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By Alex Aldridge on

As the Christmas party season gets underway, Alex Aldridge is expecting great things from the litigators

Everyone knows it’s the litigators who are the crazy ones. A quick browse of the Bar Standards Board’s wonderful rogue gallery of barristers confirms that millimetres below the respectable surface of the Inns of Court reigns barely-containable anarchy.

Recent highlights include the barrister suspended from practising for two months for maliciously ordering advertising material for sado-masochistic equipment, cess pits, and cosmetic surgery on someone else’s behalf, and another who defrauded two children’s charities out of £85,000.

Even in City law, the dullest branch of the legal profession, the litigators are pretty mental. Earlier this week ex-Hogan Lovells’ litigation partner Christopher Grierson was charged with four counts of false accounting – a few months after being booted out of the firm for amassing more than £1m in false expenses.

Grierson did this by booking flights, cancelling them, then claiming the money back from good old Uncle Hogan Lovells. Amazingly, it took four years for anyone at the firm to notice.

Grierson’s predecessor as the senior Hogan Lovells litigator also had a somewhat, er, exuberant side. Last May, Neil Fagan found himself at the centre of a drug-fuelled sado-masochistic sex scandal after a violent fight with his lover at the Hilton Waldorf in central London. The Telegraph describes the scene in a beautifully straight-faced style:

“Finola McKenna, 46, lashed out with a broken champagne glass after Neil Fagan, a 61-year-old professional, attempted to use what a judge described as “medieval torture implements” on her.

When police burst into the couple’s room at the Hilton Waldorf in Aldwych, central London, they found Mr Fagan naked except for a leather thong and nipple clamps.

McKenna attempted to flee down a hotel corridor then bit a policewoman’s leg.”

With the Christmas party season upon us, I’m bracing myself for more thrilling tales of litigators letting their hair down. If you hear any good gossip, please email me at

Alex Aldridge is the editor of Legal Cheek