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Finance & Law In Brief

Legal aid blow The House of Commons will vote tomorrow on the decision by Lord Mackay, the Lord Chancellor, to abolish his legal aid advisory committee. Paul Boateng, Labour's legal affairs spokesman, has condemned the Lord Chancellor's move as "nothing short of scandalous" at a time when he is claiming to consult on the future of legal aid.

Pannone changes Pannone & Partners has announced a "looser association" within the practice. Pritchard Englefield & Tobin and Pannone March Pearson merged in September 1992 to form Pannone & Partners. Now the firm says that, on balance, its best interests and those of its clients lie in its constituent parts going forward in a looser association. The London office now practises as Pannone Pritchard Englefield while in Manchester the Pannone & Partners name remains. These changes, the partners say, will provid e more manageable firms in each location, although both remain on close terms.

Israeli conference The City firm Berwin Leighton is hosting a two-day conference in Tel Aviv this week for Israeli businesses. Topics under discussion include raising capital and business expansion in the UK and Europe.

Ethics inquiries soar The Law Society's professional ethics department has had a dramatic rise in inquiries. Last year the figure was 53,000, more than double that of 1990. The increase reflects a heightened awareness of ethical issues, as well as the proliferation of various codes and standards of practice.

TKB merger talks The City practice Turner Kenneth Brown and the West End firm Nabarro Nathanson have begun preliminary merger talks. Negotiations between TKB and Alsop Wilkinson to merge fell through last year.

Lawyer's move A litigation lawyer from Clifford Chance will become chief executive of a business law set of chambers. David Hatchard will take on the new post at 3/4 South Square in March.

McGrigor heads south Scotland's largest law firm, McGrigor Donald, plans to take on City practices and create Scotland's first genuine UK firm. In an interview with Legal Business magazine, the new managing partner, Niall Scott, says an intensive review has identified London as the main area for growth.

Pro bono poll City firms are not nearly as committed to pro bono work, or unpaid legal advice to community groups and other needy organisations, as they like to suggest, according to a poll by Legal Business magazine. The poll showed that time spent on this workranged from 13 hours a year to half an hour.

Coopers' China link Coopers & Lybrand's Chinese operation will link with the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics for a programme that is aimed at improving the quality training of accountants in China.