-Lining ?

With predictions of imminent recession it is no surprise that the latest findings from Thomson Reuters. 2022 Legal Department Operations Index are that 85% of corporates worldwide plan reductions in their spending on external law firms and that 49% intend to bring more legal work ‘in house’ to cut costs.

Given that most corporate law firms have been complaining for some time about a shortage for talent (and boosting new entrants’ salaries to almost unsustainable levels) this might be better news that it initially appears. A cooling off period for firms to adjust to a less frantic pace and allow, also, for clients to invest in legal technology might actually be just what the industry needs. “The trends we’re seeing in the legal industry are reflective of the current economic realities, “ said Hillary McNally, General Manager for Corporate Legal at Thomson Reuters. “Faced with economic uncertainty and an increasingly complex regulatory environment, legal departments are understandably looking for innovative solutions to meet today’s demands. If legal departments are to keep up with the current financial pressures, these technology solutions must be fully implemented.”

Crisis often drives progress. This recession could give lawyers the breathing space to prepare for the future.

The LegalDiarist

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Free Plug for Pro Bono Week

– Baroness Butler-Sloss Gets Her Deserts at Inspirational Women in Law Award

– Brick Court marks Sir Sydney Kentridge’s 100th Birthday

Serle Court Bites the Big Apple

– He Shoots, He Scores!

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK on the the Manchester Arena Inquiry and the latest ONS divorce figures

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A CONVERSATION WITH FARRER & CO’s FIRST SOLICITOR APPRENTICES

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at ALLEN & OVERY and THE BURNSIDE PARTNERSHIP

E-VENTS

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Free Plug for Pro Bono Week

As keen-eyed readers of The Times yesterday will have noted, vast swathes of England & Wales are now a desert as far as legal-aid firms are concerned. So lawyers acting pro bono are more important than ever -especially as it seems that activity by some large law firms is dropping off. That’s why next week’s Pro Bono Week, the twenty first in a row, is timely. As the organising committee (consisting of all the legal professional bodies plus other agencies) points out, “The cost-of-living crisis, which poses a threat to access to justice as well as household budgets, is the focus of the official launch event on 7 November. Other events are expected to focus on how lawyers can work together on a pro bono basis to help combat climate change.” A full calendar of events can be found here.

Publicity for next week’s events highlights some of the most important pro bono achievements of recent times including:

 – In March, a major law firm welcomed the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, following six years of supporting her husband Richard Ratcliffe on the case on a pro bono basis.- Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukraine Advice Project, established to give UK lawyers the opportunity to support those fleeing the war in Ukraine, saw more than 600 immigration specialists volunteering pro bono to help those seeking refuge in the UK.

– A major UK firm launched a cost of living advisory clinic, to provide pro bono help to those struggling as food and fuel prices surge, in partnership with local charities.

Meanwhile data published by the Bar Council showing that 4,618 barristers provided pro bono help in the last year.

With the cost-of-living crisis leaving many people struggling, it is as vital as ever to shine a light on the important work lawyers do for free to help those in need of crucial legal advice,” said Lubna Shuja, President of the Law Society of England and Wales. “I encourage members of the legal profession to participate in events during Pro Bono Week and consider whether they too can volunteer.”

The Chair of the Pro Bono Week organising committee is Toby Brown  TobyBrown@southsquare.com 

Baroness Butler-Sloss Gets Her Justice Deserts at ‘Inspirational Women in Law’ Awards

A formidable presence

There was a lengthy slate of winners at this year’s Inspirational Women in Law Awards run by The Next 100 Years earlier this week but highest profile amongst them was Baroness Butler-Sloss who received a Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding career sparkling with ‘firsts’. Amongst these, notably, was being the first woman to be appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1988. Subsequently in 1999 she became the President of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice and the highest-ranking female judge in the UK. During her judicial career she chaired the Cleveland child abuse enquiry (which led to the Children Act 1989) and was responsible for the ruling that the child killers of James Bulger should receive lifelong anonymity. In 2006, she was made a life peer.

Overall the awards recognise those who are ‘both excelling in their areas of practice and are working for the changes needed to ensure women working in the law are able to thrive’. Numbered among the winners were ‘Barrister of the Year’, Sultana Tafadar KC of No.5 Chambersthe human rights, international law and criminal justice barrister who chairs the Bar Standards Board taskforce on religion & belief and Sian Wilkins, the civil senior practice manager at Doughty Street Chambers who won the award for ‘Mentor of the Year’ who is working to create a diverse clerking and support team within chambers.

Maybe next year the winners might include Jessikah Inaba who made history this month by becoming the UK’s First Black, Blind Barrister – a really remarkable achievement.

