Birmingham Lawyer’s case becomes major new film

Karen Bailey

A case handled by Birmingham lawyer Karen Bailey has been turned into a major international film starring Oscar winners Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave.

In 2002 Karen won a £110,000 pay out for former police officer Kathryn Bolkovac, who was unfairly sacked by DynCorp International LLC.,  for blowing the whistle on the  United Nations’ and her DynCorp colleagues involved in the Bosnian sex trade.

Ms Bolkovac will be portrayed by Rachel Weisz in “The Whistleblower”, which was filmed in Bucharest, Romania and directed by award winner Larysa Kondracki, who co-wrote the script with Eilis Kirwan. Continue reading

Free legal advice scheme extended

The Birmingham office of national law firm Mills & Reeve has once more joined forces with Birmingham Law School at the University of Birmingham to provide free legal advice to members of the university’s local community.

The launch of the Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group (FLAG) follows a successful three-month pilot, which ran earlier this year. Lawyers from Mills & Reeve, working alongside law students, received more than 30 calls to the legal hotline. Continue reading

Leading Lawyer goes solo

Jayne Willetts has gone solo

Birmingham solicitor advocate Jayne Willetts has set up the city’s first dedicated professional regulation law firm.

Jayne Willetts & Co will offer legal advice to legal service providers such as solicitors, barristers, legal executives, costs draftsmen and licensed conveyancers, as well as to other professionals facing regulatory challenges whether for misconduct or in setting up new business models.  The firm will also provide advocacy services before regulatory tribunals or conduct committees, such as the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, as well as before the higher courts. Continue reading

Small law firms face extinction

Small law firms in the West Midlands are at risk of being driven out of business by crippling insurance premiums.

A survey of its members by Birmingham Law Society reveals that sole practitioners across the West Midlands faced massive professional indemnity insurance (PII) hikes this year. Continue reading

Chambers coup for Birmingham Law Society

L-R: Chris Owen of St Philips Chambers; Dean Parnell and Andrew Lancaster, president and vice president of Birmingham Law Society

One hundred and sixty two barristers from Birmingham’s St Philips Chambers have joined Birmingham Law Society (BLS).

This is the first time an entire set has joined the organisation in its 191-year history.

BLS predominantly represents the region’s solicitors. Solicitors may join as individual members, or take up corporate membership through their firm.  Although the rules relating to membership were relaxed a few years ago, to allow barristers, judges, overseas practitioners and legal executives to join as individual members, take-up from the bar was limited. Continue reading

Mills & Reeve announces positive year end financial results

National law firm Mills & Reeve has announced positive annual financial results for the year ending 31 May 2010.

Guy Hinchley

Turnover across the firm rose to £67.3 million, an increase of 1.1 per cent from last year’s £66.6 million.  In Birmingham, where the firm employs more than 200, turnover increased by 1.3 per cent to £18.1 million.

During the past financial year the firm has also expanded the partnership with partner promotions and lateral hires across its corporate, private client and insurance practices. In line with previous years a staff bonus has been awarded across the offices to all employees who have been with the firm for at least a year, although this year’s has been increased by 65 per cent from last year’s.

Guy Hinchley, managing partner, said: “This is a strong performance for the firm. We continue to expand in line with our 2012 business plans and, as in previous years, instead of taking more profits we have decided to share the benefits of our success across the whole firm in order to reward the hard work and professionalism of our employees in very difficult economic circumstances.”

New presidency role for Bernard Shepherd

Ros Caldicott hands over the chain of office to Bernard Shepherd, the new president of the West Midland Association of Law Societies.

Bernard Shepherd has been appointed president of the West Midland Association of Law Societies (WMALS).

Formerly president of Birmingham Law Society, Mr Shepherd takes the baton from Ros Caldicott, who has been in the chair for six years and moves across to become secretary of the organisation.

WMALS was formed in the 1960s and comprises eight regional law societies (Breconshire & Radnorshire; Birmingham; Herefordshire; Stafford & District; North Staffordshire; Walsall; Wolverhampton and Worcestershire).

The organisation was set up to represent the views of the regional law societies with London policy makers, including the Law Society. Continue reading