UPDATE: I am told the numbers 6 and 200,000 figure prominently in this affair.
A little birdie tells me that things are not well at Belfast’s largest criminal law practice, KRW, headed by veteran advocate Kevin Winters.
According to one source, a senior figure left the firm on Friday when it was discovered that several lawyers were planning to jump ship to form a rival company.
And last week it emerged that the putative rivals were making efforts to persuade some longstanding clients to follow suit.
KRW, which began as Kevin R Winters in 2001 and then was incorporated as KRW Law in 2012, has overtaken Madden & Finucane as the largest criminal practice in the North. Earlier this year the company announced plans to expand in Dublin and London.
Prominent clients have included the family of the missing child Madelaine McCann and the convicted Lockerbie bomber, the late Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi. KRW’s core business though remains in NI where the firm is the leading light in the lucrative Troubles legacy field.
It is too early to predict the outcome of the crisis now afflicting KRW but there is agreement that much will depend on the attitude of Sinn Fein, which wields tremendous influence in Belfast these days on clients’ choice of legal representatives.
A clue perhaps about the rebels’ ambitions, if not the Shinners’ intentions, may lie in the putative name for the new law firm: Phoenix Law.