Who? James Lawford Davies, 37, life sciences partner at City firm Lawford Davies Denoon.
Why is he in the news? He helped a widow stop her late husband’s frozen sperm from being destroyed.
Beth Warren’s husband had sperm frozen before starting cancer treatment that might have rendered him sterile. He also signed papers consenting to his wife using the sperm for conception if he died. He died in February 2012.
Sperm and eggs may be stored for up to 55 years if the husband’s consent is renewed every 10 years. However, after his death, the regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said the existing consent only had until April 2015 to run. The dead man was unable to apply for a renewed consent and so the sperm had to be destroyed.
However, the High Court found that the husband had not been told of the time restrictions and so had not known it was necessary ‘to obtain the requisite long-term consent’. The court said conceiving a child with the sperm was ‘an accepted matter’ between the couple.
It also found in Beth Warren’s favour under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to private and family life.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Counsel and I agreed to take on the case pro bono because we felt Beth should be allowed more time to decide whether and when to have a child rather than being forced to rush into making a decision so soon after the death of her husband and brother [who died in a car crash in December 2011]. We were delighted with the outcome, allowing Beth to get on with her life.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I’d always wanted to be a doctor, but my science was not strong enough. Becoming a medical lawyer was the ideal compromise.’
Career high: ‘With Alex Denoon, setting up our own law firm in 2009.’
Career low: ‘Having to tell my wife when she was in labour that I had a conference call.’