Law: Briefs

NOT ALL solicitors are at ease with the Law Society's plans for world-domination. Ronnie Fox, senior partner of City law firm Fox Williams, described the president, Robert Sayer's call for fusion between Law Society and Bar as evidence of Mr Sayer going "off the rails". In the City Solicitor, the newsletter of the City of London Law Society, he says: "The president's views are probably not supported by the council and certainly not by [most] solicitors."

THERE IS something almost irresistible about the idea of the Lord Chancellor dressing up as Santa. So when it fell to Keith Vaz MP - a former junior minister at the his department - to organise this year's Westminster party for MPs' children, the smart money was on Lord Irvine making an appearance. But alas, instead it was his wife, Lady Irvine of Lairg, who was guest of honour. Perhaps someone had had a quiet word with Lord Irvine, who famously likened himself to Cardinal Wolsey, about the dangers of inviting comparisons with historical figures who dress in red.

FOR THOSE businessmen still looking for a legal method of off-loading the costs of the millennium date change, City lawyers Freshfields might have the answer. At a seminar, "recovering millennium bug costs" lawyers and insurance experts will discuss how to recoup "remediation expenses" incurred in making computer systems millennium bug compliant. The seminar, on February 5, will also tackle the subject of millennium dispute resolution.

PETER BIRCH, the newly appointed chairman of the Legal Services Commission, may not realise what he has let himself in for. He'll need his formidable business experience - chief executive of Abbey National until 1998 and now chairman of Land Securities and a non-executive director of NM Rothschild & Son, Trinity Mirror, Coca-Cola and Travellers Exchange - to deal with a rash of militancy in the legal profession. First he could negotiate with those solicitors who have threatened to withdraw co-operation with the commission unless legal aid rates are increased.