Former Litigation PA Allayne Roper (née Griffiths) died in November 2016 after a long struggle with cancer. Allayne joined A&O’s London office in 1998 and worked for a number of partners and associates in our Litigation practice over the years, most recently for Arbitration partner Mark Levy. She was unable to return to work after her diagnosis in 2011, but remained in regular contact with her colleagues. The courage with which she faced her illness drew widespread admiration. She created a website to tell her story and to help others going through their own journey with cancer – and to share her adventures living on a boat with her husband, Paul. Mark said: “Allayne was a wonderful PA to me, and numerous others in the department, for many years. Nothing was too much trouble for her and I feel blessed to have known and worked with such a loving and caring person. I am sure that her strength and determination will have been an inspiration to many.”
Rosella Antonucci, a former Banking senior associate in A&O’s Rome office, died in November 2016. Rosella spent almost five years with the firm, leaving to join Legance – Avvocati Associati as a partner in 2009. Former colleagues paid tribute to Rosella. Cristiano Tommasi said: “Rosella was a great lady and colleague. She had a sense of humour and style which made time shared with her in the office a pleasure. It was always nice to meet her open, beautiful smile at the coffee machine and take a break from working. We ended our conversations laughing. She will be greatly missed.” Michele Milanese added: “Rosella was a talented lawyer and a brilliant person who was respected by colleagues and peers and loved by her team. She will be greatly missed by us all.”
Claire Diss, a PA in the London Corporate department, died in February. Claire had been a member of A&O for more than ten years, joining as a BD assistant in 2006, before transitioning to a PA role in the Corporate BD team five years later. Corporate Group manager Debby Lancefield said: “Claire was a very popular member of the Corporate department – and with good reason. She faced her battle with great dignity and determination, remaining hopeful throughout her treatment for a positive outcome. She will be greatly missed by all her colleagues and we shall remember her with great fondness.”
Theo Savvides, a former associate in the London Litigation department, died in July following a cycling accident in France. Theo joined A&O as a trainee in 1992 and qualified in the Litigation department, working in the Intellectual Property (IP) practice. He joined Bristows in 2013 from Osborne Clarke and was made joint managing partner in 2016. Colleagues from Theo’s A&O days recall that they could never speak to ‘The O’ (as he was known to some) without there being a great deal of good humour and laughter in the conversation, no matter how difficult the legal problem at hand. One colleague said: “It is hard to think of him without recalling his smile and infectious laugh; he was such a kind man.”
Brian Wall, an A&O employee for nearly 20 years, died in August at the age of 71. He worked as a mail and logistics operator in the London office, and is remembered by former colleagues as a genuinely nice and talented guy. Wendy Ibbetson added: “Brian was a wonderful man and a true gent. He was a cheeky chap, always smiling, a great storyteller, comedian and a real-life ‘sat nav’! He often talked about his family and his wife, Sue. He was very proud of them.”
Peter Ellis, a former conflicts database supervisor in the Business Acceptance Unit, died in August. He was 63. Peter worked at A&O for more than 40 years – a “truly remarkable achievement”, in the words of a colleague. Just 17 when he joined A&O’s London office in 1971, Peter worked in the Finance department as a database supervisor. He transferred to the Business Acceptance Unit to work as a conflicts database supervisor when the department was set up in June 2003. He retired in 2013.
Rainer Evers, a member of A&O’s Litigation team in London, died in September. Rainer joined the firm as a trainee in 1999 and was an associate in the Litigation department in London for many years. He recently transitioned to be a Peerpoint consultant and had begun to combine his work at A&O with teaching law students at Pearson College, London. Rainer was a huge character in the Litigation team and will be deeply missed by all who worked with him or had the good fortune to know him. Colleagues paid tribute to Rainer for his legendary brain power, independent spirit, huge kindness and the amazing patience which he showed to the many lawyers, of all seniorities, who would drop by his office to benefit from his erudition. He must carry the trophy for the trainer who inspired the most trainees to become litigators. This was all in addition to continuing his long-standing and valuable support on pro bono work, particularly for Battersea Law Centre where he was a regular advisor for more than 15 years and helped hundreds of people who had nowhere else to turn. His commitment to access to justice was immense. Litigation partner Jonathan Hitchin said: “This has been a terrible shock for colleagues and clients who worked with Rainer. We’ll fondly remember him for his outstanding intellect, mischievous sense of humour and tuneful corridor singing. He was one of a kind.”
Read the personal tributes at allenovery.com/alumni