LEGAL FIRM BROADENS RECRUITING HORIZONS

CITY INTERNSHIPS are notoriously hard to come by. But not for regular readers of The Capitalist such as Ratidzo Chinyuku, who wrote to Taylor Wessing partner Martin Winter asking for a work placement after reading about his charity work in her homeland of Zimbabwe in this column on 12 April.

Following her successful appeal, the 15-year-old schoolgirl is now half way through a two-week placement in the law firm, where she is helping the private equity team by doing background research on the “cash generative businesses” they have been asked to pitch for and the personalities of the people they are meeting.

Chinyuku, who previously had “mixed perceptions” of the law, based on the TV show The Good Wife, has been “inspired” by her legal experience. And Winter, a senior partner and head of private equity at Taylor Wessing, is now keen to start a programme to make law as “representative as possible of the wider community”.

“There is a feeling the legal profession has become too narrow in how it recruits,” said Wessing. “So we want to start a programme that widens the net to younger people who don’t have the contacts to get their foot in the door. There are plenty of schools in outer and inner London who would welcome the opportunity.” Form an orderly queue…

PENTHOUSE PLOT
ANYONE in the market for a new penthouse? Why not trot along to Strutt & Parker’s Knightsbridge branch to take a look at the Battersea penthouse that fallen hotels tycoon Andrew Davis has put up for sale. He is keen to make some cash following the collapse of his country house hotels empire Von Essen Hotels Group.

Three bedrooms (all en suite, naturally), plus a generous reception area leading out to a 300 square foot terrace with views of Canary Wharf – and all for just £2.5m, or one hundredth of the debt Davis’s business owes creditors Barclays and Lloyds.

However, while Davis is free to flog the penthouse, located at the top of his Hotel Verta in Battersea, the events space on the floor below has fallen into the hands of the administrators as it is part of Von Essen Hotels Group – much to the dismay of the hotel’s general manager Andrew Thomason, who has been told he can not rent out the space until the administration process has been completed.

Since the function area usually rents for £5,000 to £7,000 for 24 hours, that is some loss of income, so let’s hope Floor 13 becomes part of the hotel again sooner rather than later. Precisely when that will be, however, is anyone’s guess. “I wish I knew,” said Thomason. “Hopefully in the next three months, so I can get on and run my hotel again.”

SLEEPING ON THE JOB
IT STARTED as a trial to let jetlagged bankers take a rest in the middle of the day, but Jon Gray’s “sleep pods” have proved such a hit that the former Merrill Lynch banker is no longer renting his sleeping contraptions but selling them off as fast as his Battersea production plant can put them together.

Five investment banks have placed orders for the £1,650 sleeping tubes (pictured left), as well as ten law firms and even one hospital – for the staff working “demanding shift patterns”, not the patients, The Capitalist should point out.

Obviously, the City firms aren’t turning their quiet back rooms into bedrooms to get out of doing their work; it is all about short rests that “significantly increase an individual’s work capacity”. “Like having a cup of coffee, but healthier,” supplied Gray helpfully.