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Trio of US law firms celebrate after annual award of UK Queen’s Counsel

The annual unveiling of new Queen’s Counsel in the UK has seen advocates at four top law firms and a Big Four legal arm share the spoils with leading barristers – with three US firms fielding representatives on the 116-strong roster.

London-based Daniel Gal, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, and Jeffrey Sullivan, of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, joined Duncan Watson, of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Hong Kong office, on the list of senior advocates.

“Taking silk is humbling and exciting for me personally, and a testament to the success of Quinn Emanuel’s international arbitration practice,” said Watson, who is 37.

From the UK Magic Circle, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Will Thomas continued that firm’s long investment in advocacy, while Amanda Brown, a partner at KPMG Law, is the first QC appointment to hail from a Big Four accountancy firm’s legal arm.

The head of tax litigation at KPMG, she was the only specialist tax disputes lawyer to make silk. A sixth, unnamed solicitor was successful, but subsequently transferred to the Bar. Four solicitors and two employed barristers were successful last year, with Freshfields, Clyde & Co, Herbert Smith Freehills, White & Case and Clifford Chance the beneficiaries.

Arbitration lawyers predominated among this year’s solicitor appointments; Gal, who acts on complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, joins his Skadden colleagues, Karyl Nairn and David Kavanagh, as silks. Sullivan, who is dual-qualified in both England & Wales and the US, is known for his energy, construction and commercial arbitration practice and is one the few Americans ever to receive the award.

Thomas, meanwhile, joins Nigel Blackaby, Ben Juratowitch, Nigel Rawding, Peter Turner and Noah Rubens in achieving the honour at Freshfields, which now has the highest concentration of silks across the UK Magic Circle.

Within the commercial sets of chambers, Essex Court Chambers scored the highest number of successful silks with five, 3 Verulam Buildings had three, while Brick Court and One Essex Court had two successful applicants each. One tenant at Fountain Court will be joining its ranks of QCs: Laura John.

The chair of the selection panel, Sir Alex Allan, said: “We were particularly pleased that for the first year ever, the number of women appointed – 40, which amounts to 34% of the total appointed, is almost equal to the proportion of women in the relevant segment of the profession.”

He added: “The number of BAME applicants appointed, although lower than last year’s record total of 22, is also almost equal to the proportion of BAME advocates in the relevant segment of the profession.”

In October, a group of 17 Irish solicitors became the first members of the Law Society of Ireland to receive the award of Senior Counsel.

Simon Steel

LCF Law Firm Celebrates Domains 21st Anniversary

A leading Yorkshire law firm’s domain name is celebrating its 21st anniversary, making it one of the oldest legal domains in the region and reinforcing the importance of trade marking to protect company names, domains and brands.

LCF Law initially registered www.lcf.co.uk in the summer of 1998, which was two months before www.google.co.uk was registered and the search engine giant was born. It would also be another seven to 10 years before iconic domain names such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook arrived on the scene.
Simon Stell, Managing Partner at LCF Law, said: “In 1998 the internet was in its infancy, you needed a modem to connect to it and lots of patience! However as a forwarding thinking business, we could immediately see its potential and how it was going to be transformational for our industry. We started exploring how to capitalise on the online world and launched a website. We had to buy a domain name, so we went for www.lcf.co.uk because it was distinctive, straightforward and easy to remember.

“At the time, some people suggested that creating a website for a law firm was frivolous and insignificant. However, we were ahead of the curve, as very few regional or national legal firms took the initiative that early on. It quickly became one of our best ever investments and has attracted millions of visitors over the years, doing a great job to illustrate LCF Law’s foresight and innovative approach to exploring new technologies.”

Simon added: “Another thing that became apparent early on was how important it is to trade mark both company names and domain names, because it can be easy for unscrupulous operators to impersonate companies or brands using the internet. They can register a similar domain and create a genuine looking website to divert users away from the site they were aiming for and there are lots of examples of this happening.”

Abid Perwaze, Commercial & Intellectual Property Solicitor at LCF Law, added: “Having the right trade marks in place makes it much easier to stop anyone that tries to do this and also helps to protect company names and brands. There’s a common misconception that it costs thousands of pounds to create a trade mark, but in most cases it can be done for just a few hundred pounds.”