Law: Brief

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The Independent Culture
DESPITE THE fact that being a lawyer and advising the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund has inevitably led to brickbats in the media, a number of law firms did put themselves forward.

Mishcon de Reya, the law firm currently undertaking the work (and the firm which acted for the late Princess in her divorce) was thought the favourite to win the tender. But the tendering process is not a one-horse race - the firm this week lost its most senior Memorial Fund adviser to a rival law firm, Paisner & Co. And worse news has followed - Paisners was named along with Mishcons as one of the six firms to be shortlisted for the work.

Jonathan Cameron, the lawyer switching horses, is understood to be highly respected by a number of the Fund's trustees. He is also well known to the Fund's chairman, Anthony Julius, who is a consultant at Mishcon and the late Princess's divorce lawyer. A spokeswoman for the fund stressed that Mr Julius will have no say in the final decision, which is expected to be made before Christmas. She said that it would be made by two independently appointed consultants with input from the other trustees.

Mr Cameron, who has acted on the Fund's litigation in the US and has also appeared on television defending Mishcon's role, has an international reputation in intellectual property law. He is also being joined in his move to Paisners by a fellow Mishcon partner, Mimi Curran, who has also worked on the Memorial Fund brief. Paisners' senior partner, Harold Paisner, said that he was hopeful of winning the tender as the firm already has a strong charity law department and now had the services of Cameron.

Paisners' charity practice is led by a former barrister, Anne-Marie Piper, who is noted for advising charities on permissible commercial activities.

For Mishcon, there has also been news of other departures. Maggie Rae and Elizabeth Vernon - noted family lawyers who assisted Anthony Julius on the Princess's divorce settlement - have joined the media and entertainment law firm, Clintons - who advised Bob Geldof on his divorce settlement with Paula Yates.

Christopher Allen, who heads up Mishcon's private client department, is also jumping ship to join the law firm Lawrence Graham, which has the legal brief for the Princess's estate.

While Mr Allen would be a prized addition to that firm, he will have no part in the tender, because it would be a conflict of interest - Lawrence Graham advises the estate.