TOP TEN SOLICITORS
‘It’s been great,’ says Kelly of the past year with a smile on his face. He believes his team have become the go-to hit-squad when it comes to shutting down breaking (but law-breaching) news stories.
It’s hard to argue with that. He points to the rise in American and European clients, both celebrity and corporate — ‘everyone from the Beckhams to BAT’. He’s also recently received instruction from Angelia Jolie and Melania Trump. The latter, he says, is fascinating as they work in conjunction with the US legal team to secure a defamation claim of $150 million.
Such is his own reputation and client book that Kelly himself, along with the excellent Gerrard Tyrrell, is seen as an authority on the space. He takes Spear’s through his view of the legal landscape and the need to prepare, react and defend appropriately. Speed is crucial: ‘A newspaper used to write to us and say, “We’ll be publishing this tomorrow.” Now the luxury of two or three hours is gone.’
Penetration testing is also crucial, from making sure your superyacht only uses its own wi-fi in port to heading off publication of housing plans.
Spear’s ventures the conclusion of some phone-hacking cases will help define the crossover between technology and privacy. Kelly is unconvinced: ‘It’s not a legacy, it’s a start. If phone hacking was the discovery of the wheel, we’re now into the industrial revolution.’