Thursday, May 31, 2012


Our friend Nick came for dinner last night. He works for Anglo-German lawyers Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He used to work in their Beijing office (his & our children went to the same school) but returned to London a year ago; he's back here for a business trip so we're catching up. 
Freshfields are the legal providers to the London Olympics, appointed 5 years ago. It's a huge job, and get this, they do it for free! (or pro bono as they say in the business. What does that mean? 'For the good'? They're in favour of U2?). Anyway, aside from the big stuff (buildings contracts, sponsorship deals, health & safety etc etc), they've been involved in the following procurement and contractrual activities:  
- saving more than 2,000 endangered newts, including arranging their removal, safehousing and return to the pool after construction of the Velopark site; 
- design, engineering and manufacturing contracts for 10,000 Olympic Torches;
- hiring 100,000 portaloos;
- procuring 90 training dolls for wrestling;
- agreements for 4,500 medals produced by the Royal Mint, using just under 3000kg of gold, silver and bronze, plus arranging their safekeeping in the Tower of London vault;
- contracts with artists such as Tracey Emin for the Olympic posters (wot we're showing in China);
- pretending to be a horse, while driving a golf buggy. All in the course of checking safety procedures for equestrian events;
- white-water rafting: riding the rapids to test the course.

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