If you’re keen to mingle with the profession and tennis is your game, why not join the Bar Lawn Tennis Society? When I was first called to the Bar I decided to investigate, as I had been on the lawn tennis teams at school, enjoyed playing tennis with friends in the holidays and picked tennis up again after university, playing before and after work most days.
The Hon Secretary welcomed me warmly but explained most of the fixtures held were in the south. I was based in the north but as the subscription was only £10 a year (now £20) and the Society offered a Wimbledon ballot, I joined.
When I later moved to London to take up a job as a law reporter, the first event I attended was the AGM, which happily doubled up as a drinks party. As a member of under five years’ call, I was invited to play in the Sachs Cup, which is the round robin tournament for newcomers to the Bar. This was held in Twickenham where drinks and lunch were provided afterwards by the first ever Vice-President, Helen, Lady Broughton, at her flat.
The tournament is now held at Cadogan Place in Knightsbridge and is open to members of up to 12 years’ call. Helen, Lady Broughton continues to present the Tankard and kindly provides drinks and lunch afterwards, proving that the Society is about much more than just tennis.
The Society was founded in the 1950s by Lord Dunboyne, an Old Bailey judge who played tennis to a very high standard. Our tennis season starts in May and there are matches and tournaments in the Fixture List to suit different levels of play. These are held mainly at weekends, at some of the best tennis clubs and other venues with courts.
The strongest players tend to enter the international fixtures such as the Common Law Cup, a triangular match between teams from three common law jurisdictions: the English Bar, the US Bar and the Irish Bar. The Society hosted this last year, in the splendid setting of Moor Park in Rickmansworth where the English team celebrated its victory at the dinner afterwards in the Orangery, to which the visiting teams and all members were invited. Lord Mance, the Society’s President, was awarded the Common Law Cup, which honours members of the legal profession in common law countries who have combined an extraordinary legal career with outstanding achievements in, and contributions to, tennis.
Our tennis season starts in May and there are matches and tournaments to suit different levels of play.
I find my role on the Committee as the Hon Match Secretary complements my career in legal publishing very well. There is even scope to exercise some advocacy by making representations at meetings. The Society has provided an outlet for some of my other interests such as design, by commissioning me to create a new tie for the men in the Society. I am now working on a brooch design for our lady members.
I play doubles most weekends with a group of people of a similar standard and enter, organise and manage some of the Society’s matches and tournaments in the summer. George Laurence QC and I are the current holders of the Lawton Trophy, awarded to the winners of the Bar Open Doubles tournament, which was established in 1976 by the then President of the Society, Lord Justice Lawton.
Georgina Orde is a law reporter at the ICLR and Hon Match Secretary of the Bar Lawn Tennis Society. If you are interested in joining the Bar Lawn Tennis Society please contact the Hon Secretary Alex Perry at: APerry@harcourtchambers.co.uk.
The Common Law Cup, English Team 2016. Pictured ABOVE are (left to right): Anjoli Foster, John Taylor QC, Bernard Weatherill QC, Ian Bartlett, Richard Ground QC, Tim Matthewson, Victoria Watson.