For more on the awards go to: https://next100years.org.uk/what-we-do/the-inspirational-women-in-law-awards/2022-awards/

Brick Court marks Sir Sydney Kentridge KC’s 100th birthday

Took on the Apartheid regime

Another senior legal figure enjoying well-earned plaudits this week is Sir Sydney Kentridge who will reach the giant threshold of his 100th birthday tomorrow. The members and staff of Brick Court Chambers – where he practised from 1978 to 2013 – offered their congratulations yesterday.

“We are sure we speak for the entire legal community (and many others) when we take this opportunity to record our admiration and respect for, and thanks to, such an inspirational individual,” they said.

Kentridge was a brilliant advocate and practised for the early part of his career in South Africa where he represented some of the key anti-apartheid figures, including Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela (at both the Treason Trial and the Prison Trial) and Desmond Tutu. He also acted for the family of Steve Biko at the inquest into his death in police custody.

Having moved to the UK, Kentridge became pre-eminent career at the English bar, appearing in a wide range of commercial and constitutional cases. His 90th birthday was distinguished by an appearance before the Supreme Court.

Last year Sir Sydney and Lord Sumption recorded one of Brick Court’s centenary podcasts in which they discussed their careers, and learning how to cross-examine. You can hear it  here

Serle Court Bites the Big Apple

If you can make it here, you can..

The storied (or, as the LegalDiarist prefers, ‘legendary’) Rainbow Room in the Rockefeller Center, New York is to be the venue in just over a week for Serle Court’s International Trusts & Commercial Litigation Conference 2022 sponsored by Therium the litigation finance and arbitration finance firm.

Like so many other ‘annual’ events it had to be postponed last year due to Covid so there is great excitement within chambers that it is safely going ahead this time round. “Serle’s barristers are planning a warm welcome to delegates at the ‘Top of the Rock’, where they look forward to holding another high-calibre conference addressing the significant legal issues taxing practitioners,” says the chambers. “The conference will be followed by an evening drinks reception.” Should be fun despite being in the abstemious USA – after all the space does hold itself out as being, ‘Graced by presidents, dignitaries, and the brightest stars in entertainment, – events held here have defined what it means to celebrate in NYC’.

The topics on the programme reflect business’s prevailing concerns ranging from dealing with sanctions through to managing large scale and group litigation. There will also be crystal-ball gazing over ‘Litigation in the new world order: the disputes of the future’.

As you might imagine the speakers are largely from Serle Court itself including a team of eight burnished KCs but they have also rustled up an impressive slate of speakers from other law firms including (amongst others) Withers, Kingsley Napley, Clifford Chance and Baker McKenzie.

Highlights from past Serle Court New York Conferences can be viewed here.

He Shoots, He Scores!

Well-known libel lawyer Alex Wade has plenty of other strings to his bow including being a contributor to The Times and having a variety of extra-curricular interests from boxing to surfing. But he has now also plunged into the world of football-writing following in the footsteps of Tim Parks whose ‘A Season with Verona’, published two decades ago, mixed together the rich ingredients of football and Italian passion into a tasty pasta sauce.

Wade, however, has taken the recipe one step further weaving together Italian Lega Nazionale  with Fédération Française de Football in ‘A Season on the Med’ which allows him and his pal, John, to border hop and range across a mixed bag of French and Italian games along the Riviera coast. (Bliss for some, maybe incomprehensible to others). There are also many tributes to Wade’s hero from a previous generation, the QPR player Stan Bowles.

However, amidst all the delight of the matches and the joy of spending time with fellow fans in Cannes, Marseilles, Nice, Genoa (and even Barcelona), Wade cannot resist diving back into his legal preoccupations. He even had to give evidence remotely from Athens earlier this year to the Ministry of Justice Commission on SLAPPS the day before going to watch an eagerly awaited match between AEK Athens and Olympiacos.

I believe in freedom of expression,” he announces in the book. “I loathe the way in which the UK’s libel laws are exploited by the rich and unscrupulous to kill off stories of huge importance to the public…Without journalism, we can give Vladimir Putin a pass and ignore Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And yet week in week out, the UK press receive letters threatening all manner of legally inflicted oblivion, if enquiries persist into a given individual’s activities or if an editor has the temerity a story. The letters are identikit. They drip with pomposity and aggression. I often wonder what it’s like to work on that side of the legal fence.”

Well that certainly gives them the hair-dryer treatment.

A Season on the Med – Riviera Football in Italy and France by Alex Wade is published by www.pitchpublishing.co.uk

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: Yesterday’s report Volume Two: Emergency Response from the Manchester Arena Inquiry

COMMENT BY: The legal team at Hogan Lovells (including Scott Baxter, senior associate, Haylea Campbell, associate, Helen Boniface, counsel, and Victor Fornasier, partner) who have represented the families of six of the victims

We welcome the publication of Volume Two of the Chair’s report in the Manchester Arena Public Inquiry. We appreciate the care taken by the Chair in assessing and evaluating what went wrong with the emergency response on the night and, importantly, determining why it went wrong.

