And so, black tie firmly attached, to dinner – with judge Ian Forrester QC and the good folk of the London Solicitors Litigation Association. Forrester seems set to be the UK’s last appointment to the General Court of the European Union – a poignant honour to note for a lawyer who’s built his life and career in Brussels.
In a reflective after-dinner speech Forrester noted that not all the records he set have been so safe. ‘Until a few years ago, I was the world’s least successful competition lawyer,’ he recalled – losing €3bn to the European Commission as the White & Case lawyer acting for Microsoft. That’s a lot of dough, and the record looked safe when he was appointed a judge in 2015 – but alas, in July this year, Google’s €4.3bn fine for abusing a dominant position put that achievement in the shade. ‘I am a has-been!’ he said.
Anything else he might stay ahead on? Well at the moment, whereas domestic judges have been branded ‘Enemies of the people’ and ‘Traitors’ for pronouncements related to Brexit, Forrester recalls his critics in the British press going a step further. One dubbed him a ‘pompous traitor’. Charming.