04 May 2006

Shelagh Gaskell

I am very sad to learn from Pinsent Masons' website of the death of Shelagh Gaskell. I had known Shelagh for over 20 years. Although we had lost touch some years ago I will miss her greatly. I am sure I shall not be the only lawyer to do so.

She was a lovely lady but a very formidable one. The first time I met her was at Leeds University shortly after she would have joined Dibb Lupton Fawcett (as DLA Piper was known at that time). I was giving a talk on protecting semiconductor chip topograpraphies which was a burning issue before the Washington Treaty. Simon Chalton, who was then senior partner of Dibbs, brought her along and I remember that she asked me some very perceptive questions.

I got to know her better at the IBA conference in Buenos Aires in 1988. There were not many Brits at that conference - HMG had not yet restored diplomatic relations with Argentina - and even fewer Northerners. Apart from Simon and Shelagh the only other delegate from the North was Dan - now Lord - Brennan QC so I think we stuck together. That was the best IBA conference ever.

There were not many computer lawyers in the 1980s. The few of us who practised in the North - John Morris and Felicity Brandwood of the NCC, Graham Wood of Cobbetts, Jonathan Moakes of Halliwell Landau, Dai Davis of Hepworth & Chadwick and Simon and Shelagh of Dibbs - had a little dining club where someone would read a paper and we would discuss it over dinner. That was came to an abrupt end when the Manchester Club removed to the top of a high rise on Charlotte Street.

Shelagh followed Simon from Dibbs to Masons and stayed there after Simon moved on to Bird & Bird. We lost touch some time after I opened nipc in 1997. That was probably because I no longer had sufficient spare time or money for IBA and CLA conferences.

I should like to express condolences to all her friends and colleagues at Pinsent Masons, DLA Piper and elsewhere.

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