It is clear that a fundamental lack of coordination and communication between the police, ambulance and fire services across different levels of seniority significantly contributed to the failings on the night. Whilst the mistakes of specific individuals are also highlighted throughout the report, such fundamental errors at an institutional level should not have occurred. This is even more alarming in circumstances where some of these shortcomings were known about before 22 May 2017.

Additionally, we are pleased that the Chair has accepted our submission and recommended that the Government establish a statutory duty on venues to provide an appropriate standard of medical and first aid to attendees. This must be considered as a matter of urgency.

Our specialist Safety practice will continue to work with the Inquiry Legal Team to ensure that the monitored recommendations are implemented and we hope these changes will reduce the likelihood of similar attacks in the future.”

TOPIC: The increase in the number of divorces in 2021 and why it is that  why females tend to make the petition.

COMMENT BY: Caroline Burstein, a solicitor at  Thackray Williams

 “The pandemic was the death knell that tolled the end for many thousands of marriages that were already teetering on the brink and today’s figures are evidence of that. Couples were thrown into a lockdown induced pressure cooker in which relationships simply imploded under the strain. As soon as the final lockdown past we saw a tidal wave of people coming forward desperate to divorce their spouse and move on with their lives. In 13 years as a family solicitor I have never known a year as busy as 2021 and that is largely down to the unique circumstances of the post lockdown world.”

COMMENT BY: Annabel Andreou of Debenhams Ottaway

It is not as straightforward to suggest that the 9.6% increase in divorce during the past year is due to covid. I agree that covid plays a part, although this needs to be explored in detail: it may be the case that the pressures of lockdown caused tensions within the marriage which led to an inevitable breakdown and then a divorce. However, it may be the case that the parties agreed to divorce prior to the covid pandemic (and in fact issued their petition prior to the pandemic) but the pandemic caused disruption/delays at the Courts which slowed down the processing of petitions and decree absolutes.”

Domestic abuse is less of a taboo topic than it was in the 60s, 70s and 80s and it may be the case that individuals previously stayed in abusive marriages due to the lack of support available (such as refuges, emergency accommodation, injunctions etc) . Fortunately, there are more services now available for victims of domestic abuse which can provide assistance for those wishing to end an abusive marriage.”

If an individual is not working and is entirely dependent on their spouse, there will likely be real worries about financial stability should the marriage come to an end which may be a factor in deciding whether to stay in the marriage or get a divorce. Trends around employment/working have changed significantly over the last 60 years – especially for women. With employment comes an element of financial independence and security and it may be the case that individuals feel more confident ending marriage if they know they have an income of their own and the ability to (some extent) support themselves.”

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A CONVERSATION WITH FARRER & CO’s FIRST SOLICITOR APPRENTICES

Having run an apprenticeship scheme within its business services team for the past five years Farrer & Co. has announced the arrival of its first solicitor apprentices, Megan McCaffrey and Keeley Barnes, who are embarking on a six-year programme which will lead to them qualifying as a solicitor without the need for a university degree.

Megan McCaffrey and Keeley Barnes

Katherine Wilde, Director of Knowledge, Learning and Development at the firm spoke to Megan and Keeley to discuss their journey into the legal sector.

Why did you decide against going to university to join a firm straight from school, and what have your family and peers thought about this?

Megan: I wanted to explore an apprenticeship programme because the opportunity to acquire valuable experience and skills in the legal environment, working alongside leading lawyers whilst studying, was very appealing.

Keeley: I chose the apprenticeship over university for the duality that the programme offers. For example, I’m able to study law, which I’m passionate about, whilst also learning about the world of work, which is an opportunity I couldn’t see available at universities.

Megan: My family and friends were very supportive and encouraged me to pursue this path. My brother did an accountancy apprenticeship, so we had seen first-hand the benefits of the apprenticeship route.

Keeley: My friends and family have been really supportive from the very beginning and continue to support me, particularly when work gets especially busy.

Have your first few weeks at Farrer & Co met your expectations, and have there been any surprises?

Keeley: My first few weeks at Farrer & Co have been really fun and exciting, especially on busy days or when I’ve had the chance to help organise internal events. One of the nicest surprises has been how open and friendly everyone has been and I have always felt any question is never too big to ask. The amount of support we have received from not just our friends and families but also people within the firm has been amazing.

Megan: The first few weeks at Farrer & Co has exceeded my expectations in many ways. It was really encouraging to feel everyone showing a genuine interest about the apprenticeship programme. The amount of support that has been offered to us is great, as we’ve been assigned a Business Services Partner Mentor whilst we learn how the firm operates, as well as supervisors within our teams and a buddy. Perhaps an element that was surprising was that, within an industry which is hierarchical in nature, Farrer & Co has really established a flat structure where everyone is valued. The work life balance is also good.

What are you most looking forward to during the apprenticeship programme?

Megan: I am most looking forward to experiencing a real variety of new challenges, developing my skills further within the wide range of sectors that Farrer & Co works in.

Keeley: I am most looking forward to the amount of first-hand experience we will gain throughout the 6 years as apprentices, as well as socialising within the firm and forming relationships that will always be there to support us.

For more details about the programme visit https://www.farrer.co.uk/join-us/train-with-us/

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

ALLEN & OVERY

Anneliese Foster (above) will be joining Allen & Overy’s real estate finance team as a Partner in the New Year. She re-joins the firm from Goldman Sachs where she was a Managing Director in the transaction execution team within the Investment Banking Division. Prior to Goldman Sachs, she was a senior associate in A&O’s real estate finance team. She brings with her extensive experience across the real estate credit and asset spectrum, infrastructure debt transactions and holdco financings.

“Anneliese is a highly experienced lawyer who has developed an excellent reputation in the structured debt market in Europe,” commented A&O Partner Mark Manson-Bahr. “Her multi-faceted expertise is extensive and complements our ability to handle complex, cross-border mandates for all market constituents.”

Partner David Oppenheimer added: “We’re really excited to welcome Anneliese back to A&O. Not only is she highly regarded in her field as an exceptional lawyer who continually seeks out innovative solutions to issues, she is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and being a positive role model for juniors as they further their careers.”

THE BURNSIDE PARTNERSHIP

Alison Craggs,Legal 500 2023 ‘Rising Star’, has been promoted to partner by the Specialist private client consultancy The Burnside Partnership. Craggs joined the firm two years ago, having previously practiced at law firms in both London and Oxford. With more than15 years’ experience in private client law, Craggs’ articles are regularly seen in journals such as the Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal and Family Law Journal.  

Alongside her private client specialism, Craggs is experienced in working with clients affected by dementia and disabilities. She is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly; the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative; she appears on the Alzheimer’s Research UK list of solicitors; and has presented at Mencap’s conferences on trusts for disabled people. She is also a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) as a recognised specialist in inheritance and successions planning.

We are delighted to promote Alison to Partner after a sterling few years at the firm where she is hugely valued by her colleagues and clients, “ said Della Burnside, the firm’s managing partner. “As a STEP Employer Partner, we’re passionate about supporting our team’s development and we look forward to continuing to invest in our next generation of talent as the firm evolves in response to growing client needs.”

E-VENTS

THE CENTRE FOR LEGAL LEADERSHIP

We have partnered with The University of Law (ULaw) to create a fee based course
 ‘The Lead in-house Lawyer’ 
empowering senior in-house lawyers to reach their full potential.

This course will help attendees understand the differences between operating as in-house counsel and as Head of Legal through their own lived experiences.In this course, you will learn about:
People – How do you work best and how do you influence others?
Strategy  – In order to create the legal strategy, how will you engage with your organisation’s strategy?Stakeholders – How do you interact with stakeholders in regards to what legal does?
Risk – Is my organisation’s risk appetite clear, and how do I identify and communicate risks?
Managing Expectations – In order to show the legal team’s value, how do you manage expectations?Team building – How do you attract, retain, and motivate the best lawyers?
Finance – How do you create an aligned legal budget based on your view of the world?

Starting in January 2023, this course will be held over seven virtual sessions with guest lecturers at the top of their field providing valuable insight.An early bird rate is available until 30 November. Find out more on the dedicated page.
  
We are continuing the ‘The Effective In-house Lawyer’ training course into 2023!
This is a one-day* course titled ‘The Effective In-House Lawyer’ which takes a deep, pragmatic look at the in-house role.
Split over two half day morning sessions, (dates TBC) The Effective In-house Lawyer explores what organisations expect from their in-house lawyers – and how you can deliver on those expectations.You’ll benefit from significant input from experienced GCs who are members of CLL and who will be appearing online throughout the course sessions.

The cost to attend is £399 + VAT.  This includes both sessions and a certificate of attendance from ULaw and CLL.
We are also offering an early bird discount of £299 + VAT for those who register early.*Split over two half days.
Find out more here. 
 

We hope that you have found this edition of the Legal Diary interesting – and maybe even useful. If so, please circulate to colleagues.

And we look forward to receiving your legal diary news, insights and contributions for next week’s edition. Please send to fennell.edward@yahoo